Lessons from my Homeschooler

Monday, July 27, 2020


Last week my son Marcus celebrated his 7th birthday. 7th. It all happened in a blink of an eye I think. One Thursday morning I was surprised to find out Id be having him since he wasn't due for another month. The next thing I know here he is, a super lively boy with lots of things to say.

He did have an interesting first-grade, including the fact that he had to be homeschooled because I didn't feel that he was being supported at all in traditional school and of course, the first thing the staff wanted to do when one of their students are having problems was to blame the parents. 

Blame us for the long drive we put him through daily to go to school without understanding the whole family situation and why we opted to send him to school close to where we work- not close to where we live.

But lemme just get one thing straight. Marcus is an awesome and smart kid. Yes he is. All his life he had to fight all these silly diagnoses: e.g. at age 2 he was diagnosed with Severe Cognitive Delay because he didn't know 200 words and he didn't respond to the speech therapist when she called his name. First off lady, he didn't know you and you put these toys in front of him. Who do you think will he pay attention to? Who or what would be more interesting to him: a bunch of nice, brightly colored toys or a boring old lady attempting a conversation?


So they offered speech therapy (why not, it's free and covered by insurance) and he did  just for the hell of it (even though I know as a mom, that there’s nothing wrong with my son)and guess what? After 5 months he met his milestones and HAS NOT STOPPED TALKING SINCE. 

Another example: school staff assumed he had ADD because he'd rather play than sit on his chair and stay put, but they won't spend the money on getting him tested or the resources that he needed and instead, wanted me to take him to get tested myself. These are presumed experts we're talking about (school psychologists, teachers, the principal, and staff of whom I have to fight with) who already treated him differently and somehow just gave me the feeling that they wanted him out because he refused to act and behave the way they wanted him to or expected him to. 

Ok honestly, I'm proud of him for that, as we've always been taught to stay in our line and in this imaginary box called “category”.

Marcus started homeschooling  last year after a couple of months in traditional public school since he wasn't getting what he needed at the time from traditional public school. It just wasn't his thing. He was not interested and nothing they do or say can make him. 

What a blessing in disguise especially when Covid 19 hit. While others struggle to make peace with their new routine and online classes, he was already ahead in his program and kept going with his curriculum. He kept working and studying on his own. His homeschool teacher even told me he knows more than the other first grader who had just started homeschooling because of Covid. But I'm not one to compare. Only thing I can say is, results speak for itself.

Marcus recently completed first grade and his 360 assessments. His math level: that of a third grader after 6 months of school. His reading level: that of a second grader after 4 months of school.

Lesson learned 1: Believe in your child. Allow them to decide how they wanna learn.

Am I sending him back to public school? Damn right I am. Because he is looking forward to going back to school and he does love it there as evidenced by his favorite subject: recess. And he did get accepted to another elementary school but we will see how this fall semester goes. 

If I was to decide (and I thought about it deeply), I would enroll him in a charter school where they go to class in small groups, and do some days online, some days in-person. But then  he talked about how he's looking forward to going back to school again and meeting new friends. He wanted to go back to traditional school. So I decided why not give him a chance since this is what he wanted and he's giving himself another chance. Maybe this time things will be different especially since we know better. Of course, things are in a limbo right now. 

Lesson learned 2: Let your child show you how he wants to learn.

Marcus loves computers. He thrives in it. I think that's why he thrived in online learning. Not to mention the fact that he loves to play games in his tablet. So I downloaded Homer and Elephant Learning App for his reading and math and it helped him tremendously. Our rule is that: if you want to play games, you gotta do your learning first. 

Lesson learned 3: There are more than one options on how to "school" your child. Embrace it.

This is a huge lesson for myself. Since I grew up in traditional school, I thought that that's the only way to go. But then I realized that just because I learned a certain way and grew up doing certain things doesn't mean my child will do the same. 

There is no right or wrong when choosing how you want your child to be educated- it all depends on what works for your child and your family lifestyle. Be open to options and again, let your child show you how he wants to learn.

Lesson learned 4: Last but not least: your child is unique. 

He won't be like everybody else. And it's a good thing. Accept it, so that in turn he learns acceptance- of both himself and others.

And here is the little man of the hour:


Wella :-)

P.S. From now until July 31st Friday, my friends at Ultimate Bundles are having a sale. It's called the Ultimate Homeschooling Bundle-a collection of 50+ resources plus bonuses (from K-12) to help your child learn- no matter where you and your child decide to go to school. Learning resources are always good. It's what helped me become a "better-awared" parent. And being involved in your child's learning whether they're homeschooled or not, is always a good thing. 

P.P.S. I am an affiliate of the Ultimate Bundles, which means at no cost I get paid a small commission when you use my link Thank you in advance. Check out the Ultimate Bundles here :-)

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Brown is Beautiful

Monday, May 25, 2020


I never used to believe that.


When I was young, I wanted so much to be light-skinned. I was born dark and I never understood why because my mom was super pale light, my sister takes after her and my brother is kinda light. In fact I asked myself quite a few times, Whatever happened to genetics? How the hell did it miss me?


My dad, on the other hand, was the brown skin carrier of the family. My dad’s side of the family is primarily dark-skinned except for a few anomalies, and yes I look more like them. I can blend in well with them.


My mom’s side however is a different story as most of the time they don’t even know about me or my existence (except for my Grandma, of course who always seemed to find me amusing). Often, I would be mistaken for the help’s daughter if not the help.


So no, I never liked myself because of the fact that I was dark. I grew up in a country where the standard of beauty is a mestiza looking girl with pointy nose, thin lips, pale face, big eyes, and super light, oh-so- flawless skin..


I was brown.

I was short.

I had small eyes.

I had buck teeth.

I had pimples.

I had thick, straight,  boring, lifeless hair.


And all I had going for me was my super excellent grades in school (Where else was I. Supposed to devote my attention too?) and a few good friends. Who wants that?

I thought if I was lighter, I won’t be picked on much by stupid boys.

Instead, I would get noticed more…especially by boys I liked. I thought I would have a better future ahead of me if I was lighter.


If my skin was lighter…I thought I would finally be happy.



All my childhood years, that’s all I prayed about. Lord, please. Make me pretty one of these days. You can start with my skin.

When we became teenagers, all my friends (and my sister) started to get noticed. But me? I was just there.

Watching as they get their daily supply of Toblerone chocolate (a big deal if you are a broke high schooler in the Philippines)

A few dozens of roses on Valentine’s Day.

Then there’s the love letters.

And getting hit on.

Yes, little plain old me can’t help but feel slightly depressed (and jealous!).

My world revolved around the belief that I was less than who I was because I wasn’t the embodiment of true Filipina beauty.

But then… something happened.

I grew up.

”Woman-ed” up.

Woken up from this wild dream.


Suddenly, I refuse to spend my last few change on some skin cream whitener promising  to make me look like a typical Filipino celebrity.

I decided not to starve myself anymore (in an effort to buy these whitening products) and instead,  I used  the extra change I have to buy me some fattening food.

I simply stopped giving a shit about being liked (or not) anymore. Nor would I even try. I wanted people to like me for who I was and not how much melanin is swimming in my skin.



I asked myself: Why do I have to be influenced by this 300 yr old concept that was somehow forced upon us- The lighter you are, the better you look, and the better your life will be in all ways?


Why do women subject themselves in this madness- going as far as getting  glutathione injection an d pills in an attempt to look White?


I remember back then when I used to complain to our help that no one will ever marry me.  Instead,  I’ll be a nun instead Bound to spend the rest of my life in celibacy not because I have a calling, but because I prolly had no choice. Nobody wanted a dark skinned girl back then, at least back in my time.


Gently she’d tell me…”Maghintay ka lang, dadating din yan” (Just wait, he will come).


So I waited…

And waited…

And waited…


And showed up he did…years later. And yes, he loves me for who I am, regardless of the difference in our skin tone.


Sometimes you get caught up in a cultural belief that honestly serves you no purpose as it does sticking your tongue out in pictures.


Question is, do you really have to jump at the bandwagon like everybody else?


So you ask..What about those people who absolutely still feel the same way? Who don’t think they are beautiful unless they are light-skinned? You cant really blame or force them to think otherwise. You can never change people’s thoughts and beliefs. Nor can you control their behaviors and actions.


But you can change your thoughts. No one has the power to control you unless you let them. True beauty is in the inside. Intelligence is sexy. Humor is attractive. A kind heart lasts for a while- a lifetime, so to speak.



So to all my Filipino sisters out there, don’t be discouraged if  you don’t look like Anne Curtis, Marian Rivera or any other commercialized-type looking Filipina model. The media wants you to believe that they are the only standard but that’s not true.

You might think yeah, easy for me to say because I’m not in the Philippines, and in the US people are more accepting  of the color of my skin.

Believe me, it’s a whole different story (I learned) for another day.

Stop wasting your money on these products that yes, might change the way you look, but for what cause?

So that you can look better? And for whose eyes?

For people who could care less about you since they don’t pay your bills?

And so what if your beautiful caramel mocha latte brown skin is a little too dark for your liking  it makes the white of your eyes pop out?

So effing what?

Are you going to die of shame because of this?

Point is, life is too short  to care about what people think about you- beauty and all. Life is too short for you to be wasting your energy on things and people that no longer serves you or your life purpose (is that deep or what?).

The truth is that you are beautiful in your own unique way my dear…quirks and all. Embrace it like there’s no tomorrow.

Own it like you mean it.


Flaunt it cause you got it.


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Some late night thoughts...

Thursday, April 30, 2020

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It's 12:34 am as I write this and yes, I'm well awake.

Idk why, I'm just not tired. So I decided to do what I most love to do when everybody's off to their dreamland...and that's writing.

I've been in love with this quiet activity for a long time now.

In my mind I must've romanticized writing so much and pictured myself many times sitting in the balcony,  with a laptop, a cup of coffee and a cigarette on my table. I might have been half naked or not.

Remember Allie of The Notebook wrapped in a blanket and painting one morning after a night of some heavy, passionate smashing?  Yep...that scene right there except it's the 2020's and no, there’s no heavy, out of this world smashing at the moment.

So, thought for the night.

20 years ago, somebody killed my dream when I was told that there's no money in writing. Back then I was thinking about majoring in Literature I think because it intrigued me and I thought I would do good. But then my dream died that early morning when a well-meaning person gave me a super painful reality check: "The only way you can make money off of writing is if you already know somebody. And we don't know anybody".

 So I moved on with a sort of viable major in college but I never stopped writing on the side. I knew someday I would bring my writing back to life.

The truth is, it never died.

I wrote, entertained, confused and pissed the hell outta lot of people all these years.

Trust me, I've been in odds with  a handful of them- from a high school English teacher who tries too damn hard to be cool and please the "elite clique" in my class  to my now ex-husband. My writing never singled out anybody.

But why am I so at peace  with all these?

It's simple. I'm not a popular person. I have 0 followers in this blog. Chances are the people that would be affected in one way or another with my heartfelt content would NEVER read my stuff.

 I had my own personal blog for years with few visitors and I was content with that. From time to time, a fiend would come across it, give a couple of nice complements and move on. Other times, I’m being told I can’t write for shit.

And what I learned from all those years of personal blogging is that it’s not about them. I write to not please other people (struggled with that). I write for myself. So I can get what’s on my mind out either on paper, journal or blog. I call it free writing.

If I always have to worry about what other people would think about me or the kind of person I am through my writing, then I guess I’m not truly being real and freeing my soul.

So there. My late night thoughts. I’m curious to know, have you ever struggled with being true to your craft- whether it’s writing, singing, pole dancing, gardening or whatever it is you love to do? I’d love to know your thoughts.
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Monday, January 28, 2019

I turned 36 two weeks ago...it was uneventful but otherwise memorable. It was quiet and peaceful, spent with only the people that truly cared about me and vice versa. Mr. S bought a huge chocolate cake from Costco, I was actually quite impressed (with him and the quality of the cake, knowing it's store-bought not customized). Well, I was impressed with him, kind of made me realize I'm on the right path as far as relationship goes. We've been together for more than a year now, known each other for longer than that. Fell for him at a time when I wasn't expecting to feel any type of way towards him. I'm still surprised how far we've come when I look back at our story.

As always, being 36 does not feel any less than being 18, which happens to be half the age. Except for the occasional fatigue and body pain, I think physically I'm doing good. Mind you, I pushed a five pound baby out of my maternally advanced body two weeks before my birthday. I'm actually proud of myself for that.

the best gift of being 36? Two years ago I was in a very dark place as I was trying to roll with the changes in my life and figure out my next move. I once read in O magazine, that the moment you decided to make a change in your life that's when it all starts to become messy. Oh, it was more than messy. But here I am, two years later holding the one good thing that came out of all the mess. Makes me realize all the things good and bad that I went through somehow led me to her. That somehow she was just waiting on me to take the steps, one day at a time. I call her my silver lining. We all have them.  It's a daily reminder that it's worth forgiving ourselves and we should do it more often.

Bella :-)

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Hi there, me.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

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There’s so much that happened, so many truths that unfolded, so many lessons learned, so many hurt that needed overcoming and you’re here. Simply. Who would’ve thought?

It’s not over yet, though. There’s still endeavors to face as you indulge yourself in this so called second chance in life and love to make things right for yourself  and your little ones.

Life is crazy. It’s one hell of a 35 almost 36 yr journey. I thought I had it all figured out. A great career. A picture perfect family- that serves both as inspiration and envy to the onlookers. Ugh the pressure of keeping up with perfection. But then life has other plans. And you my dear,  had to make choices. Difficult, nerve racking, not so great choices that led to a whole lot of mess including lost of self respect, guilt, shame, family members chastising you, friends who don’t understand you, and so on so forth. But you made the choice, and here you are texting on your phone while listening to Overstreet’s Hold On from Pandora, all while breastfeeding your one week old beauty.

And here you are, two years later after you stopped writing profoundly about your thoughts,  because you were scared of your own pieces getting used against you. In other words, you didn’t want any drama and with that came hiding the truth from the world- your world.

It’s not gonna be easy, but really you’re just trying to get back to you again for whatever that means and whatever it will cost you because sometime ago you promised to be true to yourself and not have it any other way.

So I commend you. No more writing about superficial things like gut health, or the latest green recipe. You’re here being yourself and being human for the first time in a long time. Isn’t that something?

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