Monday, March 19, 2018

Staying Motivated And Building Friendships


Well we are nearing our homeschool stretch, at the beginning of Spring. The kids are a bit ready for it all to end and summer to begin.

So I decided to put in place some incentives to get us all through this time.


I found some local spring break camps that the kids are interested in. They will still be doing their college course work, just at a slower pace, so thay can participate in the week long camp.

It's the break they need and allows them to meet new kids their age and just have fun.



I have Speed Racer in Breakdance, Martial Arts and now Paddling for the season which starts in the Spring and ends at the end of Summer. He is super excited to meet the neighborhood kids in this group/

Tiger Lilly is working with a personal training group, Martial Arts and I am trying to find a Paddling group for her, she doesn't want anything competitive.


We are having several 'cook outs', 'paint parties', 'movie parties' with friends and family this month that really made the kids happy with the interaction with friends and their kids.

The kids are also participating in the Homeschool Prom!

She is irritated that I am taking pictures of her working

The activity that keeps my highly active boy relaxed most times.


SPEED RACER's Progress this past month.

He is on a roll and has matured so much. We did give him an incentive for passing his Straighterline, and classes with B or better. He got a video game of choice. it worked. He is on track.

Now his is comfortable completing his Straighterline class independently during the day. I do review his chapter assignments, notes, and give him a quick review before he attempts his test.  With he does completely on his own, however, he request that I review the flashcards and his practice exam with him (I think he likes just talking through things).

His online college classes with UMUC he just works with the tutor to answer his Math problems and to tell him what he missed on his papers. He usually revises the papers, I read them, then send them to the tutor who tells him what he needs to fix before turning the papers in.

Straighterline Classes: Does in Evening with Mom available if he needs help
College Credit Earned: English 101, IT Fundamentals, US History 2, Environmental Science, Religion, Western Civilization = 18 college credits earned
College Credits Working On: Intro to Business, College Success, Cultural Anthropology, English 102
College Credits Planned: Business Ethics, Psychology, Business Management Classes:
Paused taking them. Myself and Speed Racer realized he can finish the Straighterline courses faster so he wants to concentrate on those.

Dual Enrollment ~ (Online University - 8 week classes)He is enrolled and taking classes as a non-degree seeking homeschooled student.

College Credits Earned: Speech, College Math = 6 college credits earned

College Credits Working On: Concepts and Aplications in Info Sys, Pre-Calculus

TIGER LILLY's Progress this past month.

Tiger Lilly  is officially finished her required college course work at and will be getting her degree this May.

She is traveling this week to go to MD for her final interview with one of her Internships and to tour the facility. Since she is only 16 yrs old, her dad opted to fly with her (she better take this internship since it cost us airplane ticket for her dad O_o oh my.)

Her online business she does with her sister just got two new contracts. She does the artwork for the logo and helps with some of the programming. They are excited about it.

We are now looking at graduate schools, and scholarships. So stay tuned.

WORK and HOME BALANCEWorking and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I've successfully created 'boring' dinners my family said most every week. A protein and a veggie. If momma has to diet, so does everyone else.

HOUSE CLEANING: We had guest over quite a bit, so that motivated the family to really work at cleaning the house. It's better since the dishwasher is now working. We even finally got rid of some of the clutter and boxes we had yet to unpack from our previous move - 3 yrs ago. 

LESSON PLANNING: It's a breeze. We work together to build their schedules now and they do them for me, since they want the control. I add in what I want them to finish. 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: We've gone to see the Black Panther at a great premiere night together. Had a blast, and went out to bowling.

SELF CARE: I've failed miserably on this. Like, haven't done a dog on thing to pamper myself. However, I've been pampering my girls. I got to stop doing that. Soon.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Transitioning Kid To College, Working Parent Challenge

Fun Times and School Grind

Visiting a friend for a Yummy Southern Cooked Dinner

Girls Day Out, Makeup Class at Sephora

Finding ways to play and have fun with our older kids has been fun. We've done dance competitions, Poetry Slams, Martial Arts Tournaments and more these last few months.


I've promoted Speed Racer to college classes and he has a tutor, Tiger Lilly, who checks his work before he turns it into me (which saves mom a lot of time and effort). Then I verify he is doing okay, and give him the approval to move on. 

Meanwhile, we are planning a wedding for my oldest son, helping Tiger Lilly land her first internship and launch her new micro-business with her sister Rose, while considering what she wants to do for graduate school.


I'm updating you all monthly as our schooling viewpoint has changed now in my sixth year of homeschooling. 

Mom's and Dad's day looks like this:

Mom leaves early for work. Dad gets kids up, reviews work from the night before when mom bailed and went to bed, tells them what to review, or fix. Kids do work, mom gets home, or drops in for lunch, reviews work, answer questions, reviews work prior to them turning it into their online class, then verify work assigned for the day is done.

SPEED RACER's Progress

Started New Plan in January. He is now taking all College Classes. This is where the rigor of Abeka and mom's curriculum is really helping him with time management. He is doing well with retaining a lot of the information in these courses and doing pretty well in them.

Why the Change?
He told me that he was bored studying for CLEPS and DSST, that he'd rather just take a class. Also, the thought of sitting still for 2 hrs to take an exam outside of our home, made him anxious. So, we tried Straighterline, and he suggested since he liked the format. I figured, why not try both. He liked both. He just kept surprising me as he really caught on, and has been moving a decent pace. 

He hasn't taken the proctored exam yet. With both Straighterline and he has to. So we practiced me watching him during one of the practice exams using a program called and after a few tries, he did okay.

Does It Seem Like Too Much?
Since I've pretty much groomed my kids to have a vigorous, and intensive school day, this to him seems so much easier than mom making him do long assignments and tons of work that is out of his control. He told me this was easier O_o 

How do We Manage the Tough Spots
He has a tutor in Math, and English who helps him with his papers he has to turn in.

The Plan?
The plan is for him to finish as many classes with Straighterline (that are open book finals) and with that he can use for upper credits and courses that Straighterline doesn't have to transfer to his online college of choice ( Both programs transfer direct to UMUC.

Then, when he finishes his online BS degree in Information Systems, he wants to get his pilot license and go to school to learn to repair airplanes. So...we will see.

Straighterline Classes: Does in Evening with Mom available if he needs help
College Credit Earned: English 101
College Credits Working On: English 102, US History 2, Environmental Science
College Credits Planned: Nutrition, Religion, Intro to Business, Business Ethics, College Success, Cultural Anthropology Classes: He does these during the day without help
College Credits Working On: Intro to Computing , Business Information Systems, Personal Finance
College Credits Planned: MicroEcon, MacroEcon, Marketing, Business Management, Sociology & Psychology (he finished these last year but didn't take the final exam ~ so he is retaking it and will take final.

Dual Enrollment ~ (Online University - 8 week classes)
He is enrolled and taking classes as a non-degree seeking homeschooled student.
College Credits Working On: Speech, College Math (already on week 5 of 8 week course)
College Credits Planned: US History 1, Research, College Algebra

Overall, he is on schedule to finish these courses by June. If he does, he would officially be a Sophomore in college at 14 yrs old.

TIGER LILLY's Progress

Tiger Lilly is finishing up her final requirement for her degree in Information Systems with minor in Computer Science, and Graphic Arts. She is taking Principles in Web Design, Digital Marketing and Trends in Application Management-Capstone Course.

Starting in April (after her college classes are done) she is building some software products for her marketing clients (she has 2 clients). Then she plans on working on more art, her web comic and novella.

Internship interviews, are over and she landed two summer internships. She doesn't have to make a decision until April.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: This is going well now that we decided to eat healthy and remove the rice, potatoes, and pasta.

HOUSE CLEANING: Well, this has been touch and go. Kids don't want to do the dishes since the dish washer was broken. 

LESSON PLANNING: So much easier!!! I just ask them to send me their plans for the week. They now do their weekly schedule and I just verify it. Mom delegation works! 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Hubs and I are making our time together more of a priority. We have gone to some comedy shows together, had some friends over for his birthday, and just went for some long drives.

SELF CARE: I've failed miserably on this. Like, haven't done a dog on thing to pamper myself. However, I've been pampering my girls. I got to stop doing that. Soon.  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

No TVs or Computers in Kids Room




When our oldest child was around five years old, my friend asked me if he had a TV and Video game in his room.

We'd thought about it and decided to make an upstairs playroom for all of our kids to go to when they wanted to play and watch TV or videogames.

As they got older, my oldest requested a TV for Christmas when he was 12 years old.

That's when we noticed that his routine was to come home, say hello, go to his room ~ for hours, without really conversing with us.

Then he would close the door and sometimes lock it. This indicated that he was doing something in his room that he wasn't supposed to be doing.

1) It alienated him from us
2) Made it hard to detect when something was wrong, or he was sad, angry, depressed or seeking things on the TV or computer that he wasn't supposed to be seeking.
3) It didn't help him grow, it divided us, made him rather territorial with his room.

Lastly, a co-worker of mine's daughter committed suicide, and one thing she said was an issue was the amount of time her kid stayed in her room alone.


When they are grown, and no longer in need of oversight. My son got his TV in his room when he turned 18 yrs old. Truth is, he enjoys, even now watching TV with all of us. We 'reconditioned' his way of thinking. He and my other kids enjoy watching shows together, watching each other play video games and interacting with each other. My oldest daughter, now, 20 yrs old states that she rarely watches TV and prefers to watch with everyone else.

If they go in their room for anything other than sleeping, drawing, or reading, I know something isn't right.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Sometimes I don't Like Homeschooling My Kids

Never Worked


It's true. It's honest. I am tired getting home from work, and dealing with attitude, not one thing done, a messy living room and ungrateful kids. I have little patience. My kids are being disrespectful, lazy and mouthing off.

At those times, I really have to dig deep to 'like' them, even though, I love them more than anything. They know how to push all my buttons, and some days, I just don't do well with creating a counter measure of calm and restraint to deal with them.


Sometimes, I respond well. I cut off the studies, re-direct to fun, relax. But other times, I lose it, fuss, yell, respond that why I told them never to do.

Is that bad?

Is that horrible that I slip in control?


They need to realize that I am human, a person, who deserves to be treated they way they want to be treated. That parents can be imperfect. That parents can make mistakes. That parents have limits too.


Parents should apologize. We should. It's the right thing to do, and meaning it is important. However, we still need to address their behavior.


So, then, stepping back and thinking about what made you respond the way you did. For me, most times, it's usually lack of rest. For my kids, it's lack of outward interaction.


The only thing we've done, is tried to be better at this parenting. With each child an area improves, but another is discovered.

I believe having children isn't just about raising them to be the people God wants them to be, but helping the parent be more sensitive to areas that we need to change ourselves.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Raising an Independent Learner ~ My Tips and Tricks



I believe in giving my children a challenge and watching, observing how they respond to it so I can figure out how they best are 'sparked' into the hunger for that topic.

Kids love playing games, challenges, and rewards. I created these scenarios with them at various times by giving them something to 'hunt' for within a chosen topic.


We used the Sue Patrick Workbox Method to keep us organized. Also, to allow my child to go to one place for their assignments, turning in their work, and letting me know when they needed help. This was an invaluable training resource for their INDEPENDENCE at a young age.


Creating learning and topical scavenger hunts for information is a really good way to stir up additional and directed learning curiosity. Allowing the child to use whatever source, method or type of research material to gather the pieces to the puzzle for their learning really solidifies the topic. My kids did this a lot with HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, SCIENCE and TOPICS OF THEIR CHOICE. This is a great way to add to a topic or completely teach a subject. You can get really creative with this and end in a DISCUSSION, PROJECT PRESENTATION, or a SHOW AND TELL of their findings.


This assignment should include all the makings of a scientific experiment and argument building exercise. With research methods including outward discovery and even finding or coming up with solutions that are not presented within their findings. It can include a paper, artwork, a collage, and a scientific demonstration of their newfound facts. ~Make it fun ~ and validate the child's responses and retention. Make the topic something that they are interested in. Give them methods for research, analysis. Consider the outcome being *creating a game to discover the findings, a video, acting out the finding ~ do whatever you can to make it fun.


Discovery missions is a way of opening up a learning opportunity by sharing one piece of the study at a time and in different ways. You could experience literature by reading a comic together, then going to see the play, then watching a movie, and going to the location, creating the food for that adventure, or artifacts, or creating a room that represents that adventure, or even have your child plan the adventure to show you the way to their discovery.


Part of making the experience fun, is to figure out how to ask the right questions to lead your child to share, desire discovery, and to interact through the learning experience. They should be fueled by questions, that 'spark' a desire to research to find out more about their topic.


The best part of the experience, is when they are finished their discoveries, they take you on the adventure with them. Let them do it alone first, to 'map the route', then have them take you on the journey to share their methods of discovery, learning, pitfalls, and wins.


Lastly, you want your child to have ownership in validating the exercise. The topic areas, the ways you can improve the experience of their learning journey for them. What they learned from it? How they responded? Did it make them more independent?


My kids don't want me to help them initially. They seek to work through their assignments independently first. Then when I check and review their assignments, I ask them about their responses. Then I suggest a method to use to get or confirm their answers.


All of my children have become confident in the discovery of information to support their interest. They do ask for my advice and guidance, but usually only after they have done extensive research themselves. Most times, they just want guidance, not the answers. The answers, they love to discover for themselves.

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.