Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Summer Subject: Filipino


As I said in a previous post, I am going to give Filipino one more try. For this summer, Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to Filipino subject/ activities.
We are using this book. Considering that the learners ages are 6, 11, 14, 17 and 36 its better to start at the lowest and get it right than start with a more challenging materials and give up!
To increase our vocabulary we are playing Speedeebee. We read the questions in English (as written on the card) and give the answer in Filipino. It's annoyingly fun!
I have a question, is Filibustero counted as a Filipino word?
We played Shatong this morning! The plan was for me to teach them the game and give instructions in Filipino.And to speak in Filipino/ Tagalog as much as we can while playing. I told the kids that shades is a must! I don't want anyone getting hit with the stick in the eye. I was thinking of helmet too, but it seems over kill. 
Digging our base.
When I played Shatong as a kid, we did not have safety measures. We played with gusto and sincerity and with the full knowledge and acceptance that if somebody gets hurt, you will get a good scolding from the adults.  I did not realize how much give and take between teammates and opponents Shatong requires. We spoke Filipino/Tagalog about about 15 % of the time. I say that's good enough for starters.
We have 6 more Tuesdays and 7 more Thursdays to go before summer ends. Wish us luck and kindly share tips, tricks, sites and books that could help us out! Thanks in advance :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Field Trip Continues...

We went up to Calinan on Wednesday, April 1. I was not sure what we would find in Calinan or if we would even find anything related to World War 2. But of all days of the year, I figured Wednesday was the time to go as it was April fools day, so if we do not find anything we can just count it as an April fools' day joke. Our agenda was to check out an obelisk that I recall seeing some time ago and reading about somewhere and is somehow related to Japan.  Then to drop by the Japanese tunnel on the way home. My older kids and I, with my dear husband have been there before, but the younger ones and our driver have not. Our group is made up of 4 adults: Me, A-my eldest, our driver and Teacher Chrissie and As, L and Nh.

Upon reaching Calinan, to the right a of the highway, a little past the left turn towards Calinan proper but before the Felcris building we saw the sign "Philippine Japan Museum" So this became our first stop.

The lady in yellow was our museum guide.
I was not disappointed! After paying the entrance fee, we walked around the museum with the museum guide who answered all our questions and pointed out some photos. It was amazing to see names of of people no longer with us but who's grandchildren continue to play a vital role in cultivating Davao City. We also found World War 2 money.

I think it would be interesting to add the following to the museum:
1. Stories and photos of Japanese descendants. I would like to know how they were treated after the war.
2. More info of the famed gold that the Japanese left behind. I mean, where would the gold have come from? If there really was gold and treasures, why would they keep in in Mintal/Calinan? Why not ship it to Japan?
3. What's with tunnels? 

I am getting a bit carried away now imagining a gift shop/ bookstore and even a tea house. But then, if the museum does not have that many visitors then such would be a waste to invest on and maintain.


The obelisk I was searching for and wanted to show the kids was not in the museum but in Mintal Elementary School! We also learned that Mintal was called "Little Tokyo" before the war. Why I even assume it's in Calinan I don't know. The lady in the museum did not refer to the structure not as an obelisk but called it an "Ohta." I then assumed that an "Ohta" must be a Japanese term for the monument.
Mintal Elementary School is along the highway and we saw a bunch of kids playing soccer. At the gate, was a security personnel who introduced himself to us and showed us his ID. He was to be our guide and we called him Manong Lolong. He walked with us across the school field to the obelisk which he also referred to a "Otah". This was a super worth while the stop!

Manong Lolong our guide explained that the side of the "Ohta" facing the highway is actually the back of the monument. The front is the one facing the river. Sometime in the past, treasure hunters came and wrecked the place in search of gold that the Japanese left behind. My golly!!!


Why this was even allowed is so jaw dropping not just to me but even to my children. They even chipped off the Japanese sign on the obelisk.



 There use to be a pyramid like structure beside the obelisk. The pyramid like structure was built in honor of the directors of the Ohta Plantation Company and according to the kagawad and Mang Lolong, it also had a tunnel and some small room like structures, but now it is  just a heap of mess after the treasure hunters wrecked it!

We were given a brochure with historical information with pre-war Japanese sites that can be found around Mintal. I wish that we had more time to visit the cemetery. But we had to go back because L has swimming practice by 5:30.

Our last stop for this field trip is the Japanese Tunnel.  There was a guide who walked in with us and explained how the tunnel was discovered, who dug it and so on. I couldn't go on and walk the whole 150 feet.
 
The sounds of trucks passing by the highway was too much for me. I imagine World War 2 airplanes and fear came all over me so I decided to step out and let the rest continue. I waited for them outside the tunnel.
The Total Cost of this Field Trip:  P870.00
Japanese Museum: 110.00
Mintal School: FREE
Japanese Tunnel: 260.00
Gas: 500.00

Friday, March 27, 2015

Today's Field Trip

This is a continuation of yesterday's post.

We did not get to leave the house at 8:00 and the teenagers had other plans, so it was just me and the 2 younger kiddos. We left at 9:00 because breakfast took a while. NH watched this video on Youtube right after breakfast while I prepared our lunch and left instructions to my eldest about making salad.

Our first stop was the market to check out how much coconut/buko costs.
In the story, "Fate And My Father", buko was 2,000.00 Japanese Peso in February 7, 1945.
Today, it's P20.00 only.
The coconut on the left is the one for salad and juice. The coconut on the right is older and for gata. I didn't know that! The man even made a handle! So no need to bring a bag plastic when you buy coconut in the market! I didn't know that too!!!
I asked L how many buko she could buy with the P2,000.00 that we had.
On the plaque: "In memory of Col. Thomas L. Clifford Jr. who died on on June 24, 1945 and was responsible for the liberation of Davao City.
We stopped by the rotunda in front of the post office. I have lived in this city all my life but this is the first time I came near, as in go down from the car, to check out this monument.

Our tour guide's name was Winnie and we went around the museum with a bunch of foreign students.
Our last stop for today was the Museo Dabawenyo. We arrived just in time for the guided tour! The tour gave us a happy dose of Davao pride. We were able to see World War 2 currency or Japanese Peso. There were other World War 2 artifacts in the museum but we did not get to take pictures as it was not allowed. I wish the the museum would be open on Sundays and closed on Mondays. This way, working parents can go with their children.

We got home by 11:10. Just enough time for me to help out with the lunch. 

Total cost of this field trip:
Market: P155 {Buko and Parking Fee}
Monument: FREE
Museo Dabawenyo: FREE

There goes our Field Trip or our entire morning. I think we are not yet done with this World War 2 theme. We shall see...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Lot of Subjects in One Story Alone

Here is an  exciting article about a development in Finland's education system and it says, "By 2020, the country plans to phase out teaching individual subjects such as maths, chemistry and physics, and instead teach students by 'topics' or broad phenomena, so that there's no more question about "what's the point of learning this?" A question raised by one of the funniest and creative people in my 4th year high school class (1995) to our dedicated Physics teacher. More than freedom in the classroom, the article is a boost for me!!! Now I am not sure if what Finland has in mind is what we are doing here at home.

I always say that I didn't bring school and one of the reasons is that I don't teach like a teacher in a classroom. Not because I don't want to, but because it seems awfully silly! I also do not give tests, grades, and make lesson plans ahead, I tried a bit, but life always interrupts this attempt. I plan with the kids and we sometimes get carried away! My older children are now more sensible than the 2 younger ones in terms of project scale and time. We usually cross over and overlap subjects, because to begin with we did not divide the books we read into subjects. So, how does this work for our family?

Right now I am reading "Shaking The Family Tree"  to L (11 years old) and Nh (7 years old in 4 weeks) . I have read this book to my two older children before and I think they read some of it on their own too.  In my head the book should account for the subject Philippine History. Although it can be World History, Reading, a bit of Geography and Language. Anyway, I don't divide them anymore and tell them that we are learning all these subjects.

In the story "Fate and My Father" by Maria Cristina Duarte Obles, we were able to talk about currency and inflation = Economics. And wounds and infection which my 2nd daughter As will make a power point report that she said she will present by Saturday night, this should cover Science right?

How much is P2,000.00?
In the story, the dad of the author bought a coconut for 2,000.00 Japanese Peso.
To get more from the stories, we (mostly L, Nh and me) decided yesterday to have a field trip on Friday, that's tomorrow. I want to share our itinerary with you now as I am super excited, but it seems unwise to post online my where abouts for tomorrow. I am pretty sure we will be home by lunch time if we leave the house at exactly 8:00 am tomorrow morning.

I told my husband we should also go to Corregidor Island because of  Lalim Hidalgo Lim's, "Silver, the Color of My Mother's Hair". It does not have to be now of course, but sometime in the future. Here is a post I wrote back in 2011. I was asked, "How do you teach your kids? And what if they do not listen?"


P.S  I am not sure my teenagers will be joining the field trip tomorrow. I invited both of them but still didn't get a reply. So moms with young kids, enjoy every second with your little ones they won't be clingy and eager beaver to go with you forever.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Subject: Filipino

In our house, my children speak in English. I speak to them in English. I think English was my first language and I am sure I heard Tagalog too as I was born in Manila and lived there till I was about 5. Then we moved to Davao and I learned the Davao Tagalog which is a mixture of Bisaya and a lot of Tagalog words. I learned this fast and with gusto because of my new found friends. All was great with what I thought was Filipino/Tagalog until school started and we had to be graded and told,  
“Ang di marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa malansang isda.” 
What were in the books were very different from how I was using the language. The language when spoken was fun and practical and got me from the gate of my aunt’s house all the way to the highway on a bike!

It was not until the summer when I was about to enter grade 4 that it got to me that words like “lagi” and suffixes like "gina", "naga" are not Tagalog which is why they could not be found in my Filipino books. I did not learn this in the classroom but from my older sister who did not grow up in Davao and did not understand “lagi” and a friend from Luzon who laughed at what sounded like make up Tagalog words, like:

how I say it  = how its suppose to be said
gikuha  = kinuha
ginakain = kinakain
nagatakbo = tumatakbo
nagaluto = nagluluto


 So, I figured it’s a Davao thing and must be Bisaya or Davaoeno not Tagalog. The higher I got on the educational ladder, the harder the Filipino subject became. Yet, I won several medals in Lingo ng Wika in my school and graduated high school and college just fine. Filipino was not my downfall as a student thanks to Math! To this day, I do not know when to use nang and ng, does this make me less Filipino? In case you know the difference do leave a comment so I may know.

If I am angry I speak in English. Masmabilis ang flow of words ika nga! I also noticed that when we are not in the country I tend to speak to my children in Filipino or Davao Tagalog/ Bisaya. It makes me feel safer which is weird but it does!

From the start of our homeschooling I knew I could not teach my children Filipino from the available materials that I saw. I tried, here and here. Just tried. We didn't really get anywhere substantial.
It's impossible for me to pound on them with the same materials that was pounded on me and made me ask, "Kailangan ko ba ito?" The sad part is my answer, "Mukhang hindi!" I was much much younger when I made up my mind on this. I could have studied but I did not. In the hierarchy of fast paced teenage priorities, Filipino ranked high on the boring scale and nowhere near the thrill, rush and fleetingness of the sports fest and even first Friday mass!

When my eldest went to ALS it was like hitting two birds with one stone. She got herself a high school diploma and she learned Filipino way better than me! But then, what am I in Filipino (subject) but a poorly educated graduate who can survive in the street, but cannot read well enough to merit my educational attainment. Nor can I write properly without a teacher working with me. Now this is not the fault of my school or my Filipino teachers, as I said  I could have studied as I got older but I did not because early on I figured I did not need it and there was only so much I could do in a day and a week that it just was not, or ever became, my priority. I needed Filipino only to the extent of passing a school requirement and of course chat away with friends which is also punishable in a classroom setting.

Is the same true for my daughter? Does she appreciate it as a subject? Only she can tell. But as her parent I cannot teach her using the materials I had in the fashion that I was taught, given what I know.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Want to Become a Genius


It's been almost two weeks since my son came up to me and said, "Mommy I want to become a genius, can you help me?"
Whoa! If that is not the sweetest and cutest I don't know what is!!! What a revelation! 
Now where did this come from? For our movie night two Fridays ago, we watched The Theory of Everything, here's the trailer.

Of course, as much as I want to say YES to him, I have to be honest. So I told him the truth that I do not know the road to genius-ness, but what I am sure of is that all genius men and women contributed to the advancement of humanity and that they can all read and write and do math; I can help him with that.
 
It's been  more than a week now and so far he is working with his math workbook (which I said is genius requirement #1) right after breakfast and labeling the house (this is for reading, genius requirement #2) and lastly writing/penmanship (genius requirement #3, so that others may be able to read his work in the future). 

Oh can you feel my thrill? I have Hollywood to thank for my 6 year old's drive! So, whatever you are up to this week my dear reader, may you stride through your task inspired and with some stroke of genius. Happy Monday!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Considering Homeschooling?



I received a question from a parent who I think is considering homeschooling. 

His question: Is homeschooling for everybody?
My answer: No.  Homeschooling is not for everybody just as school isn't for everybody.

One size does not fit all. There many types of  families with different leaning styles, troubles, strengths and so on. Also there is no such thing as 100% guaranteed.

Homeschooling works for our family. I am able to apply myself and get to know my children individually. I think the biggest plus of having my children at home is the time we have to share ourselves to each other. We have a lot of unhurried time and our activities revolve around our family: birthdays, anniversaries, doctor and dental check ups, grocery trips etc.

If you are thinking of homeschooling ask why. Parents have complained about school, but I don’t think schools are evil places. I don't agree that schools produce "factory learners". I can see how that can be the case but as I said there is no 100% guarantee regardless of situation.  As a homeschooling mom, I know that my children are missing out on school activities and learning that schooling children experience. I also know that my children are gaining experiences that schooling children are missing out on simply because they are in school. I know that learning happens whether a child is in school or out of school albeit at different environments, energy, pace, expectation and so on. So, if you are considering homeschooling probe some more. Don't just settle and say homeschooling will be better than school. Ask yourself how will this be the case?

Before you look into curricula and/or homeschool providers, ask "Why am I/are we doing this?"
Before you think of accreditation, ask "Why are you bothering to take your child/ children out of school? What’s to gain?" 
Do you feel like its your mission to educate your child? Why?
What do you envision? It all goes back to why-- your intention.
Then you can start thinking about how you will do it. Only then comes the choice of materials and activities.

Homeschooling needs parental time, energy, creativity and most of all intention. I am not saying its difficult. On the contrary, homeschooling my children is liberating and easy. But it does require to apply myself, just as it requires my children to apply themselves not just in their interest and academic pursuits but in family life too-- specially for younger kids. Yes homeschooling can mean no tuition fee and savings for the family, but there are also seasons when a splurge on materials and activities is required and needed. So set an intention as a parent and take it from there. 


Silently wipe off  the dust that might have settled on top of your heart. Ask yourself even if or most specially because you do not have an articulate answer yet.  And  as things start to shine through, you'll find your intention: the spark that will spell your mission and vision not just as an educator but as a parent. 

Sharing with you this poster for this Saturday's talk/ get together. My eldest daughter is invited to share her experience. If you are considering homeschooling, do register and see you there.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Its an Advertisement! Not an Anti-Mommy War Campaign!

A formula milk advertisement that masquerades as a sort of public awareness campaign was shared on my wall in Facebook, you can watch it here. The advertisement showed the truth that when we get wrapped up in arguing for our choices, we lose sight of what truly matters and so we risk losing what we value most in the end. Here is a very valuable message in an advertisement. And because it is an advertisement, it seeks to increase product awareness which should result in increased sales- this is the problem! If formula milk sales increase wouldn't breastfeeding rates decrease?
Hopefully, this advertisement won't make it to our TV screens here in The Philippines thanks to the Milk Code. Unfortunately, it is making its rounds online! You can read about the International Code for Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes here and also here. You can also watch the full video of "A Formula for Disaster":



My problems with the advertisement are:
1. The term "Mommy War" - what nonsense! I say, leave no space in your day for idle playground talk. In my experience I have learned a lot and improved as person from being with other mothers as oppose to wanting to pull their hair out because of choices they made in birth, feeding practices and so on. Let's not be NASTY!
2. War does not happen over night, it is fueled and fanned. It also takes good people with good intentions who buy into or ride with an idea that seems to be for the greater good. For wars to happen, institutions need to take part and so on. I am going to stop here. I am quite sure you get the picture that war takes much more than opinion and petty playground friction.
3. The benefits of breastfeeding a child is not a belief. The benefits of breastfeeding are backed by scientific evidence (check it out here), (here are the risks of not breastfeeding).
4. Lastly, lets not get confused. This is a formula advertisement not an awareness campaign on the virtues of tolerance or forgiveness. It undermines breastfeeding. Again, if formula sales increase will breastfeeding increase or decrease?

Supporting, promoting and educating others about breastfeeding is a serious matter. We, parents have more compelling wars to fight in and bigger issues to fight for! There could be battle scars that still throb or wounds that need to heal. For some of us, there could be fires ablaze in a battle field that span the vast expanse of the mind reaching out to and for the heart.

Have a good day, my dear reader.
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