For this family, it’s that time of the year for…

  • summer vacation ( we are officially on a summer break but the children are sick so we might get to enjoy the break in May…sigh)
  • putting away, discarding, saving the stuff from the just concluded school year
  • going over the good (and the bad) from the school year
  • interpreting the “grades”
  • “promising” to do better for the next school year by working more on the weak points
  • rewards for good grades which translates to getting higher marks than the previous trimester, or depends on set expectations for final grades (they don’t get big things, only small rewards)

I remember telling my eldest daughter when she was in the elementary grades (and now my two younger children) that I am more concerned that she gets good marks with the citizenship details in her card.

Of course, I tell them, the grades they get do not necessarily reflect who they are. The grades they get reflect the hard work, dedication, persistence and how much they worked hard to understand the concepts and ideas being taught to them but that is not who they are as a whole. The grades are but one aspect of their school life.

Yes, whether we like it or not, these good high grades will open doors of opportunities for students like scholarships. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment especially when they are recognized with these marks. For me though, academic grades should not just be the gauge on students as being”better than other students” because everyone has his/her abilities that should be enhanced and cultivated.

The Citizenship evaluation in the children’s report card, on the other hand, is more important for me because these are the “grades” or evaluation that their all their teachers give as a gauge on how they are seen as…

  • someone who can be trusted,
  • someone who is responsible,
  • someone who shows respect,
  • someone who shows (or not) leadership abilities,
  • someone who is concerned with deadlines, homework, projects, etc
  • someone who cleans up after her/his own mess,
  • someone who participates in school activities and discussions,
  • someone who listens attentively,
  • someone who accepts responsibilities for his/her own action,
  • someone who observes rules and regulations,
  • someone who respects the rights of others

Does your child’s school have these in the report cards?

Or do you just get the numerical equivalent of their grades in academic and non-academic subjects where behavior is given an equivalent number or letter? A B or B+ or 92 for behavior?

Do you think behavior can be measured with a number? Why is it that we put value in numbers and letters and not appreciate the hard work that went with it, no matter what the grade equivalent? 

Does it matter if a child gets the highest academic grades but is disrespectful of other people or does not accept responsibility for his/her mistakes?

As parents, we should focus more on seeing a happy, respectful, responsible and hardworking child who is stress-free and not pressured to deliver when his limits have been reached. We should focus more on a learning that is not memorized, a learning that can be used outside the classroom, either as something to help one deal with the immediate environment and other people or as something to help make one a better person.

And FYI, in my children’s school, all graduating students get awards in their own respective fields outside the academics.

Posted by julie @ 11:55 am
Shelved under My Thoughts, Parenting

Moms should find time for a “ME” time. Specific instruction on “ME” time and not “MOM” time.

This is not being selfish and all, wanting to spend time with one’s self, without the children, without thoughts of unfinished house work (well, there better be no house work to think about as these should all be done the soonest possible time) and just being a “ME” and not a “MOM”.

What were you before you became a mom? What activities did you enjoy most? What hobbies did you cultivate before being a mom? What activities do you like to engage in with your “ME” time?

  • Do you like to read?
  • Do you like to dance?
  • What about learning a musical instrument or a foreign language?
  • Do you like to further enhance your singing voice?
  • Do you like to get fit and join a group of people wanting to become fit?
  • Do you like to get a graduate degree course?
  • What about gardening? cooking? sewing? crafting? driving?
  • Or do you just want to have an hour or just half of it to take it slow and have a refreshing nap?
  • Perhaps you just want to enjoy a bar of your favorite chocolate all by yourself?

Whatever it is you want, like or need to do for yourself, find time for it and do it. Fix your schedule so that you are able to manage your time and resources.  If it is not possible to leave the house because there would be no one to mind the children, then you can do virtual lessons in cooking, sewing, crafting, fitness exercises and even learning a musical instrument. The possibilities are endless as long as you are willing to plan ahead.

And please, do not feel guilty about spending “ME” time because you deserve this after all the hard work you put in the care of your children and your household.

Personally,  ”ME” time is not to be spent a few hours away from the children and the household every day, doing things and spending time with people who do not contribute to your own personal growth.

What is it then?

It could be…

  • once-a-week salon pampering,
  • lunch with friends,
  • coffee time with college buddies you haven’t seen for a few months,
  • a movie with your BFF,
  • a once a week formal lessons in cooking, crafting, sewing, dancing, and gym time,
  • early morning/evening walk in the neighborhood,
  • reading one book per week
  • enjoying a slice of your favorite chocolate cake. Alone.

When your children see that you are happy, that you love yourself as much as you love them, that you don’t stop learning new things, then you inspire them to do better because they have you as their role model. Isn’t that what we would like for our children?


Posted by julie @ 10:43 am

This seemingly contradictory phrase is dedicated to those whose life seems to hang in the balance when disconnected.  For that matter, that includes me, too.

Let me ask how many gadgets you have to get connected to the World Wide Web? Do you have a laptop? A pc? A smart phone? A tablet? A camera with wifi connectivity? A phablet? Chances are, you have at least two or three of these electronic gadgets and more often than not, your attention is held captive by the small screen glowing in front of you.

There is nothing wrong with having gadgets especially if these allow you to communicate with your loved ones who are far away, to make work-related decisions, or to browse social media sites that you frequently visit to share your latest shopping find, food trip or selfie.  Just be sure you don’t let the gadgets dominate your lives and diminish the quality of your face-to-face personal interaction.

Consider these questions and answer honestly:

·         Have you felt that you are serving the electronic gadgets you own instead of the other way around?

·         Have you felt that you need to check the latest updates from your friends,  the latest news, the latest trends and what’s hot or not in your favourite topics before going to bed?

·         Right now, how many programs are open on your computer? Perhaps your email, Google search box, social media sites and online shopping sites? Even more?

·         Where is your mobile phone or tablet right now? Is it at your side, in your hand, in your pocket, at your bedside? Is the alert signal turned on to keep you posted of an incoming message?

·         Does the need to be connected make you happy or does it cause you some distraction, a headache from lack of sleep and eye strain, and stress?

·         Do you feel connected but at the same time you feel alone?

·         Has the phrase “Alone together” ever occurred to you when you are with family and friends and everyone is looking at each one’s smart phones and conversation is sporadic or desultory?

(Are your gadgets more important than your wedding rings? You know, do you frequently look at these more even if you are spending quality time with your spouse?)

As connected as we try to be using technology, it has also removed us from having meaningful face-to-face conversations, connections and interactions.  Ironically, these tools we use to be more connected make it difficult to be intimate.

William Powers wrote in his book Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age: “And we’re losing something of great value, a way of thinking and moving through time that can be summed up in a single word: depth. Depth of thought and feeling, depth in our relationships, our work and everything we do. Since depth is what makes life fulfilling and meaningful;  it’s astounding that we’re allowing this to happen.”

Do we live plugged-in lives?


Posted by julie @ 10:35 am

Here Comes the Sun is the daughter’s guitar piece yesterday for the Music Third Trimester test.

It really is a wonder how technology has helped hone raw talents even without having formal lessons with a teacher. My youngest daughter’s fascination with guitar playing has come a long way from just mere strumming to plucking.

It would not make me wonder why she would one day suddenly ask us to support her learn another musical instrument, perhaps one that will need a bach 3c trumpet mouthpiece? No problem, as long as she keeps the interest in learning new things, we will support her. That is what we parents are here for, right?

Posted by julie @ 9:11 pm

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

We all trooped to Quirino Grandstand and Luneta last Sunday to participate in the 2014 Shell Eco-Marathon happening in Manila. Read the HIGHLIGHTS of the 2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Asia here. Our main purpose is to see the cars running in the race tracks. There were nine entries from the different Philippine universities including the eldest daughter’s uni. The team got fifth place overall in their category while two other universities did good too, in another category.

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

Security was tight, and we didn’t mind. There were designated entrances and exits and foot traffic was good. Visitors will be able to see the races before they enter the main venue where different activities for visitors await them. The foot bridges constructed where visitors will get access to and from the main venue had barriers to keep visitors from being directly above the running cars.

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

We first went to the venue where the mini Shell Eco-Marathon cars are being assembled. Every visitor gets one. It is your choice to assemble your car kit or not, such as it is your choice to enter in the race or not. We got five race car kits and assembled three.

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

We raced two mini SEM cars and the youngest daughter won her race, besting nine other cars. The best thing aside from assembling your mini SEM cars? These run on saltwater “fuel”. Cool huh?

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

We also went to the Energy Lab where the visitors can take part in the different activities and learn about energy.

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

My kids loved the activities there.

2014 Shell Eco-Marathon Manila

How to Unspoil Your Spoiled Brat Divalette/Devilette part 1 was shared here. For the full article, please READ HERE.

Now for part two, I raised a few suggestions that might help parents out there, when they are faced with daunting situations that will surely sap the energy out of them if they will not curb the cues that their child has been exhibiting to be called a “spoiled brat” or divalette.

  1. Be firm.
  2. Avoid empty threats with clear and short instructions.
  3. Be consistent.
  4.  Avoid overprotecting your child by rushing in to “rescue” them.
  5. Avoid overindulging in material things.   How many dolls can your little girl play with her two hands? How many gadgets can a little boy handle at the same time? 
  6. Stay on track despite being saddled with responsibilities that make you want to say yes because you are just tired.
  7. Spend time and not money on your children.

Can you answer these questions regarding the way you bring up your child?

1.      Do you buy your child something every time you go to stores? By buying, it means that if you are to buy just boss me 70 and not a toy, then you exit the stores without purchasing the latter.

2.      Do you allow your child to run around in places they are not supposed to roam, like churches, restaurants, supermarkets and doctor’s clinics?

3.      Do you allow your child to throw temper tantrums in public places?

4.      Do you allow your child to hit and disrespect you (and others as well)?

5.      Do you give your child what she wants just so she will stop crying?


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