For the past two years, we have been using “Five in a Row” to homeschool our preschool-aged daughter. It is a literature-based program that uses some of the best children’s books out there, using story elements as a jumping point for all kinds of learning.
We’ve had countless hours of reading, talking, playing, and exploring. We love the wonderful memories we are creating as we learn together as a family.
Yearning To Learn About Our Country
As much as I love “Five in a Row” though, I sometimes feel a strange sense of sadness each time we study about other places. And it turns out it’s not just me.
Recently, after weeks of reading stories set in places like China, France, and some regions of the United States, my daughter remarked, “Mama, when are we going to study about the Philippines? I want to study about the Philippines!”
When even a four year old expresses her yearning for her country, I know I have to listen and do something about it!
Growing Our Children’s Roots In Their Own Country
Since I enjoy crafting our weekly “lesson plans” anyway, I thought I would create unit studies on different Filipino children’s books. I thought too of sharing what I would create with other parents who, like me, feel the need to grow their children’s roots more firmly in their own land.
I asked my friend and bookshop partner Sanne Unson to go on this adventure with me. So, between the hours we spend on our day jobs, caring for our families, and running our bookshop, we have managed to create several unit studies on different Filipino-authored children’s books.
Introducing, The Learning Basket’s Guide!
So, we are happy and eager to present “The Learning Basket’s Guide to Enjoying and Learning From Philippine Children’s Books.” We are offering you five unit studies this week, and plan to release one to two every month. It is our hope that more families will read more books written by Filipino authors.
What can you expect from a unit study? The main objective of each guide is to highlight Philippine culture, so you can expect suggestions to explore your neighborhood, to play traditional games, to study the local flora and fauna, and of course to speak the language.
How do you use the unit studies? Well, just have fun! In the tradition of “Before Five in a Row”, we encourage you to choose a topic per reading and take off from there. If you wish, you can print out and do the related games and activities at the end of each document. You don’t have to discuss everything in the guides in one sitting. Just let yourselves be inspired to learn and know more about our country every time you read a book.
Here are the links to the first five of the unit studies we have created. These will also be listed on the “Downloads” page of this blog for easier reference.
Ay Naku! – Ay Naku! tells the story of a day in the life of Botbot – in 65 Filipino words. It is a funny and endearing read-aloud that is perfect for learning our language, country, and culture. Winner of the Best Children’s Book in the 2nd National Book Awards 2012.
Si Putot – “Si Putot” is about a dog who is ashamed of his very short tail. When he gets to talk to a worm though, he realizes that he has nothing to be embarrassed about, and that a tail, no matter its length, is still a tail.
Isang Mayang Uhaw – Five birds, one glass of water. This old fable, as retold by Victoria Anonuevo and illustrated by Virgilio Almario in “Isang Mayang Uhaw” published by Adarna House, is about a clever sparrow that came up with a solution to his problem. How can a small sparrow quench his thirst after four bigger birds get their fill and leave him with a nearly empty glass?
Araw Sa Palengke – Araw sa Palengke is a story about a little girl’s trip to the wet-market with her mother. She describes what she sees, hears and does in her adventure.
Ang Pambihirang Sombrero – Ang Pambihirang Sombrero is about a girl named Mia and her magical hat that can hold many things on top. Its illustrations are both silly and magical with lots of details to think and talk about.
(Update: More free downloads here.)
What Are Your Favorite Philippine Children’s Books?
We have selected some of our children’s favorite Philippine picture books and are still combing the local bookstores for more. With the countless books out in the market, though, how do we know which ones are great? We are hoping that you can tell us so we can include your favorites in our bucket list.
Please write your favorites and requests for unit studies in the comments. If you like our unit studies/guides, please help us spread the word and share this blog post with your friends. Let us help each other in helping our children enjoy and learn from Philippine children’s literature!