Family, Just My Thoughts, My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting

Music and Our Kids

My girls like music. They like singing and dancing. Of course they hear different songs everywhere and of course they tend to like the catchy but not-so-wholesome songs these days. One time, Danae saw a choir competition on tv, and of all the songs she could have recalled, “spaghetti pababa” was the one that stuck! They catch some of the lyrics right away without thinking about what they’re actually singing. Danae also knows the “clean” versions of some songs, which means she is aware of the dirty ones. King and I don’t approve, but as much as we would want to control what they listen to, obviously we can’t.

Case in point, last week. We were all in the car, driving out of Festival mall. The radio was on. King quickly changed the station to one we thought was the “safest,” where they play cool, smooth, wholesome music. Just as he said the words “this is the safest,” the lyrics “I want sexual healing” softly and smoothly came out of the speakers. Hahaha. Thank God it wasn’t catchy enough that the girls missed it. I for one am not yet prepared to explain what sexual healing means.

It just proves that there is no such thing as safe. We can sometimes request the music to be changed (I’ve done that at a resort before — music had very foul language), but we can’t always protect our children from bad influences – yes, songs are not just songs; they can alter our mood, influence the way we feel, our values, the language we use, and how we act. We can only teach our children to be wise about choosing what songs to listen to.

What we try to do is check the lyrics with them and explain what they mean as much as we can. We always remind them that though the beat is nice, some songs do not teach them good things, and many of them do not teach girls to respect themselves. We tell them that these artists are definitely talented, but we don’t agree with some of their life choices and with the messages they share in their music. We teach our children to think first before adopting a certain artist’s views or a certain song’s message. King and I are never shy to tell them when there is a song we don’t approve of. Our girls usually listen, especially when they themselves realize what the song is teaching them. Otherwise, they tell us that they only like and sing certain parts of the song, and we somehow find middle ground.

It’s tricky because we don’t want to be legalistic and restrict them from listening to music, but we can’t also just let them listen to whatever they want. Tricky because it’s hard to separate the music from the words, the artist from the message. Tricky because there are some topics that they will not and should not understand yet. Tricky because we can’t brainwash them to only like classical or Christian music. I myself enjoy grunge, alternative music and I just love Pearl Jam. Well maybe they won’t have much (or any — here’s hoping!) angst to be attracted to it, but I guess it’s fine if they learn to like it too. I certainly prefer it over cheesy, shallow, boy bandy songs which my girls gravitate to. But then again, I’m 37 and they’re 9 and 6. Their preferences will change and their taste in music will perhaps mature. They will grow and gain the wisdom they need to choose what and who they will allow themselves to be influenced by.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

What do you do with music and your kids? I’d love to gain perspective from other parents regarding this matter. Looking forward to reading your replies. 🙂


Homeschooling, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Why Homeschool?

The question I asked myself last year was “To homeschool or not to homeschool?” Now that that has been answered, the question a few people ask me is “Why? Why homeschool?”

Maybe I should answer that by answering the question “Why not homeschool?” first. We’ve always been open to it, but our considerations in the past had to do with Danae needing social interaction, not because she lacked it or because she had poor social skills, but because she was (still is) such a social being. She just enjoyed playing with and being around people. I also considered the fact that Noelle came the year that Danae was going to start pre-school (2009). Homeschooling, for me, would have been impossible while taking care of a baby. A small school was the next best thing.

Come Kinder, Danae and I would butt heads a lot when reviewing for exams. That just reinforced our decision to keep her in Kidvantage Learning Center. I could not imagine the stress we would both be enduring everyday if we started homeschooling then. Before Prep started, I discovered that she was actually interested to homeschool, but it being such a surprise to me and since classes were 3 months away, we agreed to wait till 1st grade.

I tell you, I had gone back and forth so many times last school year, trying to decide whether it would be right for us to start homeschooling or not. Every time Danae and I would encounter problems, I would think I’m not ready. I’m not cut out for it.

Then I noticed certain changes in her behavior and speech that surprised me (in a bad way). I also noticed her complaining more and more about teasing in the classroom and about some kids being mean to her. My concerns about INFLUENCE resurfaced.

When my friend Michelle shared with me a conversation she had with her husband, it struck me. The real reason I was hesitant to homeschool was ME. Besides being afraid of the probability that Mom-venger Hulk would come out often, I didn’t want the work or the stress involved. I realized too that my lack of patience and self-control had become my excuse, my comfort zone. I was actually willing to be stuck there, instead of taking the opportunity to grow in character. I knew then that homeschooling wouldn’t just be for Danae’s best interest, it would be for mine too.

school work at home

So why homeschool? First, to REGROUP. We want to have better control of the influence surrounding Danae again, so that we can better build strong foundations, and better help her form her values and build her CHARACTER. She is 6 years old and we believe that this age is crucial. Whatever values and attitude she practices now, she will most probably carry till adulthood. We just don’t want to take the risk.

art time, MAPE class
photo credit: Michelle Remulla

If you’re wondering about her socialization, she’s got plenty. She belongs to the homeschool group which the moms called SPARKS, or Shepherding, Promoting And Realizing Kids’ Skills. She joins a weekly MAPE (Music, Arts, Phys Ed) class with a bit of reading taught by yours truly and science experiments taught by my friend May, with a bunch of other homeschoolers her age. We belong to a huge spiritual family, and she gets to interact with all kinds of people, children and adults alike, each week. We schedule play dates with old classmates and friends as well.

pre-school graduation

Second, TIMING. I believe 1st grade is the perfect time for us to start. It was right to put Danae in a regular school for pre-school because it helped us to teach her independence, discipline, putting value to her work, and to help her love for learning grow. In our case, regular school actually prepared her for homeschool.

Everything just felt right. My heart was in the right place, and we were all excited to embark on this journey. I did not even stress about preparations and all, probably because my husband is partnering with me and because I have a strong support group in the Alabang Homeschoolers’ moms, who already know what they are doing and who are willing to help me.

So far, it’s been good. I have since discovered more reasons why homeschooling is right for us at this time, which I will share with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I hope you are inspired, encouraged, or even challenged by this post. God bless you and enjoy your children! 🙂