Today, we share homeschooling mom and parent educator Mariel Uyquiengco’s tips on how to teach Filipino to children, homeschooling or not.
“Why are you reading in Filipino, Mama?” My three-year-old asked me one time when I was reading aloud a locally published storybook to him and his older siblings. At first, I didn’t know whether to be amused or dismayed when he did so, but I must admit now that it was mostly dismay that I felt.
I’m sure I’m not the only Filipino parent who has felt this way at one point or another. I know many parents who, like me, often worry about their children’s inability to speak or understand Filipino. Some are homeschooling parents, while others have their kids studying in conventional schools.
So if you can relate and are one of those parents, allow me to share some tips with you, given by my fellow homeschooling mom Mariel Uyquiengco, who is a parent educator and literacy advocate.
Homeschool Tips on How to Teach Filipino to Kids
Early exposure is important.
Many parents may think that if they speak Filipino at home, their kids will easily and naturally pick it up as a language. Mariel says that this is not necessarily true though. “You have to be intentional about exposing children to language,” she explains. “It’s best to do so early, even before your child begins to speak.”
You can also expose your child to the Filipino language through reading books, singing songs, playing games, and reciting nursery rhymes. Start simple, and then work through “harder” books, songs, and even poems as your child grows older and becomes more confident.
Use just one language.
When conversing with our children, it’s best to use just one language in a sentence. Thus, parents are discouraged from using Taglish because doing so won’t help kids become fluent in either English or Tagalog.
“What you can do is assign one language to a specific place or person,” Mariel suggests. For example, if you have household helpers at home, you may designate them to be the Filipino speakers so your kids can get used to speaking straight Filipino with them.
You may also designate one parent to speak straight Tagalog or Filipino, while the other one speaks straight English.
Again, the key here is exposure.
Now, what if you have an older child (like I do!) and you still feel that he or she is sorely lacking in the FIlipino language department? Again, the key, according to Mariel, is to build comprehension through exposure.
In other words, help your child have a greater understanding of the language. One simple, easy way to do this is to expose your child to many Filipino words. This leads us to the next point.
Read, read, read.
“Reading aloud to children helps unlock vocabulary words that, in turn, will make them feel more comfortable in using Filipino,” Mariel says. If you have younger kids, use picture books. For older kids, chapter books are the way to go.
Below are some suggestions for books that you can read to your kids:
Books for babies, toddlers, and beginning readers
Prrrrrt. . . Utot!
Mmmmm. . . Sarap!
Araw sa Palengke
Si Pilantod Ang Asong Tatlo ang Tuhod
Riddles and Poetry
Mga Bugtong At Salawikain Para Sa Bagong Henerasyon
Mga alamat or legends
Ang Alamat ng Lamok
Ang Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang
Short Novels/ Short Stories (for older kids)
The Secret (Filipino edition)
Enrique El Negro
Use Filipino every day.
Practice makes progress. So don’t hesitate even if you feel that it may be too late for your child to start being more fluent in Filipino.
Go ahead and start reading aloud Filipino books to your kids, even if it’s just one page a day or a chapter a week for older kids.
Start singing those Filipino nursery rhymes and folk songs together as a family (yes, even if you have an older child).
Most of all, converse with your child and engage with him or her in Filipino. Share your experiences with each other and have fun!
A special note for parents who are intentional with their kids’ education
Whether you homeschool or not, as parents it would truly help to be intentional when it comes to our kids’ education. After all, there is no place like home when it comes to teaching and supporting our children.
This is why I’d like to invite you to the No Place Like Home Philippine Homeschool Convention 2019 happening on September 7 at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City.
Our line-up of international and local speakers will help inspire and equip parents to be intentional in teaching their kids.
Among them are homeschooling dad, bestselling author and sought-after motivational speaker Jayson Lo, homeschooling mom and founder of Homeschool Singapore Dawn Fung, veteran homeschooling mom and president of the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands Dr. Donna Pangilinan-Simpao, long-time homeschooler, veteran speaker, and author Marla Taviano, and homeschool advocate, speaker, and blogger Michelle Padrelanan.
Find out more about the Philippine Homeschool Convention 2019 at bit.ly/noplacelikehomephc
About the Author:
Tina Santiago Rodriguez is one of the four homeschooling moms behind Educating for Life or EFL, the group that organizes the Philippine Homeschool Convention. She is also a writer, editor, and resource speaker on intentional parenting and other topics. Connect with Tina via her blog TrulyRichandBlessed.com or Instagram @tinasrodriguez.