The Guam Law
17 GCA Chapter 6, Section 6109
"Children not attending a private full-time school and who are being instructed in study and recitation for at least (3) hours a day for one hundred seventy (170) days each calendar year by a private tutor or other person, in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this Territory and in the English language, shall be exempted from attending the public school."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pacific Mathematics Activities

My son completed a wonderful mathematics activity on Map/Distance/Time/Measurement/Estimation, Word Problems. As part of this activity, he used estimation strategies and problem solving. He explored the concept of time and made decisions with justification of his reasoning. He was able to make connections between problems.

In particular, here's an excerpt from the novel used as part of this activity: "Tomi left his house as soon as it was light and when the curfew was lifted. It took him less than an hour to walk to the harbor from his house. From the harbor, Sand Island was less than a 1/4 miles. When Tomi was apprehended, he said he lived about 3 to 4 miles from the harbor. It was already pass curfew time..."

Here is the procedure my son engaged in:
-Go on a fun journey and locate the distance from Pearl Harbor to Sand Island.
-Note down the distance and time.
-Estimate the location of Tomi's house
-Discuss the scenario of Tomi's journey and generate 2 addition/subtraction word problems.

Overall, this was an engaging activity and shows how integrating literature with mathematics can do wonders!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

IRA Resource for Homeschooling

As I mentioned previously, the Guam Council of the International Reading Association helps educators and parents alike discover the wonder and the worlds to be found in books. Guam IRA is a professional organization for individuals who are genuinely concerned with the development of reading programs for children and adults. It is a group of people who work together to improve literacy and reading instruction in Guam and Micronesia.

Click on the image below to view the Guam IRA February 2010 Newsletter, which I'm sure many homeschoolers will appreciate. If you are unable to view the newsletter, visit Guam IRA's website at Enjoy!

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Homeschool Assignment Submission

My son is enjoying reading "Under the Blood Red Sun." He has much to say as part of his refelection and discussion. But before I share his activities, here's a snippet of what he wrote regarding his assignment on "Avatar":

"After watching Avatar I thought that it sent out a message, one that tells you to take another look at the world you live in and the environment that surrounds you on a daily basis. The love that the Na’vi have for the value of nature makes me wonder
about the nature on Earth. Day by day we destroy the most beautiful areas on Earth just to fit the needs of modern society, which has its benefits and cons. I feel that since we are people that populate this world, we should do more to help protect the nature from fading
away before Earth turns into another Mars."

The aformentioned ties in with different disciplines, such language arts, reading, mathematics, science, and social studies! I am delighted wlth his thought-reflective submission!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Homeschool Interdisciplinary Unit: Under the Blood Red Sun

As part of our Interdisciplinary Unit instruction, my son will read Under the Blood Red Sun. Over the course of our instruction, he will engage in various content-area activities for this unit. In the meantime, here's the synopsis for this culturally-relevant story.

Under the Blood Red Sun
Copyright 1994 by Graham Salisbury
Winner of the Scott O’Dell award for historical fiction

Tomi was born in Hawaii. His grandfather and parents were born in Japan and came to America to escape poverty. "This is a good place," says Papa, a fisherman, and Tomi knows he is right.

World War II seems far away from Tomi and his friends, even though the harbor is full of warships. They're busy playing ball on their eighth-grade team, The Rats.

The Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, and the United States declares war on Japan. Japanese men are rounded up. Tomi's father and grandfather are arrested. Taken away. Tomi must be the man of his family and help his mother and little sister survive. It's a terrifying time to be Japanese in America. But one thing doesn't change: the loyalty of Tomi's buddies, The Rats.

Guam IRA Resourceful for Homeschooling

There's no doubt that the Guam Council of the International Reading Association helps educators and parents alike discover the wonder and the worlds to be found in books. Guam IRA is a professional organization for individuals who are genuinely concerned with the development of reading programs for children and adults. It is a group of people who work together to improve literacy and reading instruction in Guam and Micronesia.

Homeschoolers should definitely consider using the Guam IRA as a resource like I do. I found various books for all my kids. In particular, we have used some of the books for the homeschooling of my oldest son. Thank you Guam IRA for being there for us!

Click on the image below to view the Guam IRA January 2010 Newsletter. If you are unable to view the newsletter, visit its website at Enjoy!

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Why Homeschooling?

"Why homeschooling?" some may ask. It's very simple. It's one way to truly meet the needs of your child, especially if they have certain conditions like my oldest son. My only daughter remains in the traditional school setting, and she enjoys it, so we've opted to let her stay where she is comfortable. My youngest son will soon be attending grade school, so I'm hopeful he'll enjoy the traditional school setting as well. If his needs are not met, we will consider homeschooling for him, but for now our decision is to have him attend school.

My oldest son is immersed in various content areas, and I usually integrate literacy in each of the subjects, so that he is motivated to read. It certainly helps that I'm an educator. Homeschooling takes dedication and time and sometimes we go beyond the required 3 hours a day, if necessary, so you can imagine that I often have a very long day, since I also teach part-time at the university on certain days! Nevertheless, I'm glad that there is an option for those children who have certain needs like my son. He is learning so much, and we don't have to worry about his absences when his eczema acts up, because he is already at school - our "homeschool" setting! I wish the very best for other homeschoolers, and I encourage you to continue to strive for the best, because focus and dedication are certainly requisites for what we do as homeschool parents!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Evaluation in Homeschooling

Evaluation is a necessary part of homeschooling, as it will determine what your child has gained and whether certain objectives were met. I use rubrics to evaluate my son's assignments, projects, etc. for it is an authentic assessment that measures his performance according to the specific objectives and respective standards covered. For instance, for his reflections I have used the following:


It may be challenging to create specific rubrics, but it is necessary to monitor progress, improve instruction, etc. I encourage other educators to create their own rubrics, so that they may continue to effectively evaluate their students. Good luck!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Homeschooling With Our Son

The decision to home school our oldest son was based upon meeting his needs. Stricken with a severe eczema condition, and despite doctors' visits, laser treatments, etc., he is still experiencing great difficulty, and this has led to school absences. Although we were able to get doctors' excuses for his absences, this still didn't help the fact that we was missing school instruction. In light of this, my husband and I decided that we had to sacrifice and home school our son, so that he does not miss any more instruction. Although we were grateful to the school for its accommodations, we knew that our son needed something even more, and thus we took the steps necessary to ensure that his needs were truly met. This included officially withdrawing him, and to ensure that we carved out at least 3 hours each day, as part of the Homeschool requirement stipulated under Guam Law (17 GCA Chapter 6, Section 6109). It is a schedule we must maintain, and because we want what's best for our son, my husband and I have made every effort to ensure our son receives the best instruction we can provide. Although it's not mandated for homeschooling, it certainly helps that I'm a certified educator, and the fact that my husband is a college graduate who is very knowledgeable. Together, along with my oldest daughter and youngest son, we have changed our lifestyle to center around homeschooling our eldest son. It has not been easy, because we ourselves are busy, but it is something that needed to be done. My son has already submitted his work, as part of a Interdisciplinary Unit we're immersed in. He is quite an intelligent young man, and we've been impressed with the submissions he has provided to us. His retellings are amazing! So far he has met Target, based upon the rubrics we're using to assess his work. We expect nothing less, especially since we're giving him one-to-one attention in his instruction. We maximize every opportunity of every day, even if it's not our official homeschool time. For instance, the other day we watched "Avatar" as a family, and we instructed our son to pay close attention, because he will be tasked to write retellings of the movie, whereby he will be required to write an essay and provide a drawing of environmental factors pertaining to the movie. We all enjoyed watching the movie, and for our son, it was a twofold experience of enjoyment and instruction!

There's no doubt that homeschooling is beneficial, but along with that comes the responsibility to meet the requirements (local mandate and curricular) and extra efforts to truly meet your child's needs. It has been challenging, yet rewarding at the same time. I recommend homeschooling for those who have unique circumstances, such as the condition experienced by my son. It was not an easy choice for us, but we did what we had to do to ensure that we meet the educational and emotional needs of our son. We don't regret our choice to homeschool him. Our oldest daughter remains in private school, and she is striving for the best in all that she does. We are proud of her performance too. Our youngest son will begin his formal schooling next year. At this point, we've decided to allow him to attend the same private school his siblings attended. Although we support homeschooling, we still want him to experience the social aspect with peers his age throughout the day every day. As you can see, we want only the best for our children. We have made sacrifices as parents, but we do it with justification that we know will make a difference in their lives!