When I was new to blogging last year (2009), I was honored to be interviewed by Judy of BENMAKESTEN as her guest of the week. Thanks to Judy. I didn't have to go through the pain of writing again about myself. Here's an excerpt from that interview.
1. What five adjectives would you use to best describe yourself?
I’m simple, passionate, purpose-driven, affectionate, and a dreamer.
2. Are you married? If so share a bit about your husband: (If you are a single, share a bit about that experience here)…also use this space to tell us a little about any children, pets, family/home/location, your age & other personal details, faith, etc…if you so choose:
I’m married for 17 years to a loving husband who encourages and supports me to excel in everything that I do. I have 3 children. Ben is now 16 and is finishing high school in 2010, God willing. Naomi is 10 and she loves crafting and performing. Zoe is 7 and she’s our little vet. She takes care of our 6 budgies, 5 rabbits and a cat.
I’m a believer of Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord. I read my Bible, the basis of my faith.
For more than 10 years, our family has lived outside our home country. We have lived in 4 different countries in
Asia. My husband is privileged to be working in different locations and so as we moved around, I found opportunities to use my teaching profession to teach English in non-English speaking countries. The need for mobility made us decide to homeschool our children and we are happy and blessed that we made that decision.
3. For how long have you been homeschooling? What is your teaching method/style and what type of curriculum do you use? (If you do not teach your children at home, share with us about their education experience…what type of school do they attend?) If you are not a homeschooler, then please use this space to share information about your work, service projects, or ministries!
We homeschool our children since 1999 until now but there were few years in between when my husband and I were working fulltime and taking graduate courses so we had to send them to regular schools. We are using
. It’s a Biblically- based, individualized curriculum. We like it as a family because its focus is on character building and mastery-based learning. Also, because the materials are self-instructional, there’s minimal lesson preparation. School of Tomorrow System
4. What has been your greatest accomplishment this year?
5. How has the Holy Spirit been moving you lately? What has the Lord been saying to your heart? How is He guiding you?
The Lord has been speaking to me recently through different situations and through my daily prayer and readings to take delight in simple things and to wait for His timing. I’m always driven by my passion to do charity projects and to plan big programs either for our learning center or for the family. I have the tendency to get impatient and do it my way or to worry too much and give up. He is gently reminding me to enjoy the present, to take delight on what I have now and to be productive in whatever I’m doing. He works in ways I cannot see, His ways are higher than mine, so I must trust the future on Him.
6. What words of wisdom would you offer a new homeschooling mother? (If you don’t homeschool, feel free to still offer a bit of advice…or simply answer the question for new mothers in general)
I believe it is very important that both spouses agree together to homeschool their children before they do this. Both should decide together on what program they want to use. There are many temptations to get discouraged or give up along the way. Homeschooling is a lot of hard work and commitment. It helps me lot, as I do most of the work, that my husband understands the hard work I do everyday. He does some of the load whenever he’s free from work. He encourages me to keep going. Now, if a homeschool mom does not have a husband like mine, I think it is important to surround her self with people who believe in homeschooling. Don’t vent your frustrations to people who don’t homeschool nor understand its philosophy. Even in my lowest time, I try not give my children a wrong signal that it’s not going work because it works! Also, as a family, we often count the blessings of homeschooling (not having to wake up too early to beat the traffic, being safe and free from the daily road hazards, being protected from cruelty and bullying, etc. Well, not to mention the economic aspect).
Children can easily envy other children who wear uniform to go to school. So, in our case, we have specific days where they have to wear their “uniform” (e.g. green shirt on Monday). I also made ID cards for them where they have to hang around their neck during school time. I believe it helps when homeschoolers feel that they also have things in common with the children going to regular schools.
7. What words of wisdom would you offer a seasoned homeschooling mother in need of encouragement and perseverance? (Please see parentheses in number 6)
I think it helps to read success stories and testimonies of homeschooling families from time to time. My blogging helps me connect with mothers who homeschool more children than I have, and that alone is very encouraging for me.
Recently, I felt like I have exhausted the entire “creativeness” I have so I get ideas from the blogs of other moms. Also, don’t hesitate to ask other people to volunteer to help. Two weeks ago, I asked an 18 year old boy to teach my children how to play the recorder. He also taught them some games he learned from his school days. Another friend willingly volunteered to train my children how to play badminton for our sports. Last quarter, we were blessed to have a brilliant couple who volunteered to do crafts, sports and IT workshop. My children are always excited to have new visiting teacher in class.
If the above suggestions didn’t help, all I can say is “Do not grow weary in doing what is good.” Claim the promise that “you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength”. I’m preaching to myself here!
8. I believe that others can learn through our own hindsight. Hopefully, if we have learned from past mistakes, then our experience can help those who might face similar situations in the future. Therefore, please share something you would do differently if you could go back and begin your homeschooling journey again…or something you learned from a particular mistake, trial, or obstacle:
In our first year of homeschooling, relatives and friends were critical about our decision. I exhausted myself emotionally, trying to explain and defend. Unconsciously, I began to “passionately attack” the popular school system. Oh boy, that was my big mistake, to think that I have many relatives and friends who are teaching in public schools. Later, I realized that I didn’t need to sell the idea to others. I just have to do it for my own children. If people came and asked, I would tell them what we do. No need to defend why we do it.
9. Do you have a job in addition to your vocation as a wife and mother at home? If so, tell us about it!
I teach English as Second Language (ESL) part time, on and off, depending on the opportunity and timing. But I am more focused now in developing our learning center program.
10. What do you hope to accomplish in the year ahead that is new to you?
I want to see myself more involved in a non-profit organization doing humanitarian projects especially in the area of education. My husband and I have the privilege of travelling to some poor countries in
Asia and we’ve seen a lot of opportunity to help the needy. We’re not wealthy people but having seen the poorest of the poor made me realized how blessed I am in many ways and I want to share that blessing in a form of community service. I’m not trained in Social Work. I’m a teacher by profession so this is something new but already very close to my heart. When I was in the university, I’ve done voluntary community services. So I believe I was prepared for such work as this.
Also, there are important people in my life who always encourage me to pursue writing. I’m thrilled about the idea but still lacking in confidence. I want to give time to develop that skill and discover my niche in the area.
11. What are your favorite hobbies?
I have many hobbies but I don’t do all of them at the same time. I used to enjoy collecting seashells but that is no longer possible since we moved to live in a city away from beaches. I love creating beautiful things like scrapbooking, embroidering, sewing, cross-stitching and crafting but I haven’t done much of those lately. Now that we have a big yard, I’m more into gardening almost everyday. But I think, my all time favorite hobby is reading. I get excited when I’m buying books! It’s like adding a jewel to my treasure box. I like reading biography of ordinary men and women who did extraordinary work. I also like reading novels that is based on real life situations, and I enjoy reading short stories that are inspirational and uplifting. I like writing, too. I have diaries for each of my children and a personal journal and I think blogging is becoming a favorite, too.
12. What are five things that you and your husband (if applicable) do to keep your marriage strong and enjoyable? (If you are unmarried, then please list five things that keep your relationship strong with the Lord)
My husband and I have been married for almost 17 years now and we have gone through a lot of trials and tests but I could still say that marriage is beautiful. It should be! It is designed by God. My marriage is all by God’s grace. We would not reach this far if we have gone far from Him. Through years we have learned many things and I know we have many more things to learn as a couple.
Trust and Respect, that’s the first thing that came to mind. They go together. You would never trust a person you don’t respect nor respect a person you don’t trust. So I count this as one. It’s not based on feelings but on the vow we made before God. We both strongly believe that it was God who brought us together in this union so we respect each other as our better half and trust the other as our perfect match.
Communication is a big factor in our strong marriage. We worked hard on this one. We have different ways of communicating. Reading the Five Languages of Love and attending marriage conferences helped us overcome our weaknesses in this area. We talk and talk and talk. My husband is good in initiating important talks. I just talk randomly about anything that pops to mind or overflows from the heart.
Praying together regularly is another important factor that keeps our marriage on the right track. As we draw closer to God, we also draw closer to each other. You see, when you are before God’s presence, the light of God is upon you. Transparency! There’s honesty and openness, no pretentions. As we take turn talking to God and agreeing to each other’s supplications, we see the heart longings and deep needs of each other. For me, this is one way I understood my husband’s inner being.
Regular date came later in our marriage. This makes our marriage more enjoyable. When the kids were younger, this was a luxury we seldom could afford but we saw to it that we would go out just the two of us periodically.
Seeking good counsel from godly people and reading books on marriage issues helped us a lot. We have counseled many young couples and one thing we always advise them is to surround themselves with couples who have strong marriages, to find a couple or more whom they can come for accountability.
13. Name five simple pleasures in life that you enjoy:
I have lots but the first five things that came to mind are: Reading good books in a quiet and cool place, writing down my contemplations using smooth running pen, picking seashells by the seashore at sunrise, joking around and laughing out loud with my children and sneaking out at midnight with my husband to our favorite restaurant.
14. What do you consider your five greatest blessings in homeschooling? (or greatest blessings in your life in general if homeschooling doesn’t pertain to you)
The bonding that we have as a family is the greatest blessing. We know everybody in the family by heart. I know what my children are learning and what they are absorbing mentally, emotionally, and socially. My children also know their siblings very well because they learn together in the same classroom. They know what others are doing and learning. We are always together 24/7 so we are aware of everyone’s temperament, likes and dislikes, etc.
The other four blessings are: flexibility in our schedule, the challenges and opportunity to learn as I teach my children, my children’s safety from road hazards and cruelty/bullying from kids, and of course, financial savings. I can’t imagine how much we would spend if we sent them daily to school, not to mention the monthly tuition and matriculation!
15. What is one fault/weakness that you are working on currently?
I always overwork myself. I feel guilty when I rest and do nothing. Thank God, my husband is good in guarding me in that area. He knows when I’m on the road to burnout. He warns me when I’m heading toward that road. I have to listen to my husband when he says I have to stop, rest or get a massage even If I didn’t feel I needed it. I need to work on being a good steward of myself.
16. What is something you have recently learned from another wife/mother/person that helped, uplifted or encouraged you in your vocation?
I used to easily get stressed out if I saw a lot of clutter in the house. Even toys on the floor I couldn’t stand! I wearied myself putting back everything in place, whew! I felt I was just going around without moving forward. I was enlightened by my friend’s words. She was an older mom of 4 grown-up kids. She said, “A tidy house or a happy children? You can only choose one.” So, for me now, as long as there is no moldy sink or stinky bathroom I’m at peace with that. My sanity is more important.
17. How can our readers get to know more about you or read some of your writings?
Do you have any blogs and/or websites you’d like to share, a Facebook account, or something other?
I have a personal blog, Daily Divine. I also have a homeschool blog that I call
The Learning Center .
18. What are three virtues you find necessary to grow in holiness as a homeschooling wife and mother? (You might or might not exemplify these virtues…they could be ones you DON’T have but would like to have or simply ones from which you believe others in this walk of life would benefit!)
There are 3Ps that I believe are necessary: Patience, Perseverance, and Passion. We need patience for our day to day task, perseverance to keep going month after month and year after year, and passion to see the end result: a child trained in a way he should go.
19. Give us a handy tip! It can be about household management, homeschooling, faith life, business, etc…Share your wisdom and experience…save us time…save us money…help us be more organized…what ever you’d like to share!
I learned different ways from my training and experience on how to motivate our homeschoolers. One thing that became a hit in our program at home is the merit store that I put up in one corner of our learning room. I got the idea from
. The store has different items with point equivalent (school supplies, stickers, bookmarks, and anything that my children fancy). Each child has a merit bank book that I made. They collect their points there. They earn points for accomplishing a task e.g. 25pts for perfecting a test, 10 points for writing a book report, 5 pts for scripture memory verse, etc. They use their points to “buy” an item from the store. It’s a very positive way of motivating children. I have a child who would not “waste” her points on little items. She would save her points till the day a big item is displayed. Another good way to learn Economics, too. School of Tomorrow
20. Please use this space to write anything else you’d like to add or impart to our readers: