Thursday, October 26, 2017

Planning for Next Block Semester

How do we position ourselves and our kids to go beyond the normal? We take a plunge. Try it out. Decide then to keep going or redo. Nothing is wrong with the experience of a repeat. We see ourselves get better.


Well, I decided to just enroll Speed Racer in a College Class for Algebra! I don't know if he is ready. I will just get a tutor to help him. It will only be an 8 week class. If he does well, I'll sign him up for another, then another and who knows.

Truth is, I am a bit impatient with progress on studying for the CLEPs and DSST when my son can add up the college credits in just 8 weeks. So it will be an extra expense, but we will find a way to fund it.


After, evaluating what work for us this semester and what didn't. I realized that Speed Racer is maturing as a student. He likes to have ordered task that he can do independently. He also, is now rather good in math. Not so much in writing, but, we will recover that skill next semester.

We decided to change somethings up from what we originally planned for January to May 2018 semester.

1) College Math - Enrolled Speed Racer into college Dual Enrollment program. He is allowed to take up to 7 credits which we will break up into 2 - eight week classes. They will be MATH to include Introduction to Algebra (aka College Math) and Intermediate Algebra. These are the pre-requisite course to take prior to Pre-Calc.Speed Racer has to take up to Calc 2 for his selected major.

2) Writing Intensive - Writing Tutor for Intensive 3 Month Writing Class. Speed Racer can write, he just is lazy about it and needs to learn how to better correct his work. Since he and I seem to clash at this, I am hiring a tutor for writing to review and help him with his writing of 350 word / 5 paragraph essays to improve his speed of reasoning and writing. He will need this skill for college level courses I plan to enroll him in next fall.

3) Programming Intensive - The local coding school offers one on one tutoring for programming. I am hiring a tutor to help Speed Racer with this. I have a curriculum selected and want him to have some one on one help with getting through it.

All his other classes will be on Acellus since he seems to like the platform and is learning.


We went to the GLOBTROTTERS! Loved it! I have seen them when I was a kid, when my oldest were little and now with my little ones.


Art Gallery Trip

SPEED RACER's Progress

He is loving using  (1) Quill (Language/Writing) and (2) Knowre (Algebra 1 practice)

I've fallen off the wagon for Daily Status Checks but when I checked he only had a few items left to finish with his Algebra review.

His progress with combine math review of College Math Prep, Algebra 1 and Basic Math is going well. I am shocked how much he retains and works through easily.

English and Writing is not going so well. He is putting in very little effort and will need more hand holding in the future. Reading is going at a steady pace as his father is reading a book with him, essentially they have their own book club.

For History he is working with Acelles. His Coding with Java is going well although I don't think he is grasping it as deeply as I'd like. Still using Quizlet and Instantcert to study for the DSST Computing Exam. He is doing just okay and this may take longer for him to prepare than I thought.

Bible consist of a daily devotion he reads and chats about with his dad. We dropped Logic for now as we don't have time to finish it during the day.

TIGER LILLY's Progress

She finished one class with an A and is now finishing up her Software and Hardware course. Her 2nd half of classes just started and they are pretty challenging. She is taking Business Continuity Planning, Motion Graphics, System Analysis and Design and Information Systems Management.

In addition to those above, her Business Management homeschool course is finishing up. She finished her company's website. Putting together her marketing plan.

Internship interviews and applications are going out. She is learning to do it, and she thinks it difficult, but she is getting better at it. She even attended some virtual Internship fairs.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I had good intentions, but fell off the wagon and missed two nights of prepared dinner. Oh well.

HOUSE CLEANING: I had to stand behind kids on 'CLEAN UP' patrol for some reason they haven't been doing a good job at keeping everything clean.

LESSON PLANNING: This is on track for now. It will be easier in January when we are on a set curriculum.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: So excited that we are going on a vacation with no kids in November! My hubs mentioned he wanted some time alone with just me when I started planning this as a 'family getaway' so I asked my older kids to take over while we go on vacation and I spoil my hubby. I have a plan to send him romantic text and notes leading up to our weekend getaway.

SELF CARE:Working out now on a regular schedule of at least 4 days a week. Trying really hard to keep us as I tend to slip after two weeks :P  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Stumbling Along and Still There is Progress


Speed Racer our first Year

Both Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly Now


I've been rather lax in daily accountability, but the kids are doing fairly well with a few days here and there of slacking.

My oldest got engaged and we are now in the beginning phase of wedding planning. We had many friends and family illness so attending to that has put a damper on our energy.

The kids are involved in several collaborative efforts regarding state legislation and political awareness.

SPEED RACER's Progress

Added two new courses (1) Quill (Language/Writing) and (2) Knowre (Algebra 1 practice)

Overall we've finished a lot of curriculum. He's been working mostly independent but falling behind on subjects that I don't do Daily Status Checks on regularly.

He has a lot of MATH review to get him prepped for the College Math Clep I hope he will be ready to tackle in May. His Math includes, Algebra 1 review, College Math (working with tutor and Acellus) and basic math fact review. He is actually pretty darned good at Algebra 1 and Geometry and rarely if ever uses a calculator for his problems. He is getting high 90s and is progressing well.

English and Writing are some of the major areas we need tuning. His Time4Writing stint is almost over and I will be using Quill and Egump for language arts tuning as well as LifePac. Also, we are starting to do weekly Writing Prompts that we will work through weekly. That's planned for this coming week. He hates writing so I am prepared to negotiate

For History he is using Acellus and is doing well, hopefully, he will be able to retain it for when he starts to study for the CLEP. He is doing Coding with Java with Acellus and in person at a local computing lab, and using Instantcert to study for the DSST Computing Exam. He has to make at least 80% on the practice exams in order to be ready and now he is only making 50s, so we have a way to go.

Bible, Reading and Logic are both being covered with dad so they are having some great conversations and starting to develop an enjoyment for the same types of books.

TIGER LILLY's Progress

After dropping two classes due to incompatibility with the teachers, Tiger Lilly only had 2 college classes until October.

She is doing well in her college classes that remain. Tiger Lilly is working on her micro-company website and blog. Also, building up her product list for sell. Her sister Rose is helping and they are collaborating to have a big launch in May of next year.

Tiger Lilly and her sister are now taking Adult Ballet classes (I scheduled it in order for them to have a hobby they could do together and it's working).

The in person Blender and Unity 3D class Tiger Lilly is taking is fun and she hopes to continue after the fall.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I've been on a roll these last few weeks. I prepped meat, seasoned it and we had fun and interesting dinners. I am tired though and was slipping this last week.

HOUSE CLEANING: It's been tidy, but cluttered. We didn't get around to cleaning our own rooms, but the kids cleaned the common areas and it lasted oh, about two days.

LESSON PLANNING: Only taking me an hour, but did it at the last minute on Monday mornings and had to email it to the kids.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: We were able to go out alone two times in the last few weeks. Then we took a nap when the older kids took their siblings out.

SELF CARE: I am doing a decent job at exercising now. I sneak it in while I am at home with the kids in the evening and checking their work.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The winding path of raising kids with goals

There Is No Straight Road
When it comes to raising kids
According To Their own Rhythm

This was taken on our way home from kid's computer class

Speed Racer doing a safety check of the glider before he flies it.

Still learning to surf

My boys have been my most challenging kids to raise. Yes, my girls had their own set of interesting twist and turns, but my sons have beautiful, wild, and alpha male spirits. It has made me a better person to be part of the molding and shaping of them. 

Speed Racer has matured so much in the last few years. Each year I see more growth. I do give him direct focus on his goals, careers, vision after he answers many questions I have for him. When I do come up with a new focus, I am willing to change it if he voices a change. Lately, he's enjoyed everything I've thrown at him.

Our Vision For him (which I put on his bedroom door is)
Be a Pilot
Become a Martial Arts Teacher
Sail around the world
Become an Aeronautical Systems Engineer
Learn how to fix airplanes

The unconventional plan to get there
1) Get his Info Syst Degree with CLEP, DSST at Online University (graduate between 18-19 yrs)
2) At 19 yrs, attend 2 yr college get degree in Aircraft Mechanic
3) Get Commercial Pilot license
4) Learn to Sail at the local Youth Sailing program
5) At 21 yrs, attend Master's program with Airforce funded degree and scholarship program


13 yrs

Speed Racer has made progress in the following classes.

Online Daily Independent Classes
College Math Prep (Acellus) 6 lessons completed
US History 1 AP (Acellus) finishing from last year (has 80% to do) - 8 lessons completed
Psychology (Acellus) finishing from last year (has 10% to do) - 6 lessons
English (Acellus) 8 lessons completed
Algebra 1 review (Teaching Textbooks & Modern States) - 5 lessons completed
Basic Math review drills - 5 lessons completed
Time4Writing (Writing Mechanics High School) - 5 lessons 2 quizzes & 2 submitted assignments.

Work through with parents
Logic - completed chapter 3
Bible Devotinal - completed 3 devotionals
Computing & Info DSST  - working on 32 terms in Instacert
College Math Clep Review (Modern States, REA Clep Book, & Tutor) - Week 1 finished (Chp 1 & 2) ~ also worked with tutor

Classes In Person
Java Programming - attended first class and loved it
Dance - was in a competition this past weekend and practiced 4 days
Martial Arts - attended 2 days
Young Pilot Program - flew Glider plane
Sailing - signed up, went by Yacht club
Leadership Retreat

16 yrs
This week we decided to drop one of her College classes (even though she finished 2 major assignments) due to the group that she was put in. It was confusing even for me in helping her and the professor was no help. Now she only is working on 1 college class for this coming week and her business homeschool class. Her in person programming class in Unity 3d is extending to add Blender so she is excited. She did the leadership retreat with her brother, martial arts and her older brother has become our (mine and hers) personal trainer. He is wearing us out.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: This week ran smoothly. I had a bunch of meat prepped and did a quick meal with more veggies and no starch (no potatoes, no pasta, no rice) and my family hated it. They did like the mashed cauliflower though.

HOUSE CLEANING: I appointed pappa as the enforcer. I tapped out. He took over and stuff got done. Not to the level I would like, but the house is cleaner than it was. Now I am still trying to figure out how we ended up with sooooo much clutter in just 2 years since our move when we had nothing really.

LESSON PLANNING: Did it on Monday, my day off from work. I even gave them the day off. It took just under an hour.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Still having some logistic issues with finding time together. Mostly, because when I finish with kids at 8:30pm, my hubs takes over til around 10pm and I am sleep. Then the weekends, we were taking kids to all day events and I didn't want to stay up to go out (even though my husband is a night owl, I am not).

SELF CARE: I took a 3 hr nap on Sunday. Best day ever! Then waxed my eyebrows, exercised and read an entire book over the weekend.

Monday, August 28, 2017

My Crazy and Unorthodox Way Of Homeschooling


I reflected on the last few years over my homschooling journey. I've always been a 'survivor' a 'never accept a NO until I find my own YES' kind of person.

Therefore, when it came to my kids, I wanted to expose them to everything while pushing their minds and abilities as far as I could until they grew, or asked for a reprieve. 


It's a method used in private schools, high schools and most work places. However, REMOVE THE STRESS by making it a DISCOVERY.

1) Reach for the MOON

Expose your child to BIG DREAMS but allow them a PASS TO REDIRECT.

2) Fall to the STARS

The redirect is , finish the road started, but revise, and repeat if you have to.

For example, Speed Racer, has taken Alg 1 for 2 years. He started at 11 yrs old. He got a 'C'. Then at 12 years old, we used a different curriculum, he got a 'B'. This year, we are combining Alg 1 with College Math, so far, he's working on an 'A'.

We encouraged him to pursue 3 careers since he enjoys flying glider planes (1) Aeronautical Engineer (2) Pilot (3) Aeronautical Mechanic

I don't actually expect him to do all three. However, both my husband and I have had to or more career or businesses at one time. I am an Engineer, an author, have been a College Professor, Mortgage Lender, Travel consultant, all why maintaining my engineering career. My husband has done the same. Therefore, we want our kids to know, that if you want to experience two or more complimenting careers in a lifetime...go for it. Just figure out a way to do it.

Also, we plan to have him finish a degree in at least 2 of these areas with a minor in Computer Science since he also loves coding.

3) If they want to CHANGE DIRECTION, let them.

4) Don't accept a direction without them researching, defending a new plan.


This isn't the approach many parents choose to take. However, our minds are incredible gifts and when we encourage our kids that there are MANY MANY ROADS to their GOALS, that FAILURE doesn't mean DEFEAT but a CHANGE OF DIRECTION, they won't lose.

13 yrs old
Blended High Schooler

Speed Racer has matured so much in six months. I know he would, but sometimes as a parent, we are impatient. I try lots of methods to encourage positive growth, and never really knows what has worked, but I know, never giving up is the key.


Removed curriculum (1) Logic with Compass Classroom (2) Physics removed completely to year before he officially starts Dual Enrollment at online college (3) Added in person Java class (child requested) on Sundays.


Speed Racer doubled his quiz scores for study of the Computing DSST EXAM review with Instantcert. He has finished all independent work on time, before Friday, with good grades.

16 yrs old
Blended High Schooler

Tiger Lilly is pretty independent with her college classes. On Friday's I review all her work before she turns it in.

She requested another in person computer class. She's taking C#, Unity 3D and now Blender on Fridays for 2 hours. Her in person Japanese class will be moved to Spring since we both think her schedule is pretty booked.

Her homeschool business course is going well. Her website and blog are being created in the coming weeks.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I haven't gotten back on track with the mail planning or prep yet. I'm just throwing dinner together our we are grabbing fast food.  I am giving myself a month with our new schedule to get this corralled again.

HOUSE CLEANING: Not happening. This new schedule is wearing me down a bit and I haven't been enforcing (verifying that chores are done correctly and completely) like I should.

LESSON PLANNING: I do it mostly on Sunday evenings and it takes about an hour. We still use the Sue Patrick workbox system and the kids get a daily and weekly schedule. I am still working out our schedule. There are many changes in the first week and I am trimming curriculum down that I don't think is working.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: With my husband and I co-teaching this year, with a more HANDS ON APPROACH to HOMESCHOOLING our Speed Racer, both of us have been. Date night hasn't happened in 2 weeks. I owe him big time and sent him an IOU and he did the same. We set a date over the holiday weekend to have a day together.

Monday, July 31, 2017

New School Year - New Attitude 2018-19 Curriculum


This school year will be just as challenging, but with more planned breaks and more outside help.


Although, he finished all of his classes I'd planned for  him last school year. I still feel he needs a deeper Math review and Writing review.

These are subjects I will not let him go soft on as he needs to be comfortable with these for  Dual Enrollment.


To figure out which learning path works for Speed Racer towards earning college credit. His college of choice will be (1) BS at ~ major Info Tech or Web Design (2) AA degree in Airplane Repair (has to be 18yr for this program) so we will focus on the BS credits first.


Math Tutor
Writing Teacher and Curriculum that checks his papers
Programming Classes


Well, he finished Algebra 1 and Geometry with a B- in both. So I am having him take it over but with a different Curriculum. Then he will transition to Algebra 2 and Trig the beginning of next year.

Algebra 1 Review > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
LifePac (with Mom and Independent)

College Math > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
CLEP COLLEGE MATH-Prep For Success (with Tutor and book )
Accellus (and/or) for 6 weeks
Straighterline (After Modern States)

Algebra 2 and Trig > Nov 16th - July 15th
Abeka DVD based Curriculum


Speed Racer will be tuning the skills needed to pass College Composition CLEP or Straighterline Course.

English 1> Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Life Pac 9th Grade with Tutor)

Writing > Aug 1st-Nov 15th

Vocabulary> Nov 16th - July 15th

Literature >  Nov 16th - July 15th
Live Plays

Speed Racer will be preparing to take either the US History 1 and 2 CLEP or Straighterline course.

US History 1  (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Acellus (Do 1st)
Modern States (Do 2nd)
Straighterline (Do 3rd or take CLEP)
Instantcert or SpeedyPrep (whichever works best for him)

US History 2  (3 college credits) > Jan 7th-Mar 15th
Acellus (Do 1st)
Modern States (Do 2nd)
Straighterline (Do 3rd or take CLEP)
Instantcert or SpeedyPrep (whichever works best for him)

~Computer Science~
Speed Racer finished the Accellus Computer Science 1 course and did exceptionally well. Therefore, he has chosen the Computing and Info Tech DSST for his first DUAL credit course.

Computing and Info Tech for DSST  (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Speedy Prep
Practice Test

Javascript  > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Computational Learners In Person Class

Build a Drone > Aug 1st-Nov 15thComputational Learners In Person Class

~Social Science~
Speed Racer completed these courses with Accellus and last year.

Psychology (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Sociology (3 college credits) > Jan 15-March 15th
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Ethics In America (3 college credits) > Mar 15 - May 15
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Intro To Religion (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th

Speed Racer is required to take Physics in college. He took it with but I wanted to expose him to it more at a slower high level pace so we are working through this hands on curriculum that's light, but using some videos.

Physics > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Youtube Videos
With Dad


In the Winter and Spring of this school year, will do mostly CLEP test study or STRAIGHTERLINE with MODERNSTATES (since they give voucher for FREE CLEP test)

Research Child's Path 1st.
Note: UMUC (college of choice) accepts ACE credits and direct transfers from STRAIGHTERLINE and up to 90 transfer credits form other sources including (CLEP and DSST). His chosen COMMUNITY COLLEGE degree is more hands on and will accept CLEPs/DSST for Pre-reqs so he will have to take CLEPs for his Math and English for the Community College degree if he doesn't have his BS before starting.

 Credits to Attempt this year (Aug 1st to July 15th)
  ~ Modern States, then Straighterline [and/or] CLEP or DSST test ~

Religion (3 credits) 1st
Computing and Info Sys (3 credits) 2nd
US History 1 (3 credits) 3rd
US History 2 (3 credits) 4th
Ethics In America (3 credits) 5th
Psychology (3 credits) 6th
Sociology (3 credits) 7th
College Math (3 credits) 8th
Algebra (3 credits) 9th


She is officially a Junior in College and a Home School High Schooler. Here's her breakdown.


This year is focusing on honing her ART, Japanese speaking skills, her BUSINESS BUILDING, her NOVEL creation, WEB COMIC creation and MOBILE GAME development skills. Also, to finish her BS degree in Information Systems and Computer Science (minor). By the end of her school year she should have completed the following (1) Build her Micro Business Website (2) Drafted her first Novella (3) Drafted her first Web Comic (4) Build her ART Portfolio and placed her works for sale (5) Drafted her first mobile game to be sold

~ College Classes ~
Tiger Lilly has only 3-8week semesters to finish before she is done her required courses for her degree.

Here's her class list.
Fall (Aug-Oct)
-Info Sys Project Mgmt
-Software and Hardward Infrastructure

Fall (Oct-Dec) 
-Motion Graphics
-Systems Analysis and Design
-Digital Marketing

Spring (Jan-Mar) 
-Info Sys Practicum
-Business and Continuity Planning

~ Homeschool Business Classes ~
Tiger Lilly finished the first part of this course by Carol Topp. It was wonderful for her. She has her Micro Business plan already thought out and written. Now we are finishing the set up and figuring the rest.

Running a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

Money and Taxes In a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

~ Homeschool Japanese ~
Tiger Lilly completed the first three Japanese courses at a local Japanese language school and will be completing the last two before I enroll her in the in - person Community College course.

School Of Japanese
Part 4 (2 days a week)
Part 5 (2 days a week)

~ Homeschool Art Classes ~
Tiger Lilly is taking ART at the local museum, but we are seeking out a more courses that allow her to work with young people on the type of Art she likes.

Art and Drawing
Community College
Art Museum Art School

Friday, June 23, 2017

Experiment of Doing Nothing

Big Brother and Little Brother


The best gift a mom has is when her oldest son matures enough to be a mentor to her youngest son. This moment for me happened at the Lacrosse team end of season party. My oldest son was able to coach and mentor his brother along with some other great young boys.


Well it's been three weeks and I didn't really allow Speed Racer to do an extra-curricular activities. Since he was burned out, and I was burned out I told him to just relax. However, NO VIDEO GAMES and NO LAPTOP unless he has a valid reason to use it.


Opted to going outside to play basketball, ping pong, ride his skateboard, washed the car, picked coconuts from our tree, took out the trash.

Then he said, "I'm bored, can I have the computer to look up some science experiments on I can do?"

Then while watching these videos on:
- Science Experiments
- Crazy things people do
- Conspiracy Theories
- Breakdancing
- Video Game Play

And this...


He said, "What do I have to do for my work?"

My answer, "Nothing. Figure it out. Your choice. If you want to go to camp in July, the work for the year should be finished." *wink*

His actions, he finished all his subjects (Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy)
Then his CTCMath Algebra 1 and Geometry.


In 3 weeks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Had to Halt the School Year For One

I have called a full HALT to Speed Racer's school year. 

Speed Racer and I are tired of working together on school.

We need chill and fun time.

A fresh start.

A break.

Some help.

A new dog-on curriculum.

Summer vacation.

Anger management.


I ended the school year for Speed Racer. He is doing nothing. Factors involved in this decision were (1) Mom started a new job that is higher visibility than the last (2) Dad started a new job and starting a new business. (3) Mom's part-time business is taking off. (4) Speed Racer just isn't in the mood to work anymore. It's been a struggle, frustrating, changing of curriculum, and grumbling.

I took a step back.

Realized that we just weren't excited about learning and were burnt out.

Also, I had to address his bad behavior. So there was a bit of redirected learning. I told him he could study or deep dive, unschool, do whatever he wanted until I sent him to camp in July.

We will see what happens.

Tiger Lilly is going forward. Taking FIVE college classes this next 8 weeks before starting camp in July. Her load will be busy with DRAWING, MARKETING, BIOLOGY with BIO LAB, and WEB DESIGN.

She wants to do it so she can have a light year her last year of college this Fall. If she keeps this up, she'll graduate with her BS at age 17 yrs old. A record for the family. 


Meanwhile as for MOM....I am hanging in there. Although, I still review Tiger Lilly's work 2 times a week, I am free all the other days from homeschool support. 

I am taking lots of naps after work since I don't have to do one on ones with Speed Racer. Gearing up for a job certification test, writing a lot for my part-time business and just putting thoughts of planning next school year aside.

Don't think I'm not itching to get back to it. I just am making myself re-direct so I can re-charge for that passion.

SCHOOL WILL RESUME FOR Speed Racer in August. 

How do I feel about that? 

I love the freedom of homeschool. I control our breaks. Next school year, I may invest in a Math tutor 2 times a week just so I can take a step back from that toxic subject with my young guy. Stay tuned.