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.

DECISION MADE!

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 LILY RUNS THE RACE ALONE
 
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. 

MOM CAN BE FOUND on OTHER DISTRACTIONS and DAD forging HIS TOO!


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.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Is the School Year Over Yet? Another Math Issue


WE HAD TO TAKE A MINI-VACATION for SANITY CHECK

And what did I figure out? That even though I thought I wanted to do Year Around School, I NEEDED THE DARNED BREAK or I was going to explode.

Things I had time to ponder on while on Vacation.

1) My kids would rather be PLAYING VIDEO GAMES than going on tours. That had to change.

2) I need more sleep in days.

3) I DON'T know how to fully relax and do nothing for long periods of time.

4) I don't like staying in the house, even though my kids do.

5) The Math curriculums weren't giving my son ENOUGH MATH PRACTICE.


THINGS I CHANGED AFTER MY REVELATIONS

1) Math - MY SON needed a MASTERY BASED program where HE WROTE OUT his math problems to slow down his MENTAL MATH capabilities.

He will be working with a tutor on Math this summer. I changed his MATH program to LIFEPAC for Algebra 1.

WHY did I SELECT LifePack ALG 1?

 - It's NOT online
 - Read and Do problems
 - Can be done Semi-independently
 - Hard to cheat
 - I can purchase tutor help if I need it
 - It's only $59 for complete program
 - It is different than is online CTCMath
 - It focused on practicing what you are taught until you REALLY know it before moving on. Mastery based learning.



SAXON wasn't working because their wasn't the MASTERY and Saxon is more of a SPIRAL that is just too wide for my son.



CTCMath is still a GOOD SUPPLEMENT but he needs to WRITE OUT HIS WORK.


2) NO YEAR AROUND SCHOOL, we will have 1 month and 1 week off. I NEED it, the KIDS NEED it. My Husband NEEDS it.

3) In PERSON CLASSES for TIGER LILLY. She is too much of an INTROVERT. I found an IN PERSON Japanese class, Art class, and Unity 3D coding class for High School Students after school.

4) Summer Camp for 1 month and 1 week for BOTH kids, even though I initially didn't want Speed Racer to attend since he had some challenges at camp due to his own behavior last year. His siblings pointed out, how will he learn what is acceptable behavior if he doesn't have opportunities to figure it out? Good points. So I am giving it another chance.

5) Our school year will end July 1st. Woot!

Other Good Happenings

I still love homeschooling. I wouldn't be able to give my kids chances to shine, redirect, focus, and revisit work they weren't 100% comfortable with if I didn't homeschool them.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Roses and Opportunities!





A DOUBLE BLESSING WAS AROUND THE CORNER

Well with all the moving, changing of curriculum, changing, and mayhem in this working parent's household. Things are about to get even more exciting!

JOB CHANGES FOR MOM and DAD and ROSE

My husband got a new job. He was recently laid off, well it took him about three weeks to find another awesome position. My daughter Rose was also supposed to transition to a new job with my husband's old company. That didn't work out with the recent contract cut backs. However, Rose, found another job using a head hunting service that contacted her in the past. It took them 2 weeks to find her a position with a great raise and wonderful company. As for me, I'd stopped seeking new employment and was just waiting until later this year when this contract ends to find something, BUT, a great opportunity with longevity fell in my lap. Now, WE ALL HAVE NEW JOBS!

HOW WILL THESE CHANGES AFFECT MY HOMESCHOOLING and WORKING?

Well, it takes awhile for us to train up on our new positions and be able to use the flexibility that comes with being in the Info Tech field. So, I had to change my kid's homeschool schedule around a bit.

A EUREKA MOMENT

After 1.5 years of Algebra 1 I have finally figured out something about Speed Racer. He likes an audience for Math and Writing. He does best when I give him the problems to work out on the dry erase board, we check it, if it's wrong, he tries to fix it, then we watch the Saxon video if it is still wrong or he doesn't understand.

Wow! He wants 'interactive' math even though he could absorb it on his own.

So we've worked our schedule around supporting his Math and Writing learning opportunities.

SPEED RACER's NEW SCHEDULE
13 yrs old

10am to 2:30pm (Independent Work Online) - Finish all online Acellus Classes (College Math Review, English, Psychology, Geography, US History) * No books are included with these courses or homework

Geometry and Algebra 1 independent with CTCMath

Humanities, Philosophy and Sociology with Study.com 

 Note: Sometimes he doesn't finish all of the courses or lessons for that day, but I can check his status during my lunch break via the mobile app provided by Acellus.

3:30pm-5pm - Algebra 1 Workbook: No Nonsense Algebra Review WORKBOOK - we do it together and it reviews Algebra facts.

8:30pm-9pm - Algebra 1 Saxon Math (has Geometry Review and Algebra) with Dive & Mom work with Speed Racer


CURRICULUM MOVED til SUMMER
Since we are running behind, I am moving some curriculum to the summer.

Writing
CLEP study (we are still trying to assess what test Speed Racer is most ready for).
Grammar Practice
Basic Math Practice
Python Programming
Logic

TIGER LILLY
16 yrs old

10am to 2:30pm - (8 week courses Online College Classes with UMUC.edu ends May 7th)
Foundations of Information Sys
Enterprise Architecture
Telecommunications in Info Sys

10am to 2:30pm 
Micro Business Homeschool Curriculum
Blender design with Udemy
C# programming with YouthDigital
Building Wordpress Website for her Art Business




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Algebra 1 with My Youngest Son Is Killing Me




My 13 yr old SPEED RACER is killing me with his nemesis ALGEBRA.

I mean it. I am literally in the mood to throw it out of our curriculum. I mean, he did get a C in the class last year.

Maybe, making him retake Algebra 1 this year was a torturous mistake for me.

We have TRIED EVERYTHING! 

Abeka Algebra 1, he did last year, got BARELY a C. So I figured, no problem, we'll just do it this year, but use SAXON. Well, he cheated the first part of the year by using a calculator, sneaking the answer key. So...we restarted the SAXON, and I changed his entire curriculum to ACELLUS because with my new job, I didn't have time to sit with him and go over every problem and subject.

THEN...the MATH breakdown. He was stuck at C and D level with ACELLUS and SAXON. What the heck!!

BUT I WON'T GIVE UP.

Now with SAXON, we practice with CTCMATH, which he is doing great with. Problem is, when he WRITES the MATH PROBLEMS, he misses key steps.

IN COMES this great book, No-Nonsense Algebra. Thank GOD!

The reason I haven't hired a TUTOR is because the boy simply hates PRACTICING his math. It's not that he can't grasp the concepts, he is just too insistent on not doing the work. Ugh!





For just $21 it comes with problems and videos. We are using this along with SAXON. 

It's going to be a long summer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My 13yr old Makes his Own Money by doing Surveys?! And More





Yes, my 13 year old got his allowance taken from him and what did he do? Innovate! He started doing surveys, playing games, and earning money through gift cards to create an allowance he could do from home.



Mobile Performance Meter is his current favorite. I have him trying one app at a time with out supervision to see if it actually works.


Now he wants to do the following:

1) Do DROP SHIPPING business online using a business EBAY account to sell items he finds for cheaper at other websites.

2) YOUTUBE CHANNEL he is trying to figure out what would gain him more followers overtime.

3) BLOG in his journey to find a business where he, as a teenager, can make passive income.

4) APP referral business to continue what he is doing.

5) TWITCH and YOUTUBE gameplay business.

MY 16 YEAR OLD has her two business ideas

1) ART BIZ, selling her art online

2) T-SHIRT ART BIZ, selling her art designs on create on demand

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Battle Of Wills. Your kids and You.


MY WILL is a bit STRONGER than my CHILD's

Because I will not allow them to make me give up on them. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes lose the battle and yell at them, punish them by taking away an activity or item, or have my own tantrum. Hey, momma is not perfect. We try not to 'lose' our composure, but my kids can probably find the kink in both my husband's and my armor of parental control better than anyone.

I am always researching, devising, and figuring out how to out do, persuade and decode my kid. They just have more time to do it than I do.

WHY WON'T HE DO HIS WORK FASTER?

This is one of my most frustrating parts of parenting and teaching. It's not just a HOMESCHOOL thing, it's a parent child thing. I had the same challenges with getting my kids to finish HOMEWORK FROM TRADITIONAL school. Or any 'extra' aftershooling they had to do just to keep up in their classes.

I have timed my kids. I know what they are capable of. My speed racer could finish his packed curriculum in 4 hrs a day if he is in the 'mood'. Other times (lately it's a lot of times) he drags it out while making faces, constant trips to the bathroom, the kitchen, stretching, clicks off screen and may not finish his goals for the day.

What happens when he prolongs school work planned for the week? He gives up his weekend (I don't take his sports from him though). He doesn't get to do any extra and has weekend school.

For this especially difficult year, he will be doing school through the summer since he is unlikely to finish all of his curriculum by the end of May (when we usually end full-day school).

That means (1) No summer camp that is fun (2) No day field trips (3) No Spring Break Camp (4) No electronics on the weekend or after hours.

For some reason, this year, the kid could care less. Me, however, it ticks me off, but I won't cut the school year short. I won't slim down his curriculum. He will complete it since to me he is being openly defiant.

IS THAT THE BUBBLING OF A TANTRUM I SEE?

Yes, now it's not loud the loud, kicking and screaming he used to do. It's the rigid set of his shoulders, the thin-lined lips, the silly expressions and out right refusal to get work done.

That means I (1) sit next to him and do my work (he hates this). (2) cut off all media. (3) take it back to the workbook (4) take away something he really wants or wants to do/go.

The truth is, it's exhausting. But I will not give up my creativity. I tell him he will finish this race, even if he takes a break along the way.


DID YOU JUST GO TO YOUTUBE INSTEAD OF YOUR ONLINE SCHOOL?

This is a consistent issue with him being in online classes and us no longer doing the Abeka DVDs with workbooks. It is a transition I am having my doubts about since it's a constant battle to keep him on one webpage, and focused. The child will slip a youtube music video, pandora, game or anything online to 'slack off' in class.

To combat this he has to turn his speakers up, have his computer facing me, or I use a program that allows me to pop into his computer.

Both of my sons tried my patience in this manner. It's the unpleasant part of parenting and it's made me an 'aggressive' speaking parent that I rarely have to become with my girls.

Now to be fair, the kids have this trait as a 'gift' from both their dad and I. It's not a bad trait, it's just irritating when it means the child can multi-focus on things that aren't important to the list of things they have to do.


YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR PHONE, BUT YOU ARE ON INSTAGRAM?

Aha! This is another issue. The kid is a computer genius! He has found little apps that allow him to access social media without actually going on his phone or a web page. Grrrrrrr!

As I am typing this, I am seriously considering going back to workbooks since I didn't have this issue before. However, the kid is getting older and has to learn some self control in order to be mature enough for the next phase of learning.

WAYS WE HAVE CIRCUMVENTED the SABATOGUE of WORK COMPLETION?

Now, this is the hard part. Being creative with blocking these attempts to procrastinate. We've tried it all and will likely have to figure out more tactics in this.

The first rule is TRY NOT TO GET ANGRY AT THEM, it's the hardest rule of all for most parents.

1) Use a timer
2) Remove all temptations to procrastinate
3) Schedule in lots of breaks that relieve energy and stress
4) Do topic check ups where you make sure the child isn't procrastinating because the work is too difficult
5) Give rewards for finishing and doing it on time
6) Allow some zone out or goof off time
7) Schedule in a 'make up' day or days for when goals aren't reach

I WON'T TAKE HIS SPORTS or OUTSIDE PLAYTIME AWAY

The one and final rule I have is not to punish my children by taking away their time to play with other kids. This is so important for homeschooled kids that I try to find other ways to discipline and they know that this

HOW DO YOU deal WITH THE BATTLE OF WILLS?

Procrastination? Angry Faces? Stubborn disobedience?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rememberance of Being a Stay At Home Dad - That worked too



WHEN WE DECIDED, I WOULD BE AN AT HOME HUSBAND


My wife was pregnant with our third child. She worked and so did I. My wife was an engineer and had a pretty stable and dependable job. I was a Regional Sales Manager and had worked my job for a year after I'd graduated from college after serving in the military.

I was laid off when the department closed, and was given a 3 month severance pay with up to six months of unemployment available.

Then, two weeks after I was laid off, my wife was put on pregnancy bedrest for 13 weeks until delivery.

Therefore, I decided to get my Real Estate licence before the 'boom' in Real Estate. But to do so, I had to take a class, care for my bedridden wife and still bring in some income to fund advertising of my new business.

HOW'D DID WE MAINTAIN?

I decided to take on a paper route, it would put me at work when my wife and two other kids were sleeping. It allowed me to take my Real Estate class in the afternoon after I dropped our two kids off at school and fed my wife.

Then I took a job on the weekends, working nights as a security guard, two nights a week while the kids and wife were sleep.

THEN BABY CAME

I planned on my business to kick off, but it took time. My wife BEGGED me to stay home during the day with the baby since I had flexible hours and she couldn't find a babysitter she liked. Our previous baby sitter retired.

I GRUDGINGLY AGREED TO STAY HOME UNTIL WE FOUND A NEW SITTER

I told my wife we needed a housekeeper 1 day a week since I couldn't keep the house as clean as she liked. We both decided it would be good if someone helped with cleaning our clothes since we spent lots of time washing the kids close. I also was notorious for getting the older kids to school late to the point the school contacted my wife.

So, I gave my 7 yr old and 4 year old alarm clocks, set up the baby's old room (we moved her in with her sister) into an upstairs recreation room. It had a refrigerator with their breakfast in Tupperware containers. The kids clothes for the day were on their dressers and I ran them through getting themselves ready while I got the baby ready.

But we never did. My wife pumped breast milk while at work from 5am-1:30pm. I quit the paper route job, the Real Estate business took off, and our baby was home with me full-time and the older kids were in private school.

Then we had another baby.

CHALLENGES FACED AS A MAN AT HOME WITH MY KIDS

There wasn't many friends to be gained this way. Most events had SAHM that found it interesting I was at home. I rarely felt comfortable in those settings so I focused on my kids. They did make jokes though, nothing I took personal, but I found it funny. My wife, however, was offended.

Then, I didn't have much patience for the women that complained so much about being home. I did it and worked and loved it. So, it was lonely. Also, I'd get questioned by school teachers when I showed up for events and my wife didn't since she saved her vacations and time for doing everything with the kids in the evening since I worked then.


I RETURNED TO WORK

When the Real Estate market took a dive, my youngest son was then 3 yrs old and my youngest daughter was 5 yrs old and already in public school with her siblings.

I went back to school to update my technical skills and got a job in the Tech field like my wife.

It was hard sending the kids off to school and daycare. I still kept my Real Estate business and my new full time job. My sleep suffered, but I adjusted.

We all did.

NOW THOUGH

When I was recently laid off, it seems exhausting and frustrating getting back into a routine with my kids since they are used to doing things a certain way when we parents are at work and their siblings come and go.

We are adjusting, but it will change again, as soon as I start my new job.

DAD and OLDEST SON HELPING SPEED RACER WITH HIS ACELLUS ALGEBRA 1 HOMEWORK




WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR BEING AN AT HOME HUSBAND

Being able to be home with my kids, sleep in, play with them, support my wife and shape their lives.