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.

SCHOOL IS LOOKING A LOT LIKE COLLEGE NOW

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.


OUR WEEKS IN MOTION

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 Study.com 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. 

Concerns?
He hasn't taken the proctored exam yet. With both Straighterline and Study.com he has to. So we practiced me watching him during one of the practice exams using a program called join.me 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 Study.com that he can use for upper credits and courses that Straighterline doesn't have to transfer to his online college of choice (UMUC.edu). 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

Study.com 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 ~ UMUC.edu (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.


WORK and HOME BALANCE
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



DOES YOUR CHILD REALLY NEED A TV?
IN THEIR BEDROOM

No.

WHY WE DON'T ALLOW TVs in KIDs ROOMs

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 IS THE RIGHT AGE FOR A TV IN THE ROOM

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.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTs? For or Against?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Sometimes I don't Like Homeschooling My Kids



PULLING MY HAIR OUT 
Never Worked

SOME DAYS I DON'T LIKE HOMESCHOOLING

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.

WHAT DO I DO?

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?

NO...

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.


THEN WHAT?

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.

EVALUATE YOUR TRIGGERS?

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.

TRY and TRY AGAIN

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


 MY TIPS AND TRIPS to RAISING AN INDEPENDENT LEARNER




MY METHODS


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.

MOTIVATING LEARNING THROUGH ADVENTURES


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.

SCAVENGER HUNTS

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.

RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS

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

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.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

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.


GO ON THE ADVENTURE WITH THEM

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.


VALIDATE THE EXPERIENCE by EVALUATING THE LEARNING

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?

HOW DID THIS WORK FOR MY HOMESCHOOL

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.

WHERE DOES INDEPENDENT LEARNING BENEFIT MY CHILD

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.


TAKING A CHANCE

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.

PLANNING OUR NEW SEMESTER to START in JANUARY

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.

OUR WEEKS IN MOTION

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.

GETTING AUTOGRAPHS



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.


WORK and HOME BALANCE
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





HOW THE TIME FLIES and STILL I WONDER 
IF I AM DOING THIS RIGHT.

Speed Racer our first Year


Both Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly Now



Two WEEKS in REVIEW

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.


WORK and HOME BALANCE
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

WEEK IN REVIEW

SPEED RACER
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


TIGER LILLY
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.

WORK and HOME BALANCE
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.