With Great Distinction

My daughter sat hunch over on a bar stool, and her eyes were glued to her MacBook sitting on top of our kitchen center island. She was watching her university’s President give the ceremonial address on-line. At the end of his speech he conferred to all the graduates, who were watching at their homes, their respective batchelor, master, and doctorate degrees.

It was sad that the commencement ceremony end up in this manner. No marching of the students with their cap and gown on a large auditorium. No roll calls announcing the names as they receive their honor and diploma. No adoring family and friends applauding as their graduate walk up the stage.

The ceremony culminating the hard fought four years of college was a letdown, and I felt sorry for my daughter that her graduation rites came to be this way. Damn this corona virus pandemic!

I certainly know the awful feeling of not being able to march for your graduation, for I myself was denied of that opportunty when I finished my medical school. Though the circumstances in mine was totally different and I have only myself to blame. The memory is still painful up to this day, but that’s a different topic for another day.

However, despite the bittersweet turn of events, there is a momentous achievement that cannot be denied.

Seventeen years ago when our daughter started her formal schooling, we had serious fear. This is a girl who did not speak until she was past the age of four that we even consulted a speech pathologist. When she was about to be a kindergarten, she only speaks in words and sometimes phrases, but not sentences. It’s not that she’s unintelligent, at least that was what we want to believe, she was just different.

We knew that if we enrol her to a conventional school she would be labeled by her teachers, and most likely be bullied by her classmates. But most of all we were worried that she may not develop into the fullest potential that we know she is capable of. That was when we decided to homeschool her. And it was one of the best decisions we ever did.

I commend my wife who did the heavy lifting in homeschooling our kids. I know that there were days that it was a struggle. Yet we pressed on. We were always looking for ways to tap their strengths and fortify their weaknesses, especially in our daughter, hoping to unlock her abilities. But more importantly, we asked for heaven’s guidance in all our undertaking.

Math came easy for her, but language and communication was her Waterloo, and constructing even a 2 or 3 sentence essay was a difficult endeavor. Thus we chose a curriculum that was literature heavy and had them read 20 to 30 short story books or classic novels per school year. One bright thing that happened was when we introduced her to music, it became her language and she found her voice.

We homeschooled her until highschool. Besides the education we had at home we also used tutors to prepare her for college. This included lots of music activities as well. And as she entered college, we were again uncertain of how she would adapt to conventional school. Did we educate her enough? Did we train her enough? Did we equip her enough?

Four years of college had gone by. It went so fast like a blink of an eye. Our daughter did not just survived college, she thrived in it. She got scholarship and maintained it throughout. We were relieved and we felt vindicated.

For any of you my readers, who have a child or know of a child who may be struggling in school, I want you to continue to believe in them. I am convinced that there are no dumb kids. They only have different and individual ways of learning, and we as parents and educators just need to discover their potential. Invest in them, including your time, and if you need to take over their education, then do so.

On this occasion of epic magnitude, our joy is magnified. With magnificent pride and with magnanimous love, we present to the world our 2020 graduate. And she even did it with a Latin honor of Magna Cum Laude.

our graduate

We thank all our family and friends who supported us through this journey, and to God be the glory!

(*She missed Summa Cum Laude by a very slim fraction. But we are not complaining. Magna Cum Laude translates as “with great distinction.”)

Square Root Hurdle

My daughter asked me the other day, to explain to her further her math lesson, as she said she could not fully understand it. Most of the time, she works on her math work book on her own with very little help from us. This time, she hit a snag, and needed more explication.

We are homeschooling our kids since Grade 1, and are planning to continue maybe until they finish middle school or up to early high school. Then they may go to a “real” school for a few years of high school before they embark to college.

My wife had delegated me to teach math and science to our kids since she said I was the “best in math and science” (and I have medals to prove it), when I was in high school. My daughter now is doing pre-algebra. Many times if she had questions on the math problems, it took me only one look and I could figure it out and could explain the problem to her. Her current lesson was how to solve square root by long hand.

I read the teacher’s manual (yes, their books comes with teacher’s guide), I even watched the DVD that comes with it where a math teacher explains the concept, but for the life of me, I still could not understand how to solve square root manually. I guess that is what calculators’ square root function is for, made for people like me. I end up calling my friend, who is a math major for help. I thought to myself, Ms. Faderogaya, my high school math teacher would rescind my medal!

Now I am having apprehensions if I can tackle teaching algebra, geometry and calculus. Though I still feel confident teaching science (maybe not that confident in chemistry), including the experiments, as long as we don’t burn our house down.

But I am determined to re-learn all these subjects so I can help my children as they continue in their home education. I believe that if I we parents invest ourselves, our efforts, and our time in teaching our children, it is not just math or science that they will learn from us. It would be way much more. Yes, the more important things that are really needed in life.

In the mean time, I’ll help her solve the square root of 15,625. If I can figure it out first……..without using the calculator.