Friday, December 14, 2018

Helping My Kids to Work Through A Gap

The Last Week Of Our Season But Work's Not Done

Tiger Lilly Working On a Chatbot 
Program for her Game Server and Friends

Speed Racer and Pops Paintballing

Preparing for the Holidays was harder this year.

We used to travel every holiday from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but now that we live here, traveling is very expensive and well, we love it here and aren't anxious to go. So we are struggling to redefine our traditions. We aren't big tree families, and so we are doing a Christmas Chair, and going to volunteer on Christmas day as we did on Thanksgiving day. Hopefully, this will spark a heart of giving in our kids. They have been less forthright in asking for presents and have instead told us to just pick another name off the angel tree at church.


Working Through Some Writing Gaps

Speed Racer can write well, however, he can't write fast. We discovered this during his pretty intense college Writing course this semester. Therefore, I had to actually work with him two nights a week to edit his work, give it back to him, and have him fix it to motivate him to write faster. The class is over and he passed with a good grade, however, this is something we need to triage. During the break, he will be doing some speed writing drills to prepare for the next class. He will also be finishing his homeschool Java class to prepare for his college Java class he is starting in March.

Working through learning or skill gaps is a good way to keep moving your child forward, despite their struggle.


KIDS PROGRESS

SPEED RACER's extra activities are slim this season. 

Since his classes were pretty challenging for him, we decided not to sign him up for any outside of his martial arts the last few months. He complained, but we all needed a break from ripping and running for sports. He now just has a Monday and Wednesday obligation until January when dance is thrown back in. April is when canoeing season starts and it's hectic again.

SPEED RACER desired more one on one time this semester.

This school year has been challenging for Speed Racer becuase his sister Tiger Lilly isn't home with him. He spends the day sleeping until noon, waits for me to get home at 2:30pm to actually start his work, and sometimes doesn't finish until 10:30pm since he is having to redo some work for improved quality.


College Online Courses:

Wrap up of Fall Semester Classes
Finished all with 'B' or better
8 week courses
UMUC.edu

Biol 101 and Biol 102 (lab) - 4 credits

Info Sys in Org - 3 credits

Research Writing - 3 credits

College Algebra -3 credits

Business Writing - 3 credits


Homeschool Classes:

Wrap up of Fall Semester Classes

Investing: The video course on Youtube was informative, we even purchased stock (that tanked) and played the investing game (which the kids hated by the way). The game was a bust, the kids found it frustrating and even I thought it was a bit depressing, so we shelved it.

Recreational Pilot License Training: Speed Racer is enjoying the self-directed, online course. He doesn't love it, says it has boring moments, but he desires to learn the information. He is about half done this course and will pick up on it in January.

Black History: We spent this semester watching movies, documentaries and having long discussions about them. We both learned from this class.

Astronomy: We failed to work this into the schedule this semester.

Bible Review: He is actually enjoying the TruthUnedited Bible videos, and we are almost finished them. We watch them together, and discuss the topics.

Cooking and Car Repair: He cooked dinner about two times a week and did great at it. The videos were a bust, because he said they were boring and he'd rather just fix a car. So he helped his dad change the oil and do some minor checks of our vehicles.

PE: Started with three sports and went down to one by October, we need to step back and focus, and mom needed to relax.

JavaScript and Unity 3D Programming: He finished the Saturday classes in November and started with CompuScholar (formerly Homeschool Java) in December and is getting through it pretty easily. This class is to prepare him for his college Java class starting in March. He's had to have some help from his sister in the Compuscholar course.



TIGER LILLY the Homeschool Graduate

BS Degree, now Working on MS Degree
17 years old

This is the last semester I'll be updating Tiger Lilly as she is officially working full time, found hobbies such as group meetups for Dungeons and Dragons, gym workouts 3 days a week, and completed two semesters of graduate school.

WORK and HOME BALANCE Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: These few weeks we've been just tossing something together. Eating out, and making sandwiches have been getting us by. 

HOUSE CLEANING: The chore chart only works when I go to it, point to it, and tell these older teens to do it or else.

LESSON PLANNING: I did more day to day lesson planning. I would send Speed Racer a 'what to do today' email, call and check on his progress from work, then call on my way home and tell him what better be done...or else, no video game or cellphone. That seemed to work since his sister is no longer home to make sure he stays on task.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Weekly date nights haven't happened in the last few weeks, but I purchased tickets to see Sheila E. and some comics my husband likes to get us back on track.

SELF CARE: I decided to take off several days from work to just relax, help my son catch up on his work and ...clean my house (but I didn't get around to doing that so...)

Monday, December 10, 2018

I'm Writing a Working and Homeschooling Book

Yes, It's True!
Since no one has written the book I desired on Working and Homeschooling, I'm just going to write it myself.



Putting everything and the kitchen sink in ...

This book has been on my heart for a long time. I'm an author as well as an engineer, working mom and wife. I know, that's a lot, but all of those roles I passionately love and give my all to them when I am able.

I've written many books and published in fiction. Those books have made it to various Best Seller lists. That's my other life. This blog was personal, a diary for my kids of the adventure we journeyed together.

They've asked me to write a book on how I accomplished this, walked a road with them that impacted their lives and yet juggled all the other parts of me.

I smiled and said, not until I'm finish raising you all and I know what I did actually worked.

I'm almost finished the first draft. Can't believe it.

If you want to peek at my other non-fiction book, hop over to my website www.empoweredsteps.com
but if you are on the adventurous side, and want to read some of my fiction books, visit www.lmpreston.com

Let me know in the comments any questions you'd like answered in my Working and Homeschooling book.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I'll be back to regularly scheduled programming in a few weeks when my son finishes this semester. We are struggling through this one.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Student Maturity Happens in Waves

Tiger Lilly aka the new Willa Wonka

Doing School On the Road tested My patience and Their Maturity
Kids sometimes get the work done without nagging, overseeing and punishments. This last few weeks were like that, until the most recent week, I had to withhold fun activities before going on trip to get Speed Racer to finish his work on time.

The family went on a cruise, and stayed in Long Beach, CA for a time. The benefits of my job, was a discounted hotel room! Woot! But I also had to do some extra working hours to go without using all my vacation time, which I am saving up for a big family trip to Sydney, Australia and New Zealand next year.

It's been a struggle to post since I am trying to make my writing (publishing) side business. I will be revamping this blog once I publish my book in 2019, so stay tuned.

This week I get to work from home while completing some training. I find that being at home has sapped me of strength and a large amount of my motivation to do 'extra'. I guess since I am going doing this temporarily I don't have enough time to build a routine. However, I actually find I get LESS accomplished with housework and my son's school work with being home. Haven't figured out why yet.


KIDS PROGRESS

SPEED RACER's been bored. 

We have found a way to get rid of his boredom (for the most part) by having a multi-family game night and monthly mult-family cook out and get together with friends of ours with kids the same age. It's been a good thing for all the families.

Denying Being Homeschooled?

Lately, though, my son has been telling his non-homeschool friends (which he has much more of than homeschooling friends) that he goes to regular school and that he is in the 10th grade. He doesn't want them to know he is taking college classes since he just wants to be like 'one of the guys."

I plan to do a deeper post on this.

Homeschool Classes:
Investing: Finished this online Youtube course. 
Still haven't started playing the games. It's on the list for this weekend.
Recreational Pilot License Training: He wants to get this next summer so we are adding it into his curriculum. 

-He finished three videos with one quiz. He actually did pretty good.

Black History: This week we studied the MOORs and BLACK ACHIEVEMENTS

-  We sit in my room and in my bed eating popcorn watching these documentaries.

Astronomy: Something he wants to explore.

- Didn't get to these. Well, we are going on 2 months and haven't even picked up the lesson videos.

Bible Review: We are doing this together with videos. The Truth Unveiled Video playlist has been good for him. He asked several deep questions and we did some deep diving on topics.

- He and I finished 2 of these (he hates to admit it, but he likes these) and we are almost done with the series.

Cooking and Car Repair: The cooking I am letting him build his own recipes and prep dinner. Car Repair, he is helping his father and brother fix our cars. Oil Changes, Brake Pad changes, etc.

- He made smoothies and tacos this week, the rest of the meals I made.
- Car Repair - His dad is showing him how to change the oil in our van. Son is helping.

PE: Distance Canoe Team, Martial Arts and Breakdancing.

- Martial Arts - getting ready for belt test
- Breakdancing - only one day practice - Friday.

JavaScript and Unity 3D Programming: A Saturday small class with a teacher that meets from 8am til 1:30pm. All other kids are public school kids.
- The Hackathon was a good experience for him, he is also working on an online Java course.

Compuscholar (formerly homeschool programming) - Java
This is working well with our schedule and for reinforcement to his weekend class. He does this independently and this is an upgrade from the former HomeSchool Programming series curriculum.


College ClassesFinished: Biol 101 and Biol 102 (lab)
Finished: Info Sys in Org
Finished: Research WritingAdvanced Business Writing 
In week 4 of 8
-Finished three papers
-Finished 8 discussions and responses
-Finished 3 quizzes
-Finished project

College Algebra 
In week 4 of 8
-Finished 3 quizzes
-Completed 4 Discussion Homework



TIGER LILLY the Homeschool Graduate with a BS Degree, now Working on MS Degree


Is doing a great job of juggling her new full time position, her graduate degree course and her workout schedule.

In addition in her free time she has taken on some art commissions and is creating a bot for her gameplay website.

Also, participating in Nanowrimo and trying to finish her first novella and chapter of her Web Comic.

Dungeons and Dragons is something she loves to play and meets a group with her father to play one day a week.

WORK and HOME BALANCE Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: We are trying to revamp the meals we are doing since Tiger Lilly and I are signing up for Weight Watchers.

HOUSE CLEANING: I had to put the chore chart back up. They started arguing about who's day it was to do what. 

LESSON PLANNING: I didn't do the lesson plan for two weeks and it was a disaster. This week I was back on track and so is Speed Racer. 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: We went on a marriage outing with our church and with another couple and had a great time.

SELF CARE: Took several naps and got a massage.

Friday, September 21, 2018

A full week with overtime at work ~ Oh My!

Yes, It's been one of those weeks!

You know the kind where you question your sanity?


Why oh why did I choose this week to try to do the following...

Work overtime 12 hours.
Host a Homeschool High School Cup Games and Event Planning Party.
Volunteer to pick up and drop off husband and daughters at the airport.
And too much more...(above is what I looked like after it all)

KIDS PROGRESS

SPEED RACER's been bored.
Since paddling is winding down and he doesn't have his sister as his homeschool companion much anymore, he complains about boredom.

This is a huge transition for him, learning to entertain himself. He is a bit lonely, so I'm going to have to creatively find activities for him. Thinking of letting him go to aftercare at one of the local boys and girls clubs.

Homeschool Classes:
Investing: We've only watched 1 Youtube video in the series and haven't started the Cashflow game yet.

-After watching the Stock Market Crash and Market Bubbles video we played the Cover Your Assets Game. We needed four players so we gathered his siblings to play.

Recreational Pilot License Training: He wants to get this next summer so we are adding it into his curriculum. We got through 2 videos from the Sporty Pilot License lessons.

-He finished two videos with one quiz. He actually did pretty good.

Black History: This week we watched a documentary on African Jews and The Moors. The highlight was watching the movie The Tuskegee Airmen.

-  We had a discussion on all, but the most interesting was his perspective on The Tuskegee Airmen movie.

Astronomy: Something he wants to explore.

- Didn't get to these. I know, it's been three weeks and we haven't touched these yet.

Bible Review: We are doing this together with videos. The Truth Unveiled Video playlist has been good for him. He asked several deep questions and we did some deep diving on topics.

Watched two videos from the Bible video series we found on Youtube.

Cooking and Car Repair: The cooking I am letting him build his own recipes and prep dinner. Car Repair, he is helping his father and brother fix our cars. Oil Changes, Brake Pad changes, etc.

- This week he prepped dinner three times.
- Car Repair - he refused to watch more videos until he gets some hands on experience.

PE: Distance Canoe Team, Martial Arts and Breakdancing.

- Martial Arts - practiced two times each week.
- Breakdancing - back to practice on Friday.

JavaScript and Unity 3D Programming: A Saturday small class with a teacher that meets from 8am til 1:30pm. All other kids are public school kids.

- He went to class all day Saturday and wanted to sign up for the Hackathon coming next month.

College Classes
Week of 8 -  into Biol 101 and Biol 102 (lab)
Week of 8 - Info Sys in Org - Started 1 class this week
1 Week of 8 - Introduction to In-depth Research

Biology with Lab (Aug to Oct)
-Finished class discussions
-Finished Week 5 of 8 class Labs
-Finished Week 5 of 8 quiz

Information Systems in Organizations (Sept to Nov)
-Finished Two discussions
-Finished Assigned Reading
-Reviewed interactive Learning Activity
-Completed Quiz 2
-Case Stud Paper

Introduction to In-depth Research (Sept to Oct)
-Finished discussion
-Quiz 1
-Quiz 2
-Research Log Project

Advanced Business Writing (Oct to Dec)
College Algebra (Oct to Dec)


TIGER LILLY the Homeschool Graduate with a BS Degree, now Working on MS Degree


After many challenges with her new company's lack of communication, she has started her new job. They just didn't know what to do with a 17 year old Software Developer, they'd assumed she was much older due to her maturity.

She starts her GRAD-SCHOOL class in one week. 


WORK and HOME BALANCE Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: Speed Racer did most of the cooking of  meals this week and one by Tiger Lilly.

HOUSE CLEANING: We had to clean the house for company on Tuesday. After that it was downhill. 

LESSON PLANNING: I did better this week, even though I wonder how much of it he follows nowadays. He still requests it as though its a contract of what he has to do before he can go out with his friends. 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Hubs has lots of patience as I signed him up to take his daughters to San Diego at the last minute.

SELF CARE: Did nothing for myself this week .

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nothing Ever Goes as Planned

Momentum Slows Down ~ But We have All Year
To Get it Done


The last two weeks, we did the bare minimum. Not a bad deal since we are just beginning the school year.

We did have a small vacation and I didn't want to monitor homeschool work during it, so, we relaxed and just enjoyed.

Dungeons and Dragons is now the popular game in the house. Only issue is my Tiger Lilly had grown tired of being the Dungeon Master and requested that I learn to do it. O_o doesn't she know I am a working parent?! The other homeschool parents bailed on the 'learn to be a DM' so, for her, I'll do it.

My son's Paddling season is coming to an end. This was a canoe expedition they went on where they did open water switches of paddlers.

Speed Racer on Paddling Team Distance Run

Then, while at the store, waiting for my daughter to get out of the dressing room, a nice lady gave this to me. Boy, oh boy did it make my day! A wink from God is sometimes needed.

The note was beautiful and reminded me that Jesus loves me. Wow! Made me check that frown I had for sure.



KIDS PROGRESS

SPEED RACER's starts of in good shape.
This is a 2 week review because, hey, we got off track. The first week, he only finished his College Biology Class and Biology Labs (that is an online class by the way). He likes science way more than I anticipated.

Homeschool Classes:
Investing: We've only watched 2 Youtube videos in the series and haven't started the Cashflow game yet.

-Our stock watching has become depressing since our stock dropped. We view it with an app called Robinhood. 

Recreational Pilot License Training: He wants to get this next summer so we are adding it into his curriculum.

-He didn't do the videos or quizzes this week.

Black History: We are deep diving into specific events like Black Wall Street and Pilots that have to do with our subjects.

-  We didn't do the videos I purchased this week.

Astronomy: Something he wants to explore.

- Didn't get to these.

Bible Review: We are doing this together with videos.

Watched two videos from the Bible video series we found on Youtube.

Cooking and Car Repair: The cooking I am letting him build his own recipes and prep dinner. Car Repair, he is helping his father and brother fix our cars. Oil Changes, Brake Pad changes, etc.

- He only cooked one day each week.
- Car Repair - he reviewed video on changing the oil.

PE: Distance Canoe Team, Martial Arts and Breakdancing.

- Practiced with Distance Canoe Team - See the distance race above, that's the end of season run.
- Martial Arts - practiced two times each week.
- Breakdancing - had a performance (stay tuned, I'll post when I get it)

JavaScript and Unity 3D Programming: A Saturday small class with a teacher that meets from 8am til 1:30pm. All other kids are public school kids.

- Didn't go since he had Paddling.

College Classes
4 Weeks into Biol 101 and Biol 102 (lab)

1 week Info Sys in Org - Started 1 class this week

Biology with Lab (Aug to Oct)
-Finished class discussions
-Finished Week 3 of 8 class Labs
-Finished Week 3 of 8 quiz

Information Systems in Organizations (Sept to Nov)
-Finished intro discussion
-Finished Assigned Reading
-Reviewed interactive Learning Activity
-Completed Quiz1


Introduction to In-depth Research (Sept to Oct)
Advanced Business Writing (Oct to Dec)
College Algebra (Oct to Dec)


TIGER LILLY the Homeschool Graduate with a BS Degree, now Working on MS Degree


Her new job is flying her to SanDiego, CA for two-day training.

Problem is, she is only 17 yrs old and can't rent a car. So...hubs is going with her since I can't take off work (I also get lost a lot).

She starts her GRAD-SCHOOL class in two weeks. 

Also, she spent the last two weeks playing video games. She just finished Spiderman and Gods of War.





WORK and HOME BALANCE Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: We bombed on this the last two weeks. Fast food and junk. Only 2 meals were made by Speed Racer and one by Tiger Lilly.

HOUSE CLEANING: I got thos kiddos cleaning in exchange for video game play. Only my room isn't clean (oops). 

LESSON PLANNING: I am so behind on this, it's not funny. I started mid week and we just tried winging it, hence why we weren't as productive. 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: We needed that vacation. Just saying, we left the kids and went on long walks and had some fun.

SELF CARE: I used my husband's foot massager and back massager, both gifts my kids bought HIM and not ME .

Monday, September 10, 2018

Discipline for Homeschool vs Every Day Life

Separating Types of Discipline in Your Homeschool and Your Everyday Life for your kid



There are many times my frustration with my kids had to do with their time management regarding homeschool work, their schedule, their motivation for their work or the quality of their work.

Problem is, PARENTING and HOMESCHOOL TEACHER roles are RATHER DIFFERENT and it BENEFITS US TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE


HOMESCHOOLING DISCIPLINE

In our homeschool, dad and mom are the teachers and administrators. We have to decide the boundaries, the behaviors we want our kids to have when addressing learning.

IT CHANGES OVER THE YEARS and it should, as your kid grows, and you grow.

When our kids were in Elementary school and we homeschooled them, our goal was FOCUS, QUIET, and BUILDING CORE LEARNING KEYS in Math, Reading, Writing, Comprehension and Logic.

So, we put RULES and GOALS in place, and consequences in place when work wasn't done, or the kid was disrespectful.

Rules should be displayed, reviewed and have consequences.

For School ONLY, we had a rule to

1. Share why you don't want to do your assignment? [Need more help? / I am bored / I just don't feel like doing anything / I want to do something else'

This will help you assess WHY THE KID DOESN'T WANT to finish their work.

2. Expected Behaviors While Learning. [Watch Video / Watch Teacher / Focus Your Attention]

When those behaviors weren't met, we had a consequence > STUDENT GIVE TEACHER a BETTER EXAMPLE of how to teach the material > OR Student you have the weekend to learn it and present since the method was delivered in a way you don't want to follow.

MAKE YOUR KID PART OF THE SOLUTION to a DISCIPLINED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

In all cases where you have a consequence, have the child answer questions to be part of the solution for encouraging them to get on board with the learning.

Also, have a consequence. If they don't want to finish their work. They don't get to watch TV, play outside, go to a sport > until it's done.

DISCIPLINE FOR EVERYDAY LIFE

Remember if your kid went to traditional school, you would be the enforcer of discipline at home. A very different and sometimes less diplomatic form of discipline.

TALKING BACK > Do you allow it? Should you allow it?

I allow my kids to have a respectful stage to voice their feelings. When it's not respectful, they have to deal with the consequences of punishment and us taking away something we have given them.

DO Not ALLOW yelling, cursing, or tantrums. Your child has to learn to respect others, if they want respect. Although, mom or dad my not strike them, in the real world, someone will. Teach them to think and deal with the consequences of violence, nasty language and disregard for forms of authority.

We ASK THEM THE QUESTIONS that MOVE THEM TOWARDS THE BEST ANSWER to get their buy-in and ownership of their behavior.

They also have to agree, that we have the final say. They also have to apologize for their disrespectful behavior. *Make this part of the daily reminders*

CHORES and RESPONSIBILITIES

This is also an area where we have a standard and a consequence for not meeting the standard. If my kid doesn't feel as though the chore is fair, they can state why and give a solution. If we don't agree with the solution, the work better get done, or there is a consequence of loss of some type of freedom or financial gain from the chore.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Knowing when to Chill Out

Something Accomplished, Just Not What We Planned
A hectic week of storm prep ~ and not storm

Where we live had a major storm and hurricane watch. Many of our activities were canceled, and hubs and I were home from work. We basically, decided to do the work that had to get done and play games and do family bonding activities.

I did a paint nite with my 17 yr old.



Storm prep, but the storm didn't come


KIDS PROGRESS

SPEED RACER's starts of in good shape.

We focused on finishing his college-related work first, then fit in the other things over the weekend.


Here's what we accomplished and plan for the weekend.

Homeschool Classes:
Investing: Curriculum is the Cashflow Game and Youtube Playlist Tutorial on Investing in the Stock Market.

-We've been watching and chatting about our stock moves through an app called Robinhood. And watched two videos in the tutorial playlist.

Recreational Pilot License Training: He wants to get this next summer so we are adding it into his curriculum.

-He finished the second 1/2 of the 1st video lesson.

Black History: We are deep diving into specific events like Black Wall Street and Pilots that have to do with our subjects.

- Went to movies to see BlackKKK about an African American police detective that infiltrated the KKK. We discussed what we liked about the movie and researched the original story.

Astronomy: Something he wants to explore.

- Didn't get to these.

Bible Review: We are doing this together with videos.

Watched one video from the Bible video series we found on Youtube.

Cooking and Car Repair: The cooking I am letting him build his own recipes and prep dinner. Car Repair, he is helping his father and brother fix our cars. Oil Changes, Brake Pad changes, etc.

- Cooking was done two days this week. Steak (which he cooked too long) and did a good job on cleaning up after himself.
- Car Repair - nothing was done this week.

PE: Distance Canoe Team, Martial Arts and Breakdancing.

- Practiced with Distance Canoe Team - 1 time it was canceled due to weather
- Martial Arts - practiced once and it was canceled due to weather
- Breakdancing - canceled due to weather

JavaScript and Unity 3D Programming: A Saturday small class with a teacher that meets from 8am til 1:30pm. All other kids are public school kids.

College Classes
Started 1 class this week


Biology with Lab (Aug to Oct)
-Finished class discussions
-Finished Week 1 of 8 class Labs
-Finished Week 1 of 8 paper
-Finished Week 1 of 8 quiz

Introduction to In-depth Research (Sept to Oct)
Information Systems in Organizations (Sept to Nov)
Advanced Business Writing (Oct to Dec)
College Algebra (Oct to Dec)


TIGER LILLY the Homeschool Graduate with a BS Degree, now Working on MS Degree


We are homeschooling GRAD-SCHOOL 'sort of'. 

I reveiwed her final assignment of her current class. She starts the next class in 4 weeks. After she starts her new job, which allows her to get reimbursed for it. 

Tiger Lilly got a full-time job offer as a Software Developer. She starts in three weeks. She is happy that the company will be paying for her Master's Degree which she had planned on paying off herself.



WORK and HOME BALANCE Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I cooked dinner two days this week, my 14 year old cooked 1 day and I am trying to get my 17 yr old to cook over the weekend. Delegation is the key.

HOUSE CLEANING: This week we were storm prepping, getting sand bags, taping windows, bringing stuff inside. The house is wrecked and I have tons of clothes to wash over the weekend. I may have to just go to the laundromat to get caught up. 

LESSON PLANNING: I finished the coming week's schedule and emailed it to my son, who asked me to take something off. Go figure, these kids are owning their own work and I feel like I am truly working for them. 

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Well the forced days off from work, hubby and I have been relaxing, watching movies and playing card games with the kids.

SELF CARE: I got my first subscription box that I paid only $20 and I LOVE IT. I got perfume samples and jewelry.