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Yes. I'm blogging once more. I've missed it. I'm still busy of course. I don't quite know how often blogging will take place. However, I've also realized that I need this outlet. 

The past two years have been very difficult for me personally and I had to let go of a lot. I needed to strip off the non-essentials so I could focus on what was important. Unfortunately, that included much of my creative pursuits - writing, photography, memory-keeping. 

Now, things are more stable and I feel like I want to regain the parts of me I set aside. I want to surround myself with what brings me joy. I am not on survival mode anymore. I am back to thriving. 

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Eheads concert

This post is past due!! Way past due! DH and I went to the North American reunion tour of the beloved group Eraserheads here in LA. DH is a HUGE fan so this was a must-see. I am not as big a fan but I was familiar with the group and their songs.

It was a FUN concert. It was the first time in the longest time that DH and I had that kind of fun together. We were at the very front so we had the best view! DH was singing and jumping the whole concert, I think.

At the end of the concert, as each of the band members were saying goodbye to the crowd, they were throwing some memorabilia to the crowd. Raymund threw his new drumsticks. Marcus and Buddy threw some guitar picks. The crowd was going wild. (Well, it was wild enough already to tell you the truth.) Raymund threw into the crowd the set list too and guess who caught it?! Yep, the hubby did! And it is now a prized possession. He made a playlist on his iPhone of the songs on the set list and it was on repeat for at least a month I think. LOL! The kids are now well-versed in Eheads music.
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Busy but Surviving

Just a quick post to let you know that this blogger is still alive. I've been very busy with home educating my children. I have been feeling the rigor of teaching 4 kids. Why is it so hard? And why do I persist? I'm probably just crazy but I like our lifestyle. I like that we get to stay home and learn together. I like that I am able to witness first-hand the progress that my children are making in their educational journey. DD4 who is in K is reading now. I am so proud of her! She's worked hard and continues to work hard. She tries very hard to be patient in sounding out those letters and trying to make sense of the words. I hear a tinge of impatience and frustration sometimes. That's normal for her. But then one day, it all just clicked. And seeing the light in her eyes when she realized this was priceless! They're enrolled in history and science classes at the nearby education center that provide classes to home schoolers. They started last Monday. I think this will take a load off my shoulders so I don't have to worry about those subjects anymore. Science and History are the subjects that get pushed aside because I just don't have time left in the day. Delegating these to outside help relieves of the guilt feelings of not providing my children a complete education. So, yes, we are still very much alive. Busy but surviving. I hope to blog about our experiences more.
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Becoming A Family of God

Summer's over? Seriously? It seemed only yesterday that we were ending the school year with much anticipation for the summer and our trip to the Philippines... and all that is done? How?

There was one little girl who was all excited to start school though. Yep. My little Kindergartener. As soon as she saw the books arriving on our doorsteps, she would ask which ones were hers. When she I showed her the books she was going to use, she squealed, "Can we start school now?"

I did not share the same enthusiasm. In fact, I kinda dreaded it. How was I going to do this? Homeschooling 4 kids, K, 2nd, 3rd and 6th with a very active 1-yo toddler in tow? I must be crazy indeed! I made some changes in our curriculum choices that I hoped would make it easier for us. I've scaled back on our activities outside the home. I think that by this time, our 3rd year, I am more realistic in my expectations of what we can accomplish as a family.

I used to enjoy crafting and thought that this was something I would enjoy doing with the kids. I would choose to make things on my own instead of buying premade materials. Why buy expensive puzzles when I could make the best jig saw by creating my own with photos I take? Right? But no...my plans never get done. I realize that my perfectionism prevented me from enjoying crafting with my kids. And there was really no time to do any crafting without kids so my projects never get done.

So this year, I'm not DIYing anything. I've bought the premade stuff. I bought the DVDs that will teach the lesson to me and the kids. I bought the premade & preprinted lapbooks that I've been wanting to create with the kids. Yes, I spent more than I have in the past. But if the past 2 days are any indication of the year ahead, I think it will be worth it. The kids are happy. I am happy. DS remarked yesterday, "I think I'm going to enjoy this because of that," pointing to the DVD set of lessons I bought. That's a big thumbs up, coming from my now-brooding, all-too-serious tweenager.

I am more realistic and accepting of how we work as a family. I am more realistic and accepting of what works for me. During the first 2 years of home schooling, I was pulled in all sorts of different directions. I was reading about different philosophies, different families sharing their successes. I wanted to copy them. I wanted to be successful too. I wanted to be like them, except that we weren't them! We were getting stressed because I was trying to mold our family into something that wasn't us. I understand that now. It's still a work in progress, trying to figure out what works for us but I'm more at peace with it.

I am a little more relaxed now. Our daily schedule used to be packed tight. I felt that I needed to pack in as many hours of learning as we can in our routine. That only stressed me out because we almost never really finished all our work. It then made me feel like we were always behind. So this year, I'm relaxing a little bit more. I can't cram 7 subjects into 1 school day. It just doesn't work.

A few days ago, I dreaded the start of the year. Now that we've started, I feel more optimistic. This might be the year that I won't be burnt out by June. Maybe we'll laugh more. Maybe more kind words will be uttered. Maybe conversations will be more pleasant. Maybe a sense of peace and joy will permeate the atmosphere. Maybe we'll be more consistent. Maybe there'll be more time for prayer. Maybe we will move towards becoming the family that God wants us to be. Maybe. Hopefully. Joyfully.
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Curriculum Choices 2012-2013

It's that time of the year again. As August rolls in, so do boxes of books and bags of school supplies. They herald the beginning of another school year.

One major change for our home schooling family is the addition of our Kindergartener! Yup! I'm officially home educating 4 children now. Add to the mix an ever-growing and demanding toddler. I am not sure how our daily schedule will be.

Our curricula for this year won't be much different from last year's, except in Language Arts. My choice for DS last year was not a good fit for us. It required too much work from this mama.

6th - Saxon 7/6/ALEKS
3rd - Math-U-See Gamma/Spectrum Math/ ALEKS
2nd - Math-U-See Beta/Spectrum Math
K- Math-U-See Primer/MCP Math K

DS is very comfortable with the Saxon system. This works for him so we continue with it. He actually started on Saxon7/6 in 5th grade. I have 8/7 for him once he's done. ALEKS is just an additional math resource for him. It's an online Math program that is intuitive in that it gives additional problems for areas the student has not mastered yet. DS has been on this program since we began. I will try it with DD1 and see if it will be a good fit for her.

I am supplementing the MUS programs with other workbooks for additional practice and to cover any of the holes we might have in our Math program.

Language Arts
6th - Easy Grammar 6/Daily Grams 6/ IEW Student Intensive/Phonetic Zoo Level B/Latina Christiana 2

3rd - First Language Lessons 3/ IEW Student Intensive/Phonetic Zoo Level A/Handwriting without Tears Cursive
2nd - First Language Lessons 2/Writing with Ease 2/All About Spelling 1/Handwriting without Tears Printing Power
K - Primary Arts of Language: Reading & Writing

I've been watching the DVD's of IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style and I am excited! I think this will be a good match for us - for the kids and for me. I've been looking for solid composition curriculum that matches my need for structure and yet is not stifling. From what I have seen so far, this looks very promising. I am really looking forward to seeing how this plays out in our home school.

6th - NOEO Physics 2
3rd/2nd/K - Behold & See 3

The younger ones will piggyback on our Science time with DD1. This is a subject, along with History that I feel can be taught multi-levels.

History & Geography
Connecting with History 2 - The Middle Ages

We never did get around to the Middle Ages last year so we're doing it this year. Again, this is a multi-level course.

The kids will continue to go to Fr. Francis' class on Wednesday mornings. This year, he will take on Vatican II. We will also use Baltimore Catechism to continue learning about our faith. I also plan to follow the liturgical year and have activities/crafts that follow the different seasons/feasts throughout the year. I hope that in this way, our Catholic faith will be lived out more vividly in our home.

Art - Meet the Masters Track B
Foreign Language - Rosetta Stone:Filipino
Music - piano lessons at Upland Music School
PE - weekly classes at EMH

Most of our books have arrived. I expect to receive the rest this week. My next goal is get our daily schedule mapped out and their first month's worth of lesson plans laid out. It's going to be a busy week for me. I hope I can shake off the jet lag completely by then.