Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review of Space Book

One of my kids' current interests is the solar system. They are interested to learn about the planets and the other things that are related to these. So, my husband and I looked for books about space or the solar system one time when we were in the book store. We found several options. After checking out the contents of the books, we decided that this book is perfect for our kids who are 5 and 2 years old respectively.
My two-year-old boy loves this book!

Let me tell you why:
1. It has pop-up of the planets, the sun and the moon. My boys like to look at this while scrutinizing the planets and their positions/sequence from the sun. They also like singing the planet song while pointing at the planets. This pop-up is a wonderful illustration of how the planets revolve around the sun. It also shows the moon orbiting around the earth.
2.  We like the colorful illustrations of the different planets.
3. A spread is devoted to discuss facts about each planet, the sun and the moon.

4. There are also pull-outs for curious minds and little hands, which give more information about a planet, the sun or the moon.
5. There are questions at the end of the page to check if the child remembered any of the facts that he/she read from the book.

6. There is a discussion of basic terms to help kids understand the material presented. There are also additional information for kids who are extra curious like the birth and death of a star and the dwarf planets. Love these because my kids fall under the extra curious category! ;) 

7. Most of all, I'm happy that it's a board book so it's sturdy. Perfect for my boys!
8. Last but not least, it's budget-friendly. It was only P238.50. We bought it at one of National Bookstore's branches.
If you are coming to the Manila International Book Fair (which is running from September 17-21) and you want to get a space book for your young kid, I recommend that you check National Book Store's booth to see if this book is available and on sale. (You may read my post about the Manila International Book Fair here. I shared links to free tickets, awesome finds and workshop schedules in this blog post.)
Hope this book helps your child enjoy learning about space!
Have you found other books about space or the solar system that are helpful and interesting? Feel free to share in the comments!


You and your kids can watch free planetarium movies at the 35th MIBF through the Data Science and Technology Corporation booth. They have a special screening of the movie Touching the Edge of the Universe. They have set up a dome near the stage area. Just print this ticket and show it at the booth to have a chance to watch in their booth. The screening schedules are 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM daily until Sunday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

All Set for the 35th Manila International Book Fair (#MIBF2014)

Today is the first day of the much-awaited yearly Manila International Book Fair. This is an event book lovers look forward to each year. Big discounts on books and other educational materials and toys, meet and greet activities with authors and illustrators, storytelling sessions, book launches, book signings, workshops, raffle prizes and giveaways are some of the things that people like me look forward to each year.
I checked out the booths that I will prioritize to visit to save on energy and time. The event is usually held at the SMX and it's quite tiring to go around, booth to booth, given its massive size. I usually go to back to the fair after my first visit because I get tired navigating the maze of booths that sell books and various products. I also like taking my time when I check out the books and products sold so one day is not enough for me.
So far, here are the booths that I plan to visit first. Our first target destination is the Adarna House booth. I've been searching for a copy of the book Hating Kapatid since August but it was out of stock in the National Bookstore branches that we went to. Thus, I was happy to find out that this award-winning book will be available and will be on sale as part of a bundle at the 35th Manila International Book Fair. I was also happy to discover that the other award-winning books in the bundle are books that my kids would be interested to read. 
Another bundle that I'm excited to purchase is the Science bundle. These are topics that my eldest son has been asking in the past weeks since we started our lessons on the planet and weather. I'm sure that we would enjoy reading these books. These books are recommended for Grades 4-6 students but I think my son is ready for them.

I'm excited to have our new books signed by the authors
and to have pictures taken with them with my kids.
One of the next books
in the Jepoy Dyip Series.
The next booth that I want to check out is the Lampara Publishing House booth. We recently bought a copy of the book Si Jepoy Dyip and my kids are interested to get a copy of the next books in the series. (You may read about our reading experience with this book here.) I was very happy to discover that the author and illustrator of this said book will be conducting a Children's Storytelling and Art Workshop on Saturday. I'd like to grab this chance to ask him to sign our copy and have a photo taken with my boys. I want to attend his workshop, too. The great thing about it is that we simply need to buy a copy of one of his books and we can attend the workshop for free. Aside from buying a copy of the next books in the series, I also plan to get another copy of Si Jepoy Dyip so I can give it away as a Christmas gift. I think it would be a nice gift for a little boy because the book comes with a toy.

The other workshop that I discovered and that I'm excited to attend on Saturday is the Children's Story Book Writing Workshop. The workshop will be conducted by the author of the book My Daddy! My One and Only! Just like in the other workshop, we simply need to buy a copy of the author's book to attend the workshop for free. Since we don't have a copy of that book yet, I will buy a copy for the boys. Thus, I can attend the workshop for free as well.
Another booth I want to visit is the OMF booth. I have bought plenty of Christian books from OMF since I was single. So, I was delighted to read this article that enumerated the 13 reasons why I should check out their booth this year at the book fair. I'm excited to buy copies of the new books in their Wow, God! Series plus the another new book titled Bee Green. Aside from the wonderful stories in these new titles and the 30% discount on their launch price, I'm excited because every purchase of a newly-launched book from OMF entitles the customer to get a FREE EBOOK! Isn't that a great deal?
The other booths that I plan to visit are the following: Fully Booked (to check out if the various versions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar would be on sale), Heartshaper/Lighthouse (to say hi to the owner who is also a friend and to check what materials they have on sale), Scholastic (to see what Clifford and Spot books are on sale) and Filway Marketing. Moreover, I hope to find educational toys that are on sale that we can use in our homeschool.

I also checked the line up of activities again for the next four days and took note of the ones that I plan to attend. To get the detailed schedule of events and to see the list of exhibitors who will participate in this event, check out Manila International Book Fair's website or Facebook Page.

As for me, here are some of the activities I have noted in my planner:
DAY 3 - Friday, September 19, 2014

10:00 A.M. – 12:00 NN / Stage Area
Storytelling Session with Vibal Group – LG& M Chikiting Books, Vibal Publishing House, Inc.
1:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. / OMF Booth Storytelling and Book Signing Session for Wow, God! Flaming Furnace, Fiery Faith, OMF Literature 
2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. / Stage Area
Lampara Kids Event: Magbasa, Makisaya, Maging Batang Lampara, Precious Pages Corp.
On top of these, I plan to drop by the SVP and the CSM booths to say hi to my author friends who are launching their books at the fair and who will be signing books. There are also big discounts from these two publishers so make sure you check out their booths too. I will definitely check out Vibal's both as well to check books that are on sale. Two year's ago, we bought a copy of The Rain is Here from their booth. (Read my review of this book here.)
The entrance fee for the event is P20.00 for adults and P15.00 for students, teachers and senior citizens (ID should be presented though); but you can get free tickets through the various exhibitors. I just printed our tickets which I got from the Adarna House blog. You can also print the tickets from other exhibitors like OMF, Tahanan Books, Paulines and Jesuit Communications. Or if you are near a Fully Booked branch, you can get free tickets there.
So, when do you plan to head to SMX to go to this event? What books do you plan to buy at the MIBF?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

3 Lessons I Learned From Our Homeschool Experience

When I was new to homeschooling, I felt a lot of pressure to be a good teacher. I thought, "I can't fail to be a good teacher, my son's future is at stake." This thought was aggravated when my husband and I got confirmation from our son's developmental pediatrician that he is a potentially gifted child. "What if I run out of things to teach him?" What if he doesn't respond positively to the activities I have prepared?" "What if he doesn't learn what I'm trying to teach him?" I had so many questions and doubts. I realized that choosing to be my son's main teacher is a big responsibility.
Fast forward to three years later. My eldest son is now almost six years old. He has learned a lot through the years. He's now in various levels -- Grades 1, 2 and 3. And I have learned valuable lessons in the past years through our homeschool experience. Let me share some with you.
1. Kids can learn on their own. - Yes, I've taught my son many things through the years that we've been on this homeschool journey. BUT there were also things that he taught himself. One example of this is reading in Filipino. The first language that we taught our son when he was born was English. He eventually learned to speak Filipino when he was around three years old when we had maids who spoke more in Filipino instead of English. He picked up easily. But he didn't like to read Filipino books even if I was offering to read Filipino books to him. I didn't force him. Then, there were a few occasions a couple of years ago when he read some road signs that were in Filipino. That surprised me and my husband. Still, I had no luck in convincing him to read Filipino books. That went on until he surprised us again last month by reading a Filipino book on his own from cover to cover! I was really surprised! He read fast and quite fluently! I didn't teach him that! I figured that he learned to decode the language on his own. (You can read more about this here in one of my previous blog posts.)

Yanthy reads a Filipino book on his own for the first time.
Another area where I know he is learning on his own is music. He learns songs fast. In truth, he learns songs faster than me. He picks up tunes easily and he learns how to play them in the piano fast. I'm not skilled in playing the piano and I'm not that gifted in music; so, I know for sure that I can't be his Music teacher. It's a good thing that my husband is also gifted in music so he's the one guiding our son in this adventure. But since my husband is also working on weekdays, most days, our eldest son is learning music on his own. He learns by observation. He observes the singers and the musicians that he sees in church and in our prayer meetings. He learns by exploring with our keyboard at home. Then, some days, he would just surprise us by mastering a song either by singing it or by playing it in the piano. Below is a song he learned after practicing for a few minutes for three consecutive days.

This is a humbling realization and lesson for me. The great thing about this is that it's also very liberating! It took a lot of pressure from my shoulders! Experiencing this firsthand in our homeschool enabled me to homeschool with less fears in my heart. This homeschool lesson I learned brings me to the next lesson I want to share with you.
2. Parents need to provide an environment that fosters/encourages exploration and learning. - Since kids have a great capacity to learn on their own, one of the important things that we parents can do to help them learn is by providing them with the right environment. I think that this is crucial because even if we try to teach them concepts or principles but if we do not provide the right kind of environment for them, it's possible that they will still not learn or respond positively to the things we are trying to teach them.
I think that one of the best things that my husband and I have done for our kids is providing for them an environment where they can learn all the time. Learning happens in our family not only during structured activities. Learning happens during our conversations, our daily routines and our other family activities. Books are readily accessible to them around the house. We provide them with toys and materials that facilitate learning even through play. Learning is not compartmentalized to "school activities." Learning is fun and a way of life. Reading is not a chore but an activity that we all enjoy at home. Discovery is something that can happen anytime. Exploration and play is the norm.
Last year, I got another pleasant surprise when my 21 month old baby boy started reading sight words. I have not even formally introduced the alphabet to him. But he started recognizing some sight words. It's amazing! Raising kids is an amazing job! I'm so thankful that we chose to homeschool our children because by being their main teacher, I get to witness firsthand their learning milestones.

It was with this book that Mateo
first started reading sight words.
3. We learn with our kids. - Like most parents who are new to homeschooling, one of the things that pressured me when we were starting was thinking that I need to know a lot so I can be a good teacher to my kids. But as we experienced more of homeschooling, I realized that learning is something that is not exclusive to my kids as we take on this adventure. I realized that I'm learning with my kids as I homeschool them. Surely, it meant being reminded of the many lessons I learned when I was a student myself. But I continue to be a student of life through my experiences. And I learn with my kids as I research and prepare their programs, activities and lessons. It's another humbling lesson. It's also an exciting realization!
My kids and I still have so much to learn as we continue in this adventure called homeschooling. But these lessons surely will make the next phases of our homeschool adventure more fun. It's like travelling with less baggage (fears and self-doubt). I thank God for these experiences and insights. They give me greater confidence to face whatever homeschool challenges we would encounter in the coming months or years, especially that I'll be giving birth to another boy soon, another child that I will homeschool.
What lessons have you learned so far in homeschooling your child/children? I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to share by leaving a comment.