Our KidZania Experience

Yesterday, we were given the privilege of visiting KidZania for their preview. It was through the generosity of the group Homeschoolers of the Philippines that we were able to enjoy the facility at a discounted rate. Today, I will share with you some details about our experience as well some tips to maximize your stay, as you plan your trip to this wonderful play space.

First of all, knowing that this place is designed for play, remember to dress yourselves appropriately. Make sure to wear comfortable garments especially, shoes, as the place is quite big. KidZania’s activity areas are originally designed for children between 4-14 years of age. Younger and older kids are welcome, but they won’t be allowed to enter some establishments and cannot participate in the activities.

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This is Matilda at the check-in counter sponsored by Cebu Pacific. Our personal information such as her name and age, parent’s name and contact number were taken here. We were given our security/ID tags in the form of this bracelet. In Matilda’s case, it was placed on her ankle, so as not to disrupt her from her play. This bracelet is given to all who will enter KidZania, and each one matches with you and your child’s identification to make sure that every child will go out with their original companion. We were also given the map and the city codes as references.

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Matilda holding her boarding pass to KidZania. She personally handed it to the “flight attendant” before we passed through the x-ray machine.

Here’s a look at what you’ll see when you get inside:

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Upon check-in, children classified under 4-14 years of age would receive a total of 50 kidZos to jumpstart their stay in the city. Here are some of the job opportunities designed for ages 4-14 years old:

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By applying for these jobs, children would earn money called the KidZos Currency. This money can be used in different establishments. Each actual job pay differently, so it depends on which job they would choose. Other activities require payment such as the Goldilocks cake decorating as well as the salon. This is where children must learn to earn their money first and then pay for the services they want or spend it on whatever they desire.

Here are the favorites where lines were pretty long:

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This is the hospital sponsored by St. Luke’s Medical Center. It has 3 units, the Baby Care Center by J&J, Emergency Room by Green Cross and an Operating Room, where children are taught the basics of having an organ transplant. All of which have different entry points, but all are beside each other.

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In this hotel sponsored by Holiday Inn, the children have different tasks to fulfill. They can be at the reception, catering or housekeeping.

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The construction and the supermarket were big hits as well.

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This is the Veterinary Clinic where children are taught basic pet care. There are stuffed animals in cages as well to make it look realistic!

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Here at the Urban Garden, they are taught about the basics of gardening.

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It is nice how children can actually work on designing their very own chiffon cake, also known as mamon! Goldilocks, however would need the child to pay for this activity which costs 15 kidZos. 

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This Cebu Pacific plane is really nice, as it looks like a real airplane with all the details. This flight training service requires a child to pay 15 kidZos. I can’t wait for Matilda to be older and get to experience how fun it is inside. 🙂

Here are some of the jobs wherein kids get to explore the city and be like real men and women working in the field:

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LBC: Delivering items

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Firemen responding to a fire and on the side are Paramedics attending to a victim.

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Here we have the ambulance with the Paramedics inside, and on your right are the CSI on patrol.

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This is the RightZKeepers’ House designed specifically for ages 1-3 years old. The place is quite small and only one companion is allowed per child. Each child is permitted to stay for a maximum of 20 minutes only.

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This is the Kindergarten ABZ where toddlers can play with some Play Dough and various molding shapes. They can also paint and learn the alphabet using the different items available. This also has a one companion policy and a limit of 20 minutes per play time.

Now, let me share with you some of the food choices inside the facility:

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I was told that they prohibit bringing in of food and drinks. However,  I didn’t know about this policy and we did bring in some food and water, for snacks which were all tucked inside my bag. Guards checked my bag before entry and they did see it, but it didn’t bother them. I guess, if you will be discreet about it and eat at the designated areas, it won’t be a problem. Just don’t bring in too much, as if you are going on a picnic! 🙂

Going back, the primary goal of the kids here is to be able to find a job and experience it first hand. Because parents are not allowed to enter these establishments, the children are taught independence, and they learn more by interacting with other people. Just the mere exposure to the different jobs available is already a great opportunity for them, truly educational. I wish we had this when I was younger! I believe it can greatly influence a child’s decision later on when they go into college.

It is just amazing to observe the kids and watch how good they are at following instructions even at a very young age. The kidZos money they earn on the other hand, is a good representation of the hard work they were able to provide in the company. Children will learn the value of earning money before they go on spending.

Having the KidZania passport, valued at 250 pesos, is also a plus because a child gets a stamp and eventually becomes a citizen when they complete all of it. Being a “citizen” they claim give you many benefits and perks. Children are also encouraged to open their very own bank account using their hard-earned kidZos money to instill in them good stewardship, which we really appreciate.

Overall, I believe the facility exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend it for children 4-14 years old.

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Lastly, let me show you the one and only job that Matilda was allowed to do where she earned her 8 kidZos.

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As parents, we felt so proud seeing our 2 year and 8 month old toddler ‘working’ at the laundromat. She was a pro at following instructions and she finished her task with minimal assistance even though she wasn’t actually qualified for this activity yet. KidZania is one great place for play and learning. We will surely come back when Matilda is big enough to try the other activities. 🙂

KidZania is set to open for public tomorrow, August 7, 2015. For details such as prices, schedules, rules and regulations, please refer to the details below:

Ticket prices from August 7 to October 7, 2015:

Visitor Type Mondays-Thursdays Fridays – Sundays
(and National Holidays)
Children (4-14 years old) Php 750.00 Php 1,000.00
Toddlers (1-3 years old) Php 420.00 Php 550.00
Babies below 1 year old FREE FREE
Adults Php 420.00 Php 550.00

Ticket prices from October 8, 2015 onwards:

Visitor Type Mondays-Thursdays Fridays – Sundays
(and National Holidays)
Children (4-14 years old) Php 900.00 Php 1,100.00
Toddlers (1-3 years old) Php 500.00 Php 600.00
Babies below 1 year old FREE FREE
Adults Php 500.00 Php 600.00

*Prices are VAT inclusive and subject to change without prior notice.  

Operating Hours:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:  
    • 9AM to 4PM (1 shift)
  • Fridays to Sundays (and National Holidays):
    • 9AM to 2PM
    • 3PM to 8PM

KidZania is also open for class field trips as well as party celebrations. You can send them an email in the following addresses, tourism@kidzania.com.ph and celebrations@kidzania.com.ph, respectively.

Rules and Regulations: http://manila.kidzania.com/en-ph/pages/city-codes

Source: KidZania Manila Website http://manila.kidzania.com/en-ph

 

 

 

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Homeschooling Part 2: Getting Started

As a continuation of my first post, today I will talk about our other activities. It gets quite challenging as a baby grows, to get their focus and to keep their attention. A lot of creativity and patience is needed to make sure your baby will love the idea of learning.

One must understand that Homeschooling is not limited to the confines of the home, just like learning. Books and materials are all good supplements for learning, but the more the child is exposed to the reality of the world, the better they become at understanding concepts. With Matilda, we make it a point to communicate with her, in every opportunity. We never get tired of explaining the reasons why a certain thing needs to be done, the consequence for each and every action, and the hard, but reality of the truth. No matter how complicated something might be for her to grasp, we never lie to her, we just patiently explain and ask for her respect and obedience. When a child is brought up knowing you have only pure interests at heart and their welfare is all you think about, it wouldn’t be very hard to instruct and teach your child. They will instantly develop love for learning, and this will become your lifestyle.
Whenever we are at home, we always try to make certain activities to be able to spend our time wisely. One of the things we started with, apart from those that I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, is coloring books.

Crayons and Coloring Books/Sketch Pads – this is an activity I personally loved while growing up. Because I have seen Matilda’s interest in writing through copying me by holding my pens, it was then I realized, she is ready. We started to introduce crayons and pencils just a few months after she turned a year old. After I showed her how these were used, I just allowed her to doodle, color however way she wanted, and just observed. There were times I’d sit beside her and color with her. She would watch and copy what I was doing and sometimes would ask for my help, I’d remind her how it is done and she’ll go back to doing it on her own.

I also used crayons to teach her colors by writing the alphabet and numbers on a sketch pad. I would also draw certain objects and would name them one by one. This helped in building her imagination as well as her vocabulary. Indeed, a lot of things can be taught through this activity. You just have to learn to be creative. 🙂

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Another thing we love to do is build things with play-doh.

Play-Doh – this is a good exercise for fine motor skills. The molding process is a good means for them to gain control and make their own shapes. Also a good way for them to develop in the area of art and crafts. To make it more fun, we sometimes use her toys and include some pretend-play, like a tea-party for her dolls. She enjoys this activity a lot and it pays really, as she gets to be imaginative in her play. Just be careful not to leave your child unattended with this as this is a choking hazard.

Educational Posters – I think this is a must in every home. These posters are what your child will get to see everyday and that is one of the best ways for them to memorize different things such as the alphabet, numbers, shapes, parts of the body, animals, opposites (big and small, short and tall, open and close, long and short etc.) It is really cheap and readily available at any local bookstores.

Another approach for learning is through Montessori-Inspired Materials. Because I came from a Monterssori school, I am familiar with the type of materials used when we were still in CASA (Nursery level). I incorporated these materials in our play-based learning in order to cover certain areas that are quite difficult for a small child to understand.

Ring Stacker – this would teach them colors and the concept of size recognition and differentiation. This is also a good activity for hand and eye coordination as they stack the rings to the rod.

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Nesting and Stacking Blocks – this teaches them the importance of balance and it’s relation to various sizes. Also a great activity for building whatever they like.

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Spindle Box – this is quite hard to find, if there is any. I made my own by using an illustration board with printed numbers and number words and bought a set of wooden sticks. This is a great material in teaching a child how to count and associate the numbers with actual counting objects, such as the wooden sticks. I would just show her how it is used and she watched me until she was able to get it. She now knows how to properly count because of this.

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Basic Skills Toy -this toy is for practical life skills. This will help your child in teaching them independence when it comes to tying their shoe lace, buttoning their shirt, snapping and unsnapping probably their clothes as well, opening and closing zippers, and fastening or buckling belts. You can also make your own and all you will need is an old shirt, a frame (optional-as this is Montessori-inspired ), and add whatever activity you’d like for them to master.

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Pizza Party – this toy or any other toy that has a similar concept will be a great tool in teaching them how to count as well as the concept of same and different. The different toppings on the pizza is useful in identifying which go together (alike) and which do not (different). This toy is also a great way to introduce fractions later on. It is a really good investment and even I enjoy playing with it!

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Puzzles – this helps in introducing the alphabet sounds or phonics. Getting them acquainted with the pictures and their corresponding names will enable them to identify which letter they begin with. A good activity you can practice to prepare them for reading.

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Practical Life Skills – I cannot thank my parents enough for exposing me to household chores at such an early age. They allowed me to play at the laundry area and wash hankies and socks, at the kitchen to wash the dishes (with help of course!), sweep the floor, polish shoes, wipe the tables to remove dust, and a lot more. These helped me in being responsible for my own room as I grew older, and eventually in our own house as a wife. These are activities which your child will surely enjoy as I did when I was younger.

There are really so many ways to make these materials and lot others are available as well. You don’t have to spend much to achieve the same kind of concepts. All you need is a bit of creativity using ordinary art supplies with your own recyclable things at home, and the internet to get ideas, with that, you are good to go. Try searching for toddler or preschool activities at home and you will be surprised at how much information there is on the web. Some examples are lacing beads for fine motor skills, using buttons or same colored objects to teach colors, painting for art, sorting same and different items, and a whole lot more depending on which area your child needs to improve on or develop.

There is something you have to keep in mind though, in whatever instance, do not pressure your child to sit down and do these activities if he/she is not ready. You don’t want a child getting traumatized with the idea of learning just because you are too eager to teach them or just because you think your child is far behind with what he/she knows. Remember that they develop at their own pace. Some kids develop early and some at a later time, and this doesn’t make them any better nor less smarter than others. As kids, they still love to play and are still very curious about other things. They easily get bored too, and you really have to find ways to motivate them to learn something new each day.

One of the things I noticed with Matilda is, words of affirmation gets her going. Whenever she hears me compliment her for something right she has done, or whenever she accomplished an activity, this gives her a boost to continue on. It really pays to know your child and in this case, it would be great to use that certain characteristic to your advantage when it comes to teaching.

Have you got other suggestions? Leave it in the comment box, so we can try them too! Also, would you happen to be interested in what activities we are up to now? These are more advanced and already include textbooks and workbooks. Just let me know so I can share them to you and make a Part 3 of this series. 🙂

Homeschooling Part 1: Where do I begin?

When I married Joey, I never imagined myself homeschooling our future child. It has entered my mind though, and I thought it was good, but it never really made an impact until I had Matilda. We realized how much children actually learn through their peers and how they can be easily influenced to do almost anything. Honestly, this scared me having gone through that lifestyle myself. The horror of having some random kid bully my child entered my mind as well, so many times – an experience I had that I never want her to EVER encounter. And above all, we wanted to really be intentional in our parenting which led us to the ultimate decision, which is to homeschool.

Homeschooling is something that needs love, patience and passion. What drives me to stay focused is the idea that Matilda will learn from me, first hand. That whatever she learns will be coming from me and the materials we will be using. That’s quite scary, don’t you agree? Being the one responsible for your child’s knowledge and skill is daunting. But you know what? Something else is much more important that all of that – Character. When you have a child focused on God, and you raise him/her with love and fear in the Lord, everything else will follow. Joey and I agreed on this decision, wholeheartedly, knowing this is what is best for our daughter.

Deuteronomy 11: 18-19 New International Version (NIV)

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 22:6 New International Version (NIV)

 6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 6:20-23 New International Version (NIV)

20 My son, keep your father’s command
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life

These verses I cannot stress any better. The truth is, we, as parents, are commanded by God to disciple our own children. To disciple them means to teach them about God, to be intentional in the way we raise them, which is the most important thing of all. To be clear, I have nothing against traditional schooling, it’s just that we want to protect the character of our little girl. We believe that our home is the best place to start, to keep her away from bad influences, and also for her to have a more focused form of learning. We always pray that we will be able to instill values that she will hold on to and practice as she grows. The academic aspect is just a plus for us, we will just feel accomplished, that we have successfully done our part as parents, if we are able to raise a child who knows that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

On the other hand, the frustrated teacher in me is very happy to be doing this for our Matilda. Even though she isn’t formally enrolled yet to a homeschool provider, which we will eventually do so with TMA, (The Master’s Academy) we have begun long ago in building this dream, one step at a time.

As a hands on mom to my child, I made it a point to observe her individual traits and qualities. Since Matilda was young, I have seen her interest in music, books and educational toys. These are some of the tools we used, to foster learning. I remember, she was still in my tummy when I started collecting books that I wanted to read for her during the day. We started doing this as soon as she was born even if she doesn’t seem to understand anything yet. Looking back, I’m really glad I started early, because good books, award-winning titles at that, are quite hard to find and they can be very pricey too! Plus, because I introduced books at an early age, Matilda is so fond of them and she would personally request her favorites to be read, sometimes, over and over again! Here are some of Matilda’s favorites you might want to get your hands on: Goodnight Moon, Guess How Much I Love You, Goodnight Gorilla, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Runaway Bunny, Mommy Loves, The Going to Bed Book and Counting Kisses, and of course, The Bible.

Another thing I like to do is sing her songs as well. We both love listening to nursery rhymes and children’s worship songs and I try my best to make it fun and interactive by making movements or actions, for her to follow. At around 5-6 months she already began copying some actions, and it felt so rewarding to see how much she was learning. Some of her favorite songs with actions or sounds she can mimic are as follows: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Wheel’s on The Bus, Old MacDonald had a Farm, Incy Wincy Spider, Barney’s Mr. Sun Song, If You’re Happy and You Know It, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Father Abraham and Jesus Loves Me.

Constant communication has also given us great benefits. I never underestimated Matilda’s capability to understand. In fact, even when she was a small baby, I’d talk to her like a normal adult. I’d give her instructions, reminders, and affirmation like I would do with an older child. Yes, I cuddle her, show her love and affection like any mother to a child, but it didn’t stop there. I taught her independence as well at a very early age, like in the area of eating, and packing-away her toys. Some simple activities that enhance her self-discipline, and as I have said, independence.

Because we have a no-TV policy at home, this also helped a lot to make sure our time is really well-spent. Joey and I invested in good quality educational toys, mostly made of wood, which Matilda really enjoys until now. The reason why we prefer wooden toys over plastic or battery-operated is that, these toys help a child in using their imagination. A child who is used to playing with battery-operated ones tend to be easily bored, just like those babies who are used to watching TV or videos. Their attention span are shorter and they can’t seem to enjoy quality play-time anymore. We just introduced certain videos, which are also educational, when Matilda turned two years old. Although, people we are close to can actually attest that she would still prefer to play rather than watch videos, as this is what she was accustomed to, since she was a lot younger. We truly praise God for this!

Each child is unique in terms of reaching their development, however, I believe that “play” is the best foundation of learning. Educational Toys will be your best friends when it comes to teaching your child. Some of our favorites when Matilda was around a year old are as follows: Shape Sorters, Wooden Puzzles, Wooden Blocks, Lego Blocks and Musical Instruments. These toys helped me teach her the basics like the Alphabet, Numbers, Colors, Shapes and Animals. I actually never thought she would learn from them until we got to prove it ourselves. Now at 2.5 years old, Matilda has mastered all of them and is already showing signs of readiness to read and write. It is really all by God’s grace. He really amazes me with all of His blessings!

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You may even be surprised upon reading this that you are already doing some sort of informal homeschooling. Congratulations! Isn’t it fun? You get to play and learn at the same time while bonding with your child. Remember, you don’t need to spend much to be able to do all of these. Sometimes, all you need is a little creativity. And don’t forget, that children do not necessarily learn all these things right away. Do not compare as it usually takes some time for others. Just be patient and consistent in doing your daily activities, and again, find it in your heart to enjoy it. 🙂

PS: Watch out for Part 2, as I will talk about in detail our activities from when Matilda was around 18 months, until now that she is about to turn 2 and a half years old. I will share the materials we use as well as my personal strategies and tips to make learning fun and easy. Hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this post!

Pick Your Pack of Crayons by Crayola for only Php 99.75!

Back when I was a child, one of my favorite activities was coloring. I remember having piles of books and tons of coloring materials, my favorite of which was crayons by Crayola. So when Matilda was already a toddler, I introduced her to the same activity not only for fun, but also as a tool for learning. For a toddler, however, she is already showing preferences for certain colors. Her favorites are shades pink, purple, orange and brown. And in a box of 24 crayons, you only get a shade or two of each color, it’s a bit sad! Although, just a few weeks back, upon passing by a store called Ogalala in Shangri-La Mall, I had one of my childhood dreams come to a reality. We got to choose the colors we want in a box of 24, for only 99.75 pesos!! Most of those colors I haven’t seen before and are not included in the regular box of crayons. I was so ecstatic! And these were our top picks:

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The names of the colors from left to right: Granny Smith Apple, Olive Green, Green Yellow, Goldenrod, Atomic Tangerine, Mango Tango, Peach, Melon, Carnation Pink, Tickle Me Pink, Mauvelous, Lavender, Purple Pizzazz, Red Violet, Plum, Tan, Bittersweet, Copper, Violet Red, Razzmatazz, Turquoise Blue, Aquamarine, Sky Blue, Cadet Blue

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Ogalala is located at the 3rd level, East Wing (new mall) of Shangri-La Mall. Near Mamaway and the Barbie Store.

Intentional Parenting at A Glance

Being a hands-on Mom is great because you get to spend most (if not all) of your time with your child. However, it can be a bit challenging too, as days go by.

When Matilda was still very young, around 0-6 months, our routine was very simple. She’ll feed, sleep, play a bit, feed and feed and then sleep again. She’s awake for short periods only and we used that time to play.

When she started walking, around 11 months, that’s when it began to be a little tiring for me. I had to constantly guide her and guard her from falling. She also explored a lot and that was the beginning of all the mess we have in our room (and everywhere else!). It was really fun for most part, but, there were also days when I just wanted to rest, and days when I too, got sick and I still had to take care of her.

Oftentimes people ask, “What do you do everyday?”, or “Don’t you get bored at home?”. My answer is always the same. “A lot!” is my answer to the first and “Of course, not!”, is my answer to the second. Let me give you a brief overview of our usual routine for the day now that Matilda is already 1 year and 7 months old.

8-8:30am Usual Wake-up Time
8:30-9:30am Breakfast
9:30-10:30am Play
10:30-12:00pm Nap Time
12-1pm Lunch
1-1:30pm Bath
1:30-3:30pm Play
3:30-5:30pm Nap Time
5:30-7pm Play
7-8pm Dinner
8-8:30pm Bath
8:30-9pm Play
9-8:30am Sleep

We have a No-TV policy at home so even us adults, do not watch at all. A lot of studies have shown that kids don’t actually learn anything from watching the television. Kids also tend to become used to the fast-paced entertainment they get, which in turn causes them to get bored when they actually start playing. Due to this, Joey and I made a commitment that as much as we can, we will not expose Matilda to this yet and just let her appreciate “playing” for what it really is.

So, what do we actually do during play time? Here’s a list of the things we do:

  • Read books
  • Color books
  • Pretend play (cooking, tea-party, picnic, dress-up, grocery shopping, cleaning)
  • Sing songs
  • Dance
  • Interact with kids from our neighborhood
  • Pick flowers
  • Ride the bike
  • Make a mess (art and crafts)
  • Clean the mess (pack away)

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Believe it or not, these things can never get boring. As your child learns while you play, it gives you a some sort of accomplishment that you were able to impart something that will become the foundation of their knowledge as they grow older. Simple activities enhance your child’s ability to learn without you even realizing it. Like for example, I like to sing Praise Songs and Nursery Rhymes to Matilda. I also invent actions to make it fun and entertaining. One day, she just started imitating me and there she was, doing the actions as she listens to me sing.

These are the things that make it all worth while. The fact that I am being there for her, not just to take care of her, but also play with her and teach her (discipline her) in the process is fulfilling enough for me.

This technique that we are doing, wherein we set certain standards is called Intentional Parenting. The focus of Intentional Parenting is molding the heart into helping your children be Christlike. It is being:

Proactive in teaching your kids – raising them in the fear of the Lord so they will know what is right instead of correcting them when they start doing wrong. Like for example, we try to teach Matilda everything that we do on a daily basis like read the Bible, Pray, fix her toys, eat properly, be polite, how to behave when at home and when we’re out, and so on. By doing this, we limit using the word “no” to her since we started with her training at a very young age.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭22‬:‭6‬ NASB)

Modeling to them – setting yourself as an example of authenticity and not perfection. Being a model is being true to yourself. It means you are who you are at home and when in public. We should be reminded that children copy us both positively and negatively. In all that we do, we should be aware that they are watching our every move. One example I specifically have for this is submission and respect to people in authority. In our home, Joey being my husband, is the person in authority over us. As much as I can, even though it is such a struggle, I try to be a submissive and respectful wife to him. I would like Matilda to be a submissive and respectful person to those in authority, first and foremost, to God and then to all those He assigned to lead, may it be in the family, church or government.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭9‬ NIV)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭20‬ ESV)

Being there for them – playing with them and caring for them. I think, you will agree with me when I say, children who were personally cared for by their parents grow up to be God-fearing and well-mannered children. Well that is if they were brought up the right way! But the point is, if you are there for them to nurture and guide them, I’m pretty sure they’d end up great in terms of their character. This is because they would most likely be closer to you than their peers. We all know most of the foolish things we did back then we learned from our friends, right? So if your kids have a good relationship with you, with open communication at all times, then you won’t  have to worry about them being pressured to conform in today’s world.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭2-3‬ NLT)

and most importantly..

Disciplining them – shepherding the heart about obedience and respect which will eventually pave the way for you to connect them to the Lord, our God. I must admit, this last part is indeed the hardest. I do know discipline is part of parenting, but I never really understood the depth of it until I read Tedd Tripp’s book entitled, Shepherding A Child’s Heart. The main theme of the book is discipline through spanking. I know, I know, most of you will raise your eyebrows in this area, but following what is said in the scriptures is part or our so-called “non-negotiables” in our faith. As Christian parents, we are commanded to discipline our children this way so they may grow in wisdom and stature just like Jesus Christ.

Discipline is not a suggestion, it is a way of life. Those who did not experience discipline grew up without honoring and obeying their parents. And those people are more often than not, made mistakes that led to terrible consequences, some even caused it their future. For us, Matilda should be trained to obey those in authority, which is us, her parents for now that she’s under our care and to those she will be subject to later in life, like school, work, government, etc. If she learns to obey and honor us, she will grow up able to discern right from wrong. And when the time comes that she’s old enough to make her own life decisions, she will be responsible in making them. Knowing that in every action there is a consequence, is what we are trying to impress on her heart as we discipline her. I will dedicate a separate post about this next time from the things I learned on the book and elaborate on the do’s and don’ts of spanking. There is a right procedure and state of mind to do this, mind you, and it is done not with an unholy anger but with a calm and loving attitude.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭24‬ NIV)

We love Matilda dearly and knowing that she is entrusted to us by God for a greater purpose, it gives parenting a clear meaning for me and Joey. We are to lead her to God and the most successful way to do this is to apply the principles of Intentional Parenting.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)

 

Bullying and Homeschooling

As a child, I knew going to school was necessary for me to learn and to be able to “work” someday. It was clearly explained to me while I was growing up, mostly by my father. Being a child, however, doesn’t quite give you a wide understanding of the things that you will have to go through to get there.

I started pre-school a little bit late. I was 6 years old then and even though I passed the assessment test for the “prep” level, my parents insisted that I must go through the “kinder” level first to lessen the pressure of learning on my part. They wanted me to be able adjust first with the idea of school and they thought I wasn’t ready yet for the higher level. As it turned out, no amount of preparation could actually get you to that state anyway.

That entire first year in school went by smoothly. I wasn’t excited about the fact I’ll be left in school alone as my parents recalled. Because I was really young then, my memories of school were bits and pieces of both good and bad. One particular thing I clearly remember though, was that right from the start, I was always the target of the bullies in school.

If you don’t know me personally, my mother is Filipina and my father is Indian. I don’t actually look like an Indian except for the fact that when I was young, my everyday hairdo was a simple braid for my long and curly hair. My complexion is fair, I got that from my mom. The height, being tallest in the class is from my dad. At around 6-9 years old, my teeth looked terrible and to top it all off, I was very chubby. Yeah, I wasn’t as appealing compared to the other girls in school. And that was the reason I was the bully’s favorite.

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Fast forward to 2nd grade, I grew older and so somehow, everything I was going through already took its toll on me. I started showing signs that I disliked school. I didn’t show any excitement about it and that made every morning difficult, for my mother.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell my parents sooner what I was experiencing in school. Until one day when a group of boys from my class intentionally threw my lunch and tore my lunch box apart. In my attempt to stop them, I got hurt when one of them kicked me. A lot of students saw what happened and immediately called the attention of the teacher who wasn’t in the room when it happened. The teacher called my mom and informed her of the incident and it was just then when I told them the truth.

Everyday as I went to school, my classmates (boys) would call me names, trip me while walking, pull my braid, steal my things, and a lot more. Being a child at that time, who had been treated the same way for a while, I honestly thought what they were doing to me was normal. If not for that incident, my parents would not have known the truth about my experiences in school.

One more incident took place months after that. A boy from my class brought a pellet gun and he shot me right at my chin with it. Thank God he did not hit me in the eye and though it hurt so bad, it did not leave any permanent damage. And this was the first time I personally told my mom about a particular bullying incident.

As a mother now to my baby girl, thinking about what happened to me breaks my heart twice harder. I couldn’t for the life of me ever imagine for her to be treated that way. I now understand what my mom could have felt at that time and why she did all that she could to protect me and my memories of childhood.

After months of probation and deliberation, two of these bullies eventually got expelled from school because of other numerous incidents that involved them. But even though they weren’t in school anymore, it did not lessen my anxiety about the idea of going to school in any way.

Because of all the bullying, I developed an intense feeling of insecurity. I avoided playing with other kids except for some of my closest girl friends. I also had anxiety attacks wherein my tummy would get so upset on the way to school and sometimes I’d develop a fever out of nowhere. This was a serious concern for my parents and so whenever I showed signs that I wasn’t well, they wouldn’t force me to go to school anymore.

You see, communication is very important. It’s very common among children not to inform parents about certain things when they think that it is normal. Always make sure you talk to your child about what specifically happens in school. Ask them questions in detail to be able to know how they are doing. You also have to watch out for signs. If your child isn’t showing any interest in school, ask them and investigate why.

These simple things may make or break your child’s character. And honestly, it is one of the main reasons why we are leaning towards homeschooling our Matilda. I’m very thankful that no matter how rough those circumstances were to me, at least I somehow ended up to be a normal, happy person. But even though I turned out fine, that doesn’t mean it left no emotional scar in my childhood. Of course, it did! I can still remember the hate I felt towards every one of those bullies. In my mind, I wished bad things to happen to them and I grew up holding grudges against them. It was only when I came to know the Lord, through his mercy and grace, that I was able to forgive all of them.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 NLT)

Knowing the formative years are very crucial, I cannot depend on the school or a teacher for that matter, to lead my child into Christlikeness. That responsibility is mine and I have to own it. As her mother, she was entrusted to me by God for a reason. A reason that only a Christian parent will understand. This involves leading her to follow Christ and for her to do the same when she’s already of age. We want her character molded in a place where circumstances are within our control. And we (Joey and I) consider the home to be a safe place where I can monitor what she learns, how she does things, and everything else in between. I want to be able to personally guide her in the process of building her own personality, and not to be dictated by how other children perceive who she is. I want myself to set a good example for her and not for her to copy someone who doesn’t have any set of values – just like the bullies present in school.

I may be paranoid and my reasons may be invalid but if you were bullied like me, I’m sure you wouldn’t want your child to experience the same. And one way for me to prevent that is to home school her instead. Yes, I know, bullying is inevitable and it can happen absolutely anywhere, even in play areas and the like. All I want is to lessen the possibility since the school is a place wherein children interact with one another on a daily basis, and the chances of it happening there, are far greater. Plus, the effects based on their interaction without you around, are much more critical too.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying sending your child to a regular school is wrong. Of course it’s absolutely okay. It’s just that, you, as the parent should be responsible enough to make sure your child goes to a school which gives importance to your child’s inward orientation. Sure, they will learn well in this particular school knowing all the students who have graduated turned out successful. But, think about their heart. Where is Jesus in their lives? Was the school able to instill important life lessons such as having a personal relationship with God? Is the school as aggressive in building the child’s character and not just feeding them with curriculum lessons? Evaluate the school, the teachers and the students. You have to know where they stand. After all, you’ll leave your child with these people who will greatly influence their life. Wouldn’t you want to know who they will learn from and what they will contribute to the development of their character?

When you look at schooling this way, it is only then you will understand its gravity. Whatever your decision might be, it is best to consider what will work for your family. What works for us might not work for you and vice versa. Just make sure you have prayed and asked God for guidance in making the right decisions such as choosing the right school for you child.

In the event however, that your child is already being bullied, here are some tips I thought to share with you:

1. Try your best to keep your cool and go to the school immediately and talk to the proper authorities about it. Never, ever confront the bully or his parents. Note: “Anti-Bullying Act of 2012”
2. Request a guidance counselor to monitor your child’s behavior at school. A weekly meeting may help your child gain his/her self-esteem back.
3. Enroll your child in a sport that would enhance his skill in self-defense like Taekwondo or Muay Thai. (Note: Teach them to defend themselves and NOT to fight back!)
4. Encourage your child to communicate with you about his daily activities in school.
5. Explain the importance of forgiveness and that it is God’s command for him to do so. Pray with your child that God will grant you wisdom in understanding the heart of the bully. Doing this will allow him/her to be able to have peace in his heart.

  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

6. Set a good example to your child by showing proper attitude against people who mistreat you. How your child responds is usually how they see it from their parents. Make sure you are being a role-model at all times, even when things don’t go your way.

  • “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:38, 39 NLT)

7. Consider the benefits of homeschooling, both for you and your child.

My parents wanted the best for me that’s why they sent me to that particular school. The only mistake they made was that they trusted the school too much and they forgot to scrutinize how they value the formation of their student’s character.

The bullying was a depressing chapter of my life but I learned a lot from it. One is to extend my patience further and another is to have an understanding and forgiving heart towards difficult people. Part of who I am now is because of all the experiences I encountered in the past and I will be forever grateful for it.

Were you bullied as a child? Or do you have a child who is being bullied in school? What actions did you take? How did it affect your child? Let’s talk about it and let me know how I can pray for you!