Sunday, March 30, 2014

Excitement and Mayhem!

I hate them! I love them! VIDEO GAMES has become an addiction with many faces in my home.

This week, I figured I'd give my 10yr old a reprieve from his video-game punishment.


When I hear people say that they let their kids play video games for hours and hours, all weekend long I cringe.

I'm a techie myself, and design large computer systems - even had dreams of writing and creating my own video games one day. YEP.

Until I realized as a parent how much time this sucks up and the NEGATIVE aspects of being a full-time gamer can be.

HAVING AN OLDER CHILD who plays mature games is detrimental when you have a younger child who can't.

What happens? Well the younger child, watches their sibling play (even though they aren't supposed too). They also sneak and play themselves (even though they aren't supposed too.)

And HAVE YOU - yes YOU - the PARENT actually sat down and played and watched these games with your kids?

Oh, and if your kid can't watch an older sibling play - they WATCH GAMERS ON YOUTUBE show them things that they can do in the game that may not be easily figured out.

Did you also know that your kid can (1) search for inappropriate websites on their game systems - and you the parent will never know? (2) meet people and devolve things about themselves and the parent will never know? (3) experience and see things at a much younger age than even on TV?

So, my kids are on another 3 month video game sabbatical. And when their older brother leaves for college - they may not see a video game system for the entire school year. 


We had to devise yet another way to rid my 10yr old of his video game obsession after realizing that he'd been sneaking downstairs at night while everyone was asleep to play video games in wild abandon.

My older dd too is hit with the Minecraft bug, but that's not all she sneaks and plays either. She too is going on vacation from video games as she's been playing Call of Duty, Assassins Creed and Grand Theft Auto (all games belonging to her 19yr old brother)

Sheesh! I hate being the meanie parent that has to pack up video games and systems and hide them - locking them away for months.

Hubba and I went off to a Marriage Retreat! Lovely! After 21 years of marriage we enjoyed mentoring younger couples. We even joined up with 2 other couples we went to college with.

I ordered NEXT YEARS MATERIALS! Woot! Woot! I really think I am a bit of a curriculum junkie.

Also, ordered.... for my 10 year old to use next week because I just found out about it and ... ALL OUR SCHOOL LESSONS will be done next week (happy dancing!)

Speed Racer's finishing up test and quizzes with Abeka, his Currclick Spanish 3rd week and he asked for a break from where he is starting on Multiplication.


Since most instruction will be ending for both next week we are doing a lighter schedule.

Keeping instruction time to the following:

Speed Racer (10 year old) - everything online from April-June
2 hours and mostly independent

Time4Learning (all subjects) (computer programming concepts for kids)
Xtramath (multiplication)
Music Appreciation ( and Easy Peasy High School)
Art Appreciation (Easy Peasy High School)
Logic (workbooks for his grade)
Writing and Rhetoric (from amazon Workbook and Teacher's guide)
Teaching Textbooks (TT Math 6th)
Spanish (Currclick live and

Tiger Lilly (13yr old) - focus on studying for CLEPS
3 hours and mostly independent

Java Programming (youth digital)
Game Design 2 (youth digital)
Biology (Thinkwell)
Aleks math (College Mathmatics - since she finished Alg 1 and Geometry this year)
3 weeks focus on one of the following CLEP test (English Literature, American Literature, Humanities, College Math - using Instantcert, SpeedyPrep,, Peterson's Review Test and Quizlet)

Friday, March 21, 2014


This week my daughter is starting to really get into reading the classics. And I have to admit, it's hard even for me.


Who says we homeschoolers or any student has to learn the traditional way?


So I went to and ordered some really reasonable tickets for us to go the all the Shakespeare plays I could find.

This is what we've done to prepare.

1) Read samples of his plays
2) Watched English Literature course
3) Skipped around the internet for reviews of his works

Then ... da ... da ... da dum!

We booked some reasonable shows

Romeo & Juliet
King Richard III

We'll be going to see them all in the next few weeks.

1) Taking our cliffnotes (yeah! Mom's not an English Teacher so I'm going to need some help)
2) Drawing pad (my Tiger Lilly likes to draw so she's going to capture her favorite scenes)

CIRCUS! CIRCUS! CIRCUS! is coming to town!


As a great adventure for my Speed Racer! We are going to Ringling Brother's circus. AND...


Then for Spring Break! - Speed Racer is going to CIRCUS CAMP!!!! Yes! you heard me (I'm patting myself on the back for this one).

This is an inspiration for both him and I. He'll be writing a paper on his adventures running away with the circus. Also, the camp is for 1 week and ends with him in a circus act!


Well we are on track for Tiger Lilly to take the Analyzing Literature CLEP.

We decided to move the Technical Writing DSST that she has to retake to the beginning of school later this year.

Her Algebra 1 with Teaching Textbooks is coming to and end. And her Abeka Algebra 1 is only 20 days from ending.

Biology is going so slow with Thinkwell I want to speed it up but it's just so much information I won't do that to her.

Computer programming with Youth Digial is going great and will be finished by June when she goes to summer camp.

So, Speed Racer, is almost finished his Abeka Academy classes (Math 4, Reading, Penmanship, Language Arts, History ~ Science ended and now the dvds are teaching Health)

Just 15 more days of instruction and it'll be done.

Spanish totally rocks with Currclick which is only 6 lessons but interactive. Not enough for it to stick I don't think but a good orientation to the language. He's also doing Spanish.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bite off a Lot Lately?

Well I did! Woot! 

This week work at the day gig almost did me in. I love, love, love my job. It wasn't my first choice for a career but as a 2nd choice it way fits me.

Not only that, but Mom takes the evening shift since Hubba has to work late due to taking the morning shift with kids. So what does that mean? Only I have to drive the kids to all those activities I've got listed for them below (every day of the week they now have one)

However, it totally stuck a fork in my plans for my HOMESCHOOL and my poor little Tiger Lilly paid for it.

CLEP and DSST Testing Diary

Tiger Lilly crammed for 2 weeks and sat for her COLLEGE COMPOSITION CLEP and we got her scores back with a PASS! Woohoo for her :-D

However, with me working overtime this last week, she sat for her DSST TECHNICAL WRITING test, pretty much cold because she and I was supposed to study this week and got very little of it done.

Work = Overtime = too many darned activities (we added Lacrosse this week and martial arts) = Failed test...

So, she failed her DSST TECHNICAL WRITING test by 5 stinky points!!

Now what?

She wants to do the retest before she leaves for Summer Sleep Away camp. With DSST you have to wait 90 days before you can retake the test.

Tiger Lilly told me she is glad she took it. That know she knows what to expect and it will be easier for her next time - > as long as she gets at least 2 weeks to study. (Mom learning lesson from kid? Yep. Always.)

Lessons Learned:
1) My girl needs at least 2 weeks in between test to study
2) Move the test date if you are not ready
3) Retaking a test doesn't freak her out, she doesn't mind and sees the benefits in it
4) Her retaking a test - SHOULD NOT freak mom out.


Other than the cramming for test, we got a lot accomplished.

Tiger Lilly:
She finished up the following subject.

Geometry - Thinkwell is pretty much finished. Just 2 chapters. She has a lot to do with Teaching Textbooks Geometry though and finished 4 lessons of it this week.

Algebra 1 - The Abeka Algebra 1 DVD course is about 120 lessons in of the 170 left. She finished up 3 lessons this week and plans to do the work from 2 of them over the weekend.

Java with Youth Digital - She loves doing this more than the Game Design 2 so she did this 4 days this week, finishing up Module 4.

Game Design 2 - Tiger Lilly has been slacking on this one and only squeezed in one lesson this week.

Technical Writing DSST Test - Only got to study flash cards and watch videos in 4 days. Took test on Friday and missed her pass by 5 points. Will table this subject until June when she retakes it with her College Math Clep.

Activities: Went to the Girls STEM day at the Naval Academy last Saturday.
Sports: Started Lacrosse, Martial Arts and is finishing up tumbling. Still doing Hip Hop Dance one day a week.

Speed Racer:
This week he is working well independently.

Overall he's finished up to Lesson 151 of 170 from Abeka's Academy's DVD/Streaming homeschool

So I'm slowing things down getting ready for his 'bridge' school year of subjects that will be a lighter load.

Bible: He finished 3 days of it this week

Math: He finished 4 days this week of Abeka, Teaching Textbooks Math 6, and

Reading: Skipped Abeka reading and is reading his own book of choice to me outloud.

Penmanship: He's now just working on the exercises that don't require him writing spelling words in cursive. However, for a lefty, he's writing is superb.

Spelling: Got  a C on his spelling test. I think he's getting lazy with writing his words 3 times and putting them in spell city

History: Got an A on his History test! Woot!

Health: He's interested in this class at least and finished up 4 days of it. There's lots of quizzes and worksheets.

Spanish: We are using Standard Deviants DVDs, and now as a Live Class.

SPANIsH with CurrClick! A success. We just started this on Tuesday and he is LOVING it! The teacher is very good. And keeps the class engaging and in order. This was a win. win.

Activities: Visiting friends
Sports: Tumbling, Hip Hop Dance, Break Dancing, Martial Arts and now Lacrosse (shoot me now!)

BIT OFF A LOT, and GOT a lot done in spite of some hiccups.

I can say that even with the unexpected snow days, the extra work ours, the crazy test schedule, I am pleased.

I learned so much about myself and my kids during this week that I'll take the LOSSES and make them GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES for IMPROVEMENT.

How do you and your homeschool grow from these challenges?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oh my! We are finishing our curriculum WAY too EARLY

How did this happen? Well some of our planned vacations got cancelled and we just filled in those do nothing days with our curriculum lessons.


The Abeka DVD boxed curriculum has 170 lessons. We started the 2nd week of July and are finishing March 30th if we keep at the rate we are going.

And I don't know what to do next...


I don't want school to stop until May 19th, 2014 and I plan on us taking off the month of Mid May through Mid July.

So we will have to fill in that time with areas where the kids are really needing some tightening up.


Tiger Lilly plans to take several CLEP test in May and June. She has been bumped up to 8th grade and will officially be a high schooler next school year.  However, we will use this time to study for them by doing the following for our 5 day school. We mapped out only 3 to 4 hours of study either with her siblings or a study group at our co-op.

- Reading CLEP Study Guides
- Practice Test
- Watching course videos to summarize what we learned this school year

Test to take in May/June:

Analyzing Literature (studying with her brother & sister who are taking it)
English Composition
English Literature
American Literature
Humanities (studying with her brother & sister who are taking it)
College Mathematics (combines Alg 1 & Geometry which she took this year)

Inspired by book CLEP LESSON PLANS by Tricia McQuarrie (


So my elementary schooler, Speed Racer, will be able to do some of the classes he's been wanting to try out that his sister was finishing up. Game Design 1 (he loves watching her create video games. And this is interactive)
Jr. Analytical Grammar
Sequential Spelling 5
A+ Interactive Math Grade 5
Guitar (Private Lessons)