Don’t Be Afraid to Learn a Musical Instrument

Learning a musical instrument can seem like an incredibly daunting task. That’s especially true if you’re an adult who has never played before. After all, most of the people you know who play anything probably started when they were kids or teenagers.

Whether you’re in your mid-20s or your mid-60s though, you can learn to play any musical instrument you want. While it may require a lot of hard work on your part, learning to play music can be incredibly rewarding.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can overcome your fear of learning to play a musical instrument, as well as some tips on how you can get started. After all, once you get that instrument in your hands and a little practice under your belt, the fear of the unknown is likely to melt away quite quickly.

Buy a Quality Instrument

When young children are learning to play music for the first time, it might not make sense to invest in a decent instrument. However, since you’re an adult with your own income, making an investment in good quality musical equipment makes a lot more sense.

By purchasing something decent to play, you’ll be setting yourself up to learn the fundamentals on an instrument that allows for better performance. That can mean a lot, especially during the first frustrating phase where everything seems impossible.

Since you’ll only be starting on the learning phase, consider purchasing the instrument at a beginner level. Should you choose to play a string instrument like a violin, it’ll be best to use a beginner violin so you familiarize yourself with the instrument.

Purchasing a good quality instrument also means that it should have some resale value on the used market. If you buy a used instrument, you may even be able to sell it for the same amount you bought it for if you decide it isn’t for you.

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Don’t Ignore Music Books

Music books aren’t the only helpful resource for adults learning an instrument, but things like music workbooks can really go a long way for many people. When you’re first learning, basic chord books and scale books can also do a lot for your progress.

Find a local music shop and pick up beginner’s books that look appealing to you.

Beginner Music Workbook - Teachers' Edition The Help BookIntermediate Music Workbook

 

Consider Private Lessons

If you can afford it, private lessons will help you learn your instrument in a fast, efficient way. Even if you don’t take private lessons for months or years, getting a few when you first start can help you master the fundamentals, making learning the rest on your own considerably easier.

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Four Free, Kid-Friendly Attractions in New York City

A visit to the Big Apple is a great way to spend a family vacation. While the city may seem like it is more geared toward adults, there are tons of fun things that you can do with children as well. And though New York can be expensive, it certainly doesn’t have to be if you know where to go. If your next family vacation includes a stop in New York City, consider checking out these four kid-friendly attractions which are absolutely free.

New York Libraries

The New York library system is one of the best in the world and offers plenty of fun activities for youngsters. With great family programming and tons to explore, the children’s sections at many libraries in the city as worth the visit. Top branches include the Children’s Center at the main branch of the New York Public Library, the Children’s Library Discovery Center in Queens, and the Central Branch in Prospect Heights.

NEW YORK CITY, NY - DEC 30: New York Public Library and street on December 30, 2011 New York City. It is the 2nd largest public library in US and managed with both private and public financing.

Sing for Hope Pianos

If you happen to be in New York during June, you should definitely check out the Sing for Hope Pianos. These pop up pianos in New York serve as a form of interactive street art. Organized by the Sing for Hope charity, this annual project puts 50 handpainted pianos in the parks and public spaces of all five New York boroughs for public use. Painted by local artists, the pianos are there for anyone to enjoy. Whether you happen upon a delightful performance or have your children play a number, this is a great activity for the whole family.

Sing for Hope

New York Museums

It is no secret that New York is home to some of the world’s greatest museums. Luckily some of them are free and great for the family. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan features a number of interactive learning exhibits. You can visit for free on the first Friday of the month. The Museum of the Moving Image is also a great choice, which offers free admission on Friday afternoons. Here you can learn about all about the history of movies, television, and digital media.

New York City - January 31, 2016: American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. The museum collections contain over 32 million specimens.

Staten Island Ferry

One of the hidden gems of New York is the Staten Island Ferry. This free ferry takes passengers back and forth between Manhattan and Staten Island all day, providing an outstanding and absolutely free view of the Statue of Liberty. Once there, you might enjoy exploring the area, including the Staten Island Zoo, which is free on Wednesdays afternoons.

NEW YORK - JULY 2: People taking the Staten Island Ferry on July 2, 2012 in New York. The S. I. Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and carries over 21 million passengers annually.

See You at The Biggest Homeschool Conference in the Philippines!

When we started homeschooling last June, I thought it would be a breeze for me.  I have almost two decades of experience as an academic tutor(yes, I’m THAT old!) . I’ve taught multi-level students in all academic subjects.  My kids are still in grade school, so, how hard could that be, right?

Well, our first quarter was a humbling experience for me.  I think I learned more from it than my kids did.  I was too concerned about meeting the academic requirements that I tried to replicate traditional school in our homeschooling.  We followed the usual school schedule, I had written quizzes and long tests prepared, we read and answered textbooks and worksheets.

However, as I met other homeschooling parents both personally and online, I realized that homeschooling wasn’t about bringing “school” in our home.  It is about molding our children’s values and character. It is about helping our children discover their potentials. It is about equipping them to be productive members of society.

One thing I also realized is how important it is to have support from other homeschooling families.  Now, whenever I can, I attend workshops and seminars to further equip myself in my role as a teacher and a mother and to foster friendship with others who have chosen this same path.

Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016

This month, I will be joining other homeschooling families in the country’s biggest homeschool conference.  Whatever stage you are in homeschooling now or whether you’re still contemplating about homeschooling your children, you shouldn’t miss this year’s conference aptly themed “From Roots to Wings: Homeschooling through the Stages”.

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Bearing the theme in mind, the PHC 2016’s line-up of speakers includes international and local speakers who are passionate homeschooling advocates, and are also experienced homeschoolers. They will inspire participants to provide their children with “roots,” build their foundation, and give them “wings” so they can soar to greater heights.

  • “Building a Firm Foundation” by Deonna Tan-Chi and her daughter Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza
  • “Motivation: The Art and Science of Helping Children Learn Well” by U.S.-based speaker Andrew Pudewa
  • “Wings to Soar: Leaving a Legacy for Our Children” by Bo Sanchez

(Click here to know more about the keynote speakers)

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The PHC 2016 also has an amazing line-up of BREAKOUT SESSIONS. New and experienced homeschoolers alike will definitely find something “fit” for their unique homeschooling situation in the practical breakout sessions lined up for the conference.  The sessions will cover topics like the ins and outs of homeschooling in the Philippines, laying the foundation in preschool, homeschooling the high school years, and transitioning to and from brick-and-mortar schools, among others.

(Click here to know more about the breakout sessions)

Aside from these, there are also Kids’ Activities, a great Expo, and lots of Raffle Prizes during the conference.  There are really so many awesome reasons why you should attend this conference!  Register early to avail of the regular rate of P1000, or the group rate of P4500 for 5. Walk-in or on the day payment will be P1200.  So, see you on the 22nd of October at the SMX Convention Center, SMX Aura Premier in Taguig City.  Registration starts at 7am.

(Click here to REGISTER to the PHC 2016)

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Follow the following social media accounts to get updates and help spread the word about the PHC 2016:

Or look for the hashtags #PHC2016 and/or #fromrootstowingsphc

For more details of the PHC 2016 registration process, program, speakers’ profiles, and other details, please visit the PHC 2016 event organizer’s website www.educatingforlife.co

ABOUT THE PHC 2016 ORGANIZERS

The Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), is a non-stock, non-profit organisation that aims to equip homeschooling groups and organisations in growing the national homeschooling movement. HAPI has partnered with Educating For Life (EFL) to mount the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016. EFL was founded by homeschooling parents to support families who have courageously decided to take the path less taken in educating their children.

Math Fun With Affordable Math Manipulatives

How do we make Math fun in Camp Espino? We play!

Among the academic subjects we study here in Camp Espino, Math along with Araling Panlipunan is the most challenging one.  My two little ones’ love for Math is indirectly proportional to their love for Reading and Science.  This is why one of our major academic goals this year is for them to learn to appreciate and to love the beauty of numbers. 🙂

One way we’re doing this is by making them realize that Math is part of our everyday life.  At home, they measure ingredients when we bake or cook.  They learn the concept of division when they share toys or candies. When we go out to eat or to buy groceries and other stuff, I ask them to place their orders or to pay for their purchases. This makes Math “real” to them.

Another way we’re trying (trying is the operative word here!) to make learning Math more fun is by using manipulatives during our study time.

Our Math Manipulatives

Before we started homeschooling, I bought the Gigo Linking Base Ten set from Learning Plus.  It’s a great tool for helping kids learn place values and other basic Math skills.

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This has been very useful during the first part of our lessons this quarter but as we progressed, I realized we needed other manipulatives when dealing with bigger numbers.  Since, I can’t afford to shell out thousands more for a Place Value Discs set, I opted to improvise using poker chips and stickers!

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I bought a set of poker chips from NBS and wrote the values on them using permanent marker.  The chips set only had three colors I covered the others with pre-cut round stickers which is also available in bookstores.  This entire set just cost a little over a hundred pesos!  We’ve been using these chips for our lessons in addition and subtraction.  We’d most likely need to add another set of chips when we start studying multiplication.

For their Math bonds practice, I got some inspiration from the Fact Family Blast Off game. I printed templates on regular bond paper then inserted these into card cases.  Now we’ve got an easy wipe-erase activity board!

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Aside from these, we also use their Legos and other building blocks to study Math.  Since my son is highly kinesthetic, we incorporated some games into our learning.

Games Make Learning Fun!!!

For one of our games, I just wrote different activities to do on strips of cardboard.  The activities are a mix of lessons from different subjects including PE and Music.  We call this game “Ready, Get, Do!”

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Math – kids have to finish one Blast Off card, skip count, or do Math operations; PE – kids have to do a locomotor/non-locomotor activity; Music – kids have to name notes on the staff or play them on the keyboard; English – make a short poem about the word; Filipino – think of a rhyming word and make a two-line poem. 

When I attended Milona Barraca‘s workshop on How To Make Learning Math Fun At Home at the Learning Plus last June, I learned that even something as ordinary as playing cards can be used to make learning Math fun.  I taught the kids how to play “Go Fish! The Tens Edition” to help them master their 10-bonds.  🙂  They don’t even realize that they’re actually learning while playing!

(playing cards with kids)

Instead of making the usual pairs, the kids have to make pairs of tens. No one loses in this game!

Do the kids love Math already? I wish!!!!

Oh well, it may be far from being their favorite subject but at least they’re having fun learning it!

How about you? What Math manipulatives do you use at home? Would appreciate your sharing your ideas with me so we could try them out in Camp Espino. 🙂

Making the Most Out of Holiday Parties for Kids

Parties for children are often much different than they are for parents. Instead of just meandering and interacting with others while holding a drink, kids love to delve right in and play. So, why not make holiday parties something the little ones can get into? In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t take a lot to engage a child. For example, official cornhole boards may keep their attention for hours on end.

Fun and Games

Adding fun and games to any party makes it a memorable experience. When setting things up for the kids, simple games can turn into intriguing activities. As long as you can stay true to the holiday in question, games can be quite easy to organize. For instance, a bucket of pumpkin innards with a prize at the bottom could be a fun and disgusting game of “Hide and Seek” when a child’s eyes are blind folded. Obviously, this is one you’d want to reserve for Halloween.

The main thing to understand about children when it comes to games is that they are easy to please. As long as the game isn’t too difficult, a child could be enthralled for hours.

Arts and Crafts

A lot of parents host a party with arts and crafts the kids can do on their own. Most of the time, this can be done without spending a great deal of money. Perhaps your little guests could make their own snow-people with a bag of cotton balls and dollar-store stickers during the winter holidays. Maybe you could help the kids make animals out of pine cones you find in the yard during Thanksgiving.

Arts and crafts can be an excellent way to engage a child’s imagination while giving them a chance to build something on their own. As a result, these crafts often find themselves in keep-sake boxes of parents for decades on end.

Prizes and Rewards

Giving out prizes and rewards doesn’t have to be an expensive project. Remember, kids are easy to please. Most of them would be happy with little plastic trophies from the dollar store. At any rate, prizes and rewards can also be beneficial for the child’s social development. Winning something can inspire confidence within the little one, which can be a boost to self-esteem as well as social interaction. As simple as it may sound, something as small as a fifty-cent prize could be more impressionable than you might think.

The more engaging the party is for children, the more control you retain of the experience. Having a structured layout for activities will help reduce the chaos and mayhem that may ensue.

Image by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhoto.net

Images by Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net