October 5 is World Teachers’ Day. I celebrated it with my fellow homeschooling moms in Homeschool Global Conference 2019. It was held in SM Aura Convention Center. My husband stayed home with the kids while I enjoy learning to become a more equipped teacher mom.
I’ll share here a few of the many things I learned last Saturday. I hope it helps moms like me to want to be better in our common calling to be a homeschooling mom.
The welcoming remarks was from Edric Mendoza. As a homeschooling dad, he shared what he learned from a recent time he had with an international homeschooling organization. I didn’t quite catch the details but he shared what all families should look out for: a storm is coming. He used the allegory of a storm to demonstrate what has been plaguing our world. In the recent news, there are tragic stories about bullying, suicide and depression. All families will experience storms but what we can do is
1) Protect the ones we love.
2) Mobilize the strong and available.
3) Learn from those who already weathered the storm.
He concluded that all families should take charge and fight back against the storm. It is coming but when it comes, we can be prepared.
The keynote message was from Dr. Debra Bell. She entitled it, Why Home Education? Why You? Why Your Child? She described the growing global movement of homeschooling and why this great idea persists in our world today. She retold the history behind the movement from the time of John Holt and Raymond Moore. Schools were initially created to mass-produce good citizens of America, much like the Ford car manufacturing company. Homes, on the other hand, individualize children. The parents not only recognize the children’s individual personalities, but also their unique gifts from God. She went on to share the advantages of home education to a modern family. What made a big impression on me was when she shared about a time when her children noticed how God transformed her. Being with her children day in and day out challenged her but she testified that God gave her the grace that she needed when she needed it. In a lot of ways, God was also homeschooling her.
After the keynote message, we were asked to choose the masterclasses that we would like to attend for the rest of the day. For the first session, I chose Dr. Great Mabuti’s session on Enriching Filipino Learning. He shared candid stories about us, Filipinos. He summed it up in a common attitude that we do not like our own. As homeschoolers, we have the chance to change this mindset in our children as we teach them to love our roots. He shared studies about how language is correlated with identity, culture and (national) development.
In the afternoon, I chose Joy Mendoza’s masterclass Teaching Across Ages and Stages. This talk focused on teaching children in different grade levels. She shared her daily schedule and how she tackles homeschooling five children while taking care of her baby. Her tips include Planning, Preparing, Providing Structure, Prioritizing the Essentials, Practicing and Pursuing Progress. I personally learned a lot from the practical tips she shared after each point. She encouraged us to hope in the Lord. She was honest to say that it can be difficult but “if you know your why, you can do the how.”
The next masterclass I attended was Integrating Charlotte Mason Aise Simpauco-Dela Pena. I have read, attended classes on, and practiced Charlotte Mason for almost two years now. It has enriched our family life in a lot of ways. While not a lot of the things shared in this session was new to me, what I loved is how vibrant her Charlotte Mason community is. They had a mom and child painting session and they displayed their works together like an art gallery. Great idea! What I also loved about her is her passion about Charlotte Mason. It’s contagious. Some of my friends are now asking about Charlotte Mason.
The last masterclass I attended was Make Math Fun! By Janice Lao. She is an award-winning scientist and mathematician. Her credentials are WOW. In this class, she shared about Math Anxiety Cycle. In her diagram, she shows how a negative math experience would lead to Math Avoidance then to Poor Preparations and ultimately Poor Performance. This vicious cycle repeats until Math becomes a necesarry evil in one’s studies. She encouraged homeschooling parents to build the confidence of their children, to recognize the barriers to their learning, to recognize their learning styles and to take action. What homeschooling parents can give to their children is a happy and fun experience learning Mathematics.
The last keynote message was from Bishop Manny Carlos. He shared how the meaning of the word ‘education’ has evolved from its original meaning in the 1828 dictionary by Noah Webster. Webster first described Education as, “[comprehending] all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to:
1) enlighten the understanding,
2) correct the temper,
3) form the manners and habits of youth, and
4)fit them for usefulness in their future stations.”
In conclusion, Bishop Manny Carlos shared that Education is character formation, a preparation for their future vocations and enlightening their understanding through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I went home that night filled with lessons and encouragement that yes, I have chosen the better way to educate my children. I will do my best in the years that they have been entrusted to me. One day, I will release them to the calling God has for them. It is my hope that I have done my best in these homeschooling years.