BLUE AND EMILY AVELINO

The thing that holds us together is because her faith in God is so strong that I get inspired. We’re grounded in the fact that I’m far from perfect, she’s far from perfect. We complement each other very well. We know each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Aside from the fact that she’s a really sweet, sweet person who accepts everything and makes me feel that I can be much better than this.
— Blue

Dave has known Emily for more than half their lives.  They've been friends since high school and they have kept in touch through all these years.  Emily met Blue in university, and have been married for 15 years with 4 beautiful children: Miguel (14), Gabriel (13), Rafa (6) and Dana (4).  Securing jobs after graduation, they eagerly dove in to their respective fields and were soon carving very successful careers. Gradually, work took most of their time and energy.  It was not until there was a major corporate restructuring at Emily's work when they sat down and had a meaningful talk about the direction of their lives.  At that time, Emily's parents were moving to America.  She thought that she could step away from her job, help her parents close the family business and spend more time at home.  She knew when things settled, she could always go back to corporate life.  She never thought she would give up working "9 to 5" altogether.

Fast forward to the present. Blue and Emily have been homeschooling all their children for a year now. It wasn't easy making that decision, especially since the two older boys had the opportunity to experience the conventional type of schooling. "We had to pray about it for a year and we went into that decision as a family," Emily states. 

Here's what happened that morning when we talked about parenting, homeschooling, and getting them to spill their secrets about having a happy marriage.

I was always very driven . . . I would stay up late in the office, overworked. My priorities were not aligned. Work became my first priority then family and God were next to it . . . There was an opportunity from work to shift gears . . . When I resigned, I got to spend a lot of time with Blue and the kids. I got to know them in a deeper way. And I thought: I was missing out on all these years. I decided that instead of focusing on my career, I would focus on our family.
— Emily

Prayer is the main ingredient in this family's life.  They always start a class with it.

God was showing us that our priorities — as long as you do not forget what is more important and who is more important, you will have peace, you will have joy even in the midst of trials. That’s what kept us together, that’s what kept us going.
— Emily
Homeschooling is really as good as the instructor would want it to be. It depends on the effort, and the intent. As we went along, I got to know my kids more. I got to know their learning styles more, what they were more interested in or comfortable with . . . I got to choose from more curriculum — you get to find the right one for your child. And I’m also blessed to belong to a group of moms who actually have the same vision. Some of them have even been homeschooled themselves.
— Emily

Emily and Blue incorporate objects they can find at home into the kids' lessons. For instance, they use this train set to teach them about levers and pulleys.

Over time, we started to be dissatisfied with the conventional school program for a lot of reasons but not all at the same time. There were too many kids in the classroom, 42 in a class. When it was time for a parent-teacher conference, we felt they did not really know our children . . . with varsity and practice, they’d come home tired, weighed down by homework. The childhood that we had, we did not see them enjoying.
— Emily
The most important thing for us: binabantayan kasi namin yung mga values ng mga bata, depending on where they are, depending on situations that we do not have any control of. In my opinion, not to take anything away from people who are not homeschooled, if 90% of the time their values formation are outside of my control, then something’s wrong.
— Blue
What they see is what they will be. You’ll be surprised how kids actually process what the parents do. Discipline should always be complemented by explaining to them why you’re disciplining them, with consistency. Also the example that you set for them, malaking bagay, because it’s also like you’re trying to discipline yourself.
— Blue
Parenting is always a team play between husband and wife or father and mother. It can never be abdicated. Kailangan talaga dalawa kayo . . . If we were to love each other as best as we can, it would never have worked unless we’ve made it very clear that our only allegiance is to God — and He will give us the patience, the faithfulness, the perseverance, the love that we both need for each other.
— Blue

The short time spent with the Avelinos was eye opening, to say the least. Even before our little Audrey was born, Dave and I had already been discussing her (eventual) schooling. We entertained the idea of home schooling briefly but didn't think it was feasible. Surely, the concept is intriguing, though we have never talked in length about it with someone until now. It was special being able to experience home schooling firsthand in their home.  I was inspired by Emily's endless patience and Blue's guiding influence.  

I have been looking forward to visiting their home and feel fortunate to be able to spend that day with them.  When you have two people who deeply respect each other, anything is possible. I soon leave for Canada brimming with confidence and hope of endless possibilities.

And I have them to thank for that.