Monday, April 23, 2018

Homeschooling Isn't Always the Best Option


I am asked this question by many of my working peers, family and friends. This is, of course, after they stare at me in disbelief when they find that both my husband and I work outside the home, homeschooled 3 of our 4 kids and our kids are excelling beyond the typical path they would have if gone the traditional route.

Well, being a working parent of four kids, I have done most all forms of schooling for my kids. Of all of them, only one really needed the full benefits of homeschool. However, two of my other children grew in ways as homeschoolers that the system of learning in a traditional schooling method wouldn't have allowed.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Why I chose to send my kids to private school

I was impressed with the curriculum in the private schools I visited when my oldest son was 4 years old. The kids in the school were reading and doing basic math. It blew my mind. Also, I went to Catholic School while growing up in the inner city and if it wasn't for the education provided there, I don't think I would have succeeded to the point I had in my schooling and career.

My older kids went to private school up til 3rd and 1st grade. It was hit or miss, very structured, overly disciplined and rather stressful for my kids and myself. However, both of them left being quite ahead of the curriculum at the public school in our area. The Gifted and Talented programs at the public schools though gave those private schools some competition. So I aimed for those programs for my kids.


TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOL
Why I chose to send my kids to Public School

This is a mixed bag. We lived in one county where the schools were mediocre and decided to move to another county where the schools were 'Blue Ribbon' schools. In doing so, my kids got tons of free programs, accelerated learning and a great education. However, they weren't in a very racially diverse environment and this didn't fair well for my boys.

This is where my oldest and youngest boys were bullied by teachers and students due to their overactive energy and curiosity. It got to the point where my oldest son just showed up to class, did minimum work, yet earned Bs and Cs until he was able to graduate. My oldest girl was in the Gifted and Talented program and really enjoyed it ~ until I let her take a college class the summer of her 10th grade year. After that, she wanted to just take college classes and felt High School was a waste of her time. She wasn't satisfied with her courses and was a bit of an intellectual and found more happiness and recognition when she was homeschooling that catapulted her to experiences beyond my expectations.

The benefits though, were that my son was able to get his EMT certification for free and was offered a scholarship to finish the program at the partnered community college. My daughter was able to participate in AP courses, take classes to earn her computer certifications (but she started homeschooling before she finished).

HOMESCHOOLING
4th grade through High School/College

The benefits of homeschooling is the freedom to customize education based on your kid's needs, growth, passions and learning style. There really isn't any drawbacks to it as long as you have the resources and creativity to meet your kid's needs.

The a few problems I and my kids admit is the perception of homeschooling and the thought that parents have to be home hovering over their children in order for their kids to learn. The other issue is that it's really difficult to get a clear statistic on how homeschoolers as a whole meet their kid's schooling needs because EVERY HOMESCHOOL IS DIFFERENT.


DON'T MISS THE BIG PICTURE

The best takeaway from this is that parents have CHOICES FOR THE WAY WE EDUCATE our kids.










Monday, March 19, 2018

Staying Motivated And Building Friendships

STAYING MOTIVATED

Well we are nearing our homeschool stretch, at the beginning of Spring. The kids are a bit ready for it all to end and summer to begin.

So I decided to put in place some incentives to get us all through this time.

SPRING BREAK CAMPS

I found some local spring break camps that the kids are interested in. They will still be doing their college course work, just at a slower pace, so thay can participate in the week long camp.

It's the break they need and allows them to meet new kids their age and just have fun.

BUILDING FRIENDSHIPS


SPRING SPORTS

I have Speed Racer in Breakdance, Martial Arts and now Paddling for the season which starts in the Spring and ends at the end of Summer. He is super excited to meet the neighborhood kids in this group/

Tiger Lilly is working with a personal training group, Martial Arts and I am trying to find a Paddling group for her, she doesn't want anything competitive.

WEATHER CELEBRATING FIELD TRIPS and PLAY DATES

We are having several 'cook outs', 'paint parties', 'movie parties' with friends and family this month that really made the kids happy with the interaction with friends and their kids.

The kids are also participating in the Homeschool Prom!


She is irritated that I am taking pictures of her working


The activity that keeps my highly active boy relaxed most times.


KIDS PROGRESS

SPEED RACER's Progress this past month.

He is on a roll and has matured so much. We did give him an incentive for passing his Straighterline, Study.com and UMUC.edu classes with B or better. He got a video game of choice. it worked. He is on track.

Now his is comfortable completing his Straighterline class independently during the day. I do review his chapter assignments, notes, and give him a quick review before he attempts his test.  With Study.com he does completely on his own, however, he request that I review the flashcards and his practice exam with him (I think he likes just talking through things).

His online college classes with UMUC he just works with the tutor to answer his Math problems and to tell him what he missed on his papers. He usually revises the papers, I read them, then send them to the tutor who tells him what he needs to fix before turning the papers in.


Straighterline Classes: Does in Evening with Mom available if he needs help
College Credit Earned: English 101, IT Fundamentals, US History 2, Environmental Science, Religion, Western Civilization = 18 college credits earned
College Credits Working On: Intro to Business, College Success, Cultural Anthropology, English 102
College Credits Planned: Business Ethics, Psychology, Business Management


Study.com Classes:
Paused taking them. Myself and Speed Racer realized he can finish the Straighterline courses faster so he wants to concentrate on those.

Dual Enrollment ~ UMUC.edu (Online University - 8 week classes)He is enrolled and taking classes as a non-degree seeking homeschooled student.

College Credits Earned: Speech, College Math = 6 college credits earned

College Credits Working On: Concepts and Aplications in Info Sys, Pre-Calculus



TIGER LILLY's Progress this past month.

Tiger Lilly  is officially finished her required college course work at UMUC.edu and will be getting her degree this May.

She is traveling this week to go to MD for her final interview with one of her Internships and to tour the facility. Since she is only 16 yrs old, her dad opted to fly with her (she better take this internship since it cost us airplane ticket for her dad O_o oh my.)

Her online business she does with her sister just got two new contracts. She does the artwork for the logo and helps with some of the programming. They are excited about it.

We are now looking at graduate schools, and scholarships. So stay tuned.



WORK and HOME BALANCEWorking and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I've successfully created 'boring' dinners my family said most every week. A protein and a veggie. If momma has to diet, so does everyone else.


HOUSE CLEANING: We had guest over quite a bit, so that motivated the family to really work at cleaning the house. It's better since the dishwasher is now working. We even finally got rid of some of the clutter and boxes we had yet to unpack from our previous move - 3 yrs ago. 

LESSON PLANNING: It's a breeze. We work together to build their schedules now and they do them for me, since they want the control. I add in what I want them to finish. 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: We've gone to see the Black Panther at a great premiere night together. Had a blast, and went out to bowling.

SELF CARE: I've failed miserably on this. Like, haven't done a dog on thing to pamper myself. However, I've been pampering my girls. I got to stop doing that. Soon.  


Monday, February 5, 2018

Transitioning Kid To College, Working Parent Challenge



Fun Times and School Grind



Visiting a friend for a Yummy Southern Cooked Dinner


Girls Day Out, Makeup Class at Sephora

Finding ways to play and have fun with our older kids has been fun. We've done dance competitions, Poetry Slams, Martial Arts Tournaments and more these last few months.

SCHOOL IS LOOKING A LOT LIKE COLLEGE NOW

I've promoted Speed Racer to college classes and he has a tutor, Tiger Lilly, who checks his work before he turns it into me (which saves mom a lot of time and effort). Then I verify he is doing okay, and give him the approval to move on. 

Meanwhile, we are planning a wedding for my oldest son, helping Tiger Lilly land her first internship and launch her new micro-business with her sister Rose, while considering what she wants to do for graduate school.


OUR WEEKS IN MOTION

I'm updating you all monthly as our schooling viewpoint has changed now in my sixth year of homeschooling. 

Mom's and Dad's day looks like this:

Mom leaves early for work. Dad gets kids up, reviews work from the night before when mom bailed and went to bed, tells them what to review, or fix. Kids do work, mom gets home, or drops in for lunch, reviews work, answer questions, reviews work prior to them turning it into their online class, then verify work assigned for the day is done.


SPEED RACER's Progress

Started New Plan in January. He is now taking all College Classes. This is where the rigor of Abeka and mom's curriculum is really helping him with time management. He is doing well with retaining a lot of the information in these courses and doing pretty well in them.

Why the Change?
He told me that he was bored studying for CLEPS and DSST, that he'd rather just take a class. Also, the thought of sitting still for 2 hrs to take an exam outside of our home, made him anxious. So, we tried Straighterline, and he suggested Study.com since he liked the format. I figured, why not try both. He liked both. He just kept surprising me as he really caught on, and has been moving a decent pace. 

Concerns?
He hasn't taken the proctored exam yet. With both Straighterline and Study.com he has to. So we practiced me watching him during one of the practice exams using a program called join.me and after a few tries, he did okay.

Does It Seem Like Too Much?
Since I've pretty much groomed my kids to have a vigorous, and intensive school day, this to him seems so much easier than mom making him do long assignments and tons of work that is out of his control. He told me this was easier O_o 

How do We Manage the Tough Spots
He has a tutor in Math, and English who helps him with his papers he has to turn in.

The Plan?
The plan is for him to finish as many classes with Straighterline (that are open book finals) and with Study.com that he can use for upper credits and courses that Straighterline doesn't have to transfer to his online college of choice (UMUC.edu). Both programs transfer direct to UMUC.

Then, when he finishes his online BS degree in Information Systems, he wants to get his pilot license and go to school to learn to repair airplanes. So...we will see.


Straighterline Classes: Does in Evening with Mom available if he needs help
College Credit Earned: English 101
College Credits Working On: English 102, US History 2, Environmental Science
College Credits Planned: Nutrition, Religion, Intro to Business, Business Ethics, College Success, Cultural Anthropology

Study.com Classes: He does these during the day without help
College Credits Working On: Intro to Computing , Business Information Systems, Personal Finance
College Credits Planned: MicroEcon, MacroEcon, Marketing, Business Management, Sociology & Psychology (he finished these last year but didn't take the final exam ~ so he is retaking it and will take final.

Dual Enrollment ~ UMUC.edu (Online University - 8 week classes)
He is enrolled and taking classes as a non-degree seeking homeschooled student.
College Credits Working On: Speech, College Math (already on week 5 of 8 week course)
College Credits Planned: US History 1, Research, College Algebra

Overall, he is on schedule to finish these courses by June. If he does, he would officially be a Sophomore in college at 14 yrs old.

TIGER LILLY's Progress

Tiger Lilly is finishing up her final requirement for her degree in Information Systems with minor in Computer Science, and Graphic Arts. She is taking Principles in Web Design, Digital Marketing and Trends in Application Management-Capstone Course.

Starting in April (after her college classes are done) she is building some software products for her marketing clients (she has 2 clients). Then she plans on working on more art, her web comic and novella.

Internship interviews, are over and she landed two summer internships. She doesn't have to make a decision until April.


WORK and HOME BALANCE
Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: This is going well now that we decided to eat healthy and remove the rice, potatoes, and pasta.

HOUSE CLEANING: Well, this has been touch and go. Kids don't want to do the dishes since the dish washer was broken. 

LESSON PLANNING: So much easier!!! I just ask them to send me their plans for the week. They now do their weekly schedule and I just verify it. Mom delegation works! 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Hubs and I are making our time together more of a priority. We have gone to some comedy shows together, had some friends over for his birthday, and just went for some long drives.

SELF CARE: I've failed miserably on this. Like, haven't done a dog on thing to pamper myself. However, I've been pampering my girls. I got to stop doing that. Soon.  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

No TVs or Computers in Kids Room



DOES YOUR CHILD REALLY NEED A TV?
IN THEIR BEDROOM

No.

WHY WE DON'T ALLOW TVs in KIDs ROOMs

When our oldest child was around five years old, my friend asked me if he had a TV and Video game in his room.

We'd thought about it and decided to make an upstairs playroom for all of our kids to go to when they wanted to play and watch TV or videogames.

As they got older, my oldest requested a TV for Christmas when he was 12 years old.

That's when we noticed that his routine was to come home, say hello, go to his room ~ for hours, without really conversing with us.

Then he would close the door and sometimes lock it. This indicated that he was doing something in his room that he wasn't supposed to be doing.

1) It alienated him from us
2) Made it hard to detect when something was wrong, or he was sad, angry, depressed or seeking things on the TV or computer that he wasn't supposed to be seeking.
3) It didn't help him grow, it divided us, made him rather territorial with his room.

Lastly, a co-worker of mine's daughter committed suicide, and one thing she said was an issue was the amount of time her kid stayed in her room alone.

WHEN IS THE RIGHT AGE FOR A TV IN THE ROOM

When they are grown, and no longer in need of oversight. My son got his TV in his room when he turned 18 yrs old. Truth is, he enjoys, even now watching TV with all of us. We 'reconditioned' his way of thinking. He and my other kids enjoy watching shows together, watching each other play video games and interacting with each other. My oldest daughter, now, 20 yrs old states that she rarely watches TV and prefers to watch with everyone else.

If they go in their room for anything other than sleeping, drawing, or reading, I know something isn't right.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTs? For or Against?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Sometimes I don't Like Homeschooling My Kids



PULLING MY HAIR OUT 
Never Worked

SOME DAYS I DON'T LIKE HOMESCHOOLING

It's true. It's honest. I am tired getting home from work, and dealing with attitude, not one thing done, a messy living room and ungrateful kids. I have little patience. My kids are being disrespectful, lazy and mouthing off.

At those times, I really have to dig deep to 'like' them, even though, I love them more than anything. They know how to push all my buttons, and some days, I just don't do well with creating a counter measure of calm and restraint to deal with them.

WHAT DO I DO?

Sometimes, I respond well. I cut off the studies, re-direct to fun, relax. But other times, I lose it, fuss, yell, respond that why I told them never to do.

Is that bad?

Is that horrible that I slip in control?

NO...

They need to realize that I am human, a person, who deserves to be treated they way they want to be treated. That parents can be imperfect. That parents can make mistakes. That parents have limits too.


THEN WHAT?

Parents should apologize. We should. It's the right thing to do, and meaning it is important. However, we still need to address their behavior.

EVALUATE YOUR TRIGGERS?

So, then, stepping back and thinking about what made you respond the way you did. For me, most times, it's usually lack of rest. For my kids, it's lack of outward interaction.

TRY and TRY AGAIN

The only thing we've done, is tried to be better at this parenting. With each child an area improves, but another is discovered.

I believe having children isn't just about raising them to be the people God wants them to be, but helping the parent be more sensitive to areas that we need to change ourselves.