Friday, December 23, 2016

Reflecting on 2016 and Way Forward for 2017



Happy Holidays!

Here's some thoughts on my reflection of 2016

What an exciting and unpredictable year this has been for my family and I. I wanted to reflect on some major highs and lows of this year since I will be taking a bit of a posting break til January.


Homeschool

My kids have grown to be independent learners this year. The truth is, they've surprised me and disappointed me in some ways with old habits creeping in. But overall, kids are AMAZING! and Resilient.

They've explored much in their learning and I gave them a lot of freedom.

Speed Racer: He is an exceptional learner. Still he is a bit lazy, has a ton of energy, and can be rather defiant with a smart mouth. However, he is so much improved since we started - and since the beginning of our school year.

I have come to realize that I can't let him push my buttons, although he does and I lose my temper, the kid just doesn't take it too personal. Even so, he's grown as a person and a student. Each year is an adventure and he actually teaches me more about myself, stretches my ability for patience, and my need for prayer.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Tiger Lilly: She is growing into an exceptional young woman who knows what she wants out of life. Her passion for art, video games and authoring is something she cultivates in her free time. As a dual enrolled homeschooled and online college student, time management is still one of her major challenges.

She still needs mom to make her accountable and we are continuing to work on that. Her mind and desire for owning and operating her own business to sell her art, her video games and her talet is astounding in someone so young. I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey with her.

Home Life and Marriage

My husband and I took a huge leap of faith and decided to uproot our family and move to a place we'd considered retiring to. We realized that we were too old to do the work so hard so you could retire early road, or the take a mini-retirement every 3 years road and were left with the 'move where you want to retire' dream realization.

It was the best decision of our lives. It has been challenging, but we wouldn't change a thing. We sold everything we had, transferred jobs (I got a new job) and moved our family.

On the marraige front, those amount of stressful changes did cause a lot of debate, gnashing of teeth, and meeting of the minds. It showed us how strong our bond had grown and that we still needed to learn how not to argue so passionately about things that really aren't important.



Work Life

Both of us are working and homeschooling parents. Thus the change in our work environment has a major impact on our lives. My husband had an easy work transition (somewhat) but didn't get money to move for his new job. In my case I took a consultant (temporary consulting job) that transferred to permanent employment. However, even that has been a challenge as there was downsizing on the job as a whole and lots of changes.

Counting Down

Yes, we are counting down the years we have left to homeschool. Likely, we will be doing it for Tiger Lilly until (2018 when she gets her BS degree at 17 yrs old) and for Speed Racer til 2020 - 2021 depending on his emotional maturity. That means another 5 to 6 years O_o --- oh my!

What are your reflections this year?



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Halt! We have a Cheating Problem






We have an ongoing challenge with one of our homeschool kids that involves CHEATING.

It ebbs and flows, but it happened frequently enough that we purchased a safe to hide the answer keys and books in.

WHY WOULD A HOMESCHOOLED CHILD CHEAT?

I don't know why other homeschooled children cheat, but here are the reasons my kids stated they attempted or succeeded in cheating.

1) They wanted a good grade (old traditional school philosophy)
2) They didn't feel like actually figuring out the work
3) It was easy because the answers were easily spotted
4) They did it to finish their work fast
5) They didn't realize it wasn't acceptable
6) They don't want to ask for help

WHAT WE TELL OUR KIDS ABOUT CHEATING in HOMESCHOOL

1) It's not about getting the answers RIGHT it's about LEARNING
2) You are only CHEATING YOURSELF because you are NOT ALLOWING US TO HELP YOU
3) Cheating will falter our trust in your honesty about your needs. If we don't know you need help, we can't help.
4) There are consequences for our actions, when you cheat at home, you will pay a consequence
5) This is an environment that is created for your own success and we will work through how to teach you, expose you and gain you the time and practice you need to succeed.

FORGIVING YOUR CHEATING CHILD

Once punishment is doled out we:

1) Tell them the slate is clean
2) Evaluate the method of instruction and figure out if we have to start from square one of the specified curriculum or topic (We've had a few redos)
3) Lock up the materials

LOOKING FORWARD

Kids eventually out grow this issue. It boils down to a behavioral issue in many cases. Consistency, parental emotional control in this situation and consequences help to move them in the direction of honesty and transparency to their needs, frustrations, or lack of enthusiasm for a subject that causes cheating.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

ReVamping Our Schedule For New Block Semester

A New Semester A New Attitude

With our new semester and our new work obligations, we are having to change up our schedule and courses for the kids this 'block' semester.

This is the plan overall for both kids that we hope will last til March (the end of our new block).

THE KEY = 'Accountability' - Mom checks progress everyday. If work is done - Video Games, Movies, Cellphones are given. If not: Work added to weekend and NO FUN ON WEEKEND til work finished.

SPEED RACER (13 yrs)


His Classes This Block will focus on Algebra and Geometry building. Learning to take notes, study technique building and preparing to take his first CLEP in Psychology.

We check his Online Class progress electronically daily. If he doesn't finish his independent work, he can't check out his video game controllers or cellphone.

He does sneak in some naps during the day and has a 11:30pm imposed bedtime.

English Focused Classes
(He does these independently)

Writing ER (Landry Online Class) - Daily
Daily Grammar (2 pages in Grammar workbook) - Daily
IXL (Grammar Drills) - Daily

Algebra Focused Classes
(With Help)
Saxon Algebra 1 (DIVE cds) Does even questions - Daily
Algebra Drill Problems (4-8 pages in workbook) - 2 days do problems/ 2 days review with mom

(He does these independently)

Algebra 1 Online (CTCMath) - Daily
Algebra concept review (Study.com) - Daily

Geometry Focused Classes
(He does these independently)
Geometry Online (CTCMath) - Daily


Basic Math Review Focused Classes
(He does these independently)

8th Grade Basic Math (IXL) - Daily

Social Sciences Focused Classes
(He does these independently)
Sociology (Study.com) - Daily
Psychology (Study.com) - Daily
Logic (Landry) - 2 days a week

(With Help)
Sociology REA Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily
Psychology AP Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily

Other
Humanities (Study.com) - Daily
Earth Science - focus on Weather (Study.com) - Daily 

(With Help)
Spelling You See (Mom test on Friday's) - Daily
Humanities  Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily





 TIGER LILLY (15yrs) with MOMMA
This block semester she will have 3 online college classes and quite a few homeschool classes.

College Classes Online
Intro to Interactive Design
Ethics in Information Tech
Information Systems in Orgs

Online Homeschool Classes
Wed Development 8am Tues (Landry)
Network Essentials 10am Mon (Landry)

Mom Managed Classes
Business Entrepreneurship (Book)
Youth Digital Unity 3D C# (Interactive)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

There is FOOD around the Corner!

We can't wait for our short Thanksgiving Break
Off School for Thu and Fri! Woot!
 Recap of the fun we've had over the last two weeks.
Still recovering from the shock of Politics.
But that isn't holding us down.

We went to the beach! Dad's watching the boys surf.

The boys played basketball after church.

My girls snagged a hug with a teddy bear.


SPEED RACER's Review

Overall:  We had some Curriculum Changes and some Mental Health and Rest days off but we got a lot done and  have found a great pace.

End of Subjects in this Block Schedule

Sequential Spelling FINISHED and in comes SPELLING YOU SEE
Spanish (Landry Academy) WE DROPPED THE CLASS and will not be replacing it until I find him a live tutor.
Body Language class (Udemy) is finally finished!
Prodigy Math Game is now his to do on his own time. Which he tinkers with here and there.
English Literature is being retired as we got through 70% of the course
American Literature is being retired as we got through 70% of the course
 
The kiddos took off Tuesday to hang out with friends at the beach. So glad my friend came and scooped them up for me. Also, my oldest son, Razor Ray has his best friend since Kindergarden visiting us and we have been entertaining him.

Easing into new schedule and subjects
Clep Prep books for Sociology, Humanities and Psychology
Weekly Grammar Practice
Spelling You See
IXL Basic Math Review
Algebra Practice Workbook

CHALLENGES: Algebra and oh, did I say, Algebra. Now the child is getting a HUGE helping of PRACTICE which makes perfect and WRITING OF STEPS since he keeps forgetting them.

Day Classes that he is doing Independently

(7am-8:30am) [MON and WED] - BLOCK Classes
Landry Academy Classes [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]

Writing ER: is live on Monday's. He had to update a Wiki page description of a grammar fact and write a biography about one of his classmates. He also had to do some editing in his Editor and Chief book.

Python Programming is live on Wednesday's: He is working on his 10th project and creating a critter game.

(8:30am-9am) Snack Break

(9 am-11am) DAILY Independent
STUDY.COM
*These take him 20 minutes to watch the video and do the Quiz or Test.

Psychology
Sociology 
Macro Econ
Physics
Algebra 1 review
Information Systems (Study.com)
Humanities
Earth Science



(11am-12:30am)
CTCMath (Algebra 1 - Supplement): DAILY surprisingly he is doing well in this. We may get his Algebra facts solidified yet! He does a 10 to 15 minute lesson per day.

Membean (Vocabulary Builder) he had some slacking going on. He didn't do a few days of this.

IXL (Language Arts - Review)  he is doing better on these than he did last year. It could be his Landry class or the fact that he is taking 2 English courses this year.

IXL (Basic Math - Review)  He does about 10 minutes of drill practice.

(12:30-1:00pm) - lunch

(1pm-2pm) DAILY Independent

Geometry (Teaching Textbooks as our Math Lab) these few weeks he's been skipping doing the PROOFs. He claims they are too hard but he does them just fine with Abeka.

Ace Reader (Speed Reading & Comprehension) He finished reading practice everyday. The lessons are about 10 minutes long.

(2pm-2:30pm) DAILY Independent

Copy work is doing Great Writer's Quotes in cursive, he writes so well in cursive and to think he's a lefty! It takes him 10 minutes

Wordly Wise he finishes these pretty quick and have been making between 75% and 85% on his test.

(2:30pm-3pm) Snack Break

Mom or Dad 'Assist' with these courses

(3pm-4:45pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Geometry AbekaAcademy he is doing well in this class now. He has a firm B and passes his quizzes and test. However, for his test, I do allow him to have it open book.


Algebra 1 (Saxon with DIVE dvds): He has a test every Monday, then we go over the questions he got wrong with the DIVE video. He typically doesn't watch the videos unless he needs help with the questions.


2 to 3 days a week Interchangeably

Spelling You See  He doesn't like the 'writing' but he is learning the words and that's all that matters.

Bible Devotions he does this with his dad two times a week. He reads the scripture and lesson and he and dad discuss.

Daily Grammar this offers hand on book practice of grammar facts.

(7-7:30pm) Dinner

(7:30pm - 8:15pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.

Chemistry he had two test each week. He didn't do well on one of them so he re-did it over the weekend.


(8:15pm-9:15pm) 3 or 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Psychology, Humanities and Sociology CLEP Prep We read the chapters of the REA and AP books together, take notes, and he finishes the end of chapter test.

Tiger Lilly's Week: High Schooler /Dual Enrolled 15 yrs old


CHALLENGES: Getting her games and papers done in her 'unschooling' curriculum. Yeah, she said she wanted to do the Game Design, but now that she is realizing all that goes into it, she is trying to bail. I won't let her, so her phone will be held hostage until she created her portfolio this year.

Changes:
Her 'See the Light' art class is done.
Research (Dual Enrolled College Class) is done. It was only 4 weeks (yay!)

New Class:
Youth Digital Unity 3D and C# course to start Dec. 9th
Japanese - In person class starts December 2nd

(9 am-10:30am) DAILY
Landry Academy
Network Pro she has class on TUESDAY . She thinks the class is boring since most of the work is on TestOut. However, she is learning and doing the interactive test.

10:30am-11:30am - 2 days a week
Software Development class (Homeschool Class by mom) she is working on her racecar game. She is writing her Game Design Specification .

11:30am-12:30pm- 3 days a week [DUAL ENROLLED COLLEGE CLASS]
Calculus  She completed 2 weeks of instruction. So far I've had to hire her a tutor to work with her 2 times a week. It's working out well so far.

5pm-6:30pm - 3 days a week - PE
Soccer and Martial Arts . She basically quit soccer. So I am planning to add to her martial arts. She does go to the gym with her dad.

7pm-8:30pm - 4 days a week
Japanese is coming to an end with the tutor. She has a live class for the month of December.

Build Video Game using Unity 3D she is using WebUcator (javascript) and Udemy (Unity) to learn the programs for this. This week she is working on a astroid game.


8:30pm-9pm - 2 days a week
3-minute Devotional for Girls I haven't had the time to do it with her. We may have to move this to Saturday mornings.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals with a houseguest over, my cooking has been crazy bad. We've been eating out here and there. We plan to have friends over for the 1st Thanksgiving at home in over 5 years. We used to just go on cruises for that time.

Cleaning. The house is still wrecked (going on week 3) but we are cleaning for Thanksgiving.

Work & Life Balance. Working, looking for a new job (my consultant contract time is running out) and trying to juggle kiddos. Wild, but fun.

Lesson Planning. My printer broke. So, this is difficult. We are getting a toner and will be back on board soon.

Rest. Did I mention how I love my new sleeping mask and earplugs. I love them! I am getting great sleep. No more coffee for me.

Marriage Check Up. I've been neglecting my husband. I didn't make his lunch or coffee and he is not happy about it. So I traded him a back massage, and even made his favorite for dinner for the Sunday football game.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why this Working Parent Doesn't Complain About Homeschooling

Why I Don't Complain About Homeschooling or Working

It allows me the opportunity to take a step back when I want to.


My life growing up was challenging. With a single teenage mom who worked two to three jobs to support us, I have nothing to complain about. My life is so much easier.

You know what too? She never complained about caring for my brother and I. She always was resourceful and worked hard.


THEREFORE, I DON'T COMPLAIN. I MAKE SOLUTIONS

When I am having a difficult time with a point in my life, a situation, a child, my marriage, a job, I do the following:

1) Pray and fast on the issue.

This is a powerful tool and time with God. It humbles me everytime, yet empowers me to know, that things will work out in God's time at HIS will.

2) Jot down a plan A, B, C

For me this is a need. It helps me to see that there are many ways to solve or deal with the issue at hand.

3) Talk about it

I to talk to my husband, my friends, my kids about situations. They all give good insight and for my kids, I like them to see that mom and dad are human, make mistakes, pray through those mistakes and KEEP GOING no matter what.


WHAT DOES COMPLAINING GAIN US?

Sometimes it is good to complain. To vent. To let out all the bubbled up negativity. THEN YOU MUST MOVE FORWARD.

When we stay in a negative space, thought, place too long - it sucks us in and surrounds us. You become bitter and mean.

Therefore, vent it (even to yourself outloud) then FORGET IT. Get over it.

Force a smile on your face.
Remind yourself of your blessings.
Re-focus on your needs or actions to circumvent the issue.
Let it go.

WHY I SPECIFICALLY DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING?

Because we have tried the other ways, and this way has been the MOST FRUITFUL to us. It's given us freedom. Allowed my kids to own their successes, because we guide them through making their dreams come true. We are allowed mistakes, and can recover from them since we decide the roads and the inputs our child receives. THERE IS NO REST or PERFECTIONs, only the journey we carve out.

It all ends in the same place - GROWING UP, GETTING A JOB, HAVING THEIR OWN FAMILIES. We just chose a different road to get there.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Our Weekly Check - up


REWIND our LAST 2 WEEKS

It has been a few weeks of ups and downs. Busy schedules got the best of us, but we decided to do forced relaxation.

We went to the beach two weekends in a row!


Speed Racer Piloted a glider this weekend.

He had a monthly birthday celebration with Young Eagles.

Myself and Rose went to the Ms. Hawaii Pageant! 

And we were disappointed with America's choice for president. BUT...are hopeful
My older kids and husband and I did Early Voting.


SPEED RACER's Review

Overall:  We are getting into a rhythm and are 75 days into our Abeka curriculum.
We've accomplished a lot these two weeks with our curriculum and with tons of outside activities.

DRAMA Club was interesting. The kids are video taping their skits and posting them on youtube. My son only had to do one scene this week and will have to remember his parts for the next scene.

PLAYDATE he had with his friend from Young Eagles was wonderful. They plan to try and surf next time. He spend the day with his friend's family then we took the boys to the movies.

BASKETBALL was a winner. His older brother Razor Ray is the coach and they won their first game.

MARTIAL ARTs he is working towards getting his first belt this November. Keep your fingers crossed.

CHALLENGES: Algebra practice. This subject is kicking our behinds. He just doesn't seem to be solidifying the fact. SO.... We are now doing 1 page of practice a night. This is challenging as he already does some Algebra in the morning with CTCMath, then in the afternoon with SAXON and now at night with this hands on practice book. I am hoping that his understanding will turn around.


Day Classes that he is doing Independently

(7am-8:30am) [MON and WED] - BLOCK Classes
Landry Academy Classes [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]

Writing ER: is live on Monday's. He had a paper to do and some Wiki updates to do for grammar. He did well on those but his quiz grade bought his overall grade down to a C.

Python Programming is live on Wednesday's: The test was hard and he didn't do well on it this week. He still has a B for now, but I will see how the grade changes when he turns in his project.

(8:30am-9am) Snack Break

(9 am-11am) DAILY Independent

Psychology, SociologyMacro EconPhysics, Algebra 1 review and Information Systems (Study.com) he really enjoys the 5 to 7 minute video and is doing well on the 5 question test in each subject. I have him doing the Chapter TEST on Friday's since they are usually 30 questions long.

Body Language (Udemy) he is really dragging this class out. He skipped several lessons and I am making him go back and do them over. These lessons and vidoes are 15 minutes long.

CTCMath (Algebra 1 - Supplement): DAILY .He gets this done in 20 to 30 minutes a day depending on the topic. He's been scoring 70's and 80's on the lesson quizzes.


Membean (Vocabulary Builder) has helped him with his vocabulary and deciphering of words. He is still on Level 2.


IXL (Language Arts - Review)  he is doing better on these than he did last year. It could be his Landry class or the fact that he is taking 2 English courses this year.
Prodigy (Math Game - Basic Math Review)  he is now getting bored with this. He claims because when he in online, other kids aren't. So I may remove this next month and just have him do the DRILLS with CTCMath.

(11am-12:30am) [THU only] Online Live Class Independent - BLOCK CLASSES
Landry Academy Classes [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]

Spanish live is on Thursday's: This teacher posted a Quizlet list for the kids to go over daily with homework. He started working through the list on Monday. He does a bit of the weekly homework a little each day.


(12:30-1:00pm) - lunch

(1pm-2pm) DAILY Independent


Geometry (Teaching Textbooks as our Math Lab) he is on schedule and making higher grades in the 90s.

Ace Reader (Speed Reading & Comprehension) We realized that there were more Sessions in this tool so he is forging on with them. This has REALLY helped his reading spead. We will probably use (7 Speed Reading after this completes)


(2pm-2:30pm) DAILY Independent


Copy work is doing Great Writer's Quotes in cursive, he writes so well in cursive and to think he's a lefty! It takes him 10 minutes

Wordly Wise he finishes these pretty quick and have been making between 75% and 85% on his test.

(2:30pm-3pm) Snack Break

Mom or Dad 'Assist' with these courses

(3pm-4:45pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Geometry AbekaAcademy he is doing well in this class now. He has a firm B and passes his quizzes and test. However, for his test, I do allow him to have it open book.

Sequential Spelling  We are getting into the more challenging test so his test have lots of corrections.

Algebra 1 (Saxon with DIVE dvds):This is really helping in part with his geometry also. He's doing okay on his test. I think its the spiral recall that helps. He got a B on his test (but had to redo some questions).

(5pm) Martial Arts  or Soccer
PE (Soccer & Martial Arts) I am ready for Soccer to be over. It seems we overbooked and the getting him to games has become stressful on Saturdays.


(6:15-6:30pm) 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
3-minute devotional for guys is on Wednesday and Friday's. We now have allowed him to lead in nightly family prayer.

(7-7:30pm) Dinner

(7:30pm - 8:15pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Chemistry his Abeka he did well on his open book Test. We prefer to stick to the concepts and not worry about memorizing the formula.


(8:15pm-9:15pm) 3 or 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
English Literature and American Literature We decided to watch the movies and plays for both of them subjects. His test and quizzes are a challenge but I've let him do them open book.

Tiger Lilly's Week: High Schooler /Dual Enrolled 15 yrs old

She is coasting into the home stretch!

CHALLENGES: She is working on her Game Developer Portfolio. This is a love and hate project. She wants to do it, but doesn't like all the work she has realized has to be done to prepare to do it.

(9 am-10:30am) DAILY
Landry Academy
Network Pro she has class on TUESDAY . Her 'TESTOUT' is going well. The teacher just meets with the students and chats, but outside of that, testout is doing all the 'interactive teaching..

10:30am-11:30am - 2 days a week
Software Development class (Homeschool Class by mom) she presented and turned in her GAME FRAMEWORK STUDY paper and is now working on her GAME DESIGN SPECIFICATIONs paper.

See the Light Art Class 2 days a week and now she has grown more in her art by using 'Perspective'.

11:30am-12:30pm- 3 days a week
Calculus  She completed 2 weeks of instruction. So far I've had to hire her a tutor to work with her 2 times a week. It's working out well so far.

1:30pm-4:30pm- 3 days a week [Dual Enrolled College Courses with UMUC.edu]
Research This class just started. She is only 2 weeks in but it is only 4 weeks. She has reading, quizzes and one paper due a week.

Her finished college courses:

Nutrition Finished this online course at UMUC with a B

Relational Database Design Finished this online course at UMUC with a B

Technical Writing Finished this online course at UMUC with a B
Information Application Management  She finished this class with an A. 

5pm-6:30pm - 3 days a week - PE
Soccer and Martial Arts . She basically quit soccer. So I am planning to add to her martial arts. She does go to the gym with her dad.

7pm-8:30pm - 4 days a week
Japanese she is transitioning to an in person course soon. Now she is just using her tutor.


Build Video Game using Unity 3D she is using WebUcator (javascript) and Udemy (Unity) to learn the programs for this.


8:30pm-9pm - 2 days a week
3-minute Devotional for Girls We have totally gotten behind on these.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals Bad meal planning this week. They had to eat out a few times since we didn't get to the grocery store early enough in the weekend.

Cleaning. Meh, we had a week of mayhem then we cleaned up on Sunday while dad and I shouted orders.

Work & Life Balance. It's been challenging since I have to study for a certification exam, look for another jobs since mine was a temporary contract position, and do software patches, programs and maintain a busy few weeks lately.

Lesson Planning. I have to get back on track. I've been doing the schedule way to late in my weekend.

Rest. Back on track. I now have a sleeping mask and earplugs. I love them!

Marriage Check Up. Date night only once in the last weekend. We did try to get out the house, but one kid trailed with us so, no date night.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Meal Planning As Working Homeschooling Mom





MY SECRET WEAPON to COOKING is FREEZER MEAL PREP

I've purchased lots of cookbooks on this over the years and found that I didn't really like all the pre-planned recipes.

Therefore, I created my own.

Here's how.
*PREP*

1) Find Recipes you like that have similar main ingredients (Chicken, Fish, Pork, Beef)
2) Organize each recipe and cut them out, stack them up according to the main ingredient.
3) Research what freezes well at what doesn't (recipes with the items that don't freeze well, buy it and save it for preparation)

*SET UP*
1) Create your grocery list and make the recipe for 2 or 3 occasions (that means you only need 10 recipes tops)

2) Go shopping and Prep

3) Put all parts of recipe in Bags, or Tin baking platters - Only pre-cook items that you don't want to wait to long to cook (I prefer not to precook the meats)

4) Tape recipe to the bag or put inside the bag


*Voila!*

1) Take bags out on Sunday that you plan to cook that week.
2) Have kids or spouse prep dinner according to recipe.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Family Debate On Home Schooling

My Oldest Son Vows Not To Homeschool His kids


Yes, it's true. We have an older son that went the traditional school route. He had some major challenges with getting in trouble for minor things. Had some horrible teachers that even put their hands on him in aggressive and disciplinary fashion. He had coaches that didn't give him a chance at playing because he wasn't in the 'favorite' group. Also, he got hazed and witnessed sports hazing.

Yet, he said it was a 'rite of passage' that he learned a lot through those challenges and came out unscathed.

In our case, we do realize that there are some things that we are giving up on as experiences for our kid, but those things are recoverable and worth the risk.


Our Personal BENEFITS In Homeschooling Our Youngest Kids

1) Their EDUCATIONAL GROWTH has amazed us!

2) The ABILITY TO CREATE A CURRICULUM TO MIRROR THEIR DREAMS or interest.

3) Being able to SAVE MONEY ON COLLEGE and allow them to get DEGREES EARLY.

4) To be able to have TIME TO EXPLORE PASSIONS and sports or artful interest.

5) To always have POSITIVE VOICES CONSISTENTLY which makes them believe they can and will accomplish anything.

6) To expose them to FRIENDS that are POSITIVE INFLUENCES and WEED out of the NEGATIVE.

7) FLEXIBILITY of our SCHEDULES. This was more challenging when they were younger and we had to hire a nanny. But now that they are older this is a great benefit.

The things we SACRIFICE BY NOT GOING TRADITIONAL

1) Giving kids MORE OPTIONS for friendships. Yep, the 'social' aspect of school. Although, it's not always positive, it is much more than I can offer in homeschool.

2) There are opportunities in SPORTs that are only offered to traditional schooled students.

3) There are TECH training and STEM programs only offered by traditional schools. Like my oldest son did the EMT training through his high school for free.

4) EXTERNAL positive and negative influences. And exposure to other cultures and ways of thinking.

5) LEARNING HOW TO ACT IN TYPICAL SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTS that are in the 'school' setting or with other kids that have been exposed to that setting.

6) Not HAVING FREE CHILDCARE or a place where the kids can go during the day outside of the home where I don't have to see or assess their behaviors.

ARE THE SACRIFICES or DIFFERENCES WORTH HOMESCHOOLING?
For us...YES!

For us, definitely. Sure my 13 yr old Speed Racer is a over talkative because he is an extrovert that loves outward attention.  It wears us out with his over talking and repeating of known facts just as a way to get personal interaction. However, that's just the way he is wired and has caused him to get in trouble in traditional schools big time because of it.

In addition, it allows us to feed Speed Racer's new passion of flying planes. He wants to be a pilot and if he gets his BS college degree out of the way, he can get the Airforce to pay for his Master's degree and he will join the Airforce at a higher rank as well as be able to fly.We have the time to condense high school to get him set for his Master's by the time he is 19 yrs old! That can't be done in public or private school environments.

My Tiger Lilly is able to focus her time on building her game developer's portfolio while finishing up her college classes as a homeschooled high school student. She can work an internship with several companies or take a gap year to explore building her own games. Also, she can expound in her artful pursuits because she has the time to focus on those passions.

Our oldest homeschooled student Rose was able to graduate from college with both AA and BS degrees and play college sports by the time she was 19yrs old. She even studied abroad for a summer.

My NON-HOMESCHOOLER still graduated from high school early, started Community College courses and played Lacrosse in college. He is opposed to homeschooling since from his prospective there is a social adaptability he sees as a missing link. The benefits to him in Traditional school was the ability to play sports, compete at national levels and get his EMT for free with an automatic 2 yr scholarship available in our county.

EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT? 

My personal answer is: NO
Homeschooling isn't for everyone. Just is a CHOICE. We have many choices in educating our kids. And that is the best tool off all. EXERCISE THE CHOICE THAT FITS YOUR CHILD and HOME.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Drum Beats Loudly

Two Weeks of Fun and Creativity


Tiger Lilly completed her first game with UNITY 3D. She's created game based applications using Java, Python and C programs before, but she was super excited to learn Unity 3D.

She used Udemy and Youtube videos and had a few Tutoring Sessions with Techrocket.com which she enjoyed.

Tiger Lilly Named the Game 'Racing tiger'


We also put up the Wall Decals that I've had around the house and wanted to put up.


His oldest sister experimented with temporary color in his hair


Then we went to the street market where Speed Racer played drums


Tiger Lilly went to a Comic Jam and just drew pictures with the attending artist



Overall:  We just started a new sport - BASKETBALL - time! Speed Racer is so excited that his older brother Razor Ray and his dad are his coaches for this 7 weeks of basketball. However, the schedule is a killer with practices at 4:30pm! Ugh, which totally interferes with our work schedules.

CHALLENGES: Very challenging week with the roaming kid that has a flip flop schedule. Speed Racer is not sleeping in his bed. He is staying up late at night (after the game controllers, cellphones are taken) to sneak out, watch TV and eat snacks in the living room. Then he somehow makes it to his room to sleep on his floor near the door.

Solution? Well we are taking all electronics and putting them in the safe for two week. Also, hourly check in via a phone call and online checks.

So, the kid wakes up, but falls asleep at his work desk.

Meaning, he doesn't finish all the work assigned for the day, doesn't get his stuff back and ends up with weekend homework. Sheesh, when will this kid get more consistent!!!!

Guess this is why we homeschool him. If he was in traditional school, from experience, we know this is a recipe for disaster for him. At home - it is somewhat managed because he finishes his work eventually.

Algebra slip up: he has lost his way and so we are having to back-track some assignments and do a redo.

Lastly, MUSIC PLAYING while he is working! He claims it helps him, I hate it and feel as though it's a distraction. This is why I still use Abeka for him because it's a DVD-based option for us.

SUCCESS: Shocking homeschool moment of growth. My kid got home late from his basketball practice and I told him he could skip his Abeka Academy videos today. He responded, I need the videos to give me the explanations. No skipping. :P totally accidental parental success here.

Day Classes that he is doing Independently

(7am-8:30am) [MON and WED]
Landry Academy Classes

Writing ER: is live on Monday's.  His grade has crept up to a B! Yay! Hoping he keeps it up. I now check his work before he turns it in. He fell asleep at the computer and his sister sprayed him with water from her handy water bottle, lol!

Python Programming is live on Wednesday's: He created two games in these last 2 weeks of class. One was a Hangman class and the other is a puzzle game. Not much help from the book or teacher, so he watched youtube videos and followed the instructions to code the games in Python. He's not much of a reader, so I think he basically skimmed the book.

(8:30am-9am) Snack Break

(9 am-11am) DAILY Independent

Psychology, SociologyMacro EconPhysics and Information Systems (Study.com) he is making good mommentum on these classes. I am thinking of letting him study for the CLEPs in the spring for the Sociology, Psychology and Computing (DSST). We will see how he continues.

Body Language (Udemy) he is taking forever to finish this course! It was supposed to be 2 weeks long and he is stretching it out. So, we may not finish til December at this rate.

Online Classes takes 15 to 20 minutes
IXL (Language Arts - Review) is on Monday and Wednesday this is giving him more practice. He spends about 10 minutes on it and hasn't been doing to well with semi-colons for some reason.

Prodigy (Math Game - Basic Math Review) Tuesday and Friday he is still working through basic math concepts with this game. It's a different way to jog his memory in decimals, long division, fractions and exponents .

CTCMath (Algebra 1 - Supplement): on Monday and Friday. This is a piece of cake for him. He is finishing the lessons pretty quickly.


(11am-12:30am) [THU only] Online Live Class Independent
Landry Academy Classes 

Spanish live is on Thursday's: He isn't doing well in this class at all. Spanish is a difficult class for him to take online. At this point, I will have them change the 'grading' option to 'audit'.


(12:30-1:00pm) - lunch

(1pm-2pm) DAILY Independent

Membean (Vocabulary Builder) he is now only doing 10 min sessions but getting none of the words correct. We have to work on this.

Geometry (Teaching Textbooks as our Math Lab) this is a good supplement for Abeka and he is getting 80's on it. Only problem is he isn't doing the Proofs. I had to make him go back and do them.


Ace Reader (Speed Reading & Comprehension) he is almost finish this tool. I will have to find him another Speed reading activity tool at this rate. We will probably use (7 Speed Reading after this completes)


(2pm-2:30pm) DAILY Independent

Copy work is doing Great Writer's Quotes he is writing well in cursive. I specifically got a cursive book so that he could continue to practice.

Wordly Wise he does a good job of retaining the words but he didn't finish all of his sections and had to do them for 'weekend' work.

(2:30pm-3pm) Snack Break

Mom or Dad 'Assist' with these courses

(3pm-4:45pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Geometry AbekaAcademy he had his 9 week test in Abeka Geometry and came out with a low B. His proofs were neatly written and well done, even though he didn't do them in Teaching Textbooks.

Sequential Spelling  He has missed a week of doing these. Sigh, I just moved this two weeks of lessons to next week.

Algebra 1 (Saxon with DIVE dvds): He has a test a week and this week didn't do too well. We are going to review the test together over our weekends. We will have to back track some of his lessons that seem to slip his memory. This spiral approach really makes sure there is retention and when there isn't, it shows up in the test.

(5pm) Martial Arts  or Soccer
PE (Basketball/Soccer & Martial Arts) We are going to have to forego our soccer practices since Basketball started. His martial arts classes are 3 days a week until Novemeber so we will see how our schedule is impacted.

(6:15-6:30pm) 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
3-minute devotional for guys is on Wednesday and Friday's. We forgot some days of this and got a few lessons out of the way.

(7-7:30pm) Dinner

(7:30pm - 8:15pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Chemistry his Abeka he had his 9 week test and did pretty well. We had him study for it.


(8:15pm-9:15pm) 3 or 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
English Literature and American Literature He's doing the 'homework/seatwork' but I didn't make him read MacBeth. We watched the play/movie and I printed out questions from TeachwithMovies.org for the lesson.

Tiger Lilly's Week: High Schooler /Dual Enrolled 15 yrs old


CHALLENGES: Finishing up final work for three of her college classes while working on her homeschool classes are causing her to be really lazy about her homeschool classes. I am trying to get her to work on time management better.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Happy to say she finished all her college courses with B's in each class. At this rate she will be graduating with her BS in 2018 Spring at 17 yrs old! Beating out her sister by 2 yrs (Oh MY GOODNESS!) who got her AA and BS by the time she was 19 yrs.

(9 am-10:30am) DAILY
Landry Academy 
Network Pro she has class on TUESDAY . She takes the test using 'testout' until she passes them with 100% then emails her teacher her score.

10:30am-11:30am - 2 days a week
Software Development class (Homeschool Class by mom) She created her first Unity 3D game demo with features of Flappy Bird. However, she is working on her Framework Comparison paper now going on 4 weeks!!! Why is it taking her so long I don't know.

Build Video Game using Unity 3D It's an Udemy course and she is learning how to build her next demo game.

See the Light Art Class she didn't finish her artwork from the previous 'Perspective' lesson.

11:30am-12:30pm- 3 days a week
Calculus with Saxon & Dive and CTCMathThank goodness for our TUTOR! She is working with Tiger Lilly 2 hours a week. This is the last week before the College Calculus class starts.

1:30pm-4:30pm- 3 days a week LAST WEEK! Yay! [Dual Enrolled College Courses UMUC.edu]
Nutrition Final Exam of multiple choice questions and Course evaluation was finished and it ended 10/16.

Relational Database Design Research paper on database products and discussion question scenario rounded out this class that finished on 10/16.

Technical Writing The Technical White paper and course evaluation were due as the final in this class.

Information Application Management [ends 11/06] This still has a few more weeks. It's her worst class of this set. The quizzes aren't recording scores correctly. She had to call tech support about it. Also, the projects are rather boring for her since she did similar work in a previous course. 

5pm-6:30pm - 3 days a week - PE
Gym Circuit training and Martial Arts . We increased martial arts to 4 days a week. Also, we added 2 days at the YMCA with her dad.

7pm-8:30pm - 4 days a week
Japanese her tutor is still working out well. I am trying to find her an actual class to take. I am planning on enrolling her at UH soon and it will allow her to start taking other classes there too.


8:30pm-9pm - 2 days a week
3-minute Devotional for Girls we are having some good conversations because of this.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals Another week of bad planning. No freezer prepped meals. Also, trying to focus on a Meat, veggie based dinner without so much 'rice, pasta, potatoes'. I am getting major push back from the family on this though.

Cleaning. Meh. These last two weeks we've gotten off base.

Work & Life Balance.I am back to a manageable balance again. I have two weeks of flexing of my hours to work with. I also worked on the holiday Monday so I could take Friday off instead.

Lesson Planning. The benefits to doing this 1 time a week is that I can add what we didn't finish to the week plan. I had to do this 2 weeks in a row now.

Rest. I just can't sleep 8hrs! Why? Why? Why?.

Marriage Check Up. We went to the movies and dinner alone! Yes :-D finally.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The HARDEST CLASSES to TEACH in HOMESCHOOL

You heard it!

There are some classes that I failed at teaching.


My MOST difficult one to Teach
Teaching languages has been an utter failure for me in my homeschool teaching career. My kids have tried EVERYTHING from Mango Languages, to Currclick Live, to Landry Academy, to Abeka Academy and lastly Middlebury Interactive.

None of them - not a one have given them the same level of expertise I found while learning both French and Spanish in the classroom.

Why? Well because No-One-Is-Speaking it to them.

As a last resort, my daughter, Tiger Lilly really wanted to prolong her Japanese lessons so I hired a Japanese tutor to work with her weekly. She won't listen to the Immersion CDs because she'd rather have someone speaking to her. As for my son, he has a 'basic' understanding of the Spanish language but doesn't feel confident speaking or writing in it.

This is the one class I am throwing in the towel on. I had to find outside and IN-PERSON classes to meet this need. 


Teaching Writing was another challenge. Now I love writing. I'm pretty good at it also. However, teaching it, reviewing work, and making the curriculum just wasn't as effective as I thought it would be.

My kids needed someone to help them learn grammar and editing rules while checking their work. I've had to order this curriculum out because they preferred to learn from an 'interactive' tool or teacher.

We've used Time4Writing, Fortuigence, San Diego Scribblers and lastly a private tutor. The combination of all of them worked well.

Teaching Advanced Math, Oh my goodness! Teaching up til Algebra 2 wasn't too difficult. Watching videos, teachers and having a few tutors here and there worked well. Most all of their classes were successful with Abeka Academy, Saxon, CTCMath and Teaching Textbooks (for Geometry).

But when we hit Pre-Calculus and Calculus there was a roadblock, limited teaching materials and difficult problems.

I hired a tutor to work with my daughter through her CTCMath and Saxon Calculus materials.


Physics and Chemistry were very difficult to teach. Especially, since the labs were not easily done at home. Also, I wasn't comfortable with these courses when I was in college 25 yrs ago and still am not.

These subjects we did a 'light' learning of by using Abeka Academy and Study.com videos. In each scenario the kids learned a lot, but didn't get the full experience of doing 'labs.'

I used Landry Academy 'Intensives' camps to expose them to labs.


WHEN TO HIRE OUT A SUBJECT

If I was doing this all over again, I would've hired out the subjects I knew my kids needed a 'great' takeaway or in depth understanding for as far as college was concerned.

Come to find out, my daughter didn't have to take Chemistry or Physics in college. So, I should have done my research earlier and wouldn't have needed to stress out about it so much.

We hired a tutor to work with the kids 2 times a week on the Curriculum we chose for them.

SUBJECTS YOU CAN'T SKIMP ON

Writing, Grammar, Reading! And Math. 

Make sure your student can Read and ComprehendWRITE (grammar and reading) well and understands MATH up to Geometry and Algebra 1 at least. All colleges at least want that. Even a job wants that. All entry test have those basic skills on it.

So if you're not confident in assisting your student in learning the above, don't feel guilty about 'hiring' to teacher or tutor.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wow! Can't Believe They Did That


OUR AMAZING VIEW WHILE RUNNING ERRANDS


A two week review and rewind.

SPEED RACER's WEEK
12 yrs



BIRTHDAY PARTY
Yep, we celebrated his birthday with a whopping 10 kids to celebrate at a Dave & Buster's party. He was so happy to have that many friends party with him.

But the work doesn't stop. He even finished work on his birthday (which was during the week) so he could have fun at his party on Sunday.

STILL THE BABY 
*he fell asleep in our bed watching a movie*
It's times like this that make my heart swell knowing he's still my baby boy. Usually, he is the hardest kid to get to sleep. He hardly sleeps in his room. When he does, it's with the TV, game controller or he just crashes in the living room.

But this night, he slept like a baby next to me. I even was able to sneak a kiss.

Overall:  Sliding into 3 months of school! My gosh SPEED RACER is SO EFFICIENT at getting his work done these last two weeks.

HOW? Well ... bribery of course. He wants his brother's old Iphone 6. I told him he has to focus and finish his work daily without moving work to 'weekend homework'. He asked for a '3 strike' program. This child is very good at negotiating.

His TEMPER has been in check and he's actually been polite (maybe because his birthday party is around the corner - hum...)

CHALLENGES: Scheduling for all the sports has been a MONSTER these last few weeks. Now it's time for basketball (which I wasn't going to sign him up for). However, his dad and older brother are coaching. So...

We didn't get Friday's work done last week due to PARTIES and DISTRACTIONS, but no worries. We made Monday of this week 'Make Up work Day'. It's when we get off track and don't want to give up weekend activities to get back on schedule. This means I'll combine some assignments this week and cut out some 'floating classes' that include our online work.


Day Classes that he is doing Independently

(7am-8:30am) [MON and WED]
Landry Academy Classes [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]

Writing ER: is live on Monday's.  His grade is a solid C+, mainly because at times he gets lazy and does subpar work when I'm not looking over his shoulder or he knows I don't plan to check his work.

Python Programming is live on Wednesday's: He is getting better at finishing the assignments without his sister helping. He hates reading though, so we are working on him slowing down and reading the chapter assignments.

(8:30am-9am) Snack Break

(9 am-11am) DAILY Independent

Psychology, SociologyMacro EconPhysics and Information Systems (Study.com) he is getting into a easy rhythm with these classes. The quizzes and test are easier because now he either watches the video or 'speed reads' through the notes to get the information.

Body Language (Udemy) is 10 minutes a session and is only 5 sessions. I make him tell me what he's learned.

Online Classes takes 15 to 20 minutes
IXL (Language Arts - Review) is on Monday and Wednesday he is lazy with grammar, but scoring about 70 on his sessions before he stops.

Prodigy (Math Game - Basic Math Review) Tuesday and Friday I have to get him to time himself on this game. He enjoys it enough to not complain about doing it. I have it set to review Decimals, Fractions, Exponents, and Long Division which are his weak spots.

CTCMath (Algebra 1 - Supplement): on Monday and Friday. He does this before his Study.com work and says it helps him to understand or review anything that he didn't do well on with the Saxon/Dive lessons.It takes him about 30 minutes.


(11am-12:30am) [THU only] Online Live Class Independent
Landry Academy Classes [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]

Spanish live is on Thursday's: This teacher posted a Quizlet list for the kids to go over daily with homework. He started working through the list on Monday. He does a bit of the weekly homework a little each day.


(12:30-1:00pm) - lunch

(1pm-2pm) DAILY Independent

Membean (Vocabulary Builder) has helped him with his vocabulary and deciphering of words. He is still on Level 2.

Geometry (Teaching Textbooks as our Math Lab) he is on schedule and making higher grades in the 90s.

Ace Reader (Speed Reading & Comprehension) he is almost finish this tool. I will have to find him another Speed reading activity tool at this rate. We will probably use (7 Speed Reading after this completes)


(2pm-2:30pm) DAILY Independent


Copy work is doing Great Writer's Quotes in cursive, he writes so well in cursive and to think he's a lefty! It takes him 10 minutes

Wordly Wise he finishes these pretty quick and have been making between 75% and 85% on his test.

(2:30pm-3pm) Snack Break

Mom or Dad 'Assist' with these courses

(3pm-4:45pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Geometry AbekaAcademy has him taking at least 2 quizzes a week and 1 test every other week. He is really learning to do proofs much better than his siblings. Also, he takes rather good notes.

Sequential Spelling  The daily test are going well. He knows the words but we will see how he does at the next test.

Algebra 1 (Saxon with DIVE dvds): The growth and solidification I see of his understanding has been amazing. The Abeka Alg 1 didn't work out as well it got advanced way to early. He does 4 lessons a week and has 1 test a week.

(5pm) Martial Arts  or Soccer
PE (Soccer & Martial Arts) I am ready for Soccer to be over. It seems we overbooked and the getting him to games has become stressful on Saturdays.


(6:15-6:30pm) 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
3-minute devotional for guys is on Wednesday and Friday's. We now have allowed him to lead in nightly family prayer.

(7-7:30pm) Dinner

(7:30pm - 8:15pm) DAILY with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
Chemistry his Abeka he did well on his open book quiz. I had to print out his formulas for him though.


(8:15pm-9:15pm) 3 or 2 days a week with Mom / Dad or Sibling assistance.
English Literature and American Literature He is doing a 'light' version of this class. I am not making him do the read outloads - yet. He does the assigned homework and test and quizzes. This actually has a grammar and language part to it so he does it for both classes - essentially getting a double teaching. It's working too.

Weekend Plans: Both CAP and YOUNG EAGLES programs were cancelled as was his SOCCER game.

Tiger Lilly's Week: High Schooler /Dual Enrolled 15 yrs old

All her classes are in full gear and we made some additions to her schedule.

CHALLENGES: So glad we are done with the Hackathon obligation. Calculus is proving difficult and I had to hire a tutor. Also, she is stumped with her Unity 3D class and I found a tutor for that course too.

Tiger Lilly has some distractions during the day. I haven't pinned them down, but she is still slipping on getting work done by Friday.

I haven't been checking her work daily, and that's one of the problems. So, back on track for mom.

(9 am-10:30am) DAILY
Landry Academy [October Break started this Monday-this schedule is last week's]
Network Pro she has class on TUESDAY . Her 'TESTOUT' is going well. The teacher just meets with the students and chats, but outside of that, testout is doing all the 'interactive teaching..

10:30am-11:30am - 2 days a week
Software Development class (Homeschool Class by mom) Udemy course (1) Learning Unity 3D by creating Games (2) Unity 3D Basics. Also, she gets 1 hour with her tutor. She watches the video, then takes 1 week to build the game. Also, she has to write a Framework Comparison Paper.

See the Light Art Class 2 days a week and now she has grown more in her art by using 'Perspective'.

11:30am-12:30pm- 3 days a week
Calculus with Saxon & Dive and CTCMath This is where she has a roadblock - on both! I employed her former math tutor who is now away at college as her tutor. I'll be paying her via paypal.

1:30pm-4:30pm- 3 days a week [Dual Enrolled College Courses with UMUC.edu]
Nutrition Just 2 more weeks left in this 8 week class. So far she's had lots of projects and a quiz every other week. There was a glitch with the quizzes and she had to email the teacher to correct it.

Relational Database Design Also on week 6. We are having problems connecting the Oracle SQL Developer. She had to call tech support to walk her through her account set up.

Technical Writing Finishing up week 6 of 8. Now she is writing a Technical White paper which is giving her some trouble with the alignment of pictures in the document.

Information Application Management This class just started. She is only 2 weeks in. They had her doing an excel budget project and several discussion post.

5pm-6:30pm - 3 days a week - PE
Soccer and Martial Arts . She basically quit soccer. So I am planning to add to her martial arts. She does go to the gym with her dad.

7pm-8:30pm - 4 days a week
Japanese she doesn't like the immersion CDs. So we are working on how she can get the immersion experience.

Build Video Game using Unity 3D It's an Udemy course. And she will be working with a tutor from IDTech to help her when she gets stuck creating her games.


8:30pm-9pm - 2 days a week
3-minute Devotional for Girls we are having some good conversations because of this.


WORKING PARENT's LOG


Meals I haven't had time to freezer prep meals, so we went to Sam's and Costco to buy meat that I just prepped every night.

Cleaning. This has been under control this past 2 weeks. It seems as though having company is a good way to encourage cleaning.

Work & Life Balance. Ahh! Catastrophic failure of our servers and databases at work meant - I HAD TO STAY LATE and RECOVER OUR SYSTEM on FRIDAY O_o (I am screaming inside). This type of problem rarely happens and when does it decide to happen? Just when I am ready to walk out the door for the weekend. Well, hubby came to the rescue and got off work in time to take the kiddos to their activities.

Lesson Planning. Updated it with the adding of some classes. Still on track.

Rest. Not good. I had a toothache and stayed up late watching movies with my husband.

Marriage Check Up. We are back on track. I started making his lunches again (I think he was jealous that I made lunch for my son and not him).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Eye's Not On the Ivy League




The IVY LEAGUE! 

With having completed a BS and MS degree in Business Finance (BS) and Management Information Systems (MS) and attending private schools throughout most of my educational career, you would think I'd want to go to an Ivy League School. Or even make sure my kids (three of which who are already in college) to attend one.

Well...

For me, I AM NOT IMPRESSED.

WHY? Well Here it goes....

MY HISTORY ON THE SUBJECT

When I was planning my college career, I wanted to go to an IVY LEAGUE school because that was a place where you could show the world that you are 'smart' and you could 'network'.

Well, after a lot of college visits, those schools to me were missing a VERY IMPORTANT INGREDIENT.

The investment in my success!

As a non-traditional student who was paying her own way through school with scholarships, multiple part-time jobs, and grants, these schools seemed to offer everything but the one thing I needed. Support.

Many students of whom you NEVER HEAR about have started off at prestigious universities, only, to leave with a TON OF DEBT, DISCOURAGED and suicidal feelings as though they are a failure. Yes, it happens at many universities, but more so at these more 'competitive' places.

ARE YOU GETTING YOUR MONEY'S WORTH?

Nope. Not if you are not already connected or belong to a wealthy family.

Also, does going to an IVY LEAGUE guarantee wealth? status? a job? NOPE.

However, if you plan to have a career in politics, law, international affairs or business, then attending an IVY LEAGUE may gain you the NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES that can give you a BOOST.

CHECKS and BALANCES
Ask Your Student These Questions

1) Does this school offer a Major that your or your child CANNOT GET ANYWHERE ELSE for cheaper?

2) Does the intended course of study guarantee the COST VS BENEFITS of attending an IVY LEAGUE and paying those prices. Meaning if you pay $50K a year for a degree, will you be making $50K a year when you graduate?


3) What are the conditions of the FREE RIDE scholarships and ARE THEY OFFERING MEASURES for you to succeed. What are the ways you can LOSE that FREE RIDE via no longer playing sports, slipping grades, health status or change in major or goals.

4) Does the environment encourage you to be able to FIT IN SOCIALLY? (in my case HECK NO I am an African American and a FEMALE that came from a POOR family - that would've been a recipe for disaster for me).

5) Are the Faculty and staff supportive of students or get a kick out of UNNECESSARY RIGOR. Yep, you heard it. Just because a university has a 'Difficult Curriculum' it DOES NOT guarantee preparation for a JOB or CAREER. Real life career and College 'career' learning ARE TWO DIFFERENT things. Just because you have a degree - does not mean you will EVER use any of that information.

WHAT THE 'COLLEGE EXPERIENCE' SHOULD BE

1) Offer you an environment (for your cost) that makes sure that you are SUCCESSFUL in reaching your academic and career goals while providing a HEALTHY environment for doing so. The COLLEGE SHOULD SERVICE THE STUDENT. The student is their biggest customer base - don't ever forget it. You are buying a service from an institution that will gain you completion in a degree. If that school won't help you get there - don't waste your money.

2) A support team that is available and able to help you navigate through this environment.

3) A recovery option, to recover from any setbacks like bad grades, bad choices and yet still be able to retake a class, find support assistance, or be mentored.

IF YOU AREN'T GETTING THAT

Then you haven't gotten what you PAID FOR, now have you.

FAST-FORWARD with My kids

1) Made them research their field of study and chosen careers to see if the (a) Place where you get your degree matters (b) Cost of the degree equals the benefits of your salary and opportunities (c) Does the school have a great support system (d) Does the demographics compliment your race, sex, social interest (e) Is it safe, compare local crime rates with on campus offenses

2) Plan for 'Worst Case Scenario'. Like if you (a) lost scholarship and had to pay yourself - is it still affordable to you or your parents (b) got pregnant (yeah, many girls do their first 2 years) could you still attend or have a place to live or have support (c) changed your major - will you lose all your credits

3) Evaluation of Support Systems (a) tutoring for free (b) career services and internship relationships with well known companies

4) Research Professors by checking Rate My Professor.

5) Research student body by checking on review sites for colleges.

6) Research Credit Transfers so if it doesn't work out - you can still plan and move forward.

THEIR FINDINGS

Scenario with my oldest Son: 
(1) Wanted to go to Stevensons (29K-46K a YEAR!) - went to local Community College then Towson University and finished at University of MD, University College. Changed major 6 times

(2) got AA degree and CLEP credit and took 2 remedial Math classes after Accuplacer (college entry math and english exam)

(3) total cost of college for both AA and BS was $41,000 (scholarships, CLEPs) and lived on campus 1 year

(4) Finished both degrees in 4.5 yrs (took winter classes)

(5) Outcome: Both an Associates and Bachelors for the price of 1 year at an expensive college. And still has a great job.

Well my son had originally wanted to go to Stevenson (cost $38K a year). After doing his research he decided on Towson University. After going there for most of his Jr and Sr year, he had to transfer if he wanted to move with us to another state. He was able to easily transfer his credits to an online college. He now has a degree from University of Maryland, University College and is working for a well known medical insurance company as a Database Analyst.

Scenario with oldest Daughter: 
(1) Wanted to go to Johns Hopkins (50-65K) - went to local Community College then transferred to Towson University. Changed major 3 times.

(2) got AA degree using CLEP credit and an accelerated start (no remedial classes needed. Started in Pre-Calc and English Comp)

(3) Total Cost for both AA and BS was $27,000 (scholarships and CLEPs)

(4) Finished both degrees in 3.5 years (took summer and winter classes)

(5) Outcome: Both an Associates and Bachelors for the price of 1 year at an expensive college. And still has a great job.  Pursuing Master's Degree that is paid for by her new company.

My daughter originally wanted to be a Dermatologist, then changed her major several times until she found a major that combined all of her interest. However, after her research and interviewing some students that she knew that had got to John's Hopkins, she figured it wasn't diverse enough socially for her. That to her was a deciding factor along with the fact that her Dean at Towson University was very helpful and really offered a wonderful support system for students in her major. She was eligible for a scholarship, but it was still more expensive than the university she went to.

TAKE AWAY's

Make sure you are getting what you really want from the 'experience' of college. 
At the end of the day GOING TO COLLEGE = GETTING A DEGREE = LANDING A JOB