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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homeschooling - the Ugly Admin side of it.

A friend from FB asked me some questions that a lot of other have asked me in the past regarding the administrative side of homeschooling. Something I both like and dread. I've been doing this for 3 years and it's only now that I feel I have gotten the hang of it and it doesn't stress me out that much.

Before I go into it, I need to explain that although I am primarily a homeschooling mom, I have a lot of other engagements that take me away from my home.  This means that when I conduct trainings for others, or I do my coaching/counseling and consultancy work, I cannot homeschool. I have had to make provisions for these things.


At the start of the school year I go through each and every book of Andrea. I divide each book into 4 parts so that I know how much I need to complete per year. I normally front load the schedule because I take into consideration the Christmas period and that my months tend to get hectic when it's the end of the school year as well. Here's a sample of a general Master plan:

  • Math  
    • Chapter 1 - Addition
    • Chapter 2 - Subtraction
    • Chapter 3 - Multiplication by 2 and 3
    • Chapter 4 - Division by 2 and 3
  • Science
    • Unit 1 - Senses
    • Unit 2 - Senses Working Together
    • Unit 3 - Growing and Developing
  • Language
    • Chapter 1 - Sentences and Personal Narratives
    • Chapter 2 - Nouns and Friendly Letters

Monthly Plan/Weekly Plan:

I then break down the Master Plan into 10 weeks. I have 10 weeks because 8 weeks are for the lessons, 1 extra week for any catch-up or overflow and the 10th week for the exams.

When I break things down here I go into detail. In my excel file I specify the dates, when I would have quizzes. And my ideas for projects that could possibly integrate the different subject matters. My project ideas are very malleable though because our projects are ultimately Andrea's ideas.

My excel file looks like this:
1. Columns are labelled as Week 1 - Week 10
2. Rows are subjects.
3. I input the specific topics per cell. I also include ideas like movies, trips, books to help me.

Daily Schedule:

We don't have a daily schedule. Sometimes we homeschool for 4 hours a day. Sometimes 8 hours a day. Sometimes 0 hours a day. It's easy to adjust as long as we don't stray too far from my weekly plan.

Vision Setting Exercise for Kids

When I do OD consultation with organizations, the first thing I ask is what their company's vision is. I ask my personal coaching and counseling clients the same thing. Vision, I believe is very important. The bible says:

"Where there is no vision, the people will perish".
Prov 29:18

Last week, out of the blue, my daughter approached me in a very distraught manner. She was concerned because she said she wasn't sure whether she's really sorry for her sins or she's just scared of getting into trouble. Isn't that such a poignant question? It got me thinking about how to address that.  Then I remembered what we do in setting. It means giving your kids an idea of what they can be and then eventually plotting steps towards that goal. 

I decided to design a Vision Setting activity for my daughter in which the whole family participated. Here's how it works:

  1. I introduced the concept of "ideal" to Andrea. 
  2. We all drew our ideal selves. 
  3. We read the Bible verse Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man 
  4. We discussed what that meant. We listed the 4 ways Jesus grew (Wisdom, Stature, Favor with God and Favor with Man)
  5. We talked about what each meant. 
  6. We asked ourselves what it would be like if we grew like Jesus did. 
  7. We wrote down our plans on how to grow like Jesus did.We discussed our plans with each other.
  8. We explained to her how this should guide her decision making. For example she wants to buy 2 books but she only has money for one. What should be the consideration? (She said what would make her smarter because that's her vision, to be smart and wise)
  9. We addressed concerns she had (My daughter's primary concern was her lego. She though that legos don't fit into her vision).
  10. And lastly, we practiced her analysis by giving her activities or choices and then asking her how it helped make her grow like Jesus or made her less like Jesus. For example swimming, how does that help? 

See our output from our activity:

We didn't stop with that activity. We kept reinforcing the concept by showing her how the things she does helps her achieve her vision. She was thrilled for example when she realized that attending Sunday school actually helped her improve in all 4 aspects. 

The results of the activity have been extraordinary. She became more conscious about eating healthy. She exerted effort to talk to people. She kept pushing herself in various ways without my prodding. I told a group of ladies that we often underestimate the drive of children. Here, it is apparent that if we show the kids the possibilities...what they can be. They get excited and driven to try harder.
I hope this helps your kids.

Monday, September 8, 2014


I look at my graduate school classmates and wonder how they can go to school with a tiny bag. I am incapable of doing this. When I go to school I have at least 3 pouches in my bag (which by the way is a huge backpack). The over-packer in me squealed in delight when I saw this pouch.

I was drawn to the beautiful mint color and the chevron pattern.

Look at how cute it is? I call it my pencil case on steroids. It holds everything I need when I go to work or go to school. When you look inside you will see that there are 3 compartments that perfectly hold all my office supplies. The top two are more flat and are covered by a transparent plastic, while the bottom container is much roomier and can hold thicker objects.

A view of the inside compartments. 
On the top part I put all my regular writing instruments. I have a Pilot Super Grip 0.7 Mechanical Pencil, a Pilot Mechanical Pencil Lead, and a plain Faber Castell eraser. I also carry 2 black pens (the orange one is  gift from my sister) and one red pen I use for emphasis or for checking my daughter’s homeschooling work.  Lastly, I always have a highlighter with me.

On the next part I have my planner essentials. I have 5 Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (Pink, Yellow, Orange, Blue and Black). I use these just to make planning more fun for me. I also store mini Post-its in pink, yellow, orange and blue. This is where I write my to-dos for the day. I usually color code in this way:
  • Pink – Personal and family tasks
  • Yellow – My daughter’s tasks and homeschooling tasks
  • Orange – Work tasks (for counseling, coaching and training)
  • Blue – School tasks

The codes are the same codes found in my online calendar, tablet, phone and planner. I like storing my sticky notes here because I go crazy when the post-its start unraveling and the pages stick to other things in my purse. This way they remain neat and tidy.

At the bottom pouch I have a mishmash of supplies. I have my huge white-out from Dong-A. I don’t particularly like this cause it’s so unnecessarily bulky BUT at least this has a stand so you can prop it up on your table when you need it. The tip also swivels which makes it easy to manipulate when you are erasing things. I also carry my page markers/flags for when I’m reading books and journals. I also have my tiny pink scissors. I like carrying scissors but somehow I find that I always need scissors when I don’t have one BUT, when I have it with me I never seem to need it. Does this happen to anyone else? I also keep my lucky presenter. I use this for trainings and I LOVE IT. It was a present from my husband during the first seminar I gave and I just don’t want to replace it…ever. I also have my cute purple ruler.

Lastly, I keep binder clips and paperclips attached to my calling card because I hate having them flopping around my bag. This way they are neat and contained.

I am so enamored by how handy this is and how convenient it is to have all my supplies conveniently at my reach. I AM IN LOVE.