What Our Homeschoolers are Up to Now: Current Lessons and Activities

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cure for Mondays

Cole trying his hand at charcoal drawing

I got a message from my friend, Allan, who wanted to know what "level" Cole and Attika are in now. He and his wife are also homeschooling their beautiful four-year-old daughter. People we meet often ask us that question and I must admit that it's one of the  challenging questions to answer for two reasons: 1. It may be off-putting for someone who yet has to understand homeschooling, especially since we don't follow a regular or traditional moving-up process. 2. Most people are used to learners getting grades from teachers and we are not school teachers.

As I've mentioned in my previous articles, we're independently homeschooling, which means we are not enrolled at any DepEd-affiliated homeschooling program. We will worry about college when we get there, but I've done a bit of research on how homeschooling kids get to college. Once I am able to explain why we've chosen not to enroll and why we don't believe in grades, I then move on to discuss what both kids are presently engaged in for our "academic year".

Cole is 13 and Attika is four years old. Both kids follow different learning paths because of the obvious age difference. They get to sit down together for film showing and some art activities, but Cole has major course work and Attika has a variety of activities which she is gladly allowed to decide on the night before or at the beginning of each day. That is a privilege only homeschooled toddlers have.

Cole's Major Course Work 

Book: Hardcourt

Earth Science 
Current Lessons: Using Qualitative Data in a Science Experiment, Qualities of a Good Scientific Question

Extra Credit: A Report on Multiverse (because he's crazy about it!)

Cole doing his report on multiverse using an 11-slide PPT he created. You can e-mail him at niccolosbeldia@yahoo.com for a copy of his report or if you want to ask him questions.

Here he explains one of the many theories of multiverse

Current Reading and Discussion: The Iliad by Homer

Ancient History
Current Reading:  Everyday Life in Ancient Greece (4th century BC)

Resource: Daily Grammar

Resource: Brave Writer

Cole's Electives

Activities: Weekly Free-Hand Painting

His latest painting, dedicated to his "Bawewina"



His favorite time of the day

Attika's Current Lessons and Activities

Writing Letters, Free-Hand Drawing, Drawing Shapes, Identifying Words Through Pictures, Rote and Rational Counting, Origami, Painting

I take her lead. When she says she wants to do writing, I follow :-) 

A snippet of our lesson on the letter G. We have several other videos that unfortunately won't load here. 

Our everyday can be anything from not too quiet to very noisy. I'll let you in on...



I encourage Cole and Attika to begin their day with five minutes of meditation. I let them listen to guided meditation by Susanne Kempen or the Children's Rainbow Meditation. Attika loves doing meditation so it's never a struggle reminding her to do it. My teenager needs a bit of coaxing sometimes, but he does it anyway. What's important is that he admits how he feels so much better after a short meditation. It helps them start the day in the right mood and have a better perspective compared to no-meditation mornings. I find that Cole has better concentration whenever he begins his day with meditation.

Peace and Quiet... NOT!

So we're homeschooling... We must be tip-toeing around the house so as not to disturb the ones who are reading and working and therefore we speak in hushed voices. We must be calm and relaxed all the time, and always smiling like the Brady Bunch or always positive like Balki Bartokomous.

Heck, no! Who are we kidding? We have pre-smackdown-like {verbal} matches, and I mean a John Cena vs. The Rock kind of verbal heat that lasts for 10 minutes {this is usually between me and Mr Young}. We never get to the actual smackdown though. There's also the I-will-scream-until-all-of-your-ears-fall-out-because-I-have-every-right-to-as-the-one-and-only-toddler-in-this-house break down courtesy of Attika. Even our zen-like teenager has his moments and although it never comes with screaming, it still gets to me when he's quiet because there is nothing more scary than what goes on inside the head of a silent teenager.

To sum it all up, it's always me against Mr Young {and him against me, of course}, me versus Cole, Cole versus Attika, Attika versus Cole {this could be some kind of a match, I tell you}, me against everybody and everybody {silently} against me. They will deny this last part to your face. They love me like that.

Great Days Come Always

Our life as a family is quite dynamic. We argue and fight, but the best days/hours are always around to help us through. At the end of each day, we know that all we have is each other and we stand by each other at all times. Poke her brother and say anything that sounds mean to her toddler, spidy ears and you're going to get it from her.

So when people ask how we're living such a perfect life, we say it really is far from the imagined faultless life. But whatever happens during the day, our kids hug each other and exchange "I love yous" before they go to bed. To me, that is a blessing. We never taught them to do that.

Completion of Assignments for the Day

This one only concerns Cole. We use Homeschool Skedtrack so I am able to set his assignments a month or a week early. He can check his assigned work for the day and tick an assignment as soon as he's done. Homeschool Skedtrack automatically records that and all I need to do is to click "Approve Pending Activities" as his teacher. HS then credits his workload for the day and that includes tests, if any.

Since there is no such thing as a perfect system, HS may have glitches sometimes, but they have an active technical support team and as far as I can remember, I've never had major problems. The technical team always e-mails back to answer my questions.

How About Backlogs?

Backlogs we have many especially now that we were busy for over a week entertaining Mr Young's cousin who was here for a vacation. It was a great break and one that let me gain weight. But never mind the weight, what is important is that the kids have made a special bond with their uncle whom they see only twice or three times a year.

I love it that Cole is honest about his backlogs and tries so hard to keep up. We have serious catching up to do this October, and just thinking about it already makes me hungry.

Extra-curricular Activities

We believe in the positive effects of exposing the kids to live theater, good movies, shows where they learn about scientific ideas and letting them just run around. Cole loves skateboarding and Attika is an active toddler who likes to dance, sing {on top of her lungs}, run around and play tea time.

We watched "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", a production of Repertory Philippines at Greenbelt. Cole and I also watched Heneral Luna early this month and I am so glad how it has restored his faith in Philippine cinema.

Cole also watched "Pan" with his Uncle BJ on 4DX at the Bonifacio High Street Cinemas. According to them, watching "Pan" on moving chairs with live bubbles coming out of nowhere made it all so exciting. I wanted to go watch it, too, but they don't allow four-year olds in "Pan" and it was proofing night for Mr Young, so there was no way we could work our way around it.

Up next is "Flowanda and the Guardians of the Volcano Milava" at the CCP happening on October 25, 2015. Can't wait!

And yes...all that backlog. Thank you for reminding me.


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