The Miracle of the Magic Tree House [Homeschooling A Boy's Heart, Day 2]

Today is probably the most miraculous day in all of Emilio's reading life.


I call it "The Miracle of the Magic Tree House".

You see, my little boy loved books for how they looked. That and only that. He loved going to the bookstore and dragging me to school book fairs "just because". He was always asking me to buy this and that book but he never seems to get around reading it.

He looks at piles of books with such delight in the same way he watches cartoon characters make silly faces and crack ROTFL jokes.

But NEVER has he read one particular book with such gusto and interest as he did with this Magic Tree House Book #1 "Dinosaurs Before Dark".

As a mother who is elated with the mere scent of books, I've tried very hard to make him love books the way I do. I bought him LaMaze books made of cloth when he was a baby, a book made of plastic -- for reading in the tub or shower, comic books, kiddie magazines and Disney books but I've always felt like he just couldn't take on a love for reading.

So as much as I'm disappointed that we didn't get to finish our target lessons for the day, I am comforted by the fact that I have seen with my own eyes how this little boy has grown from a "book liker" to a "book reader".

All those little efforts (and brainwashing) and frequent trips to the bookstore paid off after all.

Today is also proof of the many blessings of homeschooling. When he picked up that book, we were about to discuss his Math lessons. He asked if he could read a few pages for a while and ended up being lost with Jack and Annie.

In regular school, diversions are shunned. You can't just drift away in a fantasy world while you're in school. You have to go with the flow, with the rest of the class. All imaginary pursuits must be shelved until you get home. But in a homeschool setting, the child leads the way. As teacher/mom, you follow their lead and discern when to divert them back to the pending desk work.

I was initially torn between asking him to stop reading (to finish his desk work first) and going with the flow of his interest at that moment.

But the love of reading breeds knowledge learned passively, I thought to myself. So I decided to let him read for as long as he wanted. And after a few minutes, he's done.

He approached me soon after, smiling proudly and announcing, "Look Mama, I've finished the book in one day!"

Yes he did. And in minutes, actually.

I am so happy and very proud of him. I had been working on improving his attention span and patience and I feel like this is a move closer in that direction.

We'll go back to "class mode" until early afternoon. I plan to take him on a bookstore trip later today and get him The Magic Tree Series, Book#2: The Knight At Dawn".

Challenging and exciting times ahead.

Happy homeschooling! :)


Many thanks to Tita Ninang Jasmin for giving Emilio his first Magic Tree Series book. :)

Qik - The Solar System: According to Emilio by Emilio Marmol

Qik - Hello Teacher Io: Multiplication Involving 3 Digit Multiplier by Emilio Marmol

No Small Fry [Homeschooling A Boy's Heart, Day 0.5]

"Good morning Mama! Thank you God because I'm still alive. From now on, my mantra is: To have a good attitude -- every time, everywhere to everyone."

And that's how I know that my son is awake. I'd smile and say "Good morning, son." He smiles back as he rubs his eyes. He slept late last night -- as he did almost all summer. It's past 8 in the morning -- not exactly as early as I would have wanted him to rise and shine on a "homeschool day".

But I don't sweat the small stuff. Tomorrow's another day. My goal is to be "in the now" for my son. And the "now" asks me to be a little tolerant. He is, after all transitioning from a long summer break back to the routine of school -- albeit a more flexible schedule provided by homeschool.

I remind him that he's late for school and that starting tonight, he must be in bed by 9PM. My son is a night person. But knowing that work in the "real world" begins in the morning I had to emphasize that he must learn to respect other people's time by being on time for appointments and commitments.

He stares at the wall for what seems like minutes and I knew right then that his mind is still asleep. I "wake" him up and send him to the bathroom for his shower. That should shake off all feelings of sleepiness.

I printed the "Parts of An Ant" document and reminded him of his unfinished goal yesterday. He is happy.

"Mama, can you do the experiment with me?", he says.

I nod and say, "Of course."

He donned on his old shorts and shirt from his former regular school. Eats breakfast and as if with a press of a button, he was ready for school.

He preps his materials and occasionally asks me for help with "grown-up things".

Today, he is into Myrmecology -- study of ants. If I had it my way, I would have read and lectured to him about today's curriculum-dictated lesson, given him drills, reinforced his acquired knowledge and tested him with more drills.

But not today.

Today, I follow his heart. His lessons can wait one more day. His heart cannot. And after about 30mins or so, he's done with his experiment. He enthusiastically announces that he has found the answer he needed.

And we move on to other things.

The truth is, it took us more time to prepare the materials than it did him to finish his experiment.

But this is my job, to follow his lead and give him what he needs. He is happy. He has learned something new. I have learned something new as well -- and happy does not even begin to describe it.

"Mama, you know I think there are some people out there (not all the people, just some) who think that learning about ants or making experiments about ants is lame. But I don't think so. Ants are great creatures. They are smart and strong and they always help each other. I think they even talk to each other all the time." He proudly says.

I say, "Yeah, you're right son."

I would have said more, like "Yeah, some people 'belittle' ants." Or some profound idea relating to respect. But he's said it all. Ants are no small fry. And so are little boys. :)

He started his experiment seeking an answer to one question "What do ants use to bite?" He got his answer. That and more.

Thank you God -- because I'm still alive, and for giving me a little boy with a big heart.

"Science Experiment" form downloaded from

Homeschooling A Boy's Heart [Day 0]

Wow. It feels like forever since I last organically wrote on this blog. And something in me says that it must be close to forever indeed.

Today I resurrect this blog to chronicle a new phase in my family life as I make a leap into the unknown (even probably unthinkable to some) -- the world of homeschooling.

Instead of making a new blog for homeschooling, I decided to document our journey here since homeschooling is without a doubt, a family affair. And this blog remains to be my personal blog so it seems fitting that I share my experiences here.

So today is Day Zero of homeschooling in our household because this is the day we unpacked our books and curriculum lesson plans.

We will be officially (doing desk work) homeschooling next week, starting June 12 (Tuesday) because our family will be flying to Marinduque for the weekend for some R&R with my in-laws. We *might* go back to Marinduque by the third week because my son Emilio has a wedding to attend. :)

BUT, I have been independently homeschooling "Io" ( Emilio's nickname, pronounced as ee-yoh) the entire summer so it's not such a drastic change of schedule for both of us.

I have chosen to homeschool using the CFA (Catholic Filipino Academy) curriculum since my primary goal or homeschooling Io (apart from building a strong foundation with Math, Grammar and Logic) is to develop his character and mold him into a God-fearing man with a love for lifelong learning and ultimately find and follow his bliss.

Someday soon that day will come. But for now, I can only promise to do my best to help him every step of the way. Yes, he will learn from me but I will learn from him as well. After all, young or old, parent or child, we are all in the process of learning.

May God give me strength, wisdom, patience and courage to homeschool my little boy's heart.