Monday, July 31, 2017

New School Year - New Attitude 2018-19 Curriculum






NO MORE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

This school year will be just as challenging, but with more planned breaks and more outside help.

SPEED RACER is now a BLENDED HIGH SCHOOLER

Although, he finished all of his classes I'd planned for  him last school year. I still feel he needs a deeper Math review and Writing review.

These are subjects I will not let him go soft on as he needs to be comfortable with these for  Dual Enrollment.

~GOAL~ 

To figure out which learning path works for Speed Racer towards earning college credit. His college of choice will be (1) BS at UMUC.edu ~ major Info Tech or Web Design (2) AA degree in Airplane Repair (has to be 18yr for this program) so we will focus on the BS credits first.

~WHAT WE HIRED OUT~

Math Tutor
Writing Teacher and Curriculum that checks his papers
Programming Classes

~MATH~

Well, he finished Algebra 1 and Geometry with a B- in both. So I am having him take it over but with a different Curriculum. Then he will transition to Algebra 2 and Trig the beginning of next year.

Algebra 1 Review > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
LifePac (with Mom and Independent)

College Math > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
CLEP COLLEGE MATH-Prep For Success (with Tutor and book )
Accellus (and/or) ModernStates.org for 6 weeks
Straighterline (After Modern States)

Algebra 2 and Trig > Nov 16th - July 15th
Abeka DVD based Curriculum


~ENGLISH~

Speed Racer will be tuning the skills needed to pass College Composition CLEP or Straighterline Course.

English 1> Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Life Pac 9th Grade with Tutor)

Writing > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Time4Writing

Vocabulary> Nov 16th - July 15th
Membean

Literature >  Nov 16th - July 15th
TeachWithMovies
Live Plays
 
~History~

Speed Racer will be preparing to take either the US History 1 and 2 CLEP or Straighterline course.

US History 1  (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Acellus (Do 1st)
Modern States (Do 2nd)
Straighterline (Do 3rd or take CLEP)
Instantcert or SpeedyPrep (whichever works best for him)

US History 2  (3 college credits) > Jan 7th-Mar 15th
Acellus (Do 1st)
Modern States (Do 2nd)
Straighterline (Do 3rd or take CLEP)
Instantcert or SpeedyPrep (whichever works best for him)


~Computer Science~
Speed Racer finished the Accellus Computer Science 1 course and did exceptionally well. Therefore, he has chosen the Computing and Info Tech DSST for his first DUAL credit course.


Computing and Info Tech for DSST  (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Speedy Prep
InstantCert
Practice Test

Javascript  > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Computational Learners In Person Class

Build a Drone > Aug 1st-Nov 15thComputational Learners In Person Class


~Social Science~
Speed Racer completed these courses with Accellus and Study.com last year.

Psychology (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Sociology (3 college credits) > Jan 15-March 15th
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP


Ethics In America (3 college credits) > Mar 15 - May 15
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP
~Religion~

Intro To Religion (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Straighterline

~Science~
Speed Racer is required to take Physics in college. He took it with Study.com but I wanted to expose him to it more at a slower high level pace so we are working through this hands on curriculum that's light, but using some videos.

Physics > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
LifePac
Youtube Videos
With Dad

~DUAL CREDIT ATTEMPTS~

In the Winter and Spring of this school year, will do mostly CLEP test study or STRAIGHTERLINE with MODERNSTATES (since they give voucher for FREE CLEP test)

Research Child's Path 1st.
Note: UMUC (college of choice) accepts ACE credits and direct transfers from STRAIGHTERLINE and up to 90 transfer credits form other sources including (CLEP and DSST). His chosen COMMUNITY COLLEGE degree is more hands on and will accept CLEPs/DSST for Pre-reqs so he will have to take CLEPs for his Math and English for the Community College degree if he doesn't have his BS before starting.

 Credits to Attempt this year (Aug 1st to July 15th)
  ~ Modern States, then Straighterline [and/or] CLEP or DSST test ~

Religion (3 credits) 1st
Computing and Info Sys (3 credits) 2nd
US History 1 (3 credits) 3rd
US History 2 (3 credits) 4th
Ethics In America (3 credits) 5th
Psychology (3 credits) 6th
Sociology (3 credits) 7th
College Math (3 credits) 8th
Algebra (3 credits) 9th



TIGER LILY a BLENDED HIGH SCHOOLER

She is officially a Junior in College and a Home School High Schooler. Here's her breakdown.

~GOAL~ 

This year is focusing on honing her ART, Japanese speaking skills, her BUSINESS BUILDING, her NOVEL creation, WEB COMIC creation and MOBILE GAME development skills. Also, to finish her BS degree in Information Systems and Computer Science (minor). By the end of her school year she should have completed the following (1) Build her Micro Business Website (2) Drafted her first Novella (3) Drafted her first Web Comic (4) Build her ART Portfolio and placed her works for sale (5) Drafted her first mobile game to be sold

~ College Classes ~
Tiger Lilly has only 3-8week semesters to finish before she is done her required courses for her degree.

Here's her class list.
Fall (Aug-Oct)
-MultiMedia
-Info Sys Project Mgmt
-Software and Hardward Infrastructure

Fall (Oct-Dec) 
-Motion Graphics
-Systems Analysis and Design
-Digital Marketing

Spring (Jan-Mar) 
-Info Sys Practicum
-Business and Continuity Planning


~ Homeschool Business Classes ~
Tiger Lilly finished the first part of this course by Carol Topp. It was wonderful for her. She has her Micro Business plan already thought out and written. Now we are finishing the set up and figuring the rest.

Running a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

Money and Taxes In a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

~ Homeschool Japanese ~
Tiger Lilly completed the first three Japanese courses at a local Japanese language school and will be completing the last two before I enroll her in the in - person Community College course.

School Of Japanese
Part 4 (2 days a week)
Part 5 (2 days a week)

~ Homeschool Art Classes ~
Tiger Lilly is taking ART at the local museum, but we are seeking out a more courses that allow her to work with young people on the type of Art she likes.

Art and Drawing
Community College
Art Museum Art School












Friday, June 23, 2017

Experiment of Doing Nothing

Big Brother and Little Brother

Lacrosse



The best gift a mom has is when her oldest son matures enough to be a mentor to her youngest son. This moment for me happened at the Lacrosse team end of season party. My oldest son was able to coach and mentor his brother along with some other great young boys.


THE EXPERIMENT OF DOING NOTHING

Well it's been three weeks and I didn't really allow Speed Racer to do an extra-curricular activities. Since he was burned out, and I was burned out I told him to just relax. However, NO VIDEO GAMES and NO LAPTOP unless he has a valid reason to use it.

WHAT DID HE DO?

Opted to going outside to play basketball, ping pong, ride his skateboard, washed the car, picked coconuts from our tree, took out the trash.

Then he said, "I'm bored, can I have the computer to look up some science experiments on I can do?"

Then while watching these videos on:
- Science Experiments
- Crazy things people do
- Conspiracy Theories
- Breakdancing
- Video Game Play

And this...


AFTER BORING DAYS of THAT

He said, "What do I have to do for my work?"

My answer, "Nothing. Figure it out. Your choice. If you want to go to camp in July, the work for the year should be finished." *wink*

His actions, he finished all his Study.com subjects (Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy)
Then his CTCMath Algebra 1 and Geometry.

SO...UNSCHOOLING with MOTIVATION for MY KID actually WORKS.

In 3 weeks.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Had to Halt the School Year For One






I have called a full HALT to Speed Racer's school year. 

Speed Racer and I are tired of working together on school.

We need chill and fun time.

A fresh start.

A break.

Some help.

A new dog-on curriculum.

Summer vacation.

Anger management.

DECISION MADE!

I ended the school year for Speed Racer. He is doing nothing. Factors involved in this decision were (1) Mom started a new job that is higher visibility than the last (2) Dad started a new job and starting a new business. (3) Mom's part-time business is taking off. (4) Speed Racer just isn't in the mood to work anymore. It's been a struggle, frustrating, changing of curriculum, and grumbling.

I took a step back.

Realized that we just weren't excited about learning and were burnt out.

Also, I had to address his bad behavior. So there was a bit of redirected learning. I told him he could study or deep dive, unschool, do whatever he wanted until I sent him to camp in July.

We will see what happens.


TIGER LILY RUNS THE RACE ALONE
 
Tiger Lilly is going forward. Taking FIVE college classes this next 8 weeks before starting camp in July. Her load will be busy with DRAWING, MARKETING, BIOLOGY with BIO LAB, and WEB DESIGN.

She wants to do it so she can have a light year her last year of college this Fall. If she keeps this up, she'll graduate with her BS at age 17 yrs old. A record for the family. 

MOM CAN BE FOUND on OTHER DISTRACTIONS and DAD forging HIS TOO!


Meanwhile as for MOM....I am hanging in there. Although, I still review Tiger Lilly's work 2 times a week, I am free all the other days from homeschool support. 

I am taking lots of naps after work since I don't have to do one on ones with Speed Racer. Gearing up for a job certification test, writing a lot for my part-time business and just putting thoughts of planning next school year aside.

Don't think I'm not itching to get back to it. I just am making myself re-direct so I can re-charge for that passion.

SCHOOL WILL RESUME FOR Speed Racer in August. 

How do I feel about that? 


I love the freedom of homeschool. I control our breaks. Next school year, I may invest in a Math tutor 2 times a week just so I can take a step back from that toxic subject with my young guy. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Is the School Year Over Yet? Another Math Issue


WE HAD TO TAKE A MINI-VACATION for SANITY CHECK

And what did I figure out? That even though I thought I wanted to do Year Around School, I NEEDED THE DARNED BREAK or I was going to explode.

Things I had time to ponder on while on Vacation.

1) My kids would rather be PLAYING VIDEO GAMES than going on tours. That had to change.

2) I need more sleep in days.

3) I DON'T know how to fully relax and do nothing for long periods of time.

4) I don't like staying in the house, even though my kids do.

5) The Math curriculums weren't giving my son ENOUGH MATH PRACTICE.


THINGS I CHANGED AFTER MY REVELATIONS

1) Math - MY SON needed a MASTERY BASED program where HE WROTE OUT his math problems to slow down his MENTAL MATH capabilities.

He will be working with a tutor on Math this summer. I changed his MATH program to LIFEPAC for Algebra 1.

WHY did I SELECT LifePack ALG 1?

 - It's NOT online
 - Read and Do problems
 - Can be done Semi-independently
 - Hard to cheat
 - I can purchase tutor help if I need it
 - It's only $59 for complete program
 - It is different than is online CTCMath
 - It focused on practicing what you are taught until you REALLY know it before moving on. Mastery based learning.



SAXON wasn't working because their wasn't the MASTERY and Saxon is more of a SPIRAL that is just too wide for my son.



CTCMath is still a GOOD SUPPLEMENT but he needs to WRITE OUT HIS WORK.


2) NO YEAR AROUND SCHOOL, we will have 1 month and 1 week off. I NEED it, the KIDS NEED it. My Husband NEEDS it.

3) In PERSON CLASSES for TIGER LILLY. She is too much of an INTROVERT. I found an IN PERSON Japanese class, Art class, and Unity 3D coding class for High School Students after school.

4) Summer Camp for 1 month and 1 week for BOTH kids, even though I initially didn't want Speed Racer to attend since he had some challenges at camp due to his own behavior last year. His siblings pointed out, how will he learn what is acceptable behavior if he doesn't have opportunities to figure it out? Good points. So I am giving it another chance.

5) Our school year will end July 1st. Woot!

Other Good Happenings

I still love homeschooling. I wouldn't be able to give my kids chances to shine, redirect, focus, and revisit work they weren't 100% comfortable with if I didn't homeschool them.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Roses and Opportunities!





A DOUBLE BLESSING WAS AROUND THE CORNER

Well with all the moving, changing of curriculum, changing, and mayhem in this working parent's household. Things are about to get even more exciting!

JOB CHANGES FOR MOM and DAD and ROSE

My husband got a new job. He was recently laid off, well it took him about three weeks to find another awesome position. My daughter Rose was also supposed to transition to a new job with my husband's old company. That didn't work out with the recent contract cut backs. However, Rose, found another job using a head hunting service that contacted her in the past. It took them 2 weeks to find her a position with a great raise and wonderful company. As for me, I'd stopped seeking new employment and was just waiting until later this year when this contract ends to find something, BUT, a great opportunity with longevity fell in my lap. Now, WE ALL HAVE NEW JOBS!

HOW WILL THESE CHANGES AFFECT MY HOMESCHOOLING and WORKING?

Well, it takes awhile for us to train up on our new positions and be able to use the flexibility that comes with being in the Info Tech field. So, I had to change my kid's homeschool schedule around a bit.

A EUREKA MOMENT

After 1.5 years of Algebra 1 I have finally figured out something about Speed Racer. He likes an audience for Math and Writing. He does best when I give him the problems to work out on the dry erase board, we check it, if it's wrong, he tries to fix it, then we watch the Saxon video if it is still wrong or he doesn't understand.

Wow! He wants 'interactive' math even though he could absorb it on his own.

So we've worked our schedule around supporting his Math and Writing learning opportunities.

SPEED RACER's NEW SCHEDULE
13 yrs old

10am to 2:30pm (Independent Work Online) - Finish all online Acellus Classes (College Math Review, English, Psychology, Geography, US History) * No books are included with these courses or homework

Geometry and Algebra 1 independent with CTCMath

Humanities, Philosophy and Sociology with Study.com 

 Note: Sometimes he doesn't finish all of the courses or lessons for that day, but I can check his status during my lunch break via the mobile app provided by Acellus.

3:30pm-5pm - Algebra 1 Workbook: No Nonsense Algebra Review WORKBOOK - we do it together and it reviews Algebra facts.

8:30pm-9pm - Algebra 1 Saxon Math (has Geometry Review and Algebra) with Dive & Mom work with Speed Racer


CURRICULUM MOVED til SUMMER
Since we are running behind, I am moving some curriculum to the summer.

Writing
CLEP study (we are still trying to assess what test Speed Racer is most ready for).
Grammar Practice
Basic Math Practice
Python Programming
Logic

TIGER LILLY
16 yrs old

10am to 2:30pm - (8 week courses Online College Classes with UMUC.edu ends May 7th)
Foundations of Information Sys
Enterprise Architecture
Telecommunications in Info Sys

10am to 2:30pm 
Micro Business Homeschool Curriculum
Blender design with Udemy
C# programming with YouthDigital
Building Wordpress Website for her Art Business




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Algebra 1 with My Youngest Son Is Killing Me




My 13 yr old SPEED RACER is killing me with his nemesis ALGEBRA.

I mean it. I am literally in the mood to throw it out of our curriculum. I mean, he did get a C in the class last year.

Maybe, making him retake Algebra 1 this year was a torturous mistake for me.

We have TRIED EVERYTHING! 

Abeka Algebra 1, he did last year, got BARELY a C. So I figured, no problem, we'll just do it this year, but use SAXON. Well, he cheated the first part of the year by using a calculator, sneaking the answer key. So...we restarted the SAXON, and I changed his entire curriculum to ACELLUS because with my new job, I didn't have time to sit with him and go over every problem and subject.

THEN...the MATH breakdown. He was stuck at C and D level with ACELLUS and SAXON. What the heck!!

BUT I WON'T GIVE UP.

Now with SAXON, we practice with CTCMATH, which he is doing great with. Problem is, when he WRITES the MATH PROBLEMS, he misses key steps.

IN COMES this great book, No-Nonsense Algebra. Thank GOD!

The reason I haven't hired a TUTOR is because the boy simply hates PRACTICING his math. It's not that he can't grasp the concepts, he is just too insistent on not doing the work. Ugh!





For just $21 it comes with problems and videos. We are using this along with SAXON. 

It's going to be a long summer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My 13yr old Makes his Own Money by doing Surveys?! And More





Yes, my 13 year old got his allowance taken from him and what did he do? Innovate! He started doing surveys, playing games, and earning money through gift cards to create an allowance he could do from home.



Mobile Performance Meter is his current favorite. I have him trying one app at a time with out supervision to see if it actually works.


Now he wants to do the following:

1) Do DROP SHIPPING business online using a business EBAY account to sell items he finds for cheaper at other websites.

2) YOUTUBE CHANNEL he is trying to figure out what would gain him more followers overtime.

3) BLOG in his journey to find a business where he, as a teenager, can make passive income.

4) APP referral business to continue what he is doing.

5) TWITCH and YOUTUBE gameplay business.

MY 16 YEAR OLD has her two business ideas

1) ART BIZ, selling her art online

2) T-SHIRT ART BIZ, selling her art designs on create on demand

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Battle Of Wills. Your kids and You.


MY WILL is a bit STRONGER than my CHILD's

Because I will not allow them to make me give up on them. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes lose the battle and yell at them, punish them by taking away an activity or item, or have my own tantrum. Hey, momma is not perfect. We try not to 'lose' our composure, but my kids can probably find the kink in both my husband's and my armor of parental control better than anyone.

I am always researching, devising, and figuring out how to out do, persuade and decode my kid. They just have more time to do it than I do.

WHY WON'T HE DO HIS WORK FASTER?

This is one of my most frustrating parts of parenting and teaching. It's not just a HOMESCHOOL thing, it's a parent child thing. I had the same challenges with getting my kids to finish HOMEWORK FROM TRADITIONAL school. Or any 'extra' aftershooling they had to do just to keep up in their classes.

I have timed my kids. I know what they are capable of. My speed racer could finish his packed curriculum in 4 hrs a day if he is in the 'mood'. Other times (lately it's a lot of times) he drags it out while making faces, constant trips to the bathroom, the kitchen, stretching, clicks off screen and may not finish his goals for the day.

What happens when he prolongs school work planned for the week? He gives up his weekend (I don't take his sports from him though). He doesn't get to do any extra and has weekend school.

For this especially difficult year, he will be doing school through the summer since he is unlikely to finish all of his curriculum by the end of May (when we usually end full-day school).

That means (1) No summer camp that is fun (2) No day field trips (3) No Spring Break Camp (4) No electronics on the weekend or after hours.

For some reason, this year, the kid could care less. Me, however, it ticks me off, but I won't cut the school year short. I won't slim down his curriculum. He will complete it since to me he is being openly defiant.

IS THAT THE BUBBLING OF A TANTRUM I SEE?

Yes, now it's not loud the loud, kicking and screaming he used to do. It's the rigid set of his shoulders, the thin-lined lips, the silly expressions and out right refusal to get work done.

That means I (1) sit next to him and do my work (he hates this). (2) cut off all media. (3) take it back to the workbook (4) take away something he really wants or wants to do/go.

The truth is, it's exhausting. But I will not give up my creativity. I tell him he will finish this race, even if he takes a break along the way.


DID YOU JUST GO TO YOUTUBE INSTEAD OF YOUR ONLINE SCHOOL?

This is a consistent issue with him being in online classes and us no longer doing the Abeka DVDs with workbooks. It is a transition I am having my doubts about since it's a constant battle to keep him on one webpage, and focused. The child will slip a youtube music video, pandora, game or anything online to 'slack off' in class.

To combat this he has to turn his speakers up, have his computer facing me, or I use a program that allows me to pop into his computer.

Both of my sons tried my patience in this manner. It's the unpleasant part of parenting and it's made me an 'aggressive' speaking parent that I rarely have to become with my girls.

Now to be fair, the kids have this trait as a 'gift' from both their dad and I. It's not a bad trait, it's just irritating when it means the child can multi-focus on things that aren't important to the list of things they have to do.


YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR PHONE, BUT YOU ARE ON INSTAGRAM?

Aha! This is another issue. The kid is a computer genius! He has found little apps that allow him to access social media without actually going on his phone or a web page. Grrrrrrr!

As I am typing this, I am seriously considering going back to workbooks since I didn't have this issue before. However, the kid is getting older and has to learn some self control in order to be mature enough for the next phase of learning.

WAYS WE HAVE CIRCUMVENTED the SABATOGUE of WORK COMPLETION?

Now, this is the hard part. Being creative with blocking these attempts to procrastinate. We've tried it all and will likely have to figure out more tactics in this.

The first rule is TRY NOT TO GET ANGRY AT THEM, it's the hardest rule of all for most parents.

1) Use a timer
2) Remove all temptations to procrastinate
3) Schedule in lots of breaks that relieve energy and stress
4) Do topic check ups where you make sure the child isn't procrastinating because the work is too difficult
5) Give rewards for finishing and doing it on time
6) Allow some zone out or goof off time
7) Schedule in a 'make up' day or days for when goals aren't reach

I WON'T TAKE HIS SPORTS or OUTSIDE PLAYTIME AWAY

The one and final rule I have is not to punish my children by taking away their time to play with other kids. This is so important for homeschooled kids that I try to find other ways to discipline and they know that this

HOW DO YOU deal WITH THE BATTLE OF WILLS?

Procrastination? Angry Faces? Stubborn disobedience?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rememberance of Being a Stay At Home Dad - That worked too



WHEN WE DECIDED, I WOULD BE AN AT HOME HUSBAND


My wife was pregnant with our third child. She worked and so did I. My wife was an engineer and had a pretty stable and dependable job. I was a Regional Sales Manager and had worked my job for a year after I'd graduated from college after serving in the military.

I was laid off when the department closed, and was given a 3 month severance pay with up to six months of unemployment available.

Then, two weeks after I was laid off, my wife was put on pregnancy bedrest for 13 weeks until delivery.

Therefore, I decided to get my Real Estate licence before the 'boom' in Real Estate. But to do so, I had to take a class, care for my bedridden wife and still bring in some income to fund advertising of my new business.

HOW'D DID WE MAINTAIN?

I decided to take on a paper route, it would put me at work when my wife and two other kids were sleeping. It allowed me to take my Real Estate class in the afternoon after I dropped our two kids off at school and fed my wife.

Then I took a job on the weekends, working nights as a security guard, two nights a week while the kids and wife were sleep.

THEN BABY CAME

I planned on my business to kick off, but it took time. My wife BEGGED me to stay home during the day with the baby since I had flexible hours and she couldn't find a babysitter she liked. Our previous baby sitter retired.

I GRUDGINGLY AGREED TO STAY HOME UNTIL WE FOUND A NEW SITTER

I told my wife we needed a housekeeper 1 day a week since I couldn't keep the house as clean as she liked. We both decided it would be good if someone helped with cleaning our clothes since we spent lots of time washing the kids close. I also was notorious for getting the older kids to school late to the point the school contacted my wife.

So, I gave my 7 yr old and 4 year old alarm clocks, set up the baby's old room (we moved her in with her sister) into an upstairs recreation room. It had a refrigerator with their breakfast in Tupperware containers. The kids clothes for the day were on their dressers and I ran them through getting themselves ready while I got the baby ready.

But we never did. My wife pumped breast milk while at work from 5am-1:30pm. I quit the paper route job, the Real Estate business took off, and our baby was home with me full-time and the older kids were in private school.

Then we had another baby.

CHALLENGES FACED AS A MAN AT HOME WITH MY KIDS

There wasn't many friends to be gained this way. Most events had SAHM that found it interesting I was at home. I rarely felt comfortable in those settings so I focused on my kids. They did make jokes though, nothing I took personal, but I found it funny. My wife, however, was offended.

Then, I didn't have much patience for the women that complained so much about being home. I did it and worked and loved it. So, it was lonely. Also, I'd get questioned by school teachers when I showed up for events and my wife didn't since she saved her vacations and time for doing everything with the kids in the evening since I worked then.


I RETURNED TO WORK

When the Real Estate market took a dive, my youngest son was then 3 yrs old and my youngest daughter was 5 yrs old and already in public school with her siblings.

I went back to school to update my technical skills and got a job in the Tech field like my wife.

It was hard sending the kids off to school and daycare. I still kept my Real Estate business and my new full time job. My sleep suffered, but I adjusted.

We all did.

NOW THOUGH

When I was recently laid off, it seems exhausting and frustrating getting back into a routine with my kids since they are used to doing things a certain way when we parents are at work and their siblings come and go.

We are adjusting, but it will change again, as soon as I start my new job.

DAD and OLDEST SON HELPING SPEED RACER WITH HIS ACELLUS ALGEBRA 1 HOMEWORK




WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR BEING AN AT HOME HUSBAND

Being able to be home with my kids, sleep in, play with them, support my wife and shape their lives.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The STRUGGLE IS Real

Working Parents and Homeschooling
The Constant TUG OF WAR


I admit that I'm the type that loves to have a ton of stuff I'm juggling. Sitting still just isn't in my vocabulary.

However, there are times when I feel as though I am being pulled in way too many directions. Most of those times, it's my own darned fault.

WHAT IS MY PRIORITY?

I have to ask myself this question hour by hour. Since we have moved, we haven't gotten used to this constant state of summer and daylight in our new home. It used to be, I wouldn't have activities to do, or desire to step outside, or take a nap as often since WINTER = HYBERNATION. Well I don't get that time off anymore.

When I am working at my job out of the house, it is easy to set work as my priority. Once I get home, my kids and husband are my priority. I do work on my home business when I am there but if I need to help my kid with homework, or redirect, I give in to those priorities before finishing my work.

So...WHAT IS MY PRIORITY? It depends on where I am at the time.

TAKE TIME OUR FOR ME?

I do that now more than I did when I initially started homeschooling. Everyday I get home, I try to find time for a nap, to read and goof off.

This is IMPORTANT. Self care and having 1 hr to yourself a day won't hurt your kid, it will help them in the end.


SLIDING THE SCHEDULE

We have been doing that a lot in January, then February. It means that school won't end for my kids until July. I warned them about lagging schedules and work. They didn't mind doing school longer in the summer.

SNEAKING IN CURRICULUM

Lately, we've been learning via GAME SCHOOLING, MOVIE BASED curriculums, PROJECT based and EXPERIENCE based. We are doing that with History and Literature this year. It's fun, less pressure and the kids present their findings via a family presentation.

Truth be told, I really look forward to the movies and plays. Not so much for the project or game schooling since those take much more effort and time for planning.








Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebration of National Womens Day


Even with woman being the birthers of the next generation. Even with how far we have come. I sat at work today and overheard a male co-worker say, "Aren't you 'girls' supposed to be somewhere protesting today?"

I know he didn't say it with malice, but I corrected him by saying, "The protest is here when you call us WOMEN, girls."

We both laughed, but as women we need to know that perception is still out there. That women who have to work and want to work, have to work within an environment where we are outsiders to the club.

We still rise above it.

I'm teaching my girls to love who they are. To know that they have a special place in this world, and to stand up for the respect we give, that we should get in return.

HAPPY WOMEN's DAY!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Working HomeSchooling Parent's Busy Day

The Weekly Wrap Up From Working Parent's Perspective

Inspired by Practical By Default Blog


After reading a blog post by Jen at Practical By Default, I was inspired to give a peek at a typical day from a Working and Homeschool parents point of view.

Usually, I give the viewpoint of Speed Racer (my 13 yr old) and Tiger Lilly (my 15 yr old) but today, I interviewed my husband who co-teaches with me and we both work outside the home.

WORK SCHEDULES VARY

My husband and I have varying work schedules. We both have pretty flexible schedules that allow us to overlap our coverage of childcare.

My husband is now working in the evenings since he started a new 'temporary' job. I tend to work early in the mornings and some evenings during the month.

CURRICULUM IS MOSTLY HANDS OFF

Our kids now have curriculum that doesn't require as much hands on interaction between my husband and I. They don't really want our help in most topics, and usually insist on trying it themselves first. It wasn't always this way. I'd say at around 12 yrs old Speed Racer became very independent and around 13 yrs old is when Tiger Lilly did so.

OUR DAY AS WORKING HOMESCHOOL PARENTS

4:45am > MOM wakes up to get ready for work
I shower, do make up, take my pre-prepped meal for the day and put it in my bag.

Meet my 19 yr old, Rose, in the kitchen for my morning water and while she is eating breakfast, I put on my shoes.

5:25am > Mom drops Rose off at the bus stop, then heads to work.

6:00am > Mom gets to work, logs into her various systems that she supports, check status of open issues, attend various meetings, fix system and application problems, create technical documents

08:30am > Dad gets up. Wakes up Speed Racer (who is always sleeping late) eats breakfast with Tiger Lilly (who wakes up at 9am).

09:00am > He gets Speed Racer to eat breakfast while setting up the computer for Speed Racer's lesson.

09:30am > He gets Speed Racer started on lessons and tells him what has to be done by the time MOM gets home.

10:00am > Sometimes DAD leaves for work at this time. If he is home, he pretty much works on the computer at the dining room table with the kids.

11:15am > Take a morning walk

11:30am > Return from morning walk, back to work.

12:00pm> MOM checks the kid's online work status on Acellus, CTCMath, Study.com, Membean, Udemy, YouthDigital, IXL, and UMUC.edu (Yep, I check all of them, it takes me about 10 min)

12:15pm> MOM calls the kids or DAD (if he is working nights instead of days) to check progress, answer any questions or redirect.

2:30pm >MOM leaves work and goes home

3:00pm > MOM sits at dining room table and reviews progress, answers questions or redirect.

3:30pm > MOM starts dinner, either meal prepped meal that goes on the oven or quick fix on the stove

4:00pm > MOM works with Speed Racer on SAXON MATH

5:00pm > MOM stops kids work and tell them to get ready to go

5:30pm > MOM gets kids in the car, take them to Martial Arts, Lacrosse OR Japanese (Mon-Fri)

6:00pm > If DAD pick up, then MOM goes home to do SIDE BUSINESS work. If MOM stays, usually I bring my laptop and work while they are at practice in my car.

7:30pm > Dinner

8:30pm > DAD (if he doesn't work nights) or 'Save til the weekend' Speed Racer on WRITING or CLEP PREP. MOM preps for the next day


9:30pm > Family prayer time




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Just When You are Having Fun-Life serves up Lemons!


Yep, these last few weeks have been exciting, fun, exhilarating and down right stressful.


Let's just replay all the great fun and hiccups life threw us these last few weeks.

Daddy and girls went to Disney for a 1st every dad and daughter trip (they missed me).


Then my daughter was in a hit and run. She's physically fine and mentally adjusted to it after she went to the police station to file a report. My son was at a stop sign when he got hit. I was parked in the parking lot when a car hit my car. Lastly, my hubs was in back of a utility truck who's debris flew off the truck and hit our truck.

We had 4 hit and runs on both cars! Yep 4 count them! in 4 weeks. Over $7000 in damage on 1 car and $2800 on another. We ran down and had 2 of them stop. So their insurance is paying it. Ours has to cover the other two.

We took those in stride however, and were glad that no one got hurt.

Well crap rolls downhill. With the new president's Freeze on government jobs, contractors or companies that support the government are suffering cut programs, non payment from the government (since the budget hasn't passed). And...My husband got laid off, my daughter who was supposed to transition to her new job also was told the job would be on hold indefinitely.

THANK GOD...I am working too.  My daughter, luckily, is still at her current job and haven't given noticed. My son is still working and happy at his job.


Despite all of the bad, here was more good. The street market this weekend was a great way to unwind. My son and his sister did martial arts in the streets. Then he went breakdancing. It was fun to watch and experience.




And Drama class. Where Speed racer looks a bit bored. He's hardly this calm most of the time.



What does all this BAD and GOOD mean to me?

Well like my Grandma used to say, "with all the bad, the devil must be mad, because I have a blessing coming on!"










Friday, February 10, 2017

How My Daughter Finished 2 degrees in 3 years

There is More Than One Way to Save Money On College
My daughter graduated at age 19
 

My daughter was a motivated student, had great study skills, and was flexible. She wanted to finish college with LOW COST and in a SHORT TIME.

This is how we did it for her and are doing it for my other kids.

1) Only selected Community Colleges and Universities that accepted a large number of transfer credits from several sources including other colleges, CLEP test, DSST test and AP test

2) We utilized CLEPs, DSST test and tested well on college Accuplacer.
In addition, with my younger son, we plan on using Excelsier, Straighterline, ACE, and some online Community colleges for credit to transfer to University of Maryland, University College (UMUC.edu)

3) My daughter overloaded on credits per semester. At her college she was able to take up to 21 credit hours a semester. She started at the Community College, then transferred all of those classes to her University (Towson State University).

My younger daughter and son are going to go to University of Maryland, University College since my youngest daughter prefers their 8 week online classes and like being able to take up to 18 credits a semester. They also have full course loads offered even through the summer.

4) My daughter went to classes year around. She took Fall, Winter, Spring, and either the 1st session of Summer classes or the last.

5) My daughter enrolled in two Community Colleges at the same time, after she was positive that both locations accepted transfer credit from the others (as well as the 4 year university she planned on transferring to accepted the courses).

Total Cost of college - $28,000 for Associates and Bachelors degrees (with living on campus for 1 semester) Scholarships Totals $10,000 for both Community College and University

Additional Experiences: 
Study Abroad with Community College $2800 for airfare & accomadations
Internship with IDTech Camp and private Data Analytics Company


Time: 3 years


Her road to finishing her Masters in Data Science in 20 months

1) There was no easy way with this one. She had to select schools that were online and required the LEAST amount of classes.

2) Allowed her to take classes all year long.

3) Had accelerated programs.

The two colleges she reviewed were: Western Governer's College and University Of Maryland, University College. She decided to go with UMUC.edu because of the cost and she was guaranteed to finish in 20 months provided she passed all of her classes.

Total Cost of College - $13,000 since her employer pays for 1/2 of her degree
Time: 20 months

Friday, January 20, 2017

Why haven't things Settled Yet?



You Ever Feel Unsettled In Your Day To Day?

Well that's been us since we had to do a major readjustment to our curriculum and schedule do to time constraints and parental burnout.

We put more of the learning and homeschooling on online products and are focusing on Math, Writing and CLEP prep only with our one on one time and it's still doesn't seem to fit correctly.

So we had a Speed Racer MATH Melt Down since he is frustrated with the consequences of his actions. Nothing major, just smart mouth back talking, sneaking cellphone during school hours, staying up past his bedtime and falling asleep in the living room while watching TV (which was taken from his room).

In the midst of all of that we realized that he has a great grasp on Math on the Computer (because he has figured out how to 'cheat' the system). But I believe that our minds process computer based calculations differently than writing.

When he writes, he makes mistakes, skips steps and it slows him down. He doesn't have a chance to GUESS his answer.

Speed Racer's New Daily Schedule
He had a rough few weeks with his new curriculum. We are no longer using ABEKA as he finished most of his curriculum (to lesson 110 since we started late summer and are doing school year around.)

8am - Wake up Shower and Eat

10am - Online Independent work 

Vocabulary Review (Membean)
Algebra Practice (CTCMath)
Geometry Practice (CTCMath)
Basic Math Practice (Prodigy and IXL) 3 days a week
Humanities (Study.com)
Sociology (Study.com)

1:30pm - Lunch

2:30pm Online Independent work
He had a rough few weeks with his new curriculum. He has to re-watch videos without fast forwarding through when he fails a quiz or test. He also realized that each time he re-takes a quiz or test > Acellus gives him different questions for the 're-take' even though he passes the 'test-recovery review'. This means he can't just write down the ones he got correct before then type it in and only focus on the ones he gets wrong. I love this method since he is realizing that taking notes makes a big different. The videos he doesn't mind as they are similar to Abeka in that they have a teacher lecturing (but not to a class) to the viewing student. They are a bit dated, but the teachers are decent he says. The videos are MUCH shorter than Abeka in that they only last 4 to 10 minutes per section, then there is a quiz immediately after (Abeka online doesn't do this). He does like that there is no seatwork or extra homework since we are doing ACELLUS HOMESCHOOL option.

Algebra 1 [Acellus-Homeschool]
US History [Acellus-Homeschool]
Geography  [Acellus-Homeschool]
English [Acellus-Homeschool]
Psychology [Acellus-Homeschool]
Intro To Computer Science [Acellus-Homeschool ]


6pm - Martial Arts (3 days a week), Break Dancing

7:30 pm - Dinner


8:30pm - Work with Parents
Algebra 1 (Saxon Math) with Mom
Writing (Time4Writing) with Dad oversight
Psychology (Instantcert) with Dad oversight

Tiger Lilly New Daily Schedule

8am - Wake up Shower and Eat

10am - Start College work Online Independent work
Intro To Interactive Design
Information Systems in Organizations
Ethics in Information Technology

2pm - Finish College work and Mom or Dad reviews it 

4pm - Helps mom prep dinner

6pm -Japanese Class (T/Th),  Martial Arts (4 days a week)

8pm - Do Homeschool work

C# and Game Design (YouthDigital.com)
Network Pro (using TestOut.com since Landry is closed)
Marketing (Mom's curriculum)
Starting A Micro Business  (Homeschool book/workbook series)
Blender 3d Animation (Udemy.com)

 

WORKING PARENT's LOG
I am surviving! In the midst of a school year with constant and unexpected change. Flexibility is the key.

Meals we are not doing well with meal prep. I am just tossing meals together. My oldest daughter is starting a fitness diet change and no longer eats with us (our food doesn't fit in her meal plan). So I'm cooking for less, but getting more creative since I am not meal planning.

Cleaning. The kids have gotten back in a routine of having the house cleaned before dad or I get home (whichever one of us gets home the earlier that day). The one that goes in later gets them to take their shower and clean up after breakfast.

Work & Life Balance. It's been very hectic for me as my job is going through lots of changes and I am interviewing for other opportunities I feel are more stable. We will see where God leads me in this. My hubs is doing great though.

Lesson Planning. Totally crazy throwing stuff together at the last minute. With one of our favorite curriculum providers leaving it's been a mess.

Rest. Actually we are getting more. At least I am, since my youngest son has to stay in his room and we lock up the computers, game controllers, and cellphones so he doesn't roam the house at night.

Marriage Check Up. We are at a comfortable pace. We went to a marriage check up and viola, I found that he is upset when I make lunch for my older son who carpooled with me instead of making it for him. Valid point. So now I set aside leftovers for him to have for lunch the next day.




 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Kid's Vision Boarding!

HAVING KIDS 'Visualize' THEIR DREAMS





I'm sure you have heard the term VISION BOARDS and many people hop on that and think they should create one > but don't.

Well I have always kept a catalog of my dreams, hopes, and goals stored away in my notebook journal that I carry around with me in my purse. I started doing it when I was in my teens at the suggestion of a youth leadership conference I attended.

HOW TO for a YOUTH Vision board.

1) Jot down LONG TERM DREAMS and GOALS
2) Build a picture board of all those FUTURE ACCOMPLISHMENTS to come

THEN MAKE IT HAPPEN BY

1) Create a Goals Journal with your child
Have your child LIST the HOW TO steps to OBTAINING VISION BOARD goals

Reflect on the journal weekly

2) Mark off the NOW goals and the LATER goals

Create steps to obtaining the NOW goals.
Mark off any of the steps taken towards it.

REALIZING that DREAMS CAN COME TRUE

The exercise teaches kids that will planning, goal setting, dreaming, and research, they have the power to make their dreams come true.

IT's OKAY TO READJUST their VISIONS and DREAMS

So do an inventory one time a year and a new board, goal journal and see where it takes you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Unexpected Schedule Change Due to Vendor

One Thing About Homeschooling That's Good is

Fluidity!


Sadly, one of our curriculum vendors (Landry Academy) which we Loved is closing it's doors.





Unfortunately, I've paid in advance for 'generics' or discounted online classes that will now not be available to my students. They only offered a 'deal' with Veritas Press that cost $249 per class. Some of the teachers offered their own courses, but at $100 to $150 a piece, I really couldn't afford that option at this time.

I am upset, but refuse to hold on to anger. I spent about two weeks during this revising Speed Racer's and Tiger Lilly's schedule. And have to spend more unplanned money to get the support I need as a working parent for my kid's semi-independent instruction.

Many of the teachers contacted parents to offer solutions, but they had to get paid (I could understand since Landry hadn't paid them). They were reasonably priced, but with it being after the holidays, I really didn't have the funds to give out an additional $150 per class just like that.

So I had to find a cheap startup solution, and had been researching Acellus.com for next school year and signed up for the 'homeschool' option this year.

Replacement and change to ACELLUS.com is now our new online education provider that is replacing many of the classes with Landry.

Dashboard




Offers (1) Mobile App for parent to check progress

Offers (2) Parent Dashboard

The way it works: (1) Child takes assessment test in the beginning for each subject (2) Child watches 5 to 7 min video (3) Take quiz (4) If pass quiz, goes on to new video, If fail quiz, rewatch video - then retake quiz (5) Their progress and grade gets updated on Daily

Offers (3) Pay as you go Homeschool Option at $30 monthly for homeschool parents, print out/work sheets per subject (not a bunch but enough to have additional homework - it is by choice if you select the homeschool option)

Offers (4) upgrade to Tutoring (teacher support $50 per year / per class) or Accredited (teacher support and report card $80 a month) ~ Truth be told, if I was going in this direction I would just go with BJU online or AbekaAcademy online which come with books and accreditation for the same price.

Finding an online and interactive curriculum is VERY important to us as working parents. We also wanted something we could daily or hourly check the status of for our students.
ACELLUS also offers a High School DIPLOMA (which we won't need).

Our REVISED SCHOOL SCHEDULE for 2017
*Note: Mom and Dad check work daily*

Speed Racer Blended High Schooler (13 yrs)

Do Daily Independent
(Core Classes) 8am-2pm with 1 hr lunch and Two 15-min breaks

Algebra 1 Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
    Algebra 1 (practice) [CTCmath (my son requested to keep using this)]
US History Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
Geography Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
English Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-15 Lessons a week]
Intro To Computer Science Online Independent [Acellus-Homeschool Option-10 Lessons a week]
Sociology Online Independent [Study.com-5 Lessons a week]
Humanities Online Independent [Study.com-5 Lessons a week]
Geometry Online Independent [CTC.com-5 Lessons a week]

2 Days a week Independent when parents around to check workbooks
Vocabulary [Membean]
Speed Reading [AceReader]
Basic Math Practice [IXL and MineCraft Homeschool]
Daily Language Workbook
Wordly Wise Workbook
Cursive Quotes Copy Work 

Daily with Parental Interactive Instruction
Algebra 1 with Geometry [Saxon]
Psychology CLEP Prep
REVIEW OF WORK THAT WAS BELOW SCORE of 'B' for the day



Tiger Blended Dual Enrolled High Schooler (15 yrs)

College Classes
(8 week classes from Jan-Mar)
Intro To Interactive Design
Information Systems in Organizations
Ethics in Information Technology


Homeschool Classes
(Core Classes)
C# and Game Design (YouthDigital.com)
Network Pro (using TestOut.com since Landry is closed)
Javascript (Webucator)
Marketing (Mom's curriculum)
Mobile App Design (FREE online self Study course with Webucator)
Starting A Micro Business  (Homeschool book/workbook series)
Japanese (From Japanese to Zero, In person meet up, italki.com tutor)