Beyond the Four Walls: How God Enlarged our Classroom

Previously posted on May 13, 2016

I remember praying many years ago (as I saw myself consumed with the task of homeschooling four young children) that God would use our homeschooling experience beyond the four walls of our homeschool classroom. Homeschooling several multilevel children requires a whole lot of commitment and sacrifice. I somehow had to clear up schedules to be able to attend to the growing needs of the family. This entailed saying No to many other passions and endeavors.

2005: Youngest Gino was born

You can do subtraction as you see our ” class photos through the years”……

The season of young children for us also coincided with my father’s dwindling health. Being the doctor of the 9 children, I stepped up and took care of both Dad and Mom health wise.

With Daddy Dony!

Coming from a family of members who are always involved in so many socio-civic-family oriented causes, there was this natural tendency to feel that ” I wasn’t doing enough.” The pressure was even more aggravated by well-meaning relatives and friends who would show their seeming disapproval of my choice to stay home and put the medical career on hold.

During those years of teaching preschool and early grade school years, I often found myself picking up toys, scrubbing messes and stains, organizing and reorganizing homeschool materials, and yes perennially “looking” for something. I would be in Asian Hospital with either of my parents at least once a week and somehow, that became more often through time.

I saw many of my Medicine batch mates donning their white doctors’ coats. I envied those who had the time and energy to go on medical missions, or on ministry outreach activities, or even just simply serve in church. It was then tempting to feel that being in the workplace or church ministry was probably “serving or living ” better. But God told me to stay put and enjoy the ride. I was where He wanted me to be for a reason. I had to stop being restless. When I began to embrace my current set up with joy, peace and rest overflowed. I then gave it my best since homeschooling our children was my own way of serving God. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

I eventually decided to first look within our 4 walls and celebrate the season. Just like charity, ministry indeed begins at home. The highest calling for me then was right there at home. Peace enveloped our homeschooling days and yes, with a more relaxed mind, we had more fun and more enjoyable learning sessions.

I decided to grow and reach others with my kids in tow: set an example of a life lived for God in serving others. Our lessons were adjusted to find ways of blessing others. Whether it be, making Christmas cards or gifts, preparing relief goods or writing letters, preparing bouquets or doing artwork, we tried to direct our efforts in the hope of “paying it forward.” Click here to read more about these efforts. It is my prayer that our children would eventually make this a lifestyle.

But then God did pave the way to go beyond the four walls, and it really all began in our classroom! Without homeschooling, without those years of battling and crying it out in teaching and raising 4 small children, I would not be able to do what I do today.

So here are my “beyond the 4 walls” experiences so far:

For some reason, I started being invited to speak in seminars in helping other homeschoolers. From small group gatherings to seminars then conferences! (Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to help and encourage others.)

Here with a dear grade school barkada, Ms. Dedette Albert-Habana and her teaching staff of I.D.E.A.S Montessori School during their parent enrichment seminar. I spoke about raising digitally responsible and creative citizens.

Speaking here in TMA’s Mind Bytes Conference on Digital Technology for Teens

We even get to meet famous athletes! With fellow homeschoolers Ms. Bless de Guzman, ate Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, and Ms Milona Barraca in TMA Homeschooling Conference, spoke on Character Focused Education.

I set up a FB Community Group for Homeschoolers of the Philippines in 2014 and just added all the homeschoolers I knew who were in Facebook. The group has grown to 5300 and the online bonding and the “coming alongside each other” feel are amazing. Wow, that’s a 5000% increase in less than 2 years! The group has branched out to Homeschooling the Early Years (Hey Philippines) FB group with 1922 members and for homeschoolers for younger children and Tweens and Teens Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB group</a> for the older ones.  And recently, Homeschoolers Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI’s website is currently under renovation) invited us to be part of the core group, as we represent Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB group.

Due to my experience and passion for homeschooling, I was invited to be part of the board of a Christian NGO for children (some homeschooled in several “home care facilities”) in the streets and in very impoverished municipalities. Check out God’s work in Visions of Hope Foundation website. With more experienced consultants, a Christian based Transformational Curriculum for preschoolers was created and now we are trying to put together a Homeschool curriculum for former street children who are part of the home care facilities. Check out the stories of some of these children. Who would have thought that the entire decade long experience of homeschooling and learning from other passionate homeschoolers, consultants and experts in education would be put to use by God through this ministry? Only God saw all that! – This blog! And we’re celebrating our 1st year anniversary this month! Check out our blog giveaway!

The wealth and depth of friendships formed through the years. When homeschoolers come together, an instant bond is formed. Support groups become life-long family friends. This is our family’s homeschooling support group called the Tuesday Gang because we met every Tuesday for probably 5 years!

Look how our kids have grown!


Possibly in 2005

Taken 2 years ago, the boys eventually outgrew the girls.
Most of the kids here are either in college or high school!

Our two older boys have gone beyond our four walls indeed as they have been released from a decade of Homeschooling. Marco is set to graduate level 8 with excellent academic standing, as the outgoing House Captain and Co-captain of the basketball team.

Vince meanwhile is moving to level 11 in August 2016. Vince, an active member of the Junior Varsity Basketball team, has his own certificates of excellence in academic and sports. He is the middle one on the first row.

So there. Isn’t God amazing? Each of us will have different journeys from hereon. One thing however binds us together for sure, and that is the decision to homeschool our children. I can guarantee you; God will use this decision mightily. God will honor your commitment to oversee the raising and educating of your children, His precious blessings to you. I leave you with this amazing verse in 1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

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