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.





Monday, August 28, 2017

My Crazy and Unorthodox Way Of Homeschooling






THE SECRET IS
KNOWING THAT
WE CAN DO ANYTHING

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

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

WHY PUSH and CHALLENGE MY KIDS

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

1) Reach for the MOON

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

2) Fall to the STARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOT FOR EVERYONE

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

OUR WEEK IN REVIEW
SPEED RACER 
13 yrs old
Blended High Schooler

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

CHANGES MADE TO CURRICULUM in 1st 3 weeks of SCHOOL

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

STRIDES MADE

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


OUR WEEK IN REVIEW
TIGER LILLY
16 yrs old
Blended High Schooler

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

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

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


WORK and HOME BALANCE
Working and Homeschooling 

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

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


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

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



Monday, July 31, 2017

New School Year - New Attitude 2018-19 Curriculum






NO MORE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

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

SPEED RACER is now a BLENDED HIGH SCHOOLER

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

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

~GOAL~ 

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

~WHAT WE HIRED OUT~

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

~MATH~

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

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

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

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


~ENGLISH~

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

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

Writing > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Time4Writing

Vocabulary> Nov 16th - July 15th
Membean

Literature >  Nov 16th - July 15th
TeachWithMovies
Live Plays
 
~History~

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

~DUAL CREDIT ATTEMPTS~

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

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

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

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



TIGER LILY a BLENDED HIGH SCHOOLER

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

~GOAL~ 

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

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

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

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

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


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

Running a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

Money and Taxes In a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

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

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

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

Art and Drawing
Community College
Art Museum Art School












Friday, June 23, 2017

Experiment of Doing Nothing

Big Brother and Little Brother

Lacrosse



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


THE EXPERIMENT OF DOING NOTHING

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

WHAT DID HE DO?

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

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

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

And this...


AFTER BORING DAYS of THAT

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

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

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

SO...UNSCHOOLING with MOTIVATION for MY KID actually WORKS.

In 3 weeks.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Had to Halt the School Year For One






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

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

We need chill and fun time.

A fresh start.

A break.

Some help.

A new dog-on curriculum.

Summer vacation.

Anger management.

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