Category: Uncategorized

Educating for Life: Homeschooling with passion, purpose, and confidence

Our family believes that learning starts at the onset of life. We, as parents, are their first and best teachers. And we never stop being teachers when we send out children to school.

It is this very reason why we chose to homeschool Aria for Pre-Kinder this year. Nowadays, there are a lot of schools or studios offering programs for as young as newborns, so, we thought, why can’t we teach our kid by ourselves?

My post from Yahoo said it all: https://ph.she.yahoo.com/the-joys-and-benefits-of-homeschooling-063631934.html

My goal is to homeschool until Grade Two. We’ll see what happens after.

And it you’re wondering if homeschooling is for you, wonder no more. Homeschooling is for everyone!

Learning is a never ending process.
Learning is a never ending process.

Come attend the Homeschooling Conference next month, and meet various types of homeschooling families. Hear their stories, learn from them, know how they make it work.

More information and sign-up form can be found here: http://www.thelearningbasket.com/events/educating-for-life-homeschooling-with-passion-purpose-and-confidence

 

~ Touringkitty

 

Smart Kids Asia, Philippine Edition

Last Saturday, my family headed to SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia to check out the Smart Kids Asia, Philippine Edition.

Smart Kids Asia comes to the Philippines!
Smart Kids Asia comes to the Philippines!

Smart Kids Asia is like a road show (you know, those car shows and expos) but this time, kids are in the front row (with their parents behind them!).

Yup, we'll always be behind her, taking photos!
Yup, we’ll always be behind her, taking photos!

Smart Kids Asia filled up the entire first floor of the SMX with various booths — trial classes, products and services, books, museums, and other whathaveyous for kids.

Trying out the battery-operated screw driver which she enjoyed so much.
Trying out the battery-operated screw driver which she enjoyed so much.
This Game Van is a mobile arcade! Was not able to take a peek inside though, as the inside was filled to the brim.
This Game Van is a mobile arcade! Was not able to take a peek inside though, as the inside was filled to the brim.
Some booths sample their products as well. My kid took time in each station that she won't leave until she's tried everything!
Some booths sample their products as well. My kid took time in each station that she won’t leave until she’s tried everything!
They had Macaw Park exhibiting (the one in Subic) so I just had to try it!
They had Macaw Park exhibiting (the one in Subic) so I just had to look at it!
Spongebob and Patrick stepped on stage, and my daughter was so delighted. We missed Dora and Diego and Boots though, who appeared earlier in the day.
Spongebob and Patrick stepped on stage, and my daughter was so delighted. We missed Dora and Diego and Boots though, who appeared earlier in the day.

Well, there’s a real reason why we’re there. And it’s this:

Yes, you've read it right! Touringkitty was declared Best Blog by Smart Kids Asia--Philippines 2014!
Yes, you’ve read it right! Touringkitty was declared Best Blog by Smart Kids Asia–Philippines 2014!
Best Blog award went to Touringkitty!
Best Blog award went to Touringkitty!
With other winners, Absolutely Mommy (in red) and Go Help Yourself (which is my husband, Ton!).
With other winners, Absolutely Mommy (in red) and Go Help Yourself (which is my husband, Ton!).

Thank you, Smart Kids Asia, for this recognition. Anticipating next year’s show this early!

Check out my entry for the contest here: http://www.touringkitty.com/2014/07/30/raising-a-smart-child-in-a-fast-paced-era/

My husband’s blog which won the most likes: http://gohelpyourself.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/a-manual-for-raising-smart-kids/

 

~ Touringkitty

Touringkitty writes: Byline

I ticked another item on my bucket list: seeing my byline in print and in a leading website!

This was on last month’s issue of Baby Magazine. It was a comparison about various types of schools. Perfect timing for parents who are already thinking which school their young children should be.

A few days ago, another byline appeared at Yahoo! And by some serendipity, it is of the same topic–schooling. This one is closer to my heart because this is our own experience of homeschooling our preschooler.

Click the photo for the post.
Click the photo for the post.

 

Thanks to dear friends Martine (for entrusting me to write the magazine article) and Kate (for allowing me to share my experiences as preschool homeschooling mom).

 

~ Touringkitty

Raising a smart child in a fast-paced era

Admit it, this is an era when everything changes in a split second. Or make that, with a click of the mouse (or a tap on a tablet, if that’s your case).

It is quite a challenge raising our children today. Because of social media, parents are becoming highly competitive. Each milestone is documented online quickly for all the world to see, and not anymore through keepsakes or journals or scrapbooks.

How do we keep up?

1. Heed advise from your parents. They’ve gone through that rough road of child rearing so they know better. They might always compare from the past generation, but it’s inevitable. Some advise might not be applicable in the modern era, but listen to them anyway.

2. Go back to basics. Lampin is fine. Freshly cooked food is perfectly fine. Breastfeeding is best. Classic, chic, and convenient, they all are.

3. Be a “present” parent. And this should be on top of everything else. Our young children need us, naturally. They are too young to understand how the world works, and it is our responsibility to raise not only smart but good human beings.

If we could be with her all day everyday, we would.
If we could be with her all day everyday, we would.

Of course, we want our children to learn a lot of things. It is said that children learn so many things early on as neurons quickly form everyday. Our child is turning four next month, and so far, here’s a rundown of some of her milestones:

Reading and Language: Reads English like a second grader and pretty much understands them as well, reads and recites Filipino poems and rhymes, speaks fluently both in English and Filipino (though sometimes she mixes them when she’s unfamiliar with translated words).

Writing: colors inside lines, doodles spirals and straight lines, can trace and write happy faces. Still working on it, I must admit, and she’s leaning to become a leftie (not my husband nor I are left-handed!).

Counting: counts and can read up to 100 with pauses, adds up to five, counts from ten to zero.

Music: sings in perfect rhythm and tune, knows how to sing arpeggiated triads, easily memorizes anything through singing and dancing.

Values: says “po” and “opo,” does “mano po,” which is a very good Filipino tradition that we must keep, shows thoughfulness, shares and helps around when she’s in a good mood.

How does our family do it?

1. By feeding our child well. We breastfed her since birth and there’s no sign of weaning at age four. We gave her only freshly prepared foods when she’s starting solids, and make sure she eats a balanced diet especially that she’s on the lean side.

2. By being her first teachers. My husband and I made sure we’ll be the ones who will teach our daughter her ABCs, so we read books to her, sang and danced with her, even if it meant coming home right after work and spending our evenings with her at the center of our attention. All of those worked well.

3. By always connecting with family outside of our home. Since we’re only three in our condo (we don’t have stay in help), we make sure she knows our family and friends, too. Aside from spending time with them, we make sure to call them constantly, do video call, post photos and videos so they will be updated with our child’s growth.

4. By introducing her to new things everyday. We use technology to our advantage, definitely. iPad apps and online resources are a great aid for learning, just make sure you set your limits when you use them. Anything excessive is bad.

Watching a Bible Story.
Watching a Bible Story.

5. By being parents by example. This is the hardest by the simplest thing to raise a smart and good child. What we want them to do, we must first be able to do ourselves. I am constantly reminded by my child to be a model parent just by looking at her. And yes, I struggle to be one everyday.

Bottomline is, we build first our connection with ourselves, then with our partners in raising our children (our spouses and other family members) in order to connect better with our child. Then, we can truly raise our child slowly but surely in the midst of an ever-changing society. As their parents, we must strengthen our faith in ourselves so that we can be the best parents to our children.

Engineering For Kids: Introducing STEM Education to younger children

Do your kids love playing with cars, toy planes, do science experiments, wonder how things work?

Then Engineering for Kids (EFK) might be perfect for them.

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Given the fast-paced change in our technology, it is practical to introduce our children to STEM education early on. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. EFK introduces this to children gently and in an integrated way.

From their Facebook Page:

Why is STEM Education Important?

-️7 of the 10 projected fastest-growing occupations over the next ten years are in STEM fields

-STEM occupations have grown 8% in the last 10 years (2000-2010) and are expected to grow twice as fast (17%) in the next ten years.

-16 of the 25 highest-paying jobs in 2010 require STEM preparation and STEM workers earn 26% more than their non-STEM peers.

Last week, my daughter was able to try out a class on Engineering for Kids. An ideal after-school activity for your little science explorers, EFK introduces science and technology in an interactive and cool way.

My preschooler being welcomed by the teacher. We were one of the early birds. Check out that backpack drama happening. So grown up!
My preschooler being welcomed by the teacher. We were one of the early birds. Check out that backpack drama happening. So grown up!

Classes run for an hour. For this trial class session, they are about to discover aerospace objects, in particular, a rocketship.

We're goin' on a trip in our favourite rocketship!
We’re goin’ on a trip in our favourite rocketship!

See the concepts? Yes, they’re being taught already. So, after the short lecture, the kids starting to make their own rocketship!

Looking at mom and smiling to say she's ok. Such a grown up little lady. *insert ugly cry*
Looking at mom and smiling to say she’s ok. Such a grown up little lady. *insert ugly cry*
Designing her rocketship made out of paper roll and straw and clay.
Designing her rocketship made out of paper roll and straw and clay.
Aria and her classmate showing their almost finished products.
Aria and her classmate showing their almost finished products.
Testing the rocketship with the help of teacher.
Testing the rocketship with the help of teacher.

Wonder what else they can do in EFK? Check out their curriculum for the year (subject to change):

Themes change every month. This is their proposed curriculum for the year but still subject to change.
Themes change every month. This is their proposed curriculum for the year but still subject to change.

I first thought this would be a good birthday party activity. Their marketing specialist, Lalie Odal, mentioned that they do offer this for parties! They can even customise the activities to your chosen theme.

Overall, the EFK program is another good exposure for our children in STEM education outside the school setting.

 

Is Engineering for Kids a good fit for your children 4-14 years old? Know more about them via their website and Facebook Page. They have branches in BGC and Greenhills, and is on its way to partnering with schools and opening more branches. Text them at 0917-551-8705.

 

~ Touringkitty

15 and 1

Yesterday, after a full day of work (faculty meeting in the morning then choir rehearsal in the afternoon), I headed off to two important celebrations: the Shrine of Jesus’ 15th Anniversary of its consecration and dedication, and OA’s first death anniversary.

These two events coincided on the same time, so I had to fix my schedule. I sang for the Mass at the Shrine, missed the boodle fight dinner, and went to the dinner gathering albeit super late, where I missed the earlier memorial ceremony and Mass for Ma’am OA.

15: Falling in love…with a church

It is no secret how much I love serving at the Shrine of Jesus. For the past eight years of serving as children’s choir conductor, and eventually, as music ministry coordinator, I was molded into the person I am now. Thanks to my mentor, Monsignor Bobby Canlas, the Shrine Rector, from being a mere choirgirl, I am in the helm of the children’s choir now, and have handled important projects of the Shrine.

The past 15 years have been a true testament of God’s love to this church. With no parishioners living around the area, the Shrine community started with tens, then hundreds, then now, thousands. From that barren land stood only that church where no public transport dared to travel. Lay people from nearby provinces were called to serve. The Shrine eventually became a popular wedding, baptism, and reception venue, and a favourite among churchgoers when important church feast days like Holy Week and Christmas seasons come nearer.

Mons Bobby explained during the Mass how the Shrine of Jesus came to be. In 1995, during the 10th World Youth Day held in Manila, Philippines, then Pope John Paul II proclaimed to build a church in honor of that well attended and successful event. After four years, the church was inaugurated and named Shrine of Jesus, the Way the Truth, and the Life. Quite a mouthful for a church name, I first thought, but it originated in John Paul’s message during that Mass, that Jesus is our way, truth, and life.

What keeps us from coming back to the Shrine? It’s the community it built. It’s the welcoming atmosphere among its volunteers. It’s the solemn and meaningful celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. It’s the “pakulo” we tirelessly prepare during special occasions.

Most of all, it’s a church that gives back. In 2008, my wedding year, some music ministry members were starting to plan projects for the benefit of the church. A simple concert will do, we said. Our Rector dreamed bigger for us. And out of that dream, we were able to have the Philippine Madrigal Singers perform at the CCP, and we were able to raise 1 million pesos for the PGH pediatric cancer patients. It was more than what we dreamed of. Of course, we were able to raise more than our target amount, so the rest went to several other institutions, and whatever was left went to the Shrine. We were just humbled and proud of that project.

Apart from it, and Mons Bobby does this all the time, he fervently asks the community to dig deeper unto their pockets to give more during calamities. Give until it hurts, that’s what he reminds us always. Whatever is collected, he sends straight to the affected diocese.

The Shrine has been blessed because of its priests, its talented and generous lay people and churchgoers. The church is always misconstrued as strict, or sometimes, snob, especially when kids roam around during Mass. I’d say, disciplined is the proper word for it. And I would not have it any other way.

1: In memoriam

A year ago, Ma’am OA, as we would call the founder of the world-renowned choral group, the Madz, passed on.

The Madz is the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Ma’am OA is Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, its founder. I wrote about her necrological rites last year here, and another blogpost months prior her passing on as my tribute to her here.

I, along with two more Madz alumni, came almost at the end of the program, but we’re glad to have made it. As OA would say, Just do it. So we braved EDSA traffic (which was unusal at already eight in the evening!), were served dinner, and listened to more singing and more testimonials to our dear Ma’am OA.

And the highlight of the night: this song.

Justice Magdangal de Leon and THE Sal Malaki who originally did the guitar and flute, er, should I say, whistle of the very first Madz song I learned in my church choir in high school. Happiness.

With that, I end this post.

Happy 15th Anniversary to the Shrine of Jesus, and happy first year in heaven’s choral community, Ma’am OA.

This was the fundraising concert the Shrine co-organized. It was held two weeks before my wedding, that's why I was not able to sing anymore for this. I "resigned" from being Madz member in the middle of 2008, with much sadness but much fulfillment and memories in my heart.
45 and 10: Madz’ 45th Anniversary and 10th Shrine Fiesta. This concert was held two weeks before my wedding. I “resigned” from being Madz member in the middle of 2008, with much sadness but much fulfillment and memories in my heart.

~ Touringkitty

Let’s pray together!

Weekends have been always devoted to family. Saturdays for our daughter, unless we have work or other engagements. Sundays, especially, for church. That’s my Holy day.

And what better way to celebrate a wonderful week that was than with prayer!

So, join me and my family as we pray for you during the Sunday Mass. Message me via Facebook (www.facebook.com/touringkitty) or email via contact(at)touringkitty(dot)com. Will gather them on Saturday night and offer them up to the Lord on Sunday during the Mass where I and my choir serve in (10:30am at the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life in Pasay City). If you will be at MOA area on Sundays, why not drop by the church and hear Mass there.

Every Thursday, I shall be posting videos at my Facebook page for your reflection. Let’s begin with this video, Esto Les Digo (This I say to you) by Kinley Lange as sung by us, the Philippine Madrigal Singers in 2007.

http://youtu.be/dcMhhYzQ5sc

Let’s pray together. The Lord said: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20).

~ Touringkitty

Honoring the father of my child

Honor your father and your mother, so did the Fourth Commandment say.

Since it’s Fathers’ Day tomorrow, and to my child, he is the best father, it’s time to honor this man who was known as “Baton-ton.”

the-preggy-look

From pregnancy to birth, he made sure we’re both taken care of. He’s become a master of daughter-rearing, to think they were all boys in the family. He can do everything–feed, change diapers, give baths, spend the entire day alone with a very makulit preschooler. Except breastfeeding perhaps, but if only could, he definitely would.

The perfect latch. Not!
The perfect latch. Not!

They love being together, even if they have misunderstandings sometimes. They love playing silly. Yes, they may be father-daughter, but they treasure each other. My child has grown to be very thoughtful and very caring of people around her.

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Has the wife been forgotten? No, not at all! I am at my happiest because we still are the same silly people in love like we were first in love 14 years ago (yes, if you were a long-time friend of any of us then you’d know our love story!).

Lately, I often shed tears of joy during our prayer time. He would ask me why and I tell him that my heart is brimming with happiness–having a loving husband and daughter, being surrounded by love from our families and friends, and allowing God to use us to glorify Him.

And so, to my beloved husband, Ton, thank you for being the best father to our daughter. Thank you for being the best husband. Thank you for being a good son, brother, and friend. Thank you for giving love without asking in return. Thank you for knowing more about breastfeeding sometimes more than I do! Thank you for supporting my advocacies, projects, and dreams. Thank you for making us feel royals!

We are happy that you are doing well in your career and you’ve gone back to aikido again. Aria and I will be here for you always, praying for you and loving you. We love you to the moon and back!

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~ Touringkitty

 

P.S.: Thank you for letting me sleep in sometimes and preparing breakfast for us. You are so amazing! =)

Qualimed: Quality health services made affordable

As parents, healthcare is one of our top considerations when it comes to searching for quality yet affordable providers.

A new network of health care facilities in the country was introduced to mom bloggers a couple of weeks ago. Qualimed is set to fulfill the three As–Accessibility, Affordability, and Appropriateness–as they give the best service to its clients.

Qualimed has accessible locations all over the country. We visited one of their facilities inside the PGH compound.

Qualimed welcomed mommy bloggers to their event.
Qualimed welcomed mommy bloggers to their event.
If you remember the Faculty of Medical Arts Building at PGH, you will recall it once housed the UPMC or University Physicians Medical Center. It's now known as Qualimed.
UPMC or University Physicians Medical Center is now known as Qualimed.
The building is declared a National Heritage Site, that's why you can see the old structure outside and the modern facilities inside. Details, like this, are preserved.
The building is declared a National Heritage Site, that’s why you can see the old structure outside and the modern facilities inside. Details, like this, are preserved.
This was preserved as well.

First order of the day was a tour of the facility:

Lobby waiting area.
Lobby waiting area.
You get a number via their Smart Q machine. And you get to monitor if it's your turn already, even if you are in the cafeteria.
You get a number via their Smart Q machine. And you get to monitor your queue wherever you are, even in the cafeteria.

Their main service is providing quality primary care, but they have flagships in each of their facilities. In this case, the Manila branch’s flagship is their Surgery Center. The one opening in Iloilo will be a women and children’s center.

Here are some more facilities in the Manila branch:

CIMG0121

Blood testing facility. The big one on the lift tests for thyroid problems. I can so relate because I used to have monthly blood tests for my hyperthyroid.
Blood testing facility. The big one on the lift tests for thyroid problems. I used to have monthly blood tests for my hyperthyroid and they can be really expensive. Their price is a little lower compared to where I had my blood tests.

CIMG0114Dr. Edwin Mercado of Mercado General Hospital, talked about their partnership with the Ayala Land, Inc. Together, they will provide Qualimed facilities in the next five years in strategic locations all over the Philippines.

Dr. Edwin Mercado talks about their hospitals and their partnership with Ayala Land.
Dr. Edwin Mercado talks about their hospitals and their partnership with Ayala Land.

Aside from low prices, Qualimed is also accredited by most HMOs, a good news for employees.

How low are their prices? It's this low!
How low are their prices? It’s this low!

With regard to the quality of service, Qualimed assures us that they have competent physicians, specialists, and nurses trained to provide appropriate prescriptions and sound medical advise to their patients.

Put them all together, and you will get quality healthcare service for you and your family.

Visit Qualimed facilities now and experience Alagang Abot-Kaya.

Operational Branches:
Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center (Tanauan, Batangas)
QualiMed Manila (Taft Avenue, Manila)
QualiMed Clinic in TriNoma (North Avenue, Quezon City)

Future locations:

QualiMed Clinic in Fairview Terraces in Novaliches, Quezon City (opening in 3Q 2014)
QualiMed Hospital in Iloilo (opening in 3Q 2014)
QualiMed Hospital in Sta. Rosa, Laguna (opening in 4Q 2015)
QualiMed Hospital in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan (opening in 4Q 2015)

You may also visit their website or Facebook.

 

~ Touringkitty

Toilet Training Aria: CHECK!

One of the things I really am happy about, now that I am a stay-at-home mom, is that my daughter, at 3 years 9 months, is fully toilet trained.

That was one of my goals this year. I gave this stern warning to her two months ago that she should not be wearing any more diapers when she turns four in August. She quickly obeyed.

Prior to toilet training, she was super constipated. Either that, or she was just controlling the urge to poop. Crossing her legs, pooping only with diapers on, and almost passing out because she was just having a difficult time. Anyway, I thought it was the best time to toilet train.

I have set one day in March to deliberately start toilet training. Even if against her will, I immediately put her on her potty the moment I sensed she’s about to go. But after that one day, she has not had a hard time passing out poop, and has done it in our toilet everyday.

I consulted this to her doctor because she’s had this problem despite being fully breastfed. At first, I though she was just grunting as a baby, but the grunting became super difficult for her that she’d spend most of her day just trying to pass out poop. To the dismay of whoever is in charge of her, and to my anxiety when I’m away from her. But now that she’s learned to actually sit down while doing the thing, it was easy peasy for her, and she does this in the morning regularly. She is eating well, even the foods she disliked before, like grape juice.

Likewise, we had her two front teeth fixed with baby caps and her molars had fillings as well. So she has been eating super well. She’s got weak teeth, that’s why we are super careful not to give her chocolates and too much sweets, though sometimes just a little treat would be fine as long as she brushes thoroughly and drinks water or milk afterwards.

Goodbye diapers! You have served us well the past almost four years. We are still using sometimes though, when we go out of the house, but I know sooner we shall give you up totally.

How did you toilet train your littles?

~ Touringkitty