Friday, January 20, 2017

Why haven't things Settled Yet?



You Ever Feel Unsettled In Your Day To Day?

Well that's been us since we had to do a major readjustment to our curriculum and schedule do to time constraints and parental burnout.

We put more of the learning and homeschooling on online products and are focusing on Math, Writing and CLEP prep only with our one on one time and it's still doesn't seem to fit correctly.

So we had a Speed Racer MATH Melt Down since he is frustrated with the consequences of his actions. Nothing major, just smart mouth back talking, sneaking cellphone during school hours, staying up past his bedtime and falling asleep in the living room while watching TV (which was taken from his room).

In the midst of all of that we realized that he has a great grasp on Math on the Computer (because he has figured out how to 'cheat' the system). But I believe that our minds process computer based calculations differently than writing.

When he writes, he makes mistakes, skips steps and it slows him down. He doesn't have a chance to GUESS his answer.

Speed Racer's New Daily Schedule
He had a rough few weeks with his new curriculum. We are no longer using ABEKA as he finished most of his curriculum (to lesson 110 since we started late summer and are doing school year around.)

8am - Wake up Shower and Eat

10am - Online Independent work 

Vocabulary Review (Membean)
Algebra Practice (CTCMath)
Geometry Practice (CTCMath)
Basic Math Practice (Prodigy and IXL) 3 days a week
Humanities (Study.com)
Sociology (Study.com)

1:30pm - Lunch

2:30pm Online Independent work
He had a rough few weeks with his new curriculum. He has to re-watch videos without fast forwarding through when he fails a quiz or test. He also realized that each time he re-takes a quiz or test > Acellus gives him different questions for the 're-take' even though he passes the 'test-recovery review'. This means he can't just write down the ones he got correct before then type it in and only focus on the ones he gets wrong. I love this method since he is realizing that taking notes makes a big different. The videos he doesn't mind as they are similar to Abeka in that they have a teacher lecturing (but not to a class) to the viewing student. They are a bit dated, but the teachers are decent he says. The videos are MUCH shorter than Abeka in that they only last 4 to 10 minutes per section, then there is a quiz immediately after (Abeka online doesn't do this). He does like that there is no seatwork or extra homework since we are doing ACELLUS HOMESCHOOL option.

Algebra 1 [Acellus-Homeschool]
US History [Acellus-Homeschool]
Geography  [Acellus-Homeschool]
English [Acellus-Homeschool]
Psychology [Acellus-Homeschool]
Intro To Computer Science [Acellus-Homeschool ]


6pm - Martial Arts (3 days a week), Break Dancing

7:30 pm - Dinner


8:30pm - Work with Parents
Algebra 1 (Saxon Math) with Mom
Writing (Time4Writing) with Dad oversight
Psychology (Instantcert) with Dad oversight

Tiger Lilly New Daily Schedule

8am - Wake up Shower and Eat

10am - Start College work Online Independent work
Intro To Interactive Design
Information Systems in Organizations
Ethics in Information Technology

2pm - Finish College work and Mom or Dad reviews it 

4pm - Helps mom prep dinner

6pm -Japanese Class (T/Th),  Martial Arts (4 days a week)

8pm - Do Homeschool work

C# and Game Design (YouthDigital.com)
Network Pro (using TestOut.com since Landry is closed)
Marketing (Mom's curriculum)
Starting A Micro Business  (Homeschool book/workbook series)
Blender 3d Animation (Udemy.com)

 

WORKING PARENT's LOG
I am surviving! In the midst of a school year with constant and unexpected change. Flexibility is the key.

Meals we are not doing well with meal prep. I am just tossing meals together. My oldest daughter is starting a fitness diet change and no longer eats with us (our food doesn't fit in her meal plan). So I'm cooking for less, but getting more creative since I am not meal planning.

Cleaning. The kids have gotten back in a routine of having the house cleaned before dad or I get home (whichever one of us gets home the earlier that day). The one that goes in later gets them to take their shower and clean up after breakfast.

Work & Life Balance. It's been very hectic for me as my job is going through lots of changes and I am interviewing for other opportunities I feel are more stable. We will see where God leads me in this. My hubs is doing great though.

Lesson Planning. Totally crazy throwing stuff together at the last minute. With one of our favorite curriculum providers leaving it's been a mess.

Rest. Actually we are getting more. At least I am, since my youngest son has to stay in his room and we lock up the computers, game controllers, and cellphones so he doesn't roam the house at night.

Marriage Check Up. We are at a comfortable pace. We went to a marriage check up and viola, I found that he is upset when I make lunch for my older son who carpooled with me instead of making it for him. Valid point. So now I set aside leftovers for him to have for lunch the next day.




 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Kid's Vision Boarding!

HAVING KIDS 'Visualize' THEIR DREAMS





I'm sure you have heard the term VISION BOARDS and many people hop on that and think they should create one > but don't.

Well I have always kept a catalog of my dreams, hopes, and goals stored away in my notebook journal that I carry around with me in my purse. I started doing it when I was in my teens at the suggestion of a youth leadership conference I attended.

HOW TO for a YOUTH Vision board.

1) Jot down LONG TERM DREAMS and GOALS
2) Build a picture board of all those FUTURE ACCOMPLISHMENTS to come

THEN MAKE IT HAPPEN BY

1) Create a Goals Journal with your child
Have your child LIST the HOW TO steps to OBTAINING VISION BOARD goals

Reflect on the journal weekly

2) Mark off the NOW goals and the LATER goals

Create steps to obtaining the NOW goals.
Mark off any of the steps taken towards it.

REALIZING that DREAMS CAN COME TRUE

The exercise teaches kids that will planning, goal setting, dreaming, and research, they have the power to make their dreams come true.

IT's OKAY TO READJUST their VISIONS and DREAMS

So do an inventory one time a year and a new board, goal journal and see where it takes you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Unexpected Schedule Change Due to Vendor

One Thing About Homeschooling That's Good is

Fluidity!


Sadly, one of our curriculum vendors (Landry Academy) which we Loved is closing it's doors.





Unfortunately, I've paid in advance for 'generics' or discounted online classes that will now not be available to my students. They only offered a 'deal' with Veritas Press that cost $249 per class. Some of the teachers offered their own courses, but at $100 to $150 a piece, I really couldn't afford that option at this time.

I am upset, but refuse to hold on to anger. I spent about two weeks during this revising Speed Racer's and Tiger Lilly's schedule. And have to spend more unplanned money to get the support I need as a working parent for my kid's semi-independent instruction.

Many of the teachers contacted parents to offer solutions, but they had to get paid (I could understand since Landry hadn't paid them). They were reasonably priced, but with it being after the holidays, I really didn't have the funds to give out an additional $150 per class just like that.

So I had to find a cheap startup solution, and had been researching Acellus.com for next school year and signed up for the 'homeschool' option this year.

Replacement and change to ACELLUS.com is now our new online education provider that is replacing many of the classes with Landry.

Dashboard




Offers (1) Mobile App for parent to check progress

Offers (2) Parent Dashboard

The way it works: (1) Child takes assessment test in the beginning for each subject (2) Child watches 5 to 7 min video (3) Take quiz (4) If pass quiz, goes on to new video, If fail quiz, rewatch video - then retake quiz (5) Their progress and grade gets updated on Daily

Offers (3) Pay as you go Homeschool Option at $30 monthly for homeschool parents, print out/work sheets per subject (not a bunch but enough to have additional homework - it is by choice if you select the homeschool option)

Offers (4) upgrade to Tutoring (teacher support $50 per year / per class) or Accredited (teacher support and report card $80 a month) ~ Truth be told, if I was going in this direction I would just go with BJU online or AbekaAcademy online which come with books and accreditation for the same price.

Finding an online and interactive curriculum is VERY important to us as working parents. We also wanted something we could daily or hourly check the status of for our students.
ACELLUS also offers a High School DIPLOMA (which we won't need).

Our REVISED SCHOOL SCHEDULE for 2017
*Note: Mom and Dad check work daily*

Speed Racer Blended High Schooler (13 yrs)

Do Daily Independent
(Core Classes) 8am-2pm with 1 hr lunch and Two 15-min breaks

Algebra 1 Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
    Algebra 1 (practice) [CTCmath (my son requested to keep using this)]
US History Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
Geography Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
English Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
Intro To Computer Science Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-10 Lessons a week]
Sociology Online Independent [Study.com-5 Lessons a week]
Humanities Online Independent [Study.com-5 Lessons a week]
Geometry Online Independent [CTC.com-5 Lessons a week]

2 Days a week Independent when parents around to check workbooks
Vocabulary [Membean]
Speed Reading [AceReader]
Basic Math Practice [IXL and MineCraft Homeschool]
Daily Language Workbook
Wordly Wise Workbook
Cursive Quotes Copy Work 

Daily with Parental Interactive Instruction
Algebra 1 with Geometry [Saxon]
Psychology CLEP Prep
REVIEW OF WORK THAT WAS BELOW SCORE of 'B' for the day



Tiger Blended Dual Enrolled High Schooler (15 yrs)

College Classes
(8 week classes from Jan-Mar)
Intro To Interactive Design
Information Systems in Organizations
Ethics in Information Technology


Homeschool Classes
(Core Classes)
C# and Game Design (YouthDigital.com)
Network Pro (using TestOut.com since Landry is closed)
Javascript (Webucator)
Marketing (Mom's curriculum)
Mobile App Design (FREE online self Study course with Webucator)
Starting A Micro Business  (Homeschool book/workbook series)
Japanese (From Japanese to Zero, In person meet up, italki.com tutor)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Reflecting on 2016 and Way Forward for 2017



Happy Holidays!

Here's some thoughts on my reflection of 2016

What an exciting and unpredictable year this has been for my family and I. I wanted to reflect on some major highs and lows of this year since I will be taking a bit of a posting break til January.


Homeschool

My kids have grown to be independent learners this year. The truth is, they've surprised me and disappointed me in some ways with old habits creeping in. But overall, kids are AMAZING! and Resilient.

They've explored much in their learning and I gave them a lot of freedom.

Speed Racer: He is an exceptional learner. Still he is a bit lazy, has a ton of energy, and can be rather defiant with a smart mouth. However, he is so much improved since we started - and since the beginning of our school year.

I have come to realize that I can't let him push my buttons, although he does and I lose my temper, the kid just doesn't take it too personal. Even so, he's grown as a person and a student. Each year is an adventure and he actually teaches me more about myself, stretches my ability for patience, and my need for prayer.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Tiger Lilly: She is growing into an exceptional young woman who knows what she wants out of life. Her passion for art, video games and authoring is something she cultivates in her free time. As a dual enrolled homeschooled and online college student, time management is still one of her major challenges.

She still needs mom to make her accountable and we are continuing to work on that. Her mind and desire for owning and operating her own business to sell her art, her video games and her talet is astounding in someone so young. I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey with her.

Home Life and Marriage

My husband and I took a huge leap of faith and decided to uproot our family and move to a place we'd considered retiring to. We realized that we were too old to do the work so hard so you could retire early road, or the take a mini-retirement every 3 years road and were left with the 'move where you want to retire' dream realization.

It was the best decision of our lives. It has been challenging, but we wouldn't change a thing. We sold everything we had, transferred jobs (I got a new job) and moved our family.

On the marraige front, those amount of stressful changes did cause a lot of debate, gnashing of teeth, and meeting of the minds. It showed us how strong our bond had grown and that we still needed to learn how not to argue so passionately about things that really aren't important.



Work Life

Both of us are working and homeschooling parents. Thus the change in our work environment has a major impact on our lives. My husband had an easy work transition (somewhat) but didn't get money to move for his new job. In my case I took a consultant (temporary consulting job) that transferred to permanent employment. However, even that has been a challenge as there was downsizing on the job as a whole and lots of changes.

Counting Down

Yes, we are counting down the years we have left to homeschool. Likely, we will be doing it for Tiger Lilly until (2018 when she gets her BS degree at 17 yrs old) and for Speed Racer til 2020 - 2021 depending on his emotional maturity. That means another 5 to 6 years O_o --- oh my!

What are your reflections this year?



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Halt! We have a Cheating Problem






We have an ongoing challenge with one of our homeschool kids that involves CHEATING.

It ebbs and flows, but it happened frequently enough that we purchased a safe to hide the answer keys and books in.

WHY WOULD A HOMESCHOOLED CHILD CHEAT?

I don't know why other homeschooled children cheat, but here are the reasons my kids stated they attempted or succeeded in cheating.

1) They wanted a good grade (old traditional school philosophy)
2) They didn't feel like actually figuring out the work
3) It was easy because the answers were easily spotted
4) They did it to finish their work fast
5) They didn't realize it wasn't acceptable
6) They don't want to ask for help

WHAT WE TELL OUR KIDS ABOUT CHEATING in HOMESCHOOL

1) It's not about getting the answers RIGHT it's about LEARNING
2) You are only CHEATING YOURSELF because you are NOT ALLOWING US TO HELP YOU
3) Cheating will falter our trust in your honesty about your needs. If we don't know you need help, we can't help.
4) There are consequences for our actions, when you cheat at home, you will pay a consequence
5) This is an environment that is created for your own success and we will work through how to teach you, expose you and gain you the time and practice you need to succeed.

FORGIVING YOUR CHEATING CHILD

Once punishment is doled out we:

1) Tell them the slate is clean
2) Evaluate the method of instruction and figure out if we have to start from square one of the specified curriculum or topic (We've had a few redos)
3) Lock up the materials

LOOKING FORWARD

Kids eventually out grow this issue. It boils down to a behavioral issue in many cases. Consistency, parental emotional control in this situation and consequences help to move them in the direction of honesty and transparency to their needs, frustrations, or lack of enthusiasm for a subject that causes cheating.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

ReVamping Our Schedule For New Block Semester

A New Semester A New Attitude

With our new semester and our new work obligations, we are having to change up our schedule and courses for the kids this 'block' semester.

This is the plan overall for both kids that we hope will last til March (the end of our new block).

THE KEY = 'Accountability' - Mom checks progress everyday. If work is done - Video Games, Movies, Cellphones are given. If not: Work added to weekend and NO FUN ON WEEKEND til work finished.

SPEED RACER (13 yrs)


His Classes This Block will focus on Algebra and Geometry building. Learning to take notes, study technique building and preparing to take his first CLEP in Psychology.

We check his Online Class progress electronically daily. If he doesn't finish his independent work, he can't check out his video game controllers or cellphone.

He does sneak in some naps during the day and has a 11:30pm imposed bedtime.

English Focused Classes
(He does these independently)

Writing ER (Landry Online Class) - Daily
Daily Grammar (2 pages in Grammar workbook) - Daily
IXL (Grammar Drills) - Daily

Algebra Focused Classes
(With Help)
Saxon Algebra 1 (DIVE cds) Does even questions - Daily
Algebra Drill Problems (4-8 pages in workbook) - 2 days do problems/ 2 days review with mom

(He does these independently)

Algebra 1 Online (CTCMath) - Daily
Algebra concept review (Study.com) - Daily

Geometry Focused Classes
(He does these independently)
Geometry Online (CTCMath) - Daily


Basic Math Review Focused Classes
(He does these independently)

8th Grade Basic Math (IXL) - Daily

Social Sciences Focused Classes
(He does these independently)
Sociology (Study.com) - Daily
Psychology (Study.com) - Daily
Logic (Landry) - 2 days a week

(With Help)
Sociology REA Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily
Psychology AP Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily

Other
Humanities (Study.com) - Daily
Earth Science - focus on Weather (Study.com) - Daily 

(With Help)
Spelling You See (Mom test on Friday's) - Daily
Humanities  Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily





 TIGER LILLY (15yrs) with MOMMA
This block semester she will have 3 online college classes and quite a few homeschool classes.

College Classes Online
Intro to Interactive Design
Ethics in Information Tech
Information Systems in Orgs

Online Homeschool Classes
Wed Development 8am Tues (Landry)
Network Essentials 10am Mon (Landry)

Mom Managed Classes
Business Entrepreneurship (Book)
Youth Digital Unity 3D C# (Interactive)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

There is FOOD around the Corner!

We can't wait for our short Thanksgiving Break
Off School for Thu and Fri! Woot!
 Recap of the fun we've had over the last two weeks.
Still recovering from the shock of Politics.
But that isn't holding us down.

We went to the beach! Dad's watching the boys surf.

The boys played basketball after church.

My girls snagged a hug with a teddy bear.


SPEED RACER's Review

Overall:  We had some Curriculum Changes and some Mental Health and Rest days off but we got a lot done and  have found a great pace.

End of Subjects in this Block Schedule

Sequential Spelling FINISHED and in comes SPELLING YOU SEE
Spanish (Landry Academy) WE DROPPED THE CLASS and will not be replacing it until I find him a live tutor.
Body Language class (Udemy) is finally finished!
Prodigy Math Game is now his to do on his own time. Which he tinkers with here and there.
English Literature is being retired as we got through 70% of the course
American Literature is being retired as we got through 70% of the course
 
The kiddos took off Tuesday to hang out with friends at the beach. So glad my friend came and scooped them up for me. Also, my oldest son, Razor Ray has his best friend since Kindergarden visiting us and we have been entertaining him.

Easing into new schedule and subjects
Clep Prep books for Sociology, Humanities and Psychology
Weekly Grammar Practice
Spelling You See
IXL Basic Math Review
Algebra Practice Workbook

CHALLENGES: Algebra and oh, did I say, Algebra. Now the child is getting a HUGE helping of PRACTICE which makes perfect and WRITING OF STEPS since he keeps forgetting them.

Day Classes that he is doing Independently

(7am-8:30am) [MON and WED] - BLOCK Classes
Landry Academy Classes [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]

Writing ER: is live on Monday's. He had to update a Wiki page description of a grammar fact and write a biography about one of his classmates. He also had to do some editing in his Editor and Chief book.

Python Programming is live on Wednesday's: He is working on his 10th project and creating a critter game.

(8:30am-9am) Snack Break

(9 am-11am) DAILY Independent
STUDY.COM
*These take him 20 minutes to watch the video and do the Quiz or Test.

Psychology
Sociology 
Macro Econ
Physics
Algebra 1 review
Information Systems (Study.com)
Humanities
Earth Science



(11am-12:30am)
CTCMath (Algebra 1 - Supplement): DAILY surprisingly he is doing well in this. We may get his Algebra facts solidified yet! He does a 10 to 15 minute lesson per day.

Membean (Vocabulary Builder) he had some slacking going on. He didn't do a few days of this.

IXL (Language Arts - Review)  he is doing better on these than he did last year. It could be his Landry class or the fact that he is taking 2 English courses this year.

IXL (Basic Math - Review)  He does about 10 minutes of drill practice.

(12:30-1:00pm) - lunch

(1pm-2pm) DAILY Independent

Geometry (Teaching Textbooks as our Math Lab) these few weeks he's been skipping doing the PROOFs. He claims they are too hard but he does them just fine with Abeka.

Ace Reader (Speed Reading & Comprehension) He finished reading practice everyday. The lessons are about 10 minutes long.

(2pm-2:30pm) DAILY Independent

Copy work is doing Great Writer's Quotes in cursive, he writes so well in cursive and to think he's a lefty! It takes him 10 minutes

Wordly Wise he finishes these pretty quick and have been making between 75% and 85% on his test.

(2:30pm-3pm) Snack Break

Mom or Dad 'Assist' with these courses

(3pm-4:45pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Geometry AbekaAcademy he is doing well in this class now. He has a firm B and passes his quizzes and test. However, for his test, I do allow him to have it open book.


Algebra 1 (Saxon with DIVE dvds): He has a test every Monday, then we go over the questions he got wrong with the DIVE video. He typically doesn't watch the videos unless he needs help with the questions.


2 to 3 days a week Interchangeably

Spelling You See  He doesn't like the 'writing' but he is learning the words and that's all that matters.

Bible Devotions he does this with his dad two times a week. He reads the scripture and lesson and he and dad discuss.

Daily Grammar this offers hand on book practice of grammar facts.

(7-7:30pm) Dinner

(7:30pm - 8:15pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.

Chemistry he had two test each week. He didn't do well on one of them so he re-did it over the weekend.


(8:15pm-9:15pm) 3 or 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Psychology, Humanities and Sociology CLEP Prep We read the chapters of the REA and AP books together, take notes, and he finishes the end of chapter test.

Tiger Lilly's Week: High Schooler /Dual Enrolled 15 yrs old


CHALLENGES: Getting her games and papers done in her 'unschooling' curriculum. Yeah, she said she wanted to do the Game Design, but now that she is realizing all that goes into it, she is trying to bail. I won't let her, so her phone will be held hostage until she created her portfolio this year.

Changes:
Her 'See the Light' art class is done.
Research (Dual Enrolled College Class) is done. It was only 4 weeks (yay!)

New Class:
Youth Digital Unity 3D and C# course to start Dec. 9th
Japanese - In person class starts December 2nd

(9 am-10:30am) DAILY
Landry Academy
Network Pro she has class on TUESDAY . She thinks the class is boring since most of the work is on TestOut. However, she is learning and doing the interactive test.

10:30am-11:30am - 2 days a week
Software Development class (Homeschool Class by mom) she is working on her racecar game. She is writing her Game Design Specification .

11:30am-12:30pm- 3 days a week [DUAL ENROLLED COLLEGE CLASS]
Calculus  She completed 2 weeks of instruction. So far I've had to hire her a tutor to work with her 2 times a week. It's working out well so far.

5pm-6:30pm - 3 days a week - PE
Soccer and Martial Arts . She basically quit soccer. So I am planning to add to her martial arts. She does go to the gym with her dad.

7pm-8:30pm - 4 days a week
Japanese is coming to an end with the tutor. She has a live class for the month of December.

Build Video Game using Unity 3D she is using WebUcator (javascript) and Udemy (Unity) to learn the programs for this. This week she is working on a astroid game.


8:30pm-9pm - 2 days a week
3-minute Devotional for Girls I haven't had the time to do it with her. We may have to move this to Saturday mornings.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals with a houseguest over, my cooking has been crazy bad. We've been eating out here and there. We plan to have friends over for the 1st Thanksgiving at home in over 5 years. We used to just go on cruises for that time.

Cleaning. The house is still wrecked (going on week 3) but we are cleaning for Thanksgiving.

Work & Life Balance. Working, looking for a new job (my consultant contract time is running out) and trying to juggle kiddos. Wild, but fun.

Lesson Planning. My printer broke. So, this is difficult. We are getting a toner and will be back on board soon.

Rest. Did I mention how I love my new sleeping mask and earplugs. I love them! I am getting great sleep. No more coffee for me.

Marriage Check Up. I've been neglecting my husband. I didn't make his lunch or coffee and he is not happy about it. So I traded him a back massage, and even made his favorite for dinner for the Sunday football game.