Friday, December 4, 2015

The Holiday Season Already!? Yikes, I'm so not ready.


Time Sure is Flying


I blinked and with all the crazy madness with preparing our house for sale, seeking jobs in another state, augmenting our kids homeschool schedule and traveling, I feel so unprepared for the holidays.

Show My kids have me hooked on.




SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

Cutting the few classes to end our 2nd Block Fall Semester really made a difference.

We are over half way through his Abeka English, Grammar and Spelling , Biology, History. And His online classes are coming along well even though he doesn't think there is any challenge in them. He finished up some quick writing refreshers like 5 Paragraph Writing Class, a 3-week class and Time4Writing he but Speed Racer needs more one on one writing task mastering that I don't have the energy to give these days. So, this Spring semester I am adding a more hands on writing class to his curriculum and giving him a break from writing til January.

Speed Racer is grasping Abeka Algebra 1, and Teaching Textbook labs, but I plan on calling Abeka in January for him to get some free tutoring help that they offer online for a few of his quizzes and test review topics. I haven't been able to do it when I get home lately. I called CTCMath for resetting a lesson, they did so and he is making headway through 6th grade math review.

Membean is hit or miss, sometimes he does it effectively - other times, not so much. He got stuck on a topic with Python Programming and I had him go to the forum and ask for help, then his sister Tiger Lilly helped him with Code Academy and we took a break with IXL for Language.



TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on.

Transferring to University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) we are loving UMUC and the classes are only 8 weeks long and completely online. It's a little pricey at $279 per credit hour plus fees for residents! But hey, cheaper than private high school.

Her grades are B's in her two favorite classes US History 1 and Psychology at the Community College. But at a high C for Software Application's class since the application they use is glitchy we've had to take her up to the local Community College to do the work in the lab.

Her two UMUC classes. She's finished 7 weeks of the courses in Foundations of Oral Comm and Intro Prob Solving Alg Design (which is C Programming but a required course for the major she wants). She is doing very well and they even have online tutoring.

The Landry courses are going on the end of the 1st semester in C Programming, PC Pro and Japanese. She is having challenges gathering her group to work on the group assignments.

Tiger Lilly is still doing JavaScript . She finished an animatin for  her Animation Course.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals Fast food week!

Cleaning. I didn't do any really.

Work & Life Balance. Is a drama filled few weeks.

Lesson Planning. I am barely doing it.

Rest. Some at 6 hours a night. 

Marriage Check Up. We have had no alone time the last few weeks.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Inspiring The Little Peeps



Trying To Inspire Learning Can Be a Challenge

I have tried to inspire learning in my kids. Really push them to try new things. But I got to tell you, somedays I want to throw in the towel...until I see that even though they hymmed and hawed, nashed their teeth, cried and complained, that they do absorb things. Even when they don't want to.

Can't Be A Perfect Parent - But I try To Be the Best I Can

Even though our kids are a work in progress - I feel that I am too. Being a parent has pushed me beyond my personal limits to love another human more than I even thought possible. As angry and frustrated as they may get me sometimes, their love for me overflows my soul. I am learning more about myself by being a parent then any other experience in life. I know without being a mom - I would've been a different person in the end.

This Weekend Fun? 

I planned to go out with my girlfriend, pack up and throw out stuff that isn't going with us to Hawaii, entertain our Real Estate Agent who will tell us if we can 'break even' on the sale of our house in the coming months, and take the kiddos to Be A Coder and Girls Who Code.

The Last Few Weeks were Great - until today. But We Survived.

SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

For the last few weeks he has had good days and some bad days. I decided to cut out 2 of his classes (American Government and Economics). He got about 65% of the lessons done in each subject, but it was just becoming difficult to keep up since mom's workschedule got hectic.

I also don't allow him to do his work if dad or I aren't home. The quality of his work has dropped when we allowed him to do work without us and the computer time work wasn't be finished in totality. So we took a step back to readjust.

It seems while homeschooling, kids, like adults, go through phases where they are on top of things, and times when they don't feel like doing anything.

Nonetheless, his work quality improved in English, Grammar and Spelling , Biology, History. And he is taking Indian History and History of the Avengers which are 1 day classes with Currclick. I signed him up for a 5 Paragraph Writing Class, a 3-week class, with FunCation Academy which he enjoyed, but hated writing the paper. Time4Writing he is doing completely independent of me because he told me he didn't want me help, so I gave him some leeway. I don't think he will finish all the assignments by the time the 9 week course period will end. But I won't extend it.

Speed Racer has been doing well on his quizzes and test with Abeka Algebra 1, and Teaching Textbook lab on the when I get home. Unfortunately he dropped the book and I can't find anyone to re-bind the darn thing. We are still liking  CTCMath for practice for last. I contacted FunCation for a Math tutor, Spanish tutor and English tutor which I may use in the Spring for a few weeks to give Speed Racer some 1 one on one time. And if it works out, I will incorporate them into his Fall semester.

Membean is creeping up in time since now he does 25 minutes of practice a night. He is doing rather well with Python Programming with Code Academy and is grumbling whenever he has to do IXL for Language.



TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on.




Transferring to University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) because it is completely online. Since we are moving to Hawaii some time next year, I don't want to worry about transferring credits. We can keep her in UMUC until she finishes her degree. UMUC is VERY homeschool friendly.

She is in a groove for her two favorite classes US History 1 and Psychology at the Community College. Her Software Application's class is her least favorite of the Community college classes because she has to go to the lab for help.

So...she is now taking 2 UMUC classes. They are 8 week courses in Foundations of Oral Comm and Intro Prob Solving Alg Design (which is C Programming but a required course for the major she wants). She is liking the format of these online classes much more than the Community College course.

The Landry courses, she is maintaining A's in C Programming, PC Pro and Japanese.  I was rather frustrated with Landry calling me about owing them tuition when I already paid them and had to provide proof of payment by emailing them a copy of the checks they cashed. However, their teachers are great - even if their Administration team is a bit off kilter.

Tiger Lilly is still doing JavaScript . She didn't turn in her artwork for her Animation Course. She claimed, she was too busy, lol!


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals I got off to a good start. Then I bombed and ordered Chinese food and stopped by Taco Bell mid week. Then I made up my hiccup by baking a cake.

Cleaning. I hate washing clothes! There I said it. And guess what else, we had to go to the LaundryMat because I didn't want to spend my entire weekend off washing clothes. So we knocked out 14 loads of clothes in 4 hours.

Work & Life Balance. Is cranking up. Lots of extra hours which has caused me to cut back on Speed Racer's work because I am getting home later some days. Thankfully, hubba can work from home or go in late so we are able to get at least some work done.

Lesson Planning. I am doing bad with keeping up on this. I have got to stop waiting til the last minute.

Rest. None this week. Barely 4 hours a night. 

Marriage Check Up. We had an argument over my hubby's hoarding tendencies which will make this packing ordeal painful. So we 'suggested' a date night and went out to eat.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Deciding To Live Your Bucket List


It's True! We've decided to live for today.



There is a price to pay of course.
Throwing away the typical and living the adventure of Life.
But it seems like every 'aha' moment in the last few years have led up to this.


The List?

1. If we can't retire  early - transfer our jobs or work to where we'd like to go. Try out the place then - move again.

2. Save as much as we can. Plow all extra cash into our 401K, HSAs, Investment Funds so we can retire (one day)

3. Live frugal (this is still a challenge for us - a big one since we love to travel)

4. Let go of the house - it's holding us down (I know popular belief is that it's a good investment, but when you don't plan on staying in one place more than 3 years, it's like led on your leg)

5. Live in Freedom - homeschooling my kids has given our family great freedom. We are never going back.

The Big Plan?

Move to Hawaii for 3 to 5 years.

Then try Japan if my daughter still wants that adventure.

Then...who knows, we've already done our top 2! 

INSPIRED BY





Friday, October 16, 2015

Another Week for Improvement



In Life - Sometimes Kissing Makes You Feel Better

And this week - I got plenty from my Little Guy. He must've known I needed it after the last few weeks.

Crazy news since I am on a health kick is I'm going for a Body or Virtual Body Scan. I have to use up some Heatlhcare Flex Spending money before the end of the year and I figured - why not? So stay tuned.

Homeschooling and work this week went off without a glitch. Shocking how life goes up then down and just when you think you want to get off, you see the sun.

For Fun This weekend we went to the ESCAPE ROOM LIVE, a college STEP SHOW, a WEDDING and a BE A CODER event.

SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

He has been working rather independently this week. I get home and he's finished all his seat work and homework in,  English, Grammar and Spelling , Biology, History, Economics and American Government.

Speed Racer has been saving doing started Abeka Algebra 1, with a Teaching Textbook lab on the when I get home, then  CTCMath practice for last.

Time4Writing is getting better and coming to an end in a few weeks. I signed him up for a Paragragh Writing class with Currclick coming at the end of the month and another writing class with FunCation in November. Membean is really helping his vocabulary and word recal. We shelved Python with Techrocket and started Python Programming with Code Academy.



TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on.


Has been studying.  Midterm time in her US History 1 course and Psychology.

This week there was a small break in her Landry courses, so she didn't do anything  in C Programming, PC Pro and Japanese.

We are still going to drop her College Math class since she bombed the test. In her Software Application's class she has been going to the lab which helps.

Tiger Lilly is in her last week with Unity 3d and practicing Java since she will begin two more mid-semester college classes, Speech and Intro To Programming. She turned in two pieces of art for her Animation Course.



WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals Everynight I cooked. I totally nailed it this week. The kids didn't cook on the weekend so it was a sandwhich weekend.

Cleaning. We have a mountain of cleaning to do since we are trying to clear out the clutter of our house so it will be ready to sell next year.

Work & Life Balance. It was a somewhat better week at work. However, I had to work 2 twelve hour days to make up hours for being off last week.

Lesson Planning. So-so as I barely got it done Sunday night..

Rest. I've got 7 hours.

Marriage Check Up. We had an argument over my hubby's hoarding tendencies which will make this packing ordeal painful. So we 'suggested' a date night and went out to eat.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

And It All Came Crashing Down

IT'S BEEN ONE OF THOSE MAD WEEKS




Where everything goes to pot, and you feel like you are losing your mind.

BUT....
I will recover, I did recover?
Well Maybe.



Why is it when you have a few good weeks, heck months, BAM! Something comes along and throws you off your 'A' game. You stumble, scream, jump up and down, then try to get back on steady ground.

Well, that's just life,and it wouldn't be half as exciting without all the drama, but darn, I hate drama.

So let's just give a tally of all the good stuff that happened to set off all the not so great stuff.

'WE ARE MOVING TO HAWAII!' Yeah, we are. It's one of my husband's bucket list items and we figured we would do it when we can both transfer with our companies to work there.

Then this happened:

1) Razor Ray and Rose Siblings got into a Loud - In - Your - Face Argument O-o
2) Tiger Lilly concealed she'd failed a test in her college math class because she hadn't been checking her homework.
3) Speed Racer has been having a VERY Disrespectful mouth and attitude that came to a head during a homeschool session where he ended up punished, and drove mom to yelling.
4) Mom found out she had high blood pressure (that's a surprise)
5) Mom's job had a snotty boss became a monster with a micro-management feast to the 10th degree and caused me to want to YELL at him too (but I kept my cool -which is another reason why #4 may have happened)
6) Thought my hubby got the job in the location of our #1 choice - but they cancelled the interview when they realized it was for Hawaii
7) Speed Racer slipped into a tantrum. I mean REALLY at 12 yrs old? I thought we were 10 months over that? Guess not.
8) Tiger Lilly will have to change Colleges for her Dual Enrollment - oh, but it will only set us back about $1K a year (eek!)
9) Mom had to work late a lot these last few weeks which made our workload more lax but caused Speed Racer to decide he didn't want to pick up the pace again.
10) Mom had to do a sleep apnea study, just because I have a bit of a snoring problem. That's what I get for having a physical after 6 years.

SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

It has been a horrible few weeks. BUT (this week has been better) Getting through school has been a major chore and biting, nashing of teeth through the smart, sassy comments, and comebacks. It has gotten progressively worse the last 2 weeks.

He barely finished viewing and taking notes on his Classroom DVDs with the Abeka curriculum for English, Grammar and Spelling , Biology, History, Economics and American Government he barely did the 'homework' and seatwork for each class.

We dropped Saxon. He started Abeka Algebra 1, with a Teaching Textbook lab on the weekend in Algebra 1 and CTCMath for remediation and practice of basic math facts.

Time4Writing is in gear and he's doing 'OK' and we both know it's not his best work. Membean is puttering a long, he doesn't complain about it. In Techrocket is going well, although, he basically is cutting and pasting the code, which is alright for now with Python Programming.

At least we survived without hurting each other.

TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on.


I even yelled at her this week.  Yep, when I found out she lied about her failing grade last week. This week, we are working towards a solution or back up plan.

So far she's doing good in C Programming, PC Pro and Japanese and loves Landry's teachers.

The Community College courses were going great until her 'B' in College Math dropped to failing grade. The professor told her she could bring it up if she past the final. So we are waiting to see what her next test looks like before we drop the class. Her Software Application's class is where she had another slip up. She forgot to do an assignment it and bought her high grade down to a 'C'. Her US History 1 course and Psychology, are holding on to their high numbers.

Tiger Lilly is doing well with Unity 3d and practicing Java. Her Animation Course started and she's liking it. I already see an improvement, even though she was already rather good.

And I registered her for University of MD, University College online classes...
They take homeschoolers (Yay!)

Several reason
1) The Community College doesn't have online computer science courses and Tiger Lilly said she isn't ready to take more live classes.

2) Since we are moving, she won't be able to get her AA degree from the Community College, so we decided to just let her work away at her BS online which would graduate her at 18 yrs old with just taking 2-3 classes a semester for the next few years.



I need a massage, warm bath, and some wine.

WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals.I cooked, but went on strike the weekend. I refused to purchase fast food, and they complained. So...they pitched in and cooked. Hunger works that way.

Cleaning. It has not happened at the level I'd like it, so I stepped over the clutter and piled it up to put away this weekend.

Work & Life Balance. Crazy these last few weeks. But I'm treating myself to every other Friday off, which means I have to work two 12 hour days every other week. Also, the job had an emergency shut down so...I went to lunch with my oldest daughter, Rose, and invited two great friends. My daughter really enjoyed them and I enjoyed the Indian Food we had. Yum!

Lesson Planning. Slipped up and had to do it on Monday - yikes!.

Rest. Well, sorta, I have a problem of staying up way too late and waking up entirely too early. However, I did get 7 hours sleep most days.

Marriage Check Up. We love each other, even when we aren't at our best.Now we missed our hang out date time the last 2 weeks.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Finding Momentum



This week was wonderfully easy! I figured out that my younger student loves his independence and with the proper bribery and motivation he will work hard on his own.

Late work days, visiting sick friends, making homemade banana bread and trying to keep life balanced sums up this week.


SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

He loves doing his 'homework' and 'seatwork' book assignments prior to mom getting home from work.

When I get home, he is usually playing video games, and I go over to his desk to check his work in his WorkBoxes (we use a version of Sue Patrick's Workbox System).

He viewed and took notes on his Abeka curriculum for English, Grammar and Spelling, Biology, History, Economics and American Government and I signed off on his notetaking per class. Saxon Math 7/8 is going well, we are about 30 lessons in. However, we will be putting it aside next quarter/or block for Algebra. I love CTCMath and he does drills daily and is now revisiting fractions. Membean vocabulary training he is up to 32 words he's conqured and he practices 25 minutes a day. He is still enjoying Python Programming with TechRocket.

He had a full week of activities: Martial Arts, Breakdancing, Hip Hop Dance, Dodgeball and Archery.

TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on.

 
I had to email her C Programming teacher since the Test schedule wasn't on the Calender and Tiger Lilly missed her test. The teacher wasn't aware that the Test weren't visible. She fixed it and let Tiger Lilly take test. Her PC Pro class is going well and she is workign through the simulations with TestOut and her Landry teacher's lectures. Japanese had a glitch with the test password. The teacher fixed the problem and allowed Tiger to redo a homework quiz that she got kicked out of.

The Community College courses are picking up in intensity. Her Software Application's class had it's first test and project review of MS Excel and it wasn't easy. The US History 1 course was frustrating her because she didn't realize that the teacher wanted the papers structured a certain way - therefore her grade suffered. In Psychology, she's doing well, although the teacher skipped 3 chapters. In College Math, her tutor is working out to be a great asset and the hybrid class of online work and in person course is working out as a good primer to her in person classes for next semester.

Tiger Lilly loves Techrocket, learning Unity 3d and practicing Java are working out. Tiger also watched some tutorials on Javascript since she will be working with that during the Girls Who Code workshops. No Art  this week other than for fun.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals. Monday, Wed and Thu were good. I baked some bread for a sick friend on Tues which derailed dinner cooking so we just ordered out that night.

Cleaning. The house isn't clean and we are hoping to get it together over the weekend.

Work & Life Balance. I've been working late 2 days this week. However, now that Speed Racer is so independent with his work it doesn't hurt our schedule. My husband took over those days for the entire day so things went well.

Lesson Planning. Still getting the hang of the new classes.

Rest. I got a whopping 6.5 hrs sleep each night! Woot!.

Marriage Check Up. We had that nice weekend alone and since we haven't found the time. So it'll probably be a movie on Saturday..

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Groove Has Broken

NOTHING EVER GOES AS PLANNED

My husband and I reserved a beautiful 3 bedroom condo for us and the kids for Memorial Day Weekend ~ and none of them wanted to go. You read that right. So, we ended up having a quiet, relaxing weekend on the beach together.






SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

This week was not a good one for him. Can we say, "lazy"? Also, our schedule was run amok because of my work schedule change and the addition of some extra-curricular activities.

He didn't watch the Classroom DVDs with the Abeka curriculum for English, Grammar and Spelling (an all in one class for Abeka), Biology, History, Economics and American Government he just did the 'homework' and seatwork for each class. I am giving him his quizzes and test on Saturday. Saxon Math 7/8 was hurriedly done, but I didn't make him correct it. I figured I will see the gaps when he has his test this Saturday. With CTCMath he is working on 6th grade Algebra prep and finished the section with a score of 80%. I made him take the Standard and the Quantitative test on the section. Membean is working out well and he is getting 25 minutes a day for training. In Techrocket he is finishing up the 3rd module on Python Programming.

Test will be done this weekend.

TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on.

 Tiger Lilly is a budding Artist and Game Designer. She drew the cat.

Her class had some drama. In C Programming a rogue student was using some bad language and acting up during the chat and the teacher had to send out an email to all the parents about cutting off the 'chat' feature for the duration of class. I emailed the teacher and requested that she give the students another chance to communicate online. In PC Pro she just listened to lectures, but also did simulated work using the Testout.com software recommended by the teacher. Japanese was fun for her, especially during the 'office hours'. Her teacher actually lives in Japan and shares tidbits of the place to the students.

The Community College courses are on a roll. Her Software Application's class is a bit more work than she anticipated with a simulated environment that checks her work. Her US History 1 course is her least favorite because she has to write a 1 page discussion for each chapter and a paper regarding the events noted. In Psychology, her teacher is requiring a lot of quizzes but gives a lot of time per chapter. She's been on Chapter 1 for 3 weeks now. For College Math, she has a FREE tutor through the college on Wed and then has her class on Friday's. She's a few weeks ahead with her homework.

Tiger Lilly loves Techrocket, learning Unity 3d and practicing Java. She didn't do her Art DVDs this week. She is downloading software to prepare for the Animation Course she is taking this September.

The other two young adults in the house...

Are living back at home after a year on campus.

RAZOR RAY our college student is also a bit of an artist.

Although, he's moved back home, we rarely see him because he crashes at his friend's house.





ROSE (age 18yrs) senior in College
Homeschooled in the Middle of 10th grade on.

Coming out of her shell and meeting tons of people this semester. She's joined clubs like BreakDancing, Baptist Students, Latin Dancing and is the VP for the MB3 science club.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals. My kids bailed on their cooking days! So I cooked and it didn't get done until 9pm some nights because I got off work later than usual.

Cleaning. It's wrecked since I haven't been able to keep on top of our schedule, but we will get it together this weekend.

Work & Life Balance. This week I had a technical training course for work. I lOVED IT! It was fun to get out of the routine. And get this - the class started at 10am til 6pm so I got to sleep in all week long - til Friday. Boy did going back to work at 6am throw me off. However, I got to go out to lunch with a work buddy and she and I caught up on some mommy gossip.

Lesson Planning. Didn't do it til late and it's not done for this week.

Rest. I loved this schedule - for the most part. I did get lots of sleep, just everything else went crazy.

Marriage Check Up. We were ships passing in the night this week. However, I did text him an 'I love you Boo' and gave him a kiss goodnight. Also, several calls during the lunch time in my class. So, he forgives me for letting our little Speed Racer sleep in his spot 2 nights in a row.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Happiness for kids Means Success

Strive for Your Kid's Happiness
Will Equal Their Success


I've learned so much in these last 20 years of raising kids. More about myself, then just them I believe.

However, they are like their mom and dad - OVER ACHIEVERS but only because we focus on the things they are passionate about.

WAYS TO FIND THE THING THAT MAKES THEM TICK

I always demanded my kids try something - at least once. If they didn't like it after trying it, I would let them select the next activity.

Pushing your child or even yourself to try something outside of your comfort zone widens their perspective. Also, just because they don't love something the first time, doesn't mean they won't try it again.

For instance, we put my oldest son in football at 9yrs old. He hated it. However, when he turned 12 yrs old, he requested to play again. This time - he gave it his all and played running back from 7th grade to 12th.

I made him sign up for track in 9th grade. He disliked that also, said the competition was too difficult and he was too small. Then in the 11th grade he ran track in the winter months and medaled in his 12th grade year.

Since he didn't have a sport to occupy him in Spring that he liked, I signed him up for Lacrosse...and he ended up playing in College and was one of the top 'Face Off' champs in the county.

NEVER STOP TRYING 

Teaching kids to never give up on themselves is a good thing. Reinforcing positive vibes is just fine. Also, teaching them to not give up when things are hard (by cheering them on) last a lifetime.

KNOW WHEN TO BACK OFF

Don't be one of these parents that devour their kid's voice. Allow them to own their destiny. Give them permission to change their minds.

ASK THEM TO LEAD THE WAY

After they've tried many adventurous things you've set before them. Ask them to lead the way with you. Guide them, but slowly teach them to do this for themselves.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sliding into Another Adventurous Week

YOU DON'T NEED Much ROOM To LEARN


See that compact set up? Well that's in my dining room. Tucked in the corner as his sister's desk is tucked into the other corner. The chair and the desk are foldable. The drawer set is a product of using Sue Patrick's workbox systems (changed a bit to fit our needs). So when company comes over, we just put them away.


SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

Had a great week. With this shortened schedule he and I were looking at each other at the end of the day as though we were lost. He asked to play on Clever Dragons or to be signed up for Minecraft Homeschool. I told him 'No' since I want to keep things manageable.

So instead of adding more school work, I signed him up for Archery of 5 weeks.

He has gotten the hang of his subjects and in English, Grammar and Spelling (an all in one class for Abeka) he read several short stories, picked out a book for his book report, completed a spelling test and passed his quizzes in Grammar with a high score. Biology, History and American Government are challenging for him and he doesn't like the task of taking notes daily (I require him to take notes from the teacher for me to sign off on each day). Economics is a class we discuss afterwards since I minored in it in college and liked it. Saxon Math 7/8 is coming along well with solidifying things. He enjoys the way CTCMath explains math topics and does a daily drill. Membean has improved his vocabulary, spelling and ability to break down words. In Techrocket he is on the 2nd module on Python Programming.

TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on. 

 Tiger Lilly is a budding Artist and Game Designer. She drew the cat.

She had a project and quiz in both her Landry courses, C Programming and PC Pro. Her Japanese class had her doing some writing exercises and she and I watched some Japanese Anime where we had close caption on. We also listened to some Immersion CDs in Japanese a few days of the week.

The Community College courses started with a bang. She got access to them online this past Saturday. We went to an in person orientation for her Software Application's class. Her US History 1 course has her reading a chapter, reviewing the videos online from her instructor and writing a reflection paper. I had her add notes and terms to Quizlet.com for her to do a review of topics daily. In Psychology, she has some class interaction through online discussions, reading of chapters and a weekly quiz. In College Math, she did the homework in advance of class, read the book and looked at some Yahoo videos prior to attending class on Friday (today).

For fun, she is on Techrocket, learning Unity 3d and practicing Java (since she has to take it next semester at the college). In addition, she is doing some Art DVDs to practice her artwork since she is excited about the Animation Course she is taking this September.

For PE, we've been slacking on her going to the gym. But we did better this week and I also signed her up for Archery.


The other two young adults in the house...

Are living back at home after a year on campus.

ROSE (age 18yrs) senior in College
Homeschooled in the Middle of 10th grade on.

Is taking 21 credits this semester. She's a bit bummed she can't work. But is making some money helping me 2 days a week as a tutor and homehelper for her siblings.

Her goal is to work next semester to continue to save towards her move to Maui, HI next May. She wants to live there a year before she attends Grad School. In between her AA degree and starting her BS degree she did a study abroad program to Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. We spent 18 days in Maui in planning for her move next year.

In just 3.5 years this girl would have accumulated an AA in BioInformatics, a BS in BioInformatics and Minor in Computer Science with so far a 4.0.

RAZOR RAY (age 20yrs) senior in College
Never Homeschooled.

Has a hefty load. He is working on 19 credits this semester. He also has a weekend job at the hospital as a patient transporter. Then the young man added on using his talents as a Physical Therapy Tech at the college in the Athletic Department.

In addition he's taken on dropping off his siblings at some of their sports events.

I am hoping he didn't take on too much, but he seems eager.

He also plans on moving to Hawaii next year with his sister. A little later than her since he changed his major a few times.

He also did an AA in BioInformatics but changed to Information Technology with a focus in User Engineering for his BS degree.

Although, he loved playing lacrosse and was pretty successful at it, he gave up playing at the college level so he could concentrate on his studies.

WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals. The kids cooked 2 times this week. I prepared and cooked the other 2 days. Friday is always pizza or Chinese it seems.

Cleaning. The house and bedrooms are cleaned, but the laundry is again out of control. We are planning to make a trip to the laundry mat so I won't be washing clothes all day. Also, we had a squirrel in our attic (my little man told us he heard noises but..we didn't believe him). A company came by to fix that up for us.

Work & Life Balance.I had Monday off work (Yay!) and got to sleep in til 8am. We had some work done on our roof so I hung out till they were done.The rest of the week at work has been busy and I've gotten home later than I wanted. Luckily, my home helper started the younger kids off with their work.

Lesson Planning. Nailing it. Can't seem to do more than 1 week at a time since I am still trying to make sure this will stick.

Rest. Well rested earlier in the week, but by Thursday, I'm living on coffee.

Marriage Check Up. Me and hubby went to the farmer's market and I read out loud to him on our trips to run some errands. He and I are reading a Zombie book, then discuss the characters.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Morphing Into What Works


Morphing into Best Fit

Well, I've augmented their curriculum 3 times since we started. Now, finally, now, I believe I've got it right for this first 'block' or 'semester' of our school year.

The changes were mainly for Speed Racer as Tiger Lilly's schedule is one she helped me build for herself.

SPEED RACER

He got through all of the initial courses I've scheduled for him this week. I found that with his PE schedule of activities (Martial Arts, Break Dancing, Kids Coders and Tennis) getting all of it done and is not going to be possible.

So, I cut out some of his extra work.

Also, this week we went to the County Fair, which was fun. Speed Racer wasn't interested in the animals as much this year. Also, he figured he would pass on the carnival rides in place of a trip to an amusement park we frequent since I was making him use his own allowance money for the day.

His new schedule will be the following:

We are able to get through all of these within 5.5 hours

Does in the morning:
CTCMath (for Math lab): M-F (Independent)
TechRocket (for Python programming):  M-F (Independent)
Membean (for Vocabulary building):  M-F (Independent)
Time4Writing (online): M-F (Independent)  

Do in the evening:
English/Spelling/Reading - (Abeka) :  M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Saxon (Math 7/8): M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Biology (Abeka): M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Economics (Abeka): T-Th (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
American Gov't (Abeka): M-W-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)

TIGER LILY:

She is getting into a steady groove. Her college classes start Monday. However, her Landry courses started this week.

Japanese, PCPro and C Programming took off this week. Each required some reading and homework. She has done this independent of any assistance. I've gone online to check her grades, that she turned in her work. The C Programming course has a lab on Friday (today) that she is looking forward to.

I had her review some of her Algebra and Trig concepts this week using CLEP Professor Algebra which she said was a great help and review.

Her college courses (Micro Computers, Psychology, College Math, and US Hist 1) will upload their syllabus on Saturday. She and I will sit down and create her schedule for next week. She will be attending her first in person class on a college campus next Friday.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals. I made the kids cook this week. This has been wonderful! They each have a day and we all did the prep for it on Sunday (well me and the girls).

Cleaning. The house has been pretty tidy. We created a makeshift bedroom in our basement for my oldest son. We purchased a wall/room divider from Walmart for $220 and it worked out nicely. My son's bedroom is in the basement and conveniently private from the rest of the room and I didn't have to pay someone $10,000 to renovate my basement.

Work & Life Balance. Everything is working great. My husband's job has picked up so he isn't able to work from home as much. My job still allows me flexible hours and they even told me if I wanted to go to a 32 hour week I could. Doubtful if I would have to since I need the extra income to pay for my kid's college.

Lesson Planning. Going well now that Tiger Lilly is being taught to do her own scheduling.

Rest. On schedule with 7 hours or more this week. This may change for next week.

Marriage Check Up. Good times. We just relaxed and watched a movie together after kicking kids out of our room.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Madness of the First Full Week of School

Ahhhh!


The First Full Week of Homeschool as Working Parents


Things We had to Do to Make it Happen:

Rose was hired (but Razor Ray steps in) as our Tutor and Home Helper.
LapTops were configured
DVD Players were tested  
Workboxes were organized
Schedules were put up

Schoolroom was moved to the Dining room and I'll post pics next week since it's not finished.


THE SCHEDULE:

Speed Racer's


He survived it and completed all of his work. The independent work was done when the homehelper (Rose or Razor Ray) was home doing their college homework.  The 'Do With Mom' he basically did with me as he needed or wanted help. The 'Abeka' and Saxon work was done with either my husband (who takes the late shift) or me who does the first half or classes before he leaves for either dance, martial arts or tennis.



Tiger Lilly's


She actually loves her schedule. It's much lighter than her schedule was last year. The classes are topics she is passionate about so I just check or review her work before she turns it in.

Her Math-070 class is really College Math that she takes at the Community College. She also goes to FREE tutoring sessions at the college on Tue and Thur.

Some homework does spill over to her weekend but she seems to be on top of it (especially since I check her work before she turns it in). Although, to be honest, I am not good at the Japanese and rusty at the C Programming and Java. Unity3d I don't know at all. So I just google what she turned in or ask her to explain it. If she can explain what she did, usually she is right.

WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals. Great week since I treated myself to a cooking week off. Myself and a friend (who's also a working mom) went to Let's Dish to create our freezer prep meals for the week. The food was fabulous, but a bit pricey at $25 a dish.

Cleaning. The deep cleaning for a new school week is still in effect. The kids are earning allowance now. I purchased them a Bluebird (American Express Gift Card) that I put their allowance on based on their daily completion of chores. It's helped them to manage money and understand when spending.

Work & Life Balance. Wonderful. I love my new job. It's rather flexible and the work is not so challenging that I have to bring it home.

Lesson Planning. This is done on Sunday's. I wanted to do 2 weeks at a time, but haven't gotten back in the hang of things.

Rest. Getting more this year. Up to 7 hours of sleep. Whahoo. Thanks for hubby and my home helpers working out.

Marriage Check Up. Doing well. We got out for a movie (a kid snuck in with us) but we enjoy having the adult kids join us sometimes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kid approved Curriculum Favorites

ASKING THE KIDS HELP

HERE's Their Favorite Curriculum Choices

I asked my kiddos which providers and products they enjoyed most or would recommend to other homeschooled kids based on the following:

Most Thorough
Fun and Informative
One that made it easier to learn

Full online curriculum:

AbekaAcademy.com -  DVD based or online. (can get diploma)
LandryAcademy.com - Live classes. Less expensive when you purchase a year in advance
Currclick.com - Live classes. This is cheaper than Landry but just as nice
Funcation - Offers tutoring and live classes. Not used yet, but kid evaluated www.funcationacademy.com/
Wilostar3d.com  - 3d interactive school http://www.wilostar3d.com/ (can get diploma)
Acellus.com - online complete curriculum (can get diploma)
Study.com or http://study.com/

Technology:
TechRocket.com
YouthDigital.com
Digipen.com - online workshops
Currclick.com
LandryAcademy.com
Minecraft Homeschool

Writing:
Time4Writing.com
SandiegoScribblers.com
Currclick.com
IEW (book based)

Vocabulary and Spelling:
Sequential Spelling
Spelling You See
Membean.com

English/Grammer:
Analytical Grammar
IXL
AbekaAcademy.com
Currclick.com
LandryAcademy.com

Math:
TeachingTextbooks.com - for everything but Algebra.
CTCMath.com - for all math up to Calc
Saxon Math - for math up to middle school
Currclick.com - live class
IXL.com - practice

Languages:
Mango Languages
Middlebury Interactive
Homeschool Spanish
italki - for live tutor
LandryAcademy
Currclick Academy

Science:
Education-portal.com or http://study.com/
Udemy
UniversalClass


CLEP Prep:
Free CLEP Lesson Plans: clepprep.tripod.com/cleplessonplans/id4.html
Online Tools: Instantcert and SpeedyPrep 

Friday, July 31, 2015

First week of School Warm Up

 Getting Into a Groove

Slow going but Productive! The kids have settled into a 'light' school review week where they had about 2 hours of work each day. This is a much easier going start to school and I can tell my kids have matured quite a bit.

College kids moving back in!  The mayhem of having your college aged kids move their junk - uh, stuff back in after a year away at Collge takes some getting used to. I'm happy they are back though.



Mishaps this week - the oldest son, Razor Ray, sprung an ankle at his full time internship job, which effects his ability to work at his part-time job at the hospital. Getting him home from his hour and 20 minute train commute from work was interesting this week. Rose, my 'absent minded professor' in training, broke or lost her cellphone - again - this school year. So that is another fun thing we have to replace this week.

This Week in Rewind

Speed Racer, blended Middle Schooler

Speed Racer did most of his work unsupervised. Although, I had to review it and make him redo some of the work he got wrong.

He didn't start til the afternoon - independently, he worked on IXL (Comma's). He also did his C# Programming [Homeschool Programming], Python Programming [Tech Rocket] Teaching Textbooks - [Math 7 for review] he's not liking too much and which he had to redo some of his questions. Spanish with [Middlebury Interactive] TypingWeb.com and Xtramath.org were finished up daily.


Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly is warming up for her college classes, Landry Courses and online Animation course starting at the end of August.She is doing Psychology (Crash Course Youtube Videos), American History (Crashcourse Youtube Video), Java Programming with [Homeschool Programming and Bucky's Youtube tutorial], Algebra 2 review by doing just the test and going back and reviewing sections in [Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2]. Art Class [Art Class DVD curriculum].And on her own she started doing Unity 3d class using [TechRocket]





She gets her work done without a problem. However, do to a video game challenge with her friends she is making up work over the weekend.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals. I cooked fish and chicken. Hoping to have leftovers each day but the kids didn't want the leftovers. So we went to Chick-fil-A

Cleaning. The house is a wreck I got part of the kids new school area completed. Hoping to get more done with college students come back.

Work & Life Balance. Great flow, but we aren't at our full schedule yet.

Lesson Planning. Easy to do since they are only warming up.

Rest. I now get great sleep since my husband purchased this device for me to help me stop snoring. It also makes my sleep more complete. I'm getting 7 hours of sleep and I feel great.

Marriage Check Up. Our date night got switched out since I went with friends to Happy Hour 2 days this week. However, Hubba didn't mind and we plan to do something this weekend together while our older kids are cleaning up their dumping areas in the house.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer of Socialization!

WHAT SUMMER CAMPS DO FOR HOMESCHOOLING!

This year we are going into our 3rd year as homeschoolers. Now we are at a point where we have realized our freedom to do it our way.

I've given my kids a lot of say so in their educational and social experience and they've greatly surprised me and blossomed with the power of having an 'opinion'


DAY CAMPS

This has been a great tool in gaining my kids new and lasting friendships. They see the same kids everyday. Get cellphone numbers and connect on video games in the evening. These friendships have even evolved into weekend play dates.

SLEEP AWAY CAMPS

Both kids participated in 4 weeks of sleep away camps this year. They loved it. It got my shy Tiger Lilly out of her shell and gained her some friends with like interest that she now skypes online with. My little guy was able to run, play and do lots of fun things he can't do at him.


THE DECISION GOING FORWARD IS

To always do summer camps. Trying to do at least 2 months of it will fulfill my kiddos need to socialize. However, we have agreed that starting back at the beginning of August is a good thing and will help them from not losing all they've gained in their learning.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our 2015 to 2016 Curriculum Plans

A New Year Already!
2015-16 School Year Curriculum

Here's our line-up for our FALL season


Our Method to The Madness

We don't do a typical Middle or High School. We blend our middle school and high school in order to prepare our kiddos for Dual Enrollment Courses or CLEP test which are accepted by our local Community College.

Therefore, you will see many grade levels spread over several subjects for our kids. The focus of subjects outside of Math, English and Science is based on their interest.

Here's the Plan

Three Semesters: Fall/Winter/Spring

Speed Racer - (11yrs) our Blended 7th-9th grader.
 - Block Schedule - some classes are only 1 / 2 or 3 days a week
 - Total Hours Of School a Day - 5 to 7 hours


This was our original schedule - 3 weeks after school started, I re-evaluated and changed it to the one below:

Independent Work:
Scratch (Landry Academy) moved to Winter
Language Practice (IXL.com) moved to Winter

Python (Techrocket.com)
Vocabulary Word Usage (Membean.com)
Typing (TypingWeb.com) moved to Winter

Writing (Time4Writing.com)
Math Review (CTCMath.com)


Work With Parent:
English 7th - Grammar - Spelling (AbekaAcademy.com)
Algebra 1 (AbekaAcademy.com) moving to Winter semester
Spanish (Middlebury Interactive and Mango Languages)
US History (AbekaAcademy.com)
African American History (Movie Based)
American Government (AbekaAcademy.com)
Economics (AbekaAcademy)
Logic (Compass Classroom) Moved to Spring
Biology (Abeka Academy)


His new schedule will be the following:

We are able to get through all of these within 5.5 hours

Does in the morning:
CTCMath (for Math lab): M-F (Independent)
TechRocket (for Python programming):  M-F (Independent)
Membean (for Vocabulary building):  M-F (Independent)
Time4Writing (online): M-F (Independent) 

Do in the evening:
English/Spelling/Reading - (Abeka) :  M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Saxon (Math 7/8): M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Biology (Abeka): M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Economics (Abeka): T-Th (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
American Gov't (Abeka): M-W-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)

Tiger Lilly - our Blended 9th-10th grader.

 - Total Hours Of School a Day - 6 to 7 hours  at least 1 day of the weekend for homework





Tiger Lilly's schedule is packed. She asked for the Homeschool Courses as they are her passionate interest in becoming a Video Game Designer. The last 2 years of homeschooling, she was able to succeed with this amount of coursework, so we are giving it a try provided her Dual Enrolled courses don't suffer.

 Homeschool Classes

Japanese (Landry Academy)  - Wed. Only (do homework on that day)
C Programming (Landry Academy) - Tue. Only (do homework on that day)
PC Pro (Landry Academy) - Mon. Only (do homework on that day)
Java (TechRocket.com) - Thu
Unity3D (TechRocket.com) - Wed
Animation 1 - (theanimcourse.com) - Tue 

Community College Dual Course

Psychology (online) - Tue (Fri-Sat for homework)
US History 1 (online) - Wed (Fri-Sat for homework)
Computer Applications for Micro Systems (online) - Thu (Fri-Sat for homework)
College Math (In Person) - Fri (Tue and Thu for homework)

Classes I changed:
Game Programming (DigiPen Academy)  Her Associates Degree Program has classes
SAT Review (Landry Academy)  She wanted to study on her own

Why this Challenging Schedule?

We grew into it. My kids had been used to a 7 hour school day. Each class was about an hour long, they also had homework that they would do in the evenings and weekends.

When we started homeschooling, we started slow, but they didn't have any screentime on the TV, video games or cellphones until after dinner.

So when they finished their assigned work, they started asking for more things 'to do'. That's when I came up with Independent work that were online work that they could do and I could check when I had a chance.

Also, they liked changing things up after a few weeks.


Where's the Fun?

Yep, with their schedules, they love their sports. They do a sport daily which takes 2 hours out of their day, gets them out and chatting up with their friends. The weekend, My Tiger Lilly is in a Girl's Who Code and CyberJitsu girls club where she interacts with other girls. My Speed Racer loves dancing, martial arts, gymnastics and lacrosse.

Working Parent Juggling?

Both my husband and I work. However, my older two kids are living at home this school year.

Dad works from home a few times a week, Mom works a 40 hr work week and the college students are home at various times.

School Schedule:
A.M Schedule - Dad is the Instructor
Afternoon - Rose or Razor Ray will be home with students
Late Afternoon - Mom is the Instructor
Evening -  Dad take Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly to sports - Mom is cooking dinner
Late Evening - Dad is the Instructor

Chores - Kids clean up before bed. All others will be done on Saturdays and Sunday after church
Meal Planning - Prepping of meals will be on Sunday (1) Crockpot (2) Grilled (3) Oven Baked
Marriage Checkup - Friday Nights are date nights for Hubba and Me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Prepping for the 2015 to 2016 School Year!

This Summer Is Amazing!

Time To Start Thinking About Our Coming School Year.


School Space:

This is shrinking for Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly. My older two kids: Rose and Razor Ray, are moving back home from college. We'd agreed to fund one year of 'campus experience' and that year has ended. Our budgets are happy.

So, the space in the basement will move to the dining room.

The new space will have the following for each student:

Folding Desk
Folding Chair
Dry Erase and Cork Board combo over the desk
Workbox drawers
Bookcase

Schedule:

This is changing to a 3 semester schedule. We will change classes 3 times in the year which models a college schedule that the kids enjoyed last year.

Curriculum:

Tiger Lilly is officially enrolled in her Dual Enrollment Community College and will have a combination of Homeschool Classes and College Classes.

Speed Racer will be doing some online classes with Landry and Currclick to get him used to online classes.

Extra Curricular:

Tiger Lilly will be doing dance, martial arts.

Speed Racer will be dancing, martial arts, lacrosse and a track team if I can find it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A New Season - Summer Time!

School Is Out For Summer!
2014 to 2015 school year

Yes, it's official, we finished. With a bang.

Speed Racer was promoted to High School Level in Science and English. Although, he will have a blended review of each subject before starting the school year.

He's made improvements in his independent work and his overall attitude about school.

Tiger Lilly had great success ending her traditional high school subjects. Also, she completed 3 Community College courses and made straight B's in all of them.  In all her other courses she maintained a B or A. She successfully completed most courses but didn't turn in all of her Web Class projects due to a computer crash incident that set her behind.

Summer Plans, we started with a trip to Hawaii for 18 days! Then we will have a week break before Tiger Lilly heads to sleepaway camp with Landry (Game Programming Camp). Speed Racer will start at a local day camp, then both of them will go to River Valley Ranch camp for a week. When they return, they will both attend the local day camp. The first week of July they will attend sleepaway camp at Camp Wabanna, then Camp Highpoint in PA. The end of their summer will conclude with the local day camp in mid August.

So, the blog will be on a bit of a summer hiatus, with me posting in July our school year plans!

As for Mom and Dad...we are making plans for a hopeful move in 3 years to Hawaii (stay tuned).

Friday, May 8, 2015

My Kids Compare Homeschooling with Traditional School

My Kids Reflect on Traditional School vs Homeschool

As you may know, my kids were in public and private schools prior to us starting to homeschool.

Every year, I ask them if they want to go back. After two years, they confirm - 'No'. However, they did state what they wish they had with homeschooling that they had with traditional school.

Kids Loved Aftershool Care Programs

My kids stated that the #1 thing they missed about going to traditional school, wasn't really the school, but was the afterschool program they attended with the YMCA.

The great thing about these programs is - you don't have to be in a traditional school to attend them. I can sign up my son and daughter for these programs even though they are homeschooled, which would fulfill a desire in them to be with other kids and have fun.

However, when I told them I could sign them up for the program, both declined saying they still preferred just going to their specified sports programs and the other kid focused extra-curricular activities planned.

So, even though they missed it, they still preferred our lifestyle now.

Kids Missed Recess Play Time

I admit, I cut break time short. We don't go outside while working as much. The kids do have daily sports obligations and activities that take them out of the house daily (even though it wears me out). I just don't like them being stuck in the house all day so I make it a point to get us out of the house at least 2-3 hours a day (more so in the Fall and Spring seasons than Winter).

Kids Missed Being Able to Blend In

They told me they miss times when they could goof off and not be noticed. I get that. So, now I time them in doing their work, and leave the room. If it's not done, we move it to Saturday homework, or they select another subject to move to the weekend and finish that assignment with me in the room helping them.

They Missed Seeing Tons of Kids Their Age

Being in a classroom full of other kids their age is one of the things they really missed. I've addressed this by finding activities with kids mainly their age. I put them in recreational sports, STEM weekend camp specific to their age groups, educational enrichment activities offered by local organizations that support the public school (lots of these programs are free or reasonably priced and were distributed to the public schools. I go to the local public school weekly to get their flyers etc).
They Missed Field Trips with Friends

Having a field trip where they get to invite their best friends in their class was another area they missed. So to remedy this, we moved out field trips to the weekend. I just have them take or invite a friend from their recreational sports activity.

They Missed Changing Classrooms

Yeah, who would've thought this? So I have made 2 classrooms. A media center where the lap top stays upstairs, and their school area in the basement where their workbooks and DVD learning takes place.

This worked for awhile, then they decided they wanted to just do school upstairs in our dinning room where the portable media center is.

They Missed Having Time Outside The House

Being out of the house for most of the day was something the kids enjoyed when going to school. This is a challenge as both my husband and I work outside the home. Co ops and Tutorials are offered but neither allows us to leave the kids all day while we are at work. Not to mention, I really don't want my kid's learning being out of my control just now.

DO YOU SEE ANYTHING THAT YOUR KIDS MISS?

WEEKLY WRAP UP

Our 'last' week of full instruction.
We went on a FIELD TRIP to the NATIONAL ART MUSUEM.


Speed Racer, 6th grader

Since I claim this as our last official week of full instruction, I cut down some of the work Speed Racer had to complete.  This week he only had, Math with Teaching Textbooks and Language Practice and Fraction practice with (IXL). He still wanted me to sign him up for another session of Minecraft Homeschool, but I'm not since I want to save some of his 'fun' work for the school year to break the routine.
.
Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader
This is the week before final exams and projects are due for Tiger Lilly's Community College courses in Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation. May 13th is when everything has to be turned in. Her Art Appreciation course required us to do a Field Trip to the Art Musuem, where we took pictures, Tiger Lillly did some sketching and followed the guides.

She worked late into the night finishing up her projects in Web Design, Python (with Landry Academy which ended May 1st, but she got an extension on her project since our computer crashed) are being completed this coming weekend. Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya ended.  The Psychology class with Currclick on last class was Monday and she has to finish her 3 quizzes that she didn't finish over the weekend.

We put off her work with YouthDigital.com using Blender Animation til after all her other work is sent in on the above.

Studying for the US History to 1877 CLEP to take May 14th.  Pre-Calc is still going well with the integrated IXL for extra practice and took the Math College Accuplacer exam. She got placed in College Pre-Calculus.
WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. This week I used Rachel Ray's 5-Meals in a day cook book. So we had great dinners every day! Woot! 

Cleaning. We actually maintained the weekend cleanup. I still have the dog pooper scooper service. Our yard needed mowing and our lawn mower broke, so my neighbor helped my husband out.

Work & Life Balance. I start my new job on Monday! So excited. Then we leave for Hawaii. My oldest son, Razor Ray will stay and take care of our house and dog.

Lesson Planning. Working on course list for next school year.

Rest. I got some great rest and I feel totally revived this week. Since I don't have to rush home from work or get to work at 5:30am I get an extra hour of sleep.

Marriage Check Up. I signed Hubba up to guest star on a friend's radio show with me! It was so much fun giving a male perspective to our show.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Flexibility Planning For Homeschooling

BEING FLEXIBLE

This is the one thing about homeschooling I really love. As I start to plan for the next year, I realize that yet again - our schedule will change.

SLIDING SCHEDULE

As a working parent, I've had to be able to take a 'mental health' day, slide our schedule, shorten a day, do work on the evening and weekend. Also, taking work on the road trips or switching to a less demanding curriculum is a way to augmenting schedules when needed.

BLOCK SCHEDULE

This is a lifesaver. We put our more vigourous schedule of courses in the Fall when we are really motivated with the new year and it last 6 to 8 weeks, then we add a new set of classes. It's set up similar to a College Schedule of 5 weeks/ 8 weeks of specified course instruction. We make the schedule very light in the Spring Time and now plan to take the summers off.

EVENING, NIGHTS and WEEKEND SCHEDULE

With our working schedules, we sometimes have to move school days to the weekends. It gives us the flexibility to let the kids be involved in many extra-curricular activities that they loved when in traditional school. As well as it allows us to work our jobs and still be available for our kids to get work done.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK

Worboxes is a must for us. Keeps us organized and makes the kids more independent. Lesson Plans and weekly schedules help to keep us all on track. Curriculums that are well laid out and pre-planned has made organizing school easier. Location! Location! Location! is the key to getting kid motivated to do work. Find what works for your kid to 'spark them'.

PLAN but WILLINGNESS TO REDIRECT

Don't get attached, tied too, or grounded in a curriculum that isn't working for you or your family. Using a 'BLOCK' schedule or 'QUARTER' schedule allows you to figure out what's not working faster and to 'give yourself permission' to change things up often. Almost like a college schedule.


KEEP GOING TIL GOALS MET

If you don't meet your goals for your kids learning for the year, just keep on working through the summer. We do this around my kids activities.

OUR GOALS

My kids and I have set down after I finished up their report cards for this school year, and their 'Review Forms' that I submitted to our Umbrella group, to decide on the 'Way Forward'.

Tiger Lilly's Goal:
*Desires to be a Game Designer and Developer*

Focus on getting AA degree with High School Diploma (like her sister Rose did)
Build her Game Design Programming and Animation Portfolio
Find more STEM events that focus on Girls


Speed Racer's Goal:
*Still undecided about 'career' but likes to build Video Games and thinks being a Surgeon would be cool*

Build up Math Core skills (finish off Middle School Math)
Learn Game and Website programming languages
Do more fun hands on projects

Mom & Dad's Goal:

Gain better flexibility in Work Schedules
Support the kids with curriculums that are easy for us both to administer
Stick with DVD based, Computer based curriculums
Hire a weekly tutor for Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly as needed

Our last day of school will be May 15th, then we'll have Math daily when the kids aren't in camp or traveling.

WEEKLY WRAP UP

Sliding into the last week!


Speed Racer, 6th grader

This week we are winding down. Only doing, Math with Teaching Textbooks Math 6. Language Practice and Fraction practice with (IXL). Writing, Spelling, Reading, are all our Spectrum workbooks this week.
 
Seems we will only be doing 'Math' daily for the summer. At least for the weeks he isn't at sleep away camp.

Breakdancing competitions last week were SO FUN to watch! His Lacrosse team has had a losing streak. But Speed Racer doesn't care because his brother Razor Ray has been practicing with him one on one on Thursdays and allowing to hang out at the college with him.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader
 
Tiger Lilly's finishing up some of her final projects in her Community College courses in Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation. May 10th is when everything has to be turned in.

Her final projects in Web Design with Currclick.com and Python (with Landry Academy) are being completed this coming weekend. This weekend is her last Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya class. She didn't work on her YouthDigital.com using Blender Animation at all this week. The Psychology class with Currclick on Monday is also closing next week with 3 quizzes she is finishing over the weekend. Can you tell she got a little behind?

Her scores in US History to 1877 using Instantcert are improving, now over 51% and shows she is ready for the test. So we may attempt to let her take the CLEP next week. Pre-Calc is still going well with the integrated IXL for extra practice.
WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. I nailed it this week! I think this is one of 7 weeks I had dinner on the table everyday without having to purchase a fast food meal for the week. Hubby helped me out this week which probably explains how I got this done. 

Cleaning. We did wash and fold clothes, kept the main floor clean and realized the basement and the floors need a really good do over.

Work & Life Balance. I am preparing to start a new job! This means that I will be working a total of 7 days before we leave for Hawaii. I was so greatful my new job allowed me to still go on vacation.

Lesson Planning. Starting to build list for what we are going to be purchasing for curriculum for next school year. Also, had to turn in final year in Review forms to my Umbrella (this was brutal! Took all week). I did the weekly lesson plans pretty fast though.

Rest. I actually made it a point to get more this week. I took a nap daily and got about 6 hours sleep through the night. It's easy since the kids really don't have a vigorous schedule.

Marriage Check Up. Hubba and I went to a business pitch get together. We both are into start up businesses (have one we are currently running together) and thought this would be a great way to meet new people and get re-motivated. We had a blast and did see some old friends since it was at the college we both attended.
 

Friday, April 24, 2015

SUMMER Like WE USED TO DO Before HOMESCHOOLING

SUMMER CAMPS that fill the SOCIALIZATION void

Yeah, you've  heard it before. Homeschoolers need socialization. Yes, they do. My kids spend more time at home now than they ever did.

The bad, the good, and ugly of friendships built in school wasn't always a positive for my younger son and daughter. My oldest kids for some reason seemed to make better choices in the friends they had.
 
HOMESCHOOL TRADE OFFS

Since I spent most of my child raising years, involved in the traditional school options, getting used to the homeschoolers I'd met opinion of 'mixing with public school children' took some getting used to.

I'd realized that many of my homeschooling peers stuck to 'homeschool' focused extra-curricular activities. But we find that to be to restrictive to our schedules and our kids opportunities to meet and build friendships.

Well because both my husband and I worked outside the home, formerly utilized and enjoyed the options available to mainstream kiddos, we pursued those avenues for our kids.

But when we started homeschooling, it was a real commitment to have time to do Summer Camps, Spring Break Camps, After-school Sports and enrichment activities. It seriously competed with the time we had available to administer homeschool.

The last 2 summers we cut short on the 'summer camp' phase in order to start school in July. Since I had a lot of material to cover to fill in major gaps in my kids learning, and it worked with our working schedules.
 
NEW FACE TO OUR SUMMER PLACE

This summer the kids begged to have the one part of the traditional school schedule they'd loved the most.  A summer filled with fun and enrichment camps that envolved sleeping away and day camps.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Since the kids are homeschooled, we are able to take them on a LONG Summer Vacation to Hawaii at the end of May with their sister Rose who is scoping out Hawaii as her first stop after graduating from college next year.

After our trip to Hawaii, the kids will have a combination of 4 weeks of various types of sleep away camps, 4 weeks of day camps that focus on trips, a Game Developer's Camp and more short trips to New York, Myrtle Beach and the Cayman Islands.

INSTRUCTION DOESN'T END

They will still be keeping up to date on Math (using Teaching Textbooks as a supplemental math refresher course).

COMBINING THE BEST OF HOMESCHOOLING AND MAINSTREAM ACTIVITIES
 
Is having the best of both worlds. I'm loving it!

WEEKLY WRAP UP

Two Weeks and Counting! Woot! Woot!


Speed Racer, 6th grader

Math, he is in the middle of his Teaching Textbooks Math 6. Saxon is finished! Language Practice (IXL) is getting done independently and he will be using this for extra Math practice next week and through the summer. Writing, Spelling, Reading and Fractions, are all workbooks this week. He's doing a good job of completing 1 page a day per subject. Vocabulary (Wordsmart) is getting ditched this week. I plan on using a different tool next year.
 
Lacrosse season is in full gear, and we are squeezing in breakdancing and Martial Arts weekly.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader
Had her cellphone taken during school hours as it's been a BIG distraction for her.
 
Tiger Lilly is happy to realize that she will not have a Test for her Final Exam in either of her classes, but a long paper and a project in Community College in Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation are picking up. Finally she's caught up with Web Design with Currclick.com and Python (with Landry Academy). Her Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya YouthDigital.com using Blender Animation is still her favorite classes. The Psychology class with Currclick on Monday was interesting and prompted her to share. Her scores in US History to 1877 using Instantcert are improving, now over 51% and shows she is ready for the test. Pre-Calc is still going well with the integrated IXL for extra practice.
 
WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. My oldest daughter made a homemade cake for us. I got dinner on the table from Mon-Friday by enlisting the help of Tiger Lilly who prepped food and put it in the oven per my phone call directions.

Cleaning. Didn't get around to cleaning this past weekend, so, I'm moving the task to this coming weekend.

Work & Life Balance. I am behind on work ours this week. I don't want to use my vacation time, so I worked two extra long days this week.

Lesson Planning. Done quickly now that we are in the final weeks of school.

Rest. I actually got 7 hours of sleep 3 days this week. Only 6 hours on the other days though. Saturday I plan to sleep in.

Marriage Check Up. Hubby and I are working on a plan for our 'Big Future' and following a great blog called Go Curry Cracker. We hope to have 2 mini-retirements and fully retired by 56 years old. That's what we did on 'date night' during dinner out - dream up what we want to do in the next 5 years.