Thursday, June 30, 2016

My 15 yr old highschool Reflects on Homeschool







Homeschool Year Reflection By Tiger Lilly my 15 years old, 11th Grade, Blended High Schooler and College student.

Overall, Tiger Lilly absolutely loves being homeschooled. She was taken out of school in the 6th grade and stated from that year on, that she was never going back to 'regular' school.

Also, now, at 15yrs old and a SOPHOMORE in COLLEGE she states she would never 'fit' into a typical high school scene again.

Tiger Lilly's interview.


Overall how to do feel about this past year of homeschooling?

Even though I had less classes overall, the college classes were harder since I really had to stay on schedule, do lots of reading and difficult computer programs.

 What subjects were your favorite?

My online artclass.

What would you like to change about your schedule?

Hard to say, I guess more time to play video games and do my art.  I want an in person Japanese teacher because taking it online I still wanted to practice speaking it.

How do you most like to learn? By Reading it? Watching Videos and notetaking? Workbooks? or Online with live teachers? Online Interactive? or Personal Private tutor?

I don't love Reading to learn, but I do it now since I don't have a choice for my college classes and am a fast reader. 
The videos are okay, I do get bored with them sometimes.
Workbooks, Don't have to do them anymore. Yay!
Online with live teachers It's easy and I like it since I can focus.
Online Interactive Don't have this as much with my UMUC.edu classes, but I like it with Landry.
Personal Private tutors This has helped me tremendously with PreCalc and Java 2.

What do you want to change about your homeschool experience next year?

Nothing really, more hands on projects I guess. Some co-ops.

What are you most proud of about this year of homeschool?

Finishing all college courses with a 3.4 gpa.

Do you feel doing Workboxes still help you?

It still does, although all my books and work is basically online. I store some of my stuff in them.

Do you want mom to continue to provide weekly written schedules for you?

Yes, it helps.

How do you feel about Online college instead of IN PERSON classes? 

I get frustrated with my teachers online because they don't seem to actually want to teach. I have to be able to communicate well and often with them through email and chats.

I want to take IN PERSON for Japanese and some of my Game Design computer classes so I can do those with a group.

How do you feel about taking COLLEGE for DUAL ENROLLED classes?

I really like it. I am challenged and when I graduate from high school I will have a degree. I still want to take more IN PERSON art classes and gaming courses, but then when I turn 18yrs old I can get a job and have them pay for my next degree. I want to go to Japan.

What do you look forward to next year?

Building my own mobile game and selling it.


Mom's Point of View


Tiger Lilly was very adamant about what her career interest was. I helped her decide, but she has always loved Video Games, writing stories and art.

She and I now sit down often to evaluate if she is meeting all the criteria for what she wants to do. Because, we looked at job descriptions of current job openings we realized she needed to actually go through the process of creating her own games.

Ways to Get Student Feedback

Report Cards (1) From Student to Parent (2) From Parent to Student

Quarterly Discussion (1) Ask your child what is working for them, what isn't working, revise your plan.

Casual Conversations (1) Talk to your kids, not just about homeschooling, but about themselves, what they like.

Play with them (1) yes, play stupid, kid, goofy games with your kids to build learning, confidence and trust. I still play with this 15 yr old girl. I let her beat me in video games, we play cards, and I chase her around the house to tickle her. She thinks I am silly but I enjoy it too.

Bribe them, give them something for their input.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My 12 yr Old's Opinion On Homeschooling




Homeschool Year Reflection By Speed Racer my 12 years old, 7th Grade, Blended Middle Schooler going to start High School next year.

Since Speed Racer was my first and youngest child who had requested to be homeschooled in 2nd grade, I really wanted his feedback on this journey.

Speed Racer's interview.


Overall how to do feel about this past year of homeschooling?

It was harder, lots of subjects and I got confused when we moved with what I needed to do and when. I wish the school year was shorter.

 What subjects were your favorite?

Minecraft homeschool. Robotics at least the building the robots part, I didn't like all the extra work I had to do.

What would you like to change about your schedule?

I'd like the school work to be shorter and if I could play sports or do activities more. 

How do you most like to learn? By Reading it? Watching Videos and notetaking? Workbooks? or Online with live teachers? Online Interactive? or Personal Private tutor?

Well, I don't like Reading my lessons at all. 
The videos are okay, but I don't really want to take notes, even though I am supposed to. 
Workbooks, they are okay, I like seeing the pages as I finish and compare it to how much more I have to do. 
Online with live teachers I like a lot when they let us students that are online talk and chat with each other
Online Interactive is usually really fun, but I sometimes get bored with it if the website stays the same.
Personal Private tutors I don't like much because I can't goof off on my work as easily. But I do like working with the ones I had and I did learn stuff.

What do you want to change about your homeschool experience next year?

More online classes with live teachers and the interactive classes. I'd pick Abeka Videos because I know what's expected of me now that I been doing it for 3 years. Oh, and I want a shorter day more outside activities like surfing and skateboarding.

What are you most proud of about this year of homeschool?

My work is getting easier to do. I get it done faster and mostly by myself. I don't need as much help by you or dad.

Do you feel doing Workboxes still help you?

Yeah, it keeps me on schedule to get stuff done without having to look for my stuff.

Do you want mom to continue to provide weekly written schedules for you?

You have to, if you don't I won't know what you want me to do. 

What do you look forward to next year?

Summer and Spring break camps. 


Mom's Point of View


After reviewing his questions, it gave me further insight into what type of student my son is. However, HE IS ALWAYS CHANGING and maturing.

This helps me to build a plan for the next quarter or semester to help him as a student.

Ways to Get Student Feedback

Report Cards (1) From Student to Parent (2) From Parent to Student

Quarterly Discussion (1) Ask your child what is working for them, what isn't working, revise your plan.

Casual Converations (1) Talk to your kids, not just about homeschooling, but about themselves, what they like.

Play with them (1) yes, play stupid, kid, goofy games with your kids to build learning, confidence and trust.

Bribe them, give them something for their input.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Creating Social Opportunities for Our Kids

The Separation of Education and Socialization
And A little Bit Of What We Need To Focus 
 



Follow the Path of Traditionally Schooled kids

Most local and public schools usually have tons of information weekly they give to parents regarding afterschool, enrichment and opportunities.

You can go capitalize on this yourself by doing the following:

1) Go into the local schools in your area and ask them for the weekly flyers they give out to their kids.

2) You can ask the parents of kids in your neighborhood that go to the local schools to share with you any activities, afterschool courses, etc for kids

Create Your Own Club

The homeschool group near where I live at has some very motivated parents. They've created 'teen' weekends at their homes and the teens can sign up monthly.

My kids love being able to interact with kids their age, goofing off, movie nights, gameplay nights and the max.


Don't Limit Your Kid's Group Of Friends

Many homeschoolers I've met over the years, tend to want to focus their kids interaction with other kids that are only being homeschooled. In my opinion, that's closing the door to your kid finding a potentially good friend.

Therefore, seek out kid focused social activities that are for all kids. Like recreational sports groups, clubs and afterschool enrichment.

The Key To Finding Friendships for Your Kid?

Consistency. Kids build friendships by consistently seeing and interacting with each other. Find activities that allow that and your kid will find good lasting friendships that way.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Transforming of My STONG-WILLED Child



TRANSFORM that STRONG-WILLED CHILD into a STRONG WOMAN or MAN

It can happen! Now with a young man of 21 years old, and a maturing young man of 12 yrs old, I can see the light. And realize that in spite of myself, I DID SOMETHING RIGHT.

RECITE to make it RIGHT

One thing I tried when homeschooling my youngest son, that did wonders, was to create a CALM DOWN LIST. It was a list of to do's that taught him (by reciting daily and whenever he had problems controlling his temper) how to calm down, relax, redirect, or accept.

Doing this daily, having everyone on board to know and recite it imprinted these tools into my son's mind and over the course of one year, he knew how to put those tips into action. Even though he wanted to have a tantrum, act out, he knew how to redirect it or squash it.

I made the list SPECIFIC TO THE CHILD and researched calming techniques, thoughts to inject and actions to implement it.

Also, we trained them to 'THINK THROUGH THE PROCESS' by asking yourself, 'Why am I doing this? What will the consequences be? Can I make amends?" and other questions. We ask those same questions every time the child went haywire, lol!

After awhile, they would offer up the answers, but truly identify with the apology or follow-up decisions.

CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY

The other thing I reflected that worked with both boys, is to be consistent in my reaction to them. It was hard not to yell, scream and curse them out (oh yeah, they can take me there), but MOST TIMES (hey, mom's not perfect) I was consistent, non-effected outwardly, by their actions.

If I gave a punishment, I tried to think on it, make it conducive to the lesson I wanted to teach the child, and discuss with my spouse. However, for typical behavior, we had a consequence board that left no argument or debate on what the punishment was.

An example of this is when my oldest daughter yelled at her sister that 'at school you are not my sister!'. That day, her punishment was that I took her own bedroom from her. She had to share a room with her sister until she learned 'humility' and kindness. Six months later, we decorated and opened up her own bedroom because she had changed greatly.

TAKE THE TIME TO BUILD FRIENDSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD

Yes, you have to play with them. Not just parent. Play with them, talk to them, every single day. Work at building a deep and trusting relationship with them.

If they tell you they did something freely (even if it is punishable) don't punish, but talk them through it.

This friendship will blossom into adulthood and is truly the solidifying glue to working with a strong-willed child.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS that lead them to THE RIGHT SOLUTION

Learn to ask them questions, instead of always TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO. Guide them to find the right and wrong in the specific situation.

When they answer in the right manner - rarely, can they dispute the facts.

Also, IT TEACHES THEM TO REASON WITH THEMSELVES when they are being talked into or out of a situation.

FIND THEM THE RIGHT TRIBE OF FRIENDS

Birds of a feather, typically flock together. Kids conform (good or bad) to those other kids around them that they want to have as friends.

Sports, and ROTC programs like the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) program camps that teach discipline all have been a great outlet for my sons and given them a great group of friends that are focused on positive things.

I also put my oldest son through EMT training if for nothing but to teach him discipline, garner his desire to help others and that training and volunteering matured him in many ways. It also gave him other strong male mentors besides his great supportive dad who coached him in most all his sports teams.

TIMES YOU WILL SEE CHANGES

After my first son had grown, and my now youngest is doing so, I realized there are some actual ages in development where they start to CALM DOWN and THINK MORE CLEARLY. Also, we would sing the psalm "NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME WILL PROSPER" and do prayer meditation.

The age for my boys was 12 years old. At that age - they just mellowed out.

Then it was a different type of wild from age 14 yrs to 21 yrs.

My husband says the age of 25 yrs old is where males become less impulsive. I actually researched his answer and he was correct. Their act of reasoning matures, making them more cautious and thoughtful about their decisions at that age. ESPECIALLY, when they are taught to be thoughtful about their task.


REALIZE YOU HAVE A STRONG, DETERMINED individual in a TINY BODY

It reminds me of the Incredibles movie when the movie ended and they play the skit about the baby who now has all these uncontrollable super powers. My oldest son and youngest son reminds me of that kid.

And you know what? They grow up to be better able to harness and utilize those gifts of creativity, impulsive, and determination.

Keep them BUSY, BUSY, BUSY

Breakdancing and Capoiera were great tools for my son. Also, running. It gave him something to do with his nervous energy and taught him discipline. It put him with strong male role models and teachers.

We also had a EXERCISE IN A HAT game we played when I saw he was getting ansy or irritable where he would pick an activity out of our hat and he would do that activity (jumping jacks, hop ups, run in circle) for 2 minutes. Then decide if he wanted to go back to work.

SLEEP was a big factor. He did have mild 'sleep apnea' and had his tonsils removed. It helped a lot. But he also had insomnia (like both his dad and I) so we allowed him to sleep in the room with us longer.

THEY DID GROW UP INTO STRONG PEOPLE

My oldest son's teacher in 1st grade who'd 'recommended' he be medicated, met him as he picked up his brother Speed Racer from camp.

All the joking my oldest had done in class, he'd turned into an advertising business and did stand up comedy.

His former teacher was shocked and commented on the 'great young man he'd turned into'. My son however, didn't forget how mean and unbending this teacher was.

SHOW THEM LOVE DURING THE DAY

Nothing beats a hug, kiss or positive word and reinforcements throughout the day. Turn the 'negative' talk into MANY POSITIVE VOICES to reinforce their self-esteem.
 

EVEN if YOU MEDICATE YOUR CHILD THEY NEED TO HAVE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

There are kids that I've seen, my husband had grown up with (he was adopted and his mom had lots of foster kids with challenges) that need medication, but without tools and behavior modification, medicating doesn't work.

Also, be cautious about medicating as the US is one of the largest countries to aggressively over medicate children.

We never medicated, but did talk to their doctor who was conservative on these matters and suggested that we wait til the child was 12 or 13 yrs old. As well as the doctor gave us tips on improving our boys energy and distractions.

We found that even though both boys bounced off the walls, seemed to not pay attention - they were taking it all in. They just liked moving around to do it.

Give your kids the tools for success.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Reflections of a Working and Homeschooling Parent


Yes, I feel like Wonder Woman! Loved the show, and now as a Working, Homeschooling Parent of Four, I think I have earned my cape.

HOW I WORK and PARENT

My mother was a working, single mom. Not once, did I feel like something was wrong, or that she didn't love me, or care about me when I was living with her.

However, she had lots of help. My Aunts all pooled together to watch each others kids because they ALL worked. Even my Aunt that had 8 kids with one who was Special Needs.

Now I look back and I am amazed at how they pulled it off - while realizing, that I took some of the lessons they taught me.

1) Get Help and Barter or Exchange with other parents

In my case, my husband and I traded off a lot. My mom and mother in law chipped in also. Then when our older set of kids got bigger, they pitched in with babysitting their siblings, cooking, cleaning and even running errands to drop off a sibling.

2) Be Flexible

There were times my husband worked nights, I worked early mornings, he worked part time, ran a business from home.

3) Find careers that allow flexibility and pays as well as possible with benefits.

That means - educate yourself on how to get specific jobs that allow the flex time, part-time, job share, night work, evening work or for you to work from home.

4) Have a plan and a Backup Plan

Always have a schedule and plan, back up sitters, emergency pick up partners and trade offs.

5) Take time to goof off 

I always take at least a 30 min lunch and two 15 min breaks at work. I go out with work buddies, walk around the building, go read a book. All things that help me get in some 'me' time before I head home from work to do my 2nd, 3rd and 4th jobs as teacher, cook, chauffeur and more.

6) Work together with your Spouse or Support team to administer school

7) Create a System to Make Your Kid An Independent learner and give them accountability. I used the Workbox System by Sue Patrick, utilized online or computer based learning methods.


SCHEDULING IT ALL?
This is where you have to be PLIABLE! That means, if you have a rigid work schedule consider the following:

1) Focus your limited hands on instruction time on the core subjects: MATH, READING, WRITING, LANGUAGE ARTS

2) Do alternative types of curriculum like: Movie Based, Project Based, Game Based, Copywork, Computer Based for SCIENCE, HISTORY, LITERATURE, TECHNOLOGY

3) Send kid to summer camps that focus on the above subjects for reinforcement.

4) Don't be afraid of late evening or weekend homeschooling.

5) Center family time around the more fun and interactive items in #2
Note: I didn't say Unschool because I personally feel as though kids should have a curriculum that at least spells out what the expectations learned are. And as the parent/teacher, we should do research to develop a method that effectively does that for our child. As well as, to verify that the experience is retained.

However, there are some unschoolers out there that have made the experience of learning work for their kids, so don't rule it out, just make sure you get out of it what your expectations are.

WHY I WORK and HOMESCHOOL

Well, let me just say, I love my career. It's flexible, pays well and gives me a 'break' from all the things that have to be done at home. Yeah, I said it, I get to take a break from home.

Also, me having a job has benefited my family by (1) Bringing in another income taking some of the financial pressure off my hubs (2) Allowed me to help hubs get a job, my kids get a job by allowing me the opportunity and location to 'network' (3) Give me more to talk to my husband about than just our kids (4) Gives me an opening to meet new friends. I have met some amazing women where I work. (5) Increased health insurance and life insurance and gained scholarship opportunities for my kids only given to employees

Lastly, I work because my mom worked. That's all I know. And she taught me that a single mom can work and be a good parent. Can parent a child that has made her proud and that has given back.

DON'T LET A JOB hold you back from doing what you desire to do for your child