Warning: This is quite a long post, but I hope it will be worth your time, especially if you plan on visiting KidZania Manila soon! ;)

kidzania manila

Finally, the moment we parents have all been waiting for is here: KidZania Manila is set to open its doors to the public on August 7, 2015! :) In case you haven’t heard, KidZania Manila is THE ultimate pretend play place for kids — it’s “the play city where kids do big things”!

The concept of KidZania actually originated in Mexico, and KidZania Manila is the 20th KidZania city in the world — the first of its kind in the Philippines!

kidzania manila

KidZania’s mascots or “RightZKeepers” performing at KidZania Go!, KidZania Manila’s Pre-Launch Event earlier this year, which we were blessed to attend (Photo courtesy of KidZania Manila’s Ministry of Communications)

Located at Park Triangle in Bonifacio Global City, KidZania Manila boasts of 8,000 square meters of play space, with over 50 activity centers where kids aged 4-14 will have THE ultimate pretend play experience — and I’m not exaggerating! Believe me, your kids will surely be begging you to go back! (Our kids are still asking me when we can do so, ha, ha!)

KidZania Manila

Screen shot from the KidZania Manila website. For a larger version of the map to KidZania Manila, click here.

So, what exactly can you see at KidZania Manila? Here’s a sneak peek — though you’ll have to forgive me, because being four months pregnant now (*surprise, surprise, in case you didn’t know! ;) *), with three kids running around, I really had a hard time taking photos and noting things down during the “city tour” we had at the Press Preview!

KidZania Manila: Getting inside

kidzania manila

Upon entering, you “check in” at the KidZania International Airport, where you pay for your tickets, which can be booked online starting August 3.

You will receive a KidZania City Map, a “boarding pass,” KidZania City Codes (which contains all the rules and regulations inside KidZania Manila — I recommend you read them BEFORE you go; just click here). Each child will also get a check worth 50 “kidZos,” which is the currency used inside the city. They can encash the checks at the BPI bank inside KidZania Manila.

Below are the ticket prices, based on the KidZania Manila official website:

Ticket prices from August 7 to October 7, 2015:

Weekdays: Mondays-Thursdays

  • Children (4-14 years old) – P750
  • Toddlers (1-3 years old) – P420
  • Babies/ Kids below two (2) feet in height – FREE
  • Adults – P420.00

Weekends: Fridays – Sundays (and National Holidays)

  • Children (4-14 years old) – P1,000
  • Toddlers (1-3 years old) – P550
  • Babies/ Kids below two (2) feet in height – FREE
  • Adults – 550.00

Ticket prices from October 8, 2015 onwards:

Weekdays: Mondays-Thursdays

  • Children (4-14 years old) – P900
  • Toddlers (1-3 years old) – P500
  • Babies/ Kids below two (2) feet in height – FREE
  • Adults – P500.00

Weekends: Fridays – Sundays (and National Holidays)

  • Children (4-14 years old) – P1,100
  • Toddlers (1-3 years old) – P600
  • Babies/ Kids below two (2) feet in height – FREE
  • Adults – 600.00

kidzania manilaFor parents like me who have more than one child and no helpers/yayas, or won’t be bringing them along, you may be wondering how you can keep track of each kid, and about the security of your kids while inside the city. Don’t worry — KidZania has it covered! :)

From the official website:

All visitors who enter KidZania Manila will be required to wear an RFID (radio frequency identification) security bracelet. Each child will be matched with a corresponding adult who will also wear an RFID security bracelet. No child is allowed to leave the facility without being accompanied or picked-up by the registered adult.

Here is what the bracelets look like (photo from the KidZania Manila website):

kidzania manila

If you have toddlers or younger children, the bracelets will be placed on their ankles instead of their wrists. (Our toddler insisted on having hers on her wrist though, like her older siblings!)

Once you have passed “security checks” at the airport, you — well, more like your kids actually — can begin having fun! :) (Though I am sure all the adults who visit KidZania Manila will be amazed and thrilled at all the fun things that can be done too!)

KidZania Manila: Things to do once you’re inside

Here are photos of just SOME of the things you can see — and what your kids can do — at KidZania Manila (some of these are also on my Facebook page):

One of the “main attractions” for the kids is the Airline Crew Training Facility, or “aviation academy,” as my son calls it. I was unable to take photos inside because our toddler was all over the place, ha, ha! Note that kids have to pay for the activity here, similar to real life, when one pays to attend training workshops, etc. So make sure that your child has already exchanged his/her check for cash before you go here (or anywhere else, for that matter)!

Also shown in the photo is the city’s Radio Station, where kids can part of a live radio broadcast, and the Theater, where they can show their acting talents in a stage play, or be part of the marching band at the City Clock Tower (on the balcony of the theater).

kidzania manila

Among the other activities that kids can do at KidZania Manila (clockwise, left to right): Learn how to care for trees and plants at the Urban Garden; create their own treats and snacks at the Oishi Creative Hub; visit the KidZania Tiangge and make their own handmade arts & craft creations to take home; and learn how to file for and pay taxes at the City Tax Office (kids can also help compute and collect taxes from businesses inside the city).

kidzania manila

Other fun activities, which my kids tried so they could earn more kidZos: Apply for a job at the Magazine Publishing House and make your own comic strip — Tim did this while his little sisters were at the Beauty Salon nearby. ;) The girls spent some of their kidZos first, because they wanted to get manicures! Then they got busy “working” at the salon, so they could earn back their money! Ha, ha!

kidzania manila

One of the most amusing experiences for me as a parent at KidZania Manila: Our toddler was a “police officer” alongside her sister, while their Kuya helped put out a fire! (The firefighting activity is actually one of the most popular ones in KidZania, because the kids get to ride a moving fire truck and use actual water to “put out” a fire at a hotel.)

kidzania manila

Here’s another place where the girls spent some time: The KidZania Hospital, where kids can be part of a paramedic team, or work together to perform a transplant operationThe photo on top shows our toddler trying to get into the ambulance, ha, ha! :) The ambulance is a moving one, and it goes around the city with the fire truck when the kiddie firefighters go to put out a “fire.”

kidzania manila

IMPORTANT NOTE: Our 2-year-old was allowed inside some of the establishments just for that day — usually, only kids ages 4 to 14 are allowed inside to do the activities. Maybe it was because it was a special event for the press? Anyway, she had LOTS of fun and, to my surprise and amusement, listened attentively to all the “lessons” taught by the Zupervisors in the different areas! :) Thank you, everyone, for being so nice and accommodating, especially to our little one!

Actually, kids ages 3 and below are welcome to roam around KidZania — walking, sitting in strollers (must not be larger than 36″ x 52″ or 92 cm x 132 cm), carried or “worn” by their parents — BUT are not allowed to participate in the activities.

There are, however, two special areas designated for them: the RightZKeepers’ House, and the Kindergarten. Our toddler had a blast at the former (we were unable to visit the latter) — it’s basically a play area that is full of pretend play items perfect for little ones! The “bedroom” is actually a “bouncy-house” area, and the bathtub is like a ball pit.

(NOTE: Although my two older kids are seen in the photo of the bedroom {bottom right}, they’re actually NOT allowed in there! They were allowed just for that day, since the RightZKeepers’ House and the Kindergarten are strictly for kids 3 and below. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay and keep an eye on them, of course!)

kidzania manila

More places your kids can check out: The Bookstore, where they can browse freely through the books, or take part in storytelling sessions; the Ice Cream Factory, where they can learn how to make their own ice cream; the Climbing Building, where they can pretend to be cable service installers (IMPORTANT: your kids need to be wearing shoes for this — our son wasn’t able to try it because he was wearing sandals); and the Hotel, where they can have a go at working in housekeeping, food and dining, or reception.

kidzania manila

Please forgive the poor lighting of some of my photos!

As previously mentioned, these are just SOME of the places you can see and the things your kids can do in KidZania Manila. Check out a more complete list of activities on their website:)

When your kids are ready to go (or your time limit is up, whichever comes first!), all of you have to proceed to the Immigration Office. That is where you surrender your security bracelets and “check out.”

The KidZania Manila souvenir shop — dubbed the National Store — is strategically located right below the Immigration Office, so if you want to get souvenirs of your visit, you can do so. (Sorry, no photos, tired me was in a rush to get the kids out and find a taxi!)

FAQs about KidZania Manila

When my friends saw the photos of our KidZania “field trip,” a few of them had questions for me, the answers to which I think will be helpful to other people as well — so I am sharing their Q’s and the A’s here:

1. Is there a separate fee for each establishment/activity area inside KidZania Manila?

No. The fee you pay (when you buy your tickets) covers entrance to ALL the establishments/activity areas inside KidZania. 

2. Are children with disabilities allowed to enter KidZania Manila?

Yes! They are very welcome! The Zupervisor I spoke to at the Press Preview emphasized this to me when I asked them about it. Should they need assistance doing the activities, the Zupervisors can help them out OR the child’s adult companion can do so.

3. Are we allowed to bring our own food and drinks?

No, except for the following:

  • Distilled drinking water for infant formula
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically–indicated nutritional supplements
  • Any food required for special dietary needs
  • Canned, jarred, or processed baby food, breast milk and infant formula
  • Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition are permitted “in the absence of suspicious activity”

*If needed, you may also bring soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep.

4. Where can we buy food and drinks while inside KidZania Manila then?

Personally, if you’re on a budget (and who isn’t these days, right?! ;) ), I would recommend that you eat a heavy meal before going inside KidZania Manila. If you really need to buy food and drinks there, you can choose from the following food outlets:

  • McDonalds
  • Yellow Cab
  • Via Mare
  • Goldilocks
  • Mini-Stop
  • Purefoods 

5. Is there a discount for PWDs?

I asked this at the press preview, and was told “Yes,” there will be a 20% discount during the soft opening (which is next week). Beyond that, there is no information yet regarding special discounts (at least, that’s what the Zupervisor who I was talking to told me).

If you want to be really, really sure though, it may be best to contact KidZania Manila ahead of time via phone: +632-711-KidZ, or email: info@kidzania.com.ph, or via their Facebook page (they reply pretty quickly to messages!).

6. Are parents allowed inside the establishments/activity areas?

No, but you will be able to view your kids through the glass doors and windows of the establishments/activity areas. If your kids are old enough to be left roaming around the city, you can even have some “me-time” at the Parents’ Lounge, if you want!

(The lounge, pictured below, comes complete with electrical outlets, and a McCafe. There is free wi-fi inside KidZania as well.) 

kidzania manila

7. Will bringing kids younger than 3 years old be “worth it”?

It depends on your budget. ;) If you have the resources, go for it — although, like I said before, kids 3 and below are only allowed inside two areas, namely the RightZKeepers’ House and the Kindergarten.

8. Can our kids bring home the kidZos that they earn inside KidZania Manila?

Yes, they can, but you need to make sure that they are not damaged so that they can use them again in their next visit.

Better yet, open a bank account inside KidZania Manila before you leave, and have them deposit their extra kidZos there for safekeeping. (Remember, children can use kidZos to buy stuff or pay for services inside the city, just like in real life.)

9. Can we bring bags and/or strollers inside?

Yes, you can. There are baggage and stroller counters available, for your convenience.

10. Are we allowed to re-enter KidZania within our allotted time for the day?

Kindly note that only adults are allowed to re-enter KidZania within the allotted time for the day, BUT you must make sure that your kid companions 8 years old and below have accompanying guardians with them.

Practical tips to help you plan your Kidzania Manila visit 

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what KidZania Manila would look like, except for what I saw in articles and social media. So I wasn’t really prepared for the experience, and neither were the kids! Ha, ha!

That’s why I’m sharing these tips with YOU, in the hopes that they will help you plan for your own visit (and as reminders to myself, too, for the next time we go there!). Remember, KidZania Manila opens to the public on August 7, so start planning! :)

1. Talk to your kids about what they can do inside KidZania Manila.

Orient them about the “entrance process” (i.e. security bracelets, etc.), and, if possible, discuss in advance which activities they’d like to try first. Again, you can check out the activities here. I suggest you let them choose freely, depending on their interests. Make a list of the activities that they want to try BEFORE you go.

2. If you’re going with more than one child, decide on which kid(s) will be “independent” and which kid(s) will need a companion.

Generally, I’d say kids ages 8 and above would be “independent” enough to go around on their own (like our son was!). Actually, according to the KidZania Manila City Codes:

Child Visitors above eight (8) years old shall be allowed to remain in the facility without a parent/guardian.  Said parent/guardian will be requested to fill up a UNIVERSAL ADULT FORM which should be presented by the same adult during pick-up.  Only the parent/guardian stated in this form are will be allowed to pick up the child Visitor.

If you’re with multiple younger kids, it would be best to just go around together, like I did with my daughters (ages 6 and 2).

Be prepared, though, in case your younger child insists on going into an activity area with his/her older sibling — I had to distract our toddler with other things at times, because she wanted to go inside activity areas/establishments with her sister!

3. Make sure everyone is dressed comfortably and wearing proper footwear.

The KidZania Manila City Codes outlines the proper attire that visitors should have. I recommend that you and your kids wear comfortable tops and pants or shorts, and comfortable shoes.

(Although all of us were wearing sandals when we went, which is perfectly OK, too, though, as I mentioned, my son wasn’t able to do the climbing activity because he wasn’t wearing shoes.)

4. Once you’re inside KidZania Manila, have an “orientation” with your kids BEFORE you let them go off and do their desired activities.

Show them where the toilets and fire exits are.

kidzania manila

The toilets are all child-friendly of course!

Also, designate at least two places where you can meet at a certain time — good suggestions are the Parents’ Lounge and the City Clock Tower. (Or, if you’re bringing kids 3 years old and below, the RightZKeepers’ House, since you’ll probably be spending most of your time there.)

5. If your (older) kids have their own cellphones, make sure they bring them inside. 

This way, it will be easier to contact them and locate them if needed. If they don’t have their own phones, maybe you can lend them an extra phone if you have one. Or if you have personal 2-way radios, you can use those too. ;)

6. Remind your kids about what to do in case they are “lost.”

Technically, your kids won’t get “lost” inside KidZania Manila, since it is a secure and safe place.

However, there may be times that they will look for you and don’t know where to find you (like what happened with my son!). So, remind them about what they should do in those instances:

  • Stay calm (and pray!) and approach one of the Zupervisors (the people who work there inside the city)
  • Ask if they can help locate you — your children should be able to tell the Zupervisors your name and contact number, if needed (Of course, they should already know this even before you go inside KidZania!)
kidzania manila

The zupervisors at KidZania Manila are zuper friendly and have good rapport with kids! :)

 

Don’t worry, because KidZania has excellent security and safety measures — quoting their official website and based on our experience:

Professional security and other measures such as CCTV monitoring cameras, paging system, and emergency facility features are in place to ensure that each child remains safe while inside KidZania Manila. To attend to medical concerns, KidZania Manila has a dedicated, fully qualified first aid team inside the city. Likewise, key frontline personnel are trained in the provision of first-aid and carry basic medical kits with them at all times.

7. It would be advisable for your kids to do the following first:

  • If you have extra cash with you, visit the PaZZport Office before your kids go off to do any activity. There, a child can get a KidZania PaZZport for a one-time fee of P250, and be a “citizen,” i.e. a member of the B.KidZanian loyalty program. As a citizen, you get benefits like earning more kidZos per activity. The passport is stamped for every “job” or activity the kids do.
  • Whether they become a citizen or not, kids should prioritize encashing their checks for kidZos at the Bank inside the city. While they’re there, they can also open a bank account. (My kids weren’t able to do this, so… note to self!)
kidzania manila

This is what kidZos look like. (Photo from the KidZania Manila website)

  • Attend “school” first so they are “equipped” for their future “jobs.” They can do this at the University, where they can get a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. (Note: Kids have to pay kidZos for this, since they are “investing” in their education.)
  • Once they are ready to work, they can opt to go to the Job Information Center. Here, kids can create business cards, look for a job or take an assessment test. This is TOTALLY optional though, because my kids didn’t go here, and they were able to participate in the activities.
kidzania manila

The university and job information center inside KidZania Manila

After that, you can pretty much just let them be. Allow them to explore and learn and PLAY… and, as it says in the image below (taken inside KidZania Manila) BE PART OF HISTORY! :)

kidzania manila

Like I said earlier, 4-months-pregnant-and-tires-very-easily me wasn’t really able to go around the place that much to take photos and such, since I was busy keeping an eye on our toddler, who insisted on trailing her older sister around wherever she went!

So, if you want to see more “sneak-peek” photos of KidZania, plus individual parents’ tips and experiences, you can check out my blogger friends’ posts below:

Our Awesome Planet: First Timer’s Guide to @KidZania Manila

Mom on a Mission: KidZania Manila: A City Made for Kids 

Moomy Musings: The Clueless Parent’s Guide to Visiting KidZania Manila

The Misis Chronicles: All You Need to Know About KidZania Manila: Opening Date, Tickets Prices, What to Expect Plus Insider Tips

Art of Being a Mom: KidZania Manila The Ultimate Play City for Kids

Rappler | Life & Style: What to expect at KidZania Manila, where learning and playtime meet

You can also check out the following articles for more sneak peeks of KidZania Manila:

Spot.ph: FIRST LOOK: KidZania at Park Triangle, Bonifacio Global City

Smart Parenting: First Look: What to Expect at KidZania Manila

To the KidZania Manila team, zank you for having us! :) Zee you very, very zoon!

For more information about KidZania Manila, visit www.manila.kidzania.com, “Like” KidZania Manila on Facebook, or follow KidZania Manila on Twitter @KidZaniaManila and Instagram (KIDZANIAMANILA). You can also call them at +632-711-KidZ (711-5439).

If you found this post helpful, especially in planning your KidZania experience, please do share it with others! Also, feel free to share your KidZania experience with me in the comments, or on Facebook

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on August 2, 2015 · 0 comments · Events, Family, Homeschooling, I Recommend

As I mentioned in my previous post, an acquaintance of mine shared some information about apprenticeships, particularly in social care. I thought I’d share it with you here, in case some of you find it useful. Remember, there is more than one way to get work experience, and definitely countless of other ways to learn new things! :)

Apprenticeships in social care

apprenticeships

As the cost of going to university spirals, many young people are choosing to take vocational routes when they leave school. Whether going straight into the workplace or taking additional courses in more hands-on subjects, it means young adults can go straight into skilled jobs, rather than getting into debt without the guarantee of a job at the end of it.

Apprenticeships in social care are a great option if social care is something you’re interested in; not only can you gain nationally recognised qualifications, but you can earn a living while you do so, giving you independence and freedom.

It’s not a career you can really get into without a passion for what you’re doing, so make sure before you start applying that social care is really the career for you. Chat with people already in the job and research exactly what the roles you are looking at entail — then work out what area of social work is for you. Are you interested in working with young people or older clients? Would you find working with people with disabilities rewarding?

To boost your chances of bagging a social work apprenticeship, why not try to get some work experience in a relevant field? Anything from working at your local care home to babysitting could be used to evidence your interest in the field. Try getting in touch with charities, which are often keen to get all the help they can.

Age concern runs a scheme befriending lonely older people, while volunteering at your local youth club, Brownie or Scouts pack could also set you in good stead.

Once you’ve got a job interview, you’re on the home stretch! Check out some social work job interview questions and answers online to get a feel for the sort of things you might be asked, then go through them with your parents or one of your friends.

If you’ve managed to get some volunteering experience, make sure to ask for a reference and get some tips from anyone you’ve worked with on how to shine in your interview.

The decision to go for an apprenticeship in social care is one you won’t regret — it’s one of the most challenging professions out there, but also one of the most rewarding — and you won’t have the burden of university debt hanging over your head!

*****

*The “Apprenticeships in social care” portion of this post is brought to you by Catherine Lavinia.

*Image of Teenage Students with Backpacks by Ambro from FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on July 27, 2015 · 0 comments · Advocacies, Sponsored Post

The other day, a friend and fellow homeschool mom shared this photo in our homeschool support group on Facebook, from the Humans of New York Facebook page:

Screen shot from Humans of New York on FB. Click here to view the actual post.

Screen shot from Humans of New York on FB. Click here to view the actual post.

Here’s what the caption says:

“I graduated college early because I was eager to get into the real world, but the job search is tougher than I imagined. I think people are afraid to hire me because I’m young. I’ve probably applied to over two hundred jobs. I’ve found that for every ten applications, I get one call back. And for every five call backs, I get one in-person interview. I’ve had seven of those so far.”
“Do you wish you hadn’t graduated early?”
“I try not to think about it. I could apply to ten more jobs in the time I spent thinking about that.”

That post got some of us in our group talking about how we need not rush our kids’ education (well, our kids in general!). It gave a lot of us food for thought, because admittedly, sometimes we focus on what “the world” thinks is “normal” and “expected” of our children, and not on the needs and capabilities of each unique child.

Here is a screen shot of my FAVORITE part of the “conversation” that took place in our group:

Screen shot 2015-07-26 at 7.45.40 AM

(Check out Racquel‘s blog and Abby‘s column for more wisdom and inspiration.)

Later on, Racquel posted a link to an interesting article titled “The end of college as we know it is coming,” which affirmed and encouraged me even further. The world is changing ever so quickly, and going to university or college may not be the “normal” or “conventional” route anymore when our kids are older.

So what are the alternatives to getting a college education then? There are LOTS, if we really think about it.

For starters, mentorship or mentoring programs — which my husband and I want our kids to be involved in when they’re high school age — are definitely worth exploring.

My example of this is Bene Sanchez, who is being mentored by his dad (among others) in different aspects — including writing, leading people, and even business and stocks investing. It may not be a formal mentoring program, but it is still beneficial to Bene, and I know he’s learning a lot! My husband and I are praying for the right mentors for our kids, too, when they’re of age, who will help guide them along their chosen career paths/vocations. (Of course, we also need to be good and godly mentors to them as well!)

Another thing young people can consider is apprenticeships, which is similar to mentoring programs. Here’s the Wikipedia definition of apprenticeships:

Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study (classroom work and reading). Apprenticeship also enable practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession. Apprentices or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continued labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies.

My real-life example of someone who learned a lot from apprenticeships is my dear friend and fellow blissmaker Martine de Luna, who, despite being “college-less,” is now a very successful digital content consultant specializing in blogging and social media. You can read more about Martine’s experience on her business website here and here.

Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 8.50.50 AM

Screen shot from Martine’s business site

Recently, one of my acquaintances sent me more information about apprenticeships, particularly in social care. I will share it with you in my next post, so do watch out for it! :) (Update: The post is already live, and you can read it here if you like.)

In the meantime, I’d like to know: What do YOU think? Is a college education absolutely necessary these days? What do you think of mentoring/mentorship programs and apprenticeships? Please feel free to leave a comment! :)

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on July 26, 2015 · 0 comments · Homeschooling

Disclosure: I was recently blessed to receive Homeschool Planet for free to review, and was compensated for my time. However, all opinions stated here are 100% mine; I was not required to write a positive review. Thanks for reading! :)

online homeschool plannerI haven’t been writing much about our homeschooling journey here, for many reasons which I can’t share in detail right now. Let’s just say that the main reason is this — I simply didn’t feel like sharing about what our homeschooling days at the Kingdom-Seekers’ Academy look like now… mostly because I don’t think they’re that “inspiring” lately.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve been going through a kind of homeschool “funk” these days — and have been wondering (yet again!) if homeschooling is still part of God’s plan for our family. (Pray for us, please?)

The truth is, we have actually become more “unschoolish” lately with our homeschooling, and while part of me feels somewhat liberated about it, another part of me feels uncertain and worried about “educational gaps” and “getting left behind,” etcetera, etcetera. (Ah, the perpetual worries of a homeschooling mom, don’t you think?)

I am very grateful, though, for online communities like Catholic Relaxed Homeschoolers and iHomeschool Network, and, locally, DIY homeschoolers and unschoolers and ROCKERS Philippines (the Catholic homeschool support group which, ironically, I helped form) — I have been getting so much support, encouragement, inspiration, and prayers from the members there!

Homeschooling continues — with much needed help from a homeschool planner! 

Are we still homeschooling then, you may ask? Yes! At least for the next year or so. Which is why, even if we haven’t finished our “formal” lessons for last school year (*gasp*), I have started preparing ever-so-slowly for the new school year, which will begin, hopefully, in late September or early October — much like last year, although we actually school year-round, come to think of it! ;)

online homeschool planner

One of the things I have been trying to do is to get more organized and to be more purposeful in planning our lessons and activities. It is a work in progress, though, and I’m glad I was given the chance recently to use Homeschool Planet, an online homeschool planner from Homeschool Buyers Co-op — it’s been a useful tool for getting our plans and goals for the next school year in place.

Here’s a short video that shows you how Homeschool Planet works:

Now, let me tell you a little bit more about how it’s been helping me… more specifically, let me tell you…

…how an online homeschool planner can help disorganized homeschooling moms like me (and you, maybe? :) ):

online homeschool planner

1. It lets you plan ahead for however long you want.

Some moms are comfortable planning for a whole year, while others prefer to make plans for a month or even just a week — or maybe even just a day, ha, ha! (*raising my hand*) You can do whatever  you want with your plan or calendar once you’ve logged in.

2. It allows for flexibility and structure.

Our homeschool is not the “school at home” or “school in a box” type, and, as I mentioned earlier, we tend to be more “unschoolish” these days, though we do try to have a rhythm or routine of sorts. It just works that way for our family, for now, especially since I work from home fulltime (though with flexible hours, thank You, God!).

The thing is, I used to obsess over the fact that I couldn’t stick to the daily lesson plans that came with our curriculum, and I’d end up feeling so discouraged because of it. (OK, I sometimes still do, actually.)

With Homeschool Planet though, schedules and assignments can be arranged and re-scheduled automatically, as needed, so I can just assign tasks to be completed for a specific day, and not for a specific time slot — which means less pressure on me (and my “students”)!

Of course, if you thrive on more structure and routine and on-the-dot, scheduled-by-the-hour tasks, you can still use the planner — whatever works for you! Ain’t that awesome?

3. It can become a “record-keeping” tool.

If you’re not good at keeping records (*raising my hand again here*), you can even use Homeschool Planet to keep track of completed assignments per subject after your kids have done them. (I used to try to do this using a pen and notebook but would always lose track!)

4. It gives you the freedom to choose.

You get to decide about what to do with previously planned assignments. So, for example, if instead of doing math or reading assignments for a day, you decide to just let the kids play with Legos all day (ahem!), you can choose whether to skip those assignments altogether, or add them to the next day (or the next week, etc.).

online homeschool planner

 5. It can be printed and is also available on your phone or computer.

If you’re the type who needs to hold planning pages and calendars literally in your hands, you can print off whatever you need to from your Homeschool Planet calendar/planner. You can also access it on your phone or computer — and if your kids are old enough, they can also access the information using their own log-in details. (Perfect for encouraging independence, yes?)

Of course, the aforementioned are not the only benefits of using an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet! :) But don’t take my word for it — you can try it out for FREE for 30 days and see if it works for you.

online homeschool planner

After the 30-day trial period, the annual subscription is $65, or $6.95 a month. You can check out the Homeschool Buyers Co-op Homeschool Planet page regularly for any updates or special offers, or stay updated via their different social media accounts: Facebook, TwitterYouTube and Google Plus.

If you do get to try Homeschool Planet, please feel free to let me know how it goes for you! :)

Now, it’s YOUR turn — if you haven’t started your new homeschool year yet, what are you doing to prepare for it? Would you consider using an online homeschool planner to help you get more organized? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! :) 

 

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on July 24, 2015 · 0 comments · Homeschooling, I Recommend, Truly Rich Tips

One thing I noticed about the stuff I share here or on social media and, now, on “The Truly Rich Mom Show” is this: I usually need to read or hear what I “preach” at the exact time that I need to. What this means is, without even realizing it, the message that I wish to share with my readers or viewers is usually the message I need to hear at one particular time. Amazing how God’s timing is, right?

Case in point: The past few weeks have been CRAZY for our family (well, crazier than usual)! Anthony and I got sick two weeks ago, though he recovered quickly, thank God — so he could take over most of the household duties! And just as I was recovering, one of the kids came down with amoebiasis — NOT fun (and quite messy), I tell you! Mix it up with work, chores, etc. and, well, you get the picture, right?

So I’m really grateful for this latest episode of “The Truly Rich Mom Show.” It spoke to me again about how, yes, life can be CRAZY at times, but at least we can rest assured that God holds us close, and has our names carved in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16).

So if you are experiencing “crazy” in your life right now, remember, this, too, shall pass (note to myself too!). God won’t give us what we can’t handle, and if, at times, you feel that you really can’t handle it, give it all to Him. Ask Him to cover you with His most precious blood. (Please remind me to do the same, too, Lord!)

altar

O precious Blood of Jesus, infinite price paid for the redemption of sinful mankind. O Divine Blood, drink and lover of our souls, standing between us and the Father pleading mercy.

With all my heart I adore You, sweet Lord, and offer reparation for the insults, outrages and ingratitude, which You continuously receive from human beings, especially those who dare blaspheme the Divine Blood You shed for us.

Bless this Blood of Infinite value. Bless the fire of Jesus’ Love who shed it to the last drop for us. Where would I be if not for this Divine Blood that redeemed me? Indeed, Lord, I have drawn if from You to the last drop. What love! Thank You for this saving balm!

May every heart, every tongue, now and forever, praise and thank this priceless balm, this saving Blood, this fountain of crimson Mercy welling up from the fountain of infinite Love. Amen.

(Prayer source: AmericaNeedsFatima.org)

May we remember that, no matter how “messy” our lives may be, God has a purpose behind everything!

Be truly rich and blessed! :)

Did this episode of “The Truly Rich Mom Show” bless you in any way? Please feel free to share it with others!

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on July 20, 2015 · 2 comments · Advocacies, Catholic, Family, Parenting, The Truly Rich Mom Show