Monday, September 30, 2013



I've met LOTs and LOTs of parents, teachers and non-parents who are closet MDs. That whenever they see a child act a certain way or behave a certain way they have a name for it.
Sad to say we throw around the word/diagnosis "ADD" or "ADHD" like it's a band aid for all types of kids.  We even joke about it, like it's nothing but a 'catch phrase' to explain super-activity or no focus.

I know we love having a name and a box for people, especially children, but it has been proven to be completely overdone.

There wasn't very many people knowledgeable about ADD or ADHD or AUTISM or OPPOSITIONAL DEFIENCE when I was younger. However, there was a use of the word, "STRONG WILLED CHILD". And I hate to admit it, but I like the 'strong willed child' label better.
With the onset of medicating kids, some who really needed, others who could go without, and most who are seriously MIS-DIAGNOSED by people who aren't professionals in the medical field. I prefer things when I was younger.

Even if a kid had tendencies or issues above, society, parents, teachers, and even other kids just adjusted to it.

This personally upsets me. I have met parents who tell me their kids name, then explain to me all the medical issues their kid has in one sentence. Truth is, "I want to know your kid without their diagnosis."

Try not focusing on your child's differences or challenges. Focus on ALL the positive blessings having such a child yields.

I want to tell these parents - 'Your child can hear you telling all their business' (remember my grandma said you don't need to tell everyone all your business, let them get to know you on their own)


When a parent spells out to other parents, kids, etc that something is wrong with their kid before you even get to interact with the child, I'm sure that kid feels awful.

Your kid hears it EVERYTIME you say it. 'Well you know he's got ADD' or 'She's been diagnosed as ...'

I used to watch my neighbor's daughters cringe whenever their mom met a new lady or kids and she had to share that two of her girls suffered from 'ADHD' and they were adopted. I had to wonder if the parent was doing this for herself - to make us other parents feel bad for her kids/or her - or to prepare us to not judge when she couldn't or wouldn't attempt to control the behavior of her child.

Before you say something about your child while your kid is standing there, imagine how'd you feel if your parent, husband, or even child mentioned ... 'Mommy and Daddy have yelling problems'.

Now for the longest, I've had people assume that my BOYs were 'ADD' or 'ADHD' because they both were high energy, strong personalities and they sometimes had tantrums (oh my!).

But what people didn't know that both of my sons were subjected to bullying and mistreatment by several teachers and students while in school.
Those situations caused both kids to kind of gain a 'Fight Back' spirit. They were great and well mannered at home. But at school they were aggressive, verbal, and rather bored.

After taking both of my boys at different times to doctors for evaluation, their Pediatrician and Therapist noted that they were fine, intelligent kids and they would out grow much of their hyper and impulsive 'kid' behavior.
You know what? They did. The magical age was 12 yrs old for my oldest son. My youngest son is turning  10 yrs old and with homeschooling he's totally calmed down.

Somethings I noticed about my kids - they lacked the proper amount of sleep. My youngest suffered from 'Sleep Apnea' so we had his tonsils and abnoids removed. It made a big difference in his sleeping habbits and crankiness.


So I mention this to say, before you allow yourself to be 'bullied' into thinking you need to medicate or evaluate your child. Go to a certified DOCTOR! A teacher, a friend, your mom, is not qualified to make these diagnosis based on their personal opinion.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Day or Evening Of School As A Working Mom

This week was another wonderful one in a two week stretch. Remember a while back where my 4th grader and I had to get some bad behaviours under control?

Well it happened. He's totally and extremely on board now. No tantrums in the last 2 weeks. Consistency in finishing his work within his 3 hour (2-10 min break) timeframe in the last 2 weeks. And one 'stomping' up the stairs, was easily redirected with him grumbling an apology, and asking for 5 min break. Actually communicating to me. This confirmed what I'd known in my heart for a long time. My child was not ADD or ADHD or oppositional defiant. I'd known his behavior wasn't consistent. Figured it was caused by a teacher hitting him, and another playing mind games with him, along with bullying by bigger kids (my son is on the shorter side for his age). But for the longest time, he'd act a certain way at school and differently at home. So with that acting out behavior developed after years of being bullied at school, we are back on track! Woot!


Welcome to a peek into our hectic day as a Working Parent who homeschools their 2 kids after a day of work. Or, Dear Hubba (DH) may pitch in with help of our other Substitute Teacher, Dazzling Big Sis.

After working from 5am in the morning. Teacher picks up kid from sitter (if kid isn't already home with DH), rushes home and after a quick snack have the students take their place at here Desk.

Here is: Student, Speed Racer, attending his DVD based class.

Time in Class: (includes homework and 2 - 15 min breaks) - 3 to 4.5 hours
This week he took 4 quizzes and 3 test. Finished all his seatwork, homework, did Teaching Textbooks Math 5 & in addition to his Abeka Math and all subjects. AND he finished 2.5 hrs of instruction time (but we had a bit more breaks in between this week which takes time up to 4.5 hrs)

TOOLS of The TRADE that makes this rather easy.

1) DVD Based Curriculum that has everything laid out for the Teacher. All items are numbered by Lesson - even the DVD

2) Any other Computer Based or Interactive Based curriculum that allows kids to be taught independently BUT requires an engaged FACILITATOR

WEEKLY WORKBOX SCHEDULE that is placed on each child's board and in the Teacher Notebook that's on a bookshelf.

We did horrible with our workboxes these last 2 weeks....WHY? Well I didn't fill them (I know, when mom/teacher slips, everyone slips).

The result was, several missed Test/ Quizzes - we made them up on the weekend (Sunday is homework day).

Each box is (1) NUMBERED and has the (2) SUBJECT that is contained inside labeled.
Inside each box there is 2 major things.

(1) Working Textbooks for labeled subject
(2) Notebook
(3) Folder for the week's test and quizzes


This schedule is the kid's cheat sheet. It shows the following:

(1) Workbox #
(2) Day/Date
(3) Subject and Quiz,Test,Project to be done or study for

We are now doing the following activities daily. - There is literally NO WEEKDAY FREE. This isn't on purpose just because I'm homeschooling - WE WERE CRAZY enough to have the exact same schedule when the kids were in traditional school O_o they were SO TIRED then, as was I.

Now this is bearable.


The fact that my daughter and I are having a great time doing 'Teen Devotional' (
True Images Devotional: 90 Daily Devotions for Teen Girls by Moore, Karen) together for our new Bible class. I actually rush home to do this with her. She's so creative and thoughtful.
My Speed Racer's being back on track, becoming the little guy I'd known he was all the time. Also, him finishing all his work on time and well done, even the and teaching textbooks I squeeze into his already full Abeka DVD curriculum.
DH (aka Dear Hubba) has taken over teaching 2 complete days in a row to give me a break. Although I must admit I really didn't want him to because I enjoy it so much. But I used the time to catch up on some sleep.
That I have no complaints. Not about homeschooling my kids. Maybe because I've seen the other side, and appreciate the freedom of this.

HOW DOES YOUR SCHOOL DAY GO? What are the tools that make it go smoothly for you?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Finding an African American History a HARD 2 FIND Course



Since I'm homeschooling, I wanted to take the time to find a curriculum that would teach the history of our family's culture.

My family consist strongly of three races, there may be more but my kids know current members who are African American, American Indian (Occaneechi Tribe), and Caucasion (European decsent).

So, I wanted to come up with a History Curriculum that would explore all of those members in our family and their history.

This post I'm focusing on the African American Curriculum. And what we are going to attempt to do.


The first thing I'm going to have the kids do, is start working on a family tree. This will be VERY difficult for our family as many African American families can really only easily trace back their roots for 3 or 4 generations. After that, it takes major research.

But I'm going to have the kids start building this to give them an idea of how hard it is. And to set the stage for their understanding of the WHY it's so hard.


Every week we will have family movie time. Focusing on our History. The focus for this segment will be African American history. I'd like to show them the journey from Slavery to Achievement.

1) Slavery and the making of America:
Series of 8 programs on 4 DVDs
Educational history DVD series EXTRAS:
-Hi-Definition Enhanced
-English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired (Optional)
-Spanish Subtitles (Optional)
-Instructors Guide
-Photo Gallery
-Historical Documents
2) History of Black Achievement Vides:


Lessons about Africa

Classical Africa' by Molefi Kete Asante
African American History: A Journey of Liberation by Molefi Kete Asante


It's unbelievable that we have such a rich educational system but there are so many different subject matter that finding detailed lesson plans or books for is such an adventure.

I personally cringed when my daughter asked for this course because that meant I'd have to piece it together for her.

Now she's got her eye on some other interesting topics and I hope I can find a boxed curriculum for those :-D


Monday, September 16, 2013

Ch-Cha-Changes ending our 1st Quarter

I've done it again! Made changes :-(

QUARTER ENDED after 45 days of homeschool.

It's been a great two weeks since my last WEEKLY CHECKUP.


Because I could, lol! That's the great thing about homeschooling. If it doesn't work for your kid, you can change the program to meet their needs.

If you have put 45 days into a program and your child is still not challenged, you've got a problem. Evaluate if the child is learning, if the product fits their learning style and if the teacher (you) can manage it.


I've tweaked the schedule 3 times and we are 46 days in O_o

We dropped:
Abeka Basic Math 7 after lesson 40 or so.

Time4Learning since we were only using it for math it seemed a bit overpriced for our budget for 2 kids

Jacobs Algebra 1 - took too much work for me to set up lesson plan

Abeka Bible for 7th grader

We added:

We added Algebra 1 (Abeka and Teaching Textbooks - yeah we do both).

Geometry (Thinkwell (extra practice only) & Teaching Textbooks) she is taking it again next year with Foersters

Art of the Argument (my daughter wants to add it to her schedule in the spring.)

Japanese (only 1 time a week, using the week to practice)

Customized Bible Curriculum to: True Images Devotional: 90 Daily Devotions for Teen Girls  and The Power of a Praying® Teen practice for my 4th grader who seriously dislikes flashcards

I hope this is it...


Monday, September 9, 2013

Do Earphones Encourage Learning?

This week I graduated my 4th grader to wearing earphones for his Math, Language and Science classes.

I remember when I went to school, during READING we had to WEAR EARPHONES to do our work and practice.

Wow what a difference it made. I plan on getting him some cooler earphones but these were just to try him out.


Prior to this week, for the first 30 days of our school year, Speed Racer didn't use them. It was best that way because we had to work on other challenges before this point.

However, I wanted to see if using the earphones would increase is focus and listening to his video school. Previous to this week he's overcome the following:

1) Fidgeting
2) Need for frequent breaks
3) Lack of enthusiam for finishing assigned work

Therefore I thought he had matured well and could benefit from focused hearing.


1) Day one - use earphones for one class - one in which student has to complete something taught.
2) Day two - add another class - observe the student to see if they are still fidgeting, moving, or spacing out.
3) Day three - add another class - observe quality of work, test, quizzes to see if there is an improvement.


After a week of using the earphones, we have seen the following improvements.

1) Improvement in Quiz grades. Went from 'B' to 'A'
2) Completion of work faster.
3) Less movement and distracted fidgeting.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

When You Have A Bad Week



Oh my goodness we'd had some good weeks. BUT this one, it was soooooo difficult.


The week started off on a pretty positive note. Both kids finished their work efficiently which made for a shorter school day in total.

Speed Racer was finished in 3 hrs flat and Tiger Lilly was punching in at 4 hrs even with 'homework'. But a few days into the week, things started to go down hill.


Yep, it was on Wednesday that the week started a downhill spiral. For some reason Speed Racer, although appearing awake and alert, was having the following problems.

- Not Following Directions on the First Request
- Talking Back - and not respectfully
- Mini-Tantrums
- Prolonging  breaks
- Not wanting to finish work

Mom's problem...
- Allowing child's behavior to make her grouchy
- Not reading the Calm Down list herself, lol!
- Trying to continue school with neither the child or I was in a good mood

Now you know about our CALM DOWN LIST so the tantrums were minimum BUT several other things went wrong after now reflecting on them.


I noticed several things on Wed, Thu, and Friday mornings...Speed Racer wasn't in bed fast asleep. He was caught on Wed (sneaking into his room), Thurs (I could've sworn I heard him come up the stairs and get into his bunkbed), Friday morning he came and gave me a 'sleepy hug' when I got up at 4am to go to work.

Also, Dear Loving Husband purchased a bag of candy for Speed Racer, I found the large bag of candy in the kid's bed.

Did I mentioned that Mom didn't get her daily 'power nap' either? Because when I have that, I'm able to be a 'halk eye' and make sure Speed Racer doesn't sneak out of bed to go play video games.


Well with all of that chewing on, I realized I needed to fix some things.

When school is gone astray - save it for later. Take a break-not a punishment (deal with the punishment later when everyone is calm).

Realize that next week will get better. It's a new week.

Try to address, fix the things that went wrong the previous week.

And don't let the kid eat an entire bag of candy hidden in their bed late at night.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Finding The Right Math Curriculum Middle School On

Yes, this is how I looked just a few weeks ago as I started researching what I wanted to do for my daughter's MATH curriculum 8 th grade on.


When I took her out of traditional school she would've been taking Algebra 1 this year in 7th Grade. However, I did a merging of Pre-Algebra and Math 7th grade for her after seeing some areas of weakness in her abilities.

So, I set goals for Middle School 8th grade on.

1) Is kid going to 4 yr college?
2) Is kid going to Community College initially then transferring to 4 yr college?
3) What is their areas of strength?
4) What fields have they considered?

Math Program Goals

1) Independent Study needed?
2) Prep for SAT needed?
3) Highly planned out curriculum needed?
4) Lots of practice through Spiral approach needed?
5) Prep for transition to Community College Math?



This was an easy consideration since both my daughter and I are used to this program, we are getting the complete package for the grade and this is part of it. The Pros also include that it's heavily detailed, comes with DVDs, teachers manual and is completely laid out for us. Unfortunately this program loses some of it's momentum in Algebra 2. However, I really loved the way the Algebra 1 book presented topics in an ordered fashion and the DVDs are a great help also.

Teaching Textbooks

We use this now as a Supplement to Abeka and the kids don't actually appear to mind the extra 30 min they spend on Math a day using this. With this and Abeka I've gotten the best of both worlds, but this will not meet our needs for a complete High School Math program as there are areas that are not covered for advanced SAT testing into Algebra 2.


Oh, I really loved the concept of this program. Also, I could get it used for about $200-$300 and it would include Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, 2 and Geometry. But, I don't know if I truly want to use or learn a new program without testing it out. New this is $550 in price and that's a big chunk to toss out to try a new program. Also, this is a large commitment, if we don't like the program we've wasted a lot of time.

Saxon Math with DIVE DVDs

This option seemed viable. Only problem is my daughter needs the Spiral approach - badly. This is incremental. But it's one of the few Calculus programs that would allow her to skip pre-calc because it has precalc contained within it. Also, it's slowly build. So, I may consider it for Calculus.

Paul Foerster's Algebra  and Geometry Books with Math Without Borders Companion CD

Now, this was something I could sink my teeth into. It collectively had all the areas covered in the SAT with a decent book and explanation videos. BUT, it didn't come with detailed lesson plans or test I could use. I'd also have to purchase this separately. It wasn't that expensive new. The CD was only $69 but the books for both teacher and student would be about $200. However, I found some used sets online that included the CD, Teachers Manual, Student Text - but still NO TEST. I'd have to create them myself. O_o . The Geometry book is EXCELLENT though, and I love the DVD/CD's that come with the program! So this is a great choice for a Geometry supplement and Algebra 2 / Trig course.

Ask Dr. Calhoun

This program is MUCH easier to find in a complete set than the Foerster's program. It's reasonable compared to the others with Ask Dr. Callahan (using Jacob's Algebra) costing $222 new. It includes DVD, Text, Solutions set and Teacher's manual. This is the easier choice over Foerster's.


Love this program for it's fun approach to a difficult subject. I want to prepare her with the core facts in Pre-Calculus and Calculus but we don't mind if she tests into PreCalc in college. Only problem with this is that it doesn't have a textbook. I personally prefer programs with a textbook. But it's a good well rounded program and I don't want to change programs from Pre-Calc to Calculus. So this would be for an introduction to Calculus.

This program is similar to Thinkwell's with 1 very important exception that works for us - it maps to about 20 different textbook choices. But you don't need a textbook to fully utilize the online chapters, test, quizzes or lectures. My daughter just prefers learning with a textbook. But this program only goes to Pre-Calc, so I'm hesistant to get her used to it when we desire to use a Calculus curriculum. (High School is new)

I really enjoyed the offerings of Time4learning for elem and middle school. But the kids wanted a bit more order to their lessons. However, after reviewing their Pre-Calc program, I'm rather excited about making it a supplement to one of the above choices. My kids were really impressed and we tried it out for 14 days and my daughter really liked the Pre-Calc. So we are feeling this one out.


So, I guess you are wondering what the heck I selected. After reviewing these options with my oldest daughter who is a Math Tutor and A math student upwards to Calc 2 we came up with the following concoction.

Order of Courses:

Algebra 1 - 7th Grade Abeka Algebra 1 and Teaching Textbooks Alg 1 for drill
(Remedial Review - with Math 7 Abeka)
Algebra 2 - 8th Grade Foerster's Algebra Books - (Algebra 2 & Trig) and Teaching Textbooks.

Geometry - 9th Grade Foerster's Geometry and Teaching Textbooks Geometry for drill

Pre-Calc - 10th Grade for Pre-Calc (Summer Intro to Calculus) - Thinkwell Online and Time4Learning

Calculus - 11th Grade Full Course  Thinkwell and (hope to be able to test into Pre-Calc 1 & 2 Honors at Community College12th grade)

Reinforcement and Topic Supplements

Algebrator or Mathway- (Algebra 1) Software that breaks down every single Algebra problem you throw at it. and
Teaching Textbooks -Although my daughter prefers lots of practice, she really wants to keep her Teaching Textbooks as part of her 'Math Lab'. Now she does it everyday, as her last subject of the day. Her Abeka DVD Algebra 1 class is her 2nd class of the day. She said doing Teaching Textbooks is fun and gives her more practice on what she learned earlier. The only disconnect I've noticed with Teaching Textbooks is with my younger son, he does the problems well using TT in his head mostly, but when he has to write out the problems he struggles more. So now I have them both write out the problems on scratch paper.