Friday, March 27, 2015

Reality Checkup

WEEKLY WRAP UP

 

We are getting used to the crazy weather and doing some Spring Cleaning. With one laptop still on the fritz it is a challenge to get work done on time.

We were able to attend a Homeschool Science Fair - but had to give up some school time to do it. We are having some late nights finishing school this week due to sports daily.

Rose and I went to the Physician Assistant Information Session at her college. She found that she has just a little to finish in coursework if she wants to apply for the Fall 2017 school year. Her biggest challenge is getting 900 patient contact hours by Spring 2016, then apply by July 2016 for classes starting the following year. There are 3 schools in our state she plans to apply to. If she doesn't get in any of those she has 2 in a neighboring city that she will apply, but the big issue is it's double the price of the in-state options.

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

Speed Racer, 6th grader

His work with Time4Learning.com is going well (Biology, Language Arts , US History and Language Extensions). He had do redo less quizzes this week and told me he actually finds this tool 'fun'.

Math, he's bumped up to doing Teaching Textbooks, Saxon daily. He is still struggling with Fractions, so now he and I are working through the Spectrum Fractions workbook together.

Writing since Time4Writing ended, I purchased a Spectrum 6 grade writing workbook that we are working through now.

Vocabulary (Wordsmart), Language Practice (IXL), Reading Speed Reading Comprehension Workbook (Spectrum books), Spelling (Sequential Spelling and Spelling You See)

Technology he's doing Underground RailRoad (Minecraft Homeschool) which he loves the 'build' parts and I love the quiz sections, Mod Design (Youth Digital) which he is almost finished with.

Sports daily (2hours each day O_o ), but Lacrosse is picking up and taking over Dance and Martial Arts days.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader
Had to drop the Sociology Dual Enrollment Course. Tiger Lilly took the mid term and was rather unprepared for the depth and rigor of the exam. After she returned, we noted that although she'd done well on the quizzes, her study method for the mid-term wasn't very effective. She emailed her teacher and we calculated what she would have to do to pull a 'B' or better out of the class and realized it was too much for her at this time. So we withdrew her from the course.

However, she is on course with her other Dual Enrolled courses at the Community College in Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation.

We had to move her files to my husband's laptop so she could do her homework in Web Design with Currclick.com or Python (with Landry Academy). Her Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya class she says is getting a little dull since this teacher doesn't do much to get the class involved. I notified the school of her dissappointment in this facet of the course. She emailed YouthDigital.com to ask how to move her files from her broken computer to her father's for her Blender Animation class.

The Psychology class with Currclick on Monday is coming to an end early next month. And study US History to 1877 using Instantcert cards.

We are moving her to Teaching Textbooks Pre-Calc since we have to return the Abeka DVDs. She is building up Algebra skills with CLEP Professor and IXL.  This is all to prepare her for the College Math Placement test (Accuplacer) required by the Community College. We hope to get her 'tested' into Pre-Calc.

Her independent stufy on One Year Adventure Novel (she is determined to write her book this year) is now in her book writing phase. She finished the Chemistry course with Education-Portal.

Although she does PE (Martial Arts, Dance) we'd like to add more.

WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. Monday, we got Chinese food. However, I was able to thaw out the pre-seasoned Salmon, Chicken and beef I had in the freezer for the rest of the week.

Cleaning. We've got the house clean - exception is the basement where the kids used to do school full time. Since I put a media center in the Dining Room, they don't want to do school downstairs and left their school area a wreck. So this weekend I plan to 'close' the basement school area for the school  year and let them work upstairs - provided they clean up their desk daily.

Work & Life Balance. This week was much better than the last - with the exception that I'm working extra hours to be off on Monday. So it's making our school days longer.

Lesson Planning. I finished it on Monday and it only takes 2 hours since the kids have less work than the regular year.

Rest. Only was able to sleep 5 hours on Mon and Tue. After I walked Hubby through our new routine, he jumped in and I was able to get 7 hours sleep a night (partially  because I have insomnia and wake up every few hours).

Marriage Check Up. We got no alone time this week. This week we just supported each other, talked on the phone a few times and sent romantic text to each other. I think we were actually alone 2 times in the car when we had to drop the kids off at Martial Arts and Dance.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coasting Through To The End

WEEKLY WRAP UP

My husband and I escaped to VA Beach for a night and spent most of our time - sleeping, walking on the boardwalk and watching kytes fly.

The kiddos were busy, my oldest, Razor Ray, worked a double at the hospital, before he headed to the beach for Spring Break. My oldest daughter, Rose, got her CPR certification updated for her summer job at iDTech Camp. Also, she spent the week working on scholarship applications and a mobile app design plan with her sister.

Rose and I have been having a serious challenge finding her a volunteer job to gain her PA required volunteer hours. She is required to have 900 hours. If she wanted, she could get a part-time or full time job in a medical related field, but her school schedule would seriously compete with that. We have a year to figure this all out. But it's been frustrating.

One of our LapTops died, and we have to take it to get serviced. It slowed us down since they had to share a computer with each other or use my desktop. This has made our days longer and it's resulted in some subjects being pushed to next week.

Old man Winter tried to mess up our first day of Spring with a Sprinkling of snow mixed with rain.

Speed Racer, 6th grader

His work with Time4Learning.com is going well  (Biology, Language Arts , US History and Language Extensions). And I must admit, this week I haven't checked his work daily. However, on Wed I reviewed his test/ quiz grades and noted that he'd have to redo some of his Biology work.

Math, he's bumped up to doing Teaching Textbooks, Saxon daily. The Saxon is helping him retain facts and get the practice he needs, which has made his TT scores high. (I trick him into doing both, by saying TT is his 'Math Lab' and I have him to Saxon in the am, 1st thing, and TT in the PM as the last subject.)

Writing (Time4Writing) will end this week and he has an 'A'.
Vocabulary (Wordsmart), Language Practice (IXL), Reading Speed Reading Comprehension Workbook (Spectrum books), Spelling (Sequential Spelling and Spelling You See)

Technology includes Underground RailRoad (Minecraft Homeschool) which he loves the 'build' parts and I love the quiz sections, Mod Design (Youth Digital).

Sports daily, but Lacrosse is picking up and taking over Dance and Martial Arts days.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader
She only had an actual mid-term exam in Sociology. Her other subjects required a project or a paper in Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation

Due to her computer being down, she couldn't finish her homework in Web Design with Currclick.com or Python (with Landry Academy). She couldn't finish her project in Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya or Blender Animation with Youth Digital.

She was still able to attend her Psychology class with Currclick on Monday. And study US History to 1877 using Instantcert cards.

She was able to watch her Pre-Calc dvds with Abeka and do her quizzes/homework. But she didn't do her CLEP Professor Algebra.

She still is working through (2 days a week now): One Year Adventure Novel (she is determined to write her book this year). Chemistry she is working through with Education-Portal.

Although she does PE (Martial Arts, Dance) we'd like to add more.

WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. Monday, I bailed and we got Pizza. I got back on track on Tue-Thu and got dinner served thanks to Crock-Pot meals and Hubba helping out.

Cleaning. The house is still clean - upstairs. I'm washing clothes again (does it ever end?) so the basement has unfolded clothes on the couch. I am also looking for a pooper scooper service to come by my house weekly and clean any dog waste out the backyard. Yeah, the kids do it, but not to the specifications of my liking. I don't have the energy to do it and neither does hubby.

Work & Life Balance. Another difficult week. Let's just say I barely made it through with a smile on my face. I had several long work days, which meant the kiddos did even less work than they would've if I was home. Can't wait for my 'Sleep In Saturdays'.

Lesson Planning. This is so easy now since I don't have to type the Abeka daily assignment, test and quizzes on the lesson plans. It only takes me an hour to do now. Especially since there is a lot of repetition for next week due to our lack of computer and inability to complete all coursework.

Rest. Bad rest week. I guess the 'Spring Forward' an hour sucked out my reserved rest cells. I'm making up work hours from the snow we had and getting up at 4am, but not getting to bed til 11pm. I have creeped in some napping several days this week, but it's not enough.

Marriage Check Up. We were ships passing in the night this week. Which was fine considering we had a weekend together. We have plans to catch a movie and dinner on Saturday.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Is In The Air

WEEKLY WRAP UP

I am so glad Spring is winning the war over Winter. This week we had major snow melt down and rain. I never thought I'd be so happy to see rain.

My husband took my sons snowboarding in PA this weekend. They had a great guy's weekend. While my girls and I went to a movie and slept in.

Speed Racer, 6th grader

The bulk of his curriculum is Time4Learning.com which is really EASY for him compared to Abeka Academy. This is our last block of the school year and I like to keep things light with a focus on Math, Writing and light introduction to new topics. Also, for me, I only have to spend about 30 minutes a day reviewing his work.

I review his quiz and test scores in Time4Learning, Teaching Textbooks, Saxon daily. What he doesn't get a 'B' or higher on, he retakes over the weekend.

Daily he completes Time4Learning High School Curriculum which includes (Biology, Language Arts , US History and Language Extensions).

Math is done daily - first thing in the morning is Teaching Textbooks (Math 6) then when I get home to help him, he does Saxon (6/5)

Writing (Time4Writing), Vocabulary (Wordsmart), Language Practice (IXL), Reading Speed Reading Comprehension Workbook (Spectrum books), Spelling (Sequential Spelling and Spelling You See)

Technology includes Underground RailRoad (Minecraft Homeschool), Mod Design (Youth Digital).

Every day he had a sport. Dance, Lacrosse and Martial arts for 2 hours a day.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Her college courses are now at the Mid-Term point, and I'm helping her build her study cards to prepare for them. She also had several papers, weekly quizzes, and projects due in her college coureses of Sociology, Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation

Her Wednesday Web Design with Currclick.com she updated her webpage project. Her Landry teacher and she worked through some challenges with her project in  Python. Class interaction is the main focus in her Psychology class with Currclick on Monday. Using Instantcert cards to study for CLEP exam in US History to 1877.

She worked on her animation project where she drew 29 pages to prep for her Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya class. Also, her project using Blender Animation with Youth Digital she finished troubleshooting and her quiz.

No math got accomplished this week. We tabled till next week her Pre-Calc, CLEP Professor Algebra. She was challenged with finishing up her Python project ontime.

Courses she is working on without me assigning her is: One Year Adventure Novel (she is determined to write her book this year). Chemistry she is working through with Education-Portal, which is independent because I don't require her to do it - she just likes the subjects.

She did martial arts and dance this week. Only 3 hours of exercise compared to our planned 5. I of course didn't have the energy or inclination to do our workouts.

WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. Monday, I bailed and we got Pizza. I got back on track on Tue-Thu and got dinner served thanks to Crock-Pot meals and Hubba helping out.

Cleaning. The house is still clean - upstairs. I'm washing clothes again (does it ever end?) so the basement has unfolded clothes on the couch. I am also looking for a pooper scooper service to come by my house weekly and clean any dog waste out the backyard. Yeah, the kids do it, but not to the specifications of my liking. I don't have the energy to do it and neither does hubby.

Work & Life Balance. Another difficult week. Let's just say I barely made it through with a smile on my face. Can't wait for my 'Sleep In Saturdays'.

Lesson Planning. This is so easy now since I don't have to type the Abeka daily assignment, test and quizzes on the lesson plans. It only takes me an hour to do now.

Rest. Bad rest week. I guess the 'Spring Forward' an hour sucked out my reserved rest cells. I'm making up work hours from the snow we had and getting up at 4am, but not getting to bed til 11pm. I have creeped in some napping several days this week, but it's not enough.

Marriage Check Up. Hubby is being super patient. We didn't do our date night last week Friday, and he met snoring everynight this week. I asked him for a raincheck. So, he's sweeping me away this coming weekend for 1 night to Virginia Beach without the kids. My oldest is watching them (this is where it's nice to have a 20 year old). Truth is, I don't want to leave my kiddos, but I have to give
Hubba his time.


 
Hubba doing school with the kiddos, while he works from home.
The chairs and desk fold up for easy cleanup after work is done. This is our 'media center' and the kids do the remainder of their work at their permanent desk with their workboxes in another part of the home.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Why Homeschoolers should Test Their Kids

WHY HOMESCHOOLERS SHOULD TEST THEIR KIDS

I must admit, I wasn't on board with homeschooling until 18 years after I'd started having kids. I was completely satisfied with the benefits of traditional education - as it was working for my kids.

However, once I started homeschooling my younger two kids, I didn't want them to lose the 'skill' of test taking.
 
BENEFITS OF TESTING

It helps parents know where you child's weak areas are.

It eases testing stress for students when they transition into a school that requires test (ie: college, military, career)

It teaches your kid to study and prepare for test.

WAYS TO MAKE TESTING MORE ACCEPTABLE FOR YOUR KID

Teach them how to prepare for test.

Don't take testing too seriously - tell your child that it's a way for 'you (the parent teacher)' to 'test' how you are doing in teaching your child.

Let your kid retake test that they didn't do well on the first time - to show them how studying and hard work can progress their knowlegde.

HOW TESTING HAS HELPED MY KIDS

Testing has helped me to pinpoint areas that my kids were having major challenges or learning gaps. Then we would try another teaching method, or exposure to the subject matter. We would teach then test on those areas until my child grasped the concept. There is no hurry in homeschooling.

I always let them retake their quizzes and test. Which became a learning opportunity for me - teach them the following (1) Notetaking (2) Study techniques using Quizlet, flashcards (3) Pinpointing what they needed extra help in.

TESTING REQUIRED IN THE REAL WORLD

Interview Pre-Test (Yes, I've had to take a test in order to get a job)

Military Testing

Trade School Testing

Continued employment training and testing required

College Entry Testing and Testing During Courses

WEEKLY WRAP UP

We started our lighter schedule this week. All of us are relaxing more.
Snow. Snow. And more Snow with Ice.

Speed Racer, 6th grader

He started Lacrosse this week while it was raining (in addition to his BreakDancing and Martial Arts). That means he had a sport everyday from Mon-Sat. But, Lacrosse was cancelled due to inclement weather (yay!).

This week he worked independently. The curriculum choices for Spring were specifically selected so he could work alone (mostely). I just review his progress with him mid-way and at the end. If he has to redo anything (and we have time) he does so that day - otherwise, it goes to Saturday homework.

His day ran about 4-5 hours with breaks. He worked daily on Biology (Time4Learning-HighSchool), Language Arts (Time4Learning-HS), US History (Time4Learning-HS), Language Extensions (Time4Learning-HS), Math 7 (Teaching Textbooks), Writing (Time4Writing), Vocabulary (Wordsmart), Underground RailRoad (Minecraft Homeschool), Language Practice (IXL),  Mod Design (Youth Digital) and his Speed Reading Comprehension Worksheet. The subjects he works with me are Saxon Math, Sequential Spelling, with Spelling You See with me.

He had very little that he didn't finish correctly. However, some of his quizzes and test on Biology and History he didn't do to well on. So it becomes his 'Saturday' work to retake the quizzes and test until he gets a B or better.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly is now at a point where I am helping her with some study skills to prepare for her coming mid-terms next month in her Dual Enrollment courses. (Sociology, Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation). This week she's got her rythm and only asked me to review several papers for her. However, I was concerned that she was rushing to finish them on the due date. Therefore, she and I reworked her schedule so she would do the more intensive work assigned during the beginning of the week.

On Wednesday she takes Web Design with Currclick.com which she had 1 project due, Python class with Landry she got stuck on her project and had to email the teacher for help, Psychology with Currclick on Monday she did a group activity she liked. Blender Animation with Youth Digital she is adding her own touches and showed us her work. Chemistry with Education-Portal, she is working through the videos - I don't require her to take the test - only the quizzes after each section.

After her Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya class she compared animation tools Blender and Maya that she's using and thought Blender was easier to work with. However, Maya is an industry standard so she is determined to learn it. Her current project requires she uses it.

Pre-Calc with Abeka she got an 'A' on her test.

Still she's studying for her CLEP exam in US History to 1877. In her last few lessons of CLEP Professor Algebra - She did well on her weekly diagnostic test. She also took a Practice test for the Math Accuplacer (college entry exam) which she go a really high score on.

For PE she is doing dance and Martial Arts. She and I are supposed to do exercise videos but - mom's bailed on her a few times. So...I will try to do better next week.

WORKING PARENT's LOG

Meals. I did a lot of meal prep over the weekend. As long as I got dinner cooking as soon as I got home, or had my daughter start it, we had dinner. But there was one day that we just ate out because it was more convenient.

Cleaning. The house is clean! Yay! I didn't do anything outside the house this weekend so the kids got their chores done. Hubba and I cleaned the rest.

Work & Life Balance. Crazy weather messed up my usual schedule. Thursday I got off because of snow, and Tuesday I left work early because of it. Work has been hectic at the day gig. With the wacky weather my hours have been very erratic. So I've pretty much left the kids to work independently and what they didn't finish, they did on the weekend.

Lesson Planning. The lesson plans are now easier to do weekly. I got them finished Sunday night and placed them on the kids desk in their notebooks.

Rest. I've been getting a good share of 6-7 hour sleeping nights since I've been getting to work later in the day. I worked later, which I don't like, but it allowed me to be more refreshed during the day. And  - I didn't need my nap.

Marriage Check Up. We didn't do date night. But we did stay in bed late on Saturday and watch TV since the kids slept in too. I also sent him some 'I love You' text during the week - since we barely got to see each other.