• Homeschooling Your Grade Schooler: Moms Share Their Stories (Part 4 of 6)

    Aside from academics, the Belens see homeschooling as an opportunity to teach their kids God's will
    by Tina Santiago-Rodriguez .
  • homeschool

    Photo from sheknows.com

    Continued from Part 3

    Katherine Anne Chanco-Belen, a freelance web designer/“homemaker,” and her husband, Khristofferson, say they started homeschooling their eldest child, Kaliyah, a year ago because they “wanted to obey God's calling for us parents to teach our children to love God with all their heart, soul and strength, based on Deuteronomy 6:4-8 in the Bible.”

    It was only later in their homeschooling journey that they realized that there are other good reasons behind their decision, namely:

    -  the freedom to let their “well-advanced” early reading child learn at her own pace;
    - avoiding potential allergens in school canteen food, since her children have allergies to “almost everything;”
    - the chance for their kids to become the “best of friends;” and
    - the time that they get to spend their kids while they’re still young.

    “We chose to enroll at The Master’s Academy (TMA) because we think that it can provide first-time homeschooling parents like us proper training because it has free orientation, trainings, and seminars once you enroll,” Katherine shares.

    “I also like the quarterly evaluation by a consultant. Accountability is important for me so I will not be tempted to get lazy or procrastinate in educating my kids,” she continues.

    “We also like their open curriculum where we can choose what is best for our kids, and that they require biblical-based curriculum like in science and history,” Katherine adds. “Their events like their graduation ceremonies and Purity Ball (like Prom Night but even better) are great, too.”


    Practice what we preach every day
    Katherine shares that one of the challenges she faces as a homeschooling parent is failing to practice what she preaches, especially in the area of patience, respect and communication.

    “Sometimes I get discouraged, but I thank God for always reminding me to get up every time I fall. I can also model humility and the act of seeking forgiveness to my children whenever I make mistakes,” she says.


    Growing in wisdom and grace
    Katherine says that she is always thankful whenever Khristofferson tells her how happy he is to see their children – Kaliyah, Kaitlyn, and their second child, three-year-old Kathryn Hannah – growing to be “obedient, respectful, disciplined, funny, friendly and smart kids.”

    “They are very independent,” she shares. “They can take a bath, brush their teeth, dress up by themselves at age 2 to 3. I get to teach them life skills like how to cook rice, bake, clean, etc.”

    The children are excelling in academics too. “My first grader spells words at the 6th grade level,” Katherine proudly declares. “Her math skills, reading and comprehension are very good too. The kids also get to memorize verses/chapters from the Bible.”

    “When my eldest graduated from preschool I gave her a “Love” award because we really see this character in her,” she shares. “She said she learned to think of others from the Bible class in our homeschool.”

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    A day in the Belens’ homeschool
    Katherine shares what their typical homeschool day looks like: “We wake up early because we sleep early too.  As soon as the kids wake up, they pray, fix their bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, take a shower and school starts at 8:30 a.m.”

    They then sing the National Anthem, say the Panatang Makabayan, pledge allegiance to the Bible and Christian flag, say their opening prayer, and then do their calendar activities.
     
    Bible, Math, Writing and MAPE lessons are usually done every day, while other subjects like Science, English, World History, Filipino, Civics and Culture are done on alternate days.

    Overall, they spend around four hours a day on everything, spending 10 to 30 minutes per subject, depending on the child's interest. MAPE is in the form of crafts, painting, drawing, singing, and playing in the park near their home.

    Homeschooling is a calling and a privilege
    Like Tricia and Jude, Katherine believes that homeschooling “is not for everybody.” She explains, “It is a calling and a privilege. I will recommend it to parents who want to take an active role in educating their children.”

    “Just like Jesus who was called a rabbi or a great teacher, we parents must copy Jesus little by little every day so we can be the teachers God wants us to be, for His glory,” she adds.

    Tomorrow: the Donor family share how liberating it is to homeschool their kids

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