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homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew Review] Help Teaching Pro

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If you look really closely, you can tell that we use the Pacman method for the greater than/less than lessons. That’s the best way to teach it, right?

HelpTeaching.com is a wonderful resource site chock full of lessons, practice sheets, and other things you might need for homeschooling your little one — or not so little one — since they have materials from preK-12. I had the chance to review Help Teaching Pro and here are my thoughts if you would like to see.

Do I need This?

At the start of our homeschooling journey, a little less than a year ago, I was so diligent in making everything from scratch. I was writing original compositions to help H with reading, making our own worksheets, and doing little math makey-do projects. But that phase lasted a few weeks since (a) I realized how time-consuming it was and (b) there are so many helpful resources online I can take advantage of.

Help Teaching Pro is like a cupcake that you don’t actually need, but will definitely want once you get a taste for it. It is such a great assistance for busy homeschoolers since it takes a large chunk of prep time and does the job for you.

A key feature of the site for me is the Test Maker, which allows you to generate your own exams, which in our case, we used as practice sheets. You can easily search for the questions you like by filtering questions from their bank by topic and grade. Just mark the questions that pique your interest and the site will the create them into a test for you. You can edit the test later on, by adding other questions or reshuffling the questions you already have.

You can print save this exam in your content tab for future reference and also print it. One of my favorite details about the site is that it provides an answer key, which is really convenient. As the parent of a kindergartner, I should be ashamed of myself if I find the questions made for her tricky, so this is not an immediate gratification thing for me. I can just imagine in the future, when we’re doing calculus and other higher level content, that this would be a welcome and often-used feature.

Using the Site

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Whether you are a member with limited access or a Pro user, the content you need is easily searchable by level or subject.

HelpTeaching.com tackles the major subjects of English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. It also provides content for pre-school all the way up to the 12th grade. To find the items you want, the site divides its information by level and subject matter. All you have to do is click on the link you want.

Since the site is basically click-and-go, you can use it intuitively. The advantage of this site is that is not cumbersome to use at all. It is literally as easy as one, two, three since I counted three steps before we got to use a worksheet. First, go to the site; second, click on the questions you want; third, print it out. See? Like do-re-mi. That was a Jackson Five reference, by the way, in case you youngsters were wondering.

Additional Content

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Regularly updated with good content? Sign me up!

HelpTeaching.com also runs a blog that has topics that has a wide range of relevant topics. As expected it has learning-related articles like 15 Educational Travel Activities for Kids but aside from that, the blog also runs content on personal growth like How to Encourage Positive Social Media Use for Students.

The blog is a good read and there’s something heartwarming about a site that invests in more than just the maths and reading aspects. The more cynical side of my personality wants to say, “c’mon, it’s just a blog” — which in many ways is true, because you’re definitely not going to outsource topics like kindness and social responsibility to a website — but, the site definitely earns some points by taking the time to do this. It gives a resource site, usually a very business-y visit, a more personal touch.

General Impressions

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I really liked Help Teaching Pro and found it to be a good supplementary tool to our homeschooling lessons. It’s certainly not going to replace the good old method of parents preparing for the subject at least the day before. But, it does provide a solid means of cutting down the grunt work, so that parents can focus better.

The things that I thought could have used improvement are really small. For example, I thought that the graphics that came with the lessons and test questions looked a little dated and clipart-y. The fonts were also a little too small for me. But these are minor quibbles and does not take away from the usefulness of the site.

I am thankful that I got the chance to use Help Teaching Pro would recommend it to other parents who are looking for a reliable site to assist them in educating their children.

To learn more about HelpTeaching.com, visit their site or the following social media links:

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writing

A long, long time ago

It also feels like it happened in a galaxy far, far away. I was once a fashion editor and stylist. You would never guess from the way I wear mom shoes everywhere.

But I’ve been doing some writing for an online publication for Manila Fashion Festival 2018. Do you want to take a look?

KC Pusing interprets his vision of utilitarian utopia

Cheetah Rivera plays with proportions

 

homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew Review] If You Were Me and Lived In… Carole P. Roman Review

The If You Were Me and Lived in… series is a collection of books by Carole P. Roman that introduces the different cultures from around the world to its readers. She is an established author who has written an large collection of books. It is aimed for the younger set, from 4-9, but it is definitely not limited to that age group.

To say that these books piqued my interest is a bit of an understatement. I may or may not have whooped out loud when I received them in the mail. I will neither confirm or deny. But suffice to say that I have a very keen interest in these books.

I am the worst traveler in the world. I am severely scared of plane rides and I have vowed to never step onto a ship. When I’m in a different country, I stay close to the hotel and basically rely on my companions to do the adventuring and just kind of tag along. I’m terrible. But, I am determined not to pass my travel anxiety to my kids. This is why geography plays a big role in our daily lessons.

On South Korea

The first book we read was If You Were Me and Lived In… South Korea. H was particularly interested in this one, because she feels a strong connection to South Korea because of the food. She loves Korean food. While kids generally drag their parents to McDonald’s or some other fast food joint, H will do cartwheels just to eat at her favorite Korean restaurant.

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H zeroed in on the details given by the book about family life in South Korea. She was amused that their word for mom (omma) and dad (appa), which are very similar to the more familiar mama and papa. It kicked off a great conversation on how people can have a lot of things in common, even if they are different from each other.

To reinforce what we read in the book, we tried to play ddakji, which is a traditional Korean game using folded pieces of paper. It is similar to the game pogs, although H enjoyed the paper folding experience more than the actual game.

On India

The second book we read was If You Were Me and Lived In… India. When I had the chance to choose which books to review from the collection, I picked India because I thought it would be a fun lesson to conduct. India has such colorful traditions and is so steeped in history that it would be hard to distill everything to make it palatable for a five-year old and a three-year old.

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I was ready to talk about the Taj Mahal and Holi and was very excited to show the kids pictures I pulled from the internet (“Gooble”, as H says.) The book talked about cricket, the sport, and how popular it is in India. When the kids heard the word “cricket”, they immediately associated it with the insect. We ended up using the book as a takeoff point to talk about the animals in India. I’m always so amused at how lessons can take such unexpected turns.

On China

If You Were Me and Lived In… China rounded out lessons with these books. Coincidentally, I was just cleaning out some drawers and found some mementos from earlier travels. I found a few coins and some refrigerator magnets that made for great visual aids when we read the book.

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The book on China was unique because it featured an actual picture of the Great Wall of China in addition to the usual illustrations. The kids were very curious about the wall so we spent some time learning more about it together.

I went to China when I was younger and even got to see one of the terracotta soldiers the book talked about. I told them it was a lot bigger than I expected. The kids were more invested in my story than they usually were. I suppose it’s because they had just read about it in a book, so it made it more magical.

On the Series

The books follow a general formula. It first introduces the physical aspect of the country, showing the shape of the country and its position on the earth. It shows a glimpse of everyday life, like the common names of people and what they eat. The books also mention famous landmarks, like the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.

I like that the books include proper pronunciations of the words written in the local language of the country being discussed. It’s such a small detail, but I thought it was very respectful of the culture and also very considerate for the one reading.

It was also nice that the book discussed these countries in the modern setting, since most books I’ve encountered usually dwell too long on the history of the country. While the past is interesting, it’s also important for books to make the point that these countries have developed and modernized as well.

These books are a great addition to any library and I would definitely be looking into getting some more. They are quick reads but packed with sharp details that make each country come alive for kids.

Find Carole P. Roman on social media:

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parenting, travels

Grass Hunting: Part 3

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City dwellers like me have to go through great lengths to experience the outside. We’ve been grass hunting because I want my kids to grow up with actual playtime rather than the playtime you get from a screen.

My husband, Lawrence, had a work trip to Clark this week and the whole family joined him. Clark is in Pampanga, about two hours away from Manila. It used to be a US Air Force base but is now redeveloped to be a hub for business and leisure.

We stayed at Quest Hotel, which is nothing spectacular. It’s an old hotel that is showing its age despite being well-maintained, but they make up for it by providing really good service.

But where the hotel truly shines for me is that right behind it is the most massive field I have ever seen in my life. It’s called the Parade Grounds and it is used for sporting events. It has a few soccer nets and a rubberized jogging path traces the circumference of the field. We saw a few bazaar booths in the distance, but we didn’t really visit them.

The kids had a grand time running aimlessly and chasing the birds. It came to a point where R got too tired to run back to us. He stopped and cried, “it’s too hard!” I had to go to him and pick him up. His back was sweaty and his skin warm from the sun. He turns to me red-faced and says, “thanks, mama.”

I didn’t think my heart could contain the Parade Grounds, the sun, the sky, and the whole of the outside universe at that time.

 

personal

To My Son, I Already Hate Your First Girlfriend

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I love you so much, Rafiki. Happy birthday.

parenting

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting Review (Parenting Made Practical Review)

When I heard that there was a chance to review something called the Navigating the Rapids of Parenting, I jumped at the chance. First, because is there another metaphor that perfectly captures raising tiny humans? It does feel like being swept away by water sometimes. Also, did I mention that I have a huge fear of boats, boat-ish and boat-like vessels? For some people, parenting is instinctive. For me, it often feels like I’m flailing around in the void. I’m happy to receive any help I can get.

Parenting Made Practical goal is to raise “obedient, respectful, and responsible” children.

The video is by Parenting Made Practical and led by parent-educators Joey and Carla Link. Their expertise stems from 30 years of experience. It examines the different stages of parenting, from babyhood all the way up to the college years.

The video is chock full of information about the phases kids and their parents go through. It is similar to other parenting videos or books in that it goes into detail about the whys and whens of typical behaviors at each stage. What stood out for me the most though is that the video makes the point that some behavior issues take years to work through.

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H is turning six next month. Already, we can feel like she’s saying goodbye to her baby-ness.

In the first part of the video, the focus on young children and the expectations of their behaviors. In our case, we have a very clear picture of  how we want H to behave. Of course there are little details, like asking to be excused before standing up from meal or learning how to share her toys without grumbling. But, our goal for her at this stage in life is distilled into one rule: do unto others what you want them to unto you.

The video goes on to talk about how important it is to have independent thinkers, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I’ll be a parent forever, but my child is only a child for a short time. The things I teach my children should allow them to think for themselves. Hopefully, the way we raise them now will lead them to making the right choices in the future.

Parenting videos are tricky, since what counts as gold for one can be eyeroll-inducing for another. There are just so many schools of thought when it comes to parenting that it’s hard to wade through the information. But this particular video has such sincere, practical advice it’s hard to disagree with. Please note though that the video does make use of passages from the Bible when making certain points.

The video itself is well-made. You can tell that this was not a haphazard production. The sound quality is good and the visuals are not distracting. The pace is just right, so that you don’t get lost in unnecessary examples of ramblings. You get what you came for when you watch this video.

All in all, Navigating the Rapids of Parenting is a good purchase for those who are looking for guidance (or even reassurance) when it comes to parenting their kids. It’s a good purchase for families with younger kids since it gives you the advantage of knowing things before it actually happens. For those with older kids, the company also has other products like Dating, Courting, & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

To learn more about the products and Parenting Made Practical, you can connect with them through their social media accounts:

 

 

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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