Friday, January 30, 2015

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

What a Great and Productive Week --- Maybe.

Crazy but Productive! You ever have one of those weeks where your schedule gets thrown from hither to there? Well this was that kind of week for us. Snow visited and that meant yucky driving conditions and augmented work schedules. Luckily, we are homeschoolers so we can just go with the flow.

Field Trip Foiled - again!  Didn't make it due to the weather. The facility was opened but I didn't want to have to drive the extra 20 minutes to get them after work (when the traffic was bad and snow was picking up). So I gave the kids the day to relax.

This Week in Rewind
Only had School 4 Days this Week

Speed Racer, 6th grader

He had the a great week of the month so far - with the exception of some 'corner reflection time'. He has a somewhat lightened load compared to last semester.

In the morning - independently, he worked on IXL (Fractions and Verbs). He also did his Youth Digital [Mod Design], Clever Dragons - he's not liking too much. The educational bent on it isn't as ordered as I'd like. He did Time4Writing [Paragraphs] with me looking over his shoulder.

The afternoons I have to monitor and interact with his learning for Saxon Math, Spelling You See, Abeka Academy [I hand out his test, quizzes and then grade and record them]. We did a few days of copywork for Anatomy, Fraction Practice Review Sheets and he practiced Piano with Simply Music.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly just kicked of this week with 3 online college courses. These teachers are much better than her English 121 teacher was (in my opinion). We are finding that in college, we are glad we prepared her for these courses by exposing her to the information before the courses. The college teachers don't really 'teach' on a personal level.

We are currently in dispute with the English 121 teacher regarding a grade - the Dean of the English Department is reviewing the dispute. This class was horrible. The teacher didn't give feedback on the papers turned in, nor did she allow for rewrites. Truth is I don't think she even read the papers turned in. If the grade stands - she will get a 'C' (she's only 1.2 points from a B) However if the Dean reviews the papers turned in - even the one re-submitted after my daughter practically begging the teacher for feedback - then she will get a B in the class.

Her online college courses (Sociology, Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation) had her doing pretty much the following (1) a short discussion paper (2) a quiz (3) reading 1 to 2 chapters (about 25-60 pages a week). I had her take notes that she reads over daily for passive studying.

She also is doing Chemistry and Pre-Calc with Abeka, Psychology with Currclick which was cancelled this week, Money Doesn't Grow on Trees class is ending next week,  Web Design with Currclick (she did term review),  Python class (she's working on her program project and took a quiz), US History to 1877 Review with Instantcert and Education-Portal videos, Blender Animation with Youth Digital (she did 1 day this week). Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya (starts on Saturday so she set up her environment and downloaded her software). Lastly, she is doing CLEP Professor Algebra review so she can take the Math Accuplacer exam and retake the SAT in April.


Meals. This week I was prepared (thank goodness!). I prepped the meat, had prepared side items, and dinner was on the table on Monday-Thursday. Friday is usually Pizza night.

Cleaning. Finished washing clothes but they are in a pile on the couch in the kids classroom.

Work & Life Balance. Another challenging week with the weather going crazy and some hot assignments due at work. Not to mention I've been exploring other opportunities and that takes up lots of time.

Lesson Planning. Haven't even started to do this for next week. Hoping to do 2 weeks of this over the weekend.

Rest. Got 6 to 7 hours sleep this week. Although I've had to do two cups of coffee to get through the day without being cranky. On Wednesday I just bailed on hubby and the kids after I cooked dinner. So he took over school earlier that day.

Marriage Check Up. Date Night consisted of Hubby and I staying in bed and watching one of his favorite shows on hulu until I fell asleep on him, lol!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Best Of Both Worlds - Starting College At Early Ages


When my kids started High school, I knew being creative was in the cards. My oldest son wasn't homeschooled but I wanted him to experience more from his highschool to college experience.


Even though your child attends traditional school, you can still benefit from some of the practices of homeschoolers.

Have your child explore the following: Career Shadowing or Trade Training through High School, Dual Enrollment in Community College (take classes over the summer or leave early from high school to go to College Courses - or take courses online for credit), CLEP or AP testing, career certification.

Since now I homeschool my younger kids, we are so grateful and excited to have the ability to further customize the high school to college transition.

Including the noted ways to gain College Credit while in High School: (CLEP Test, AP, Dual Enrollment) our kids can also start career exploration.


I must say, prior, to signing my kids up for Community College courses, I really had to help them find their place in that new setting because they were a younger student. Neither one of my girls wanted to walk onto ANY college campus at 14 yrs old when those kids around them were 3-6 years older. So, I augmented their entry by giving them online courses where they felt more comfortable interacting with older peers.

Community College is a great place to do that. In most cases I began my kids studying for the CLEP test, College Accuplacer Exams, and AP exams to gain college credit while at home. Then we would start several ONLINE courses through the Community College.

LIVING ON CAMPUS isn't something that should be pursued, I feel, until the student is 18 years old. It's an experience that isn't a play on how successful your kid will be in college. Truth is, most students are fighting to get off campus after their Sophmore year.


Sliding into new 2nd semester schedule

Field Trip! at SkyZone with our Umbrella Group got our 'signing' done. Which is required by our state and Umbrella group. Basically we meet them 2 times in the year to jot out what curriculum we are working on with our kids and checking on our school year. My husband took the kids to all their signing events this year and last. I'll be taking them to the one in February though. My kiddos had a blast meeting with other homeschoolers.

Work this week (only 4 days of school)

Speed Racer, 6th grader


He is more independent with doing his online work now. This has taken some bribary on my part. We lock up all game controllers and TV controllers during the day. When they are finished all of their work, they check out their games and controllers. Once bedtime hits, all electronics get locked up again.

Therefore, Speed Racer is getting his work done online before I get home. Then when we work together, redirection is just a reminder of what he won't be able to do if he doesn't finish his work.

Fractions and Decimals is still a challenge for him. So now we do the following (1) IXL review of fractions - 10 min drill (2) Drill sheet of 5 fraction problems (3) Writing out the steps daily.

Thursday was meltdown day (we are down to one every other week) which isn't bad considering how we started off. Also, I think it's completely normal for kids to have off days once a week, because hey, momma does. This time we didn't use the calm down list. I just took video games away and had him do an in-room time out (because I needed a time out too!).

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly finished her 1st College Course: English Composition. Yippee!

Friday was the last day, but she turned in her assignment on Thursday. Now she will be starting 3 college courses on Monday (Interpersonal Communication, Sociology, Art Appreciation).

Also, she finished up some exploratory courses I found for her on Udemy (Sociology, Communication through Body Language).

She started her computer courses online with Currclick (Web Design) and working on her Python project for Landry. Her online Animation course with is going well and she showed us the first portion of her little animated movie.

Digipen sent her an art package with (1) a t-shirt (2) Art kit with clay, colored pencils, drawaing pad for her online Animation workshop she is taking with them.

She started Pre-Calc, but I have her doing Clep Professor review of Algebra prior to her taking the Math Accuplacer at the Community College so we can see what math she will be able to take in the Fall.

She did have a Thursday freak-out when she noticed the paper she turned into her professor in her college class got her a 55% because it wasn't persuasive enough. She pleaded with the professor to re-submit once she clarified what the professor needed, and thankfully the professor gave her a chance to re-submit the paper, though she wouldn't be able to make a 100% on it. So Tiger Lilly will be working on this all day Friday (around her field trip).

She made the Dean's List at the University! She's still just 17years old (I homeschooled her from 10th grade, then she got her AA degree, now she's at a 4 year college).

Well even though Rose was given the job as a Physical Therapy Tech, she decided to decline it. The tricky part of her meeting the required 800 hours or hands on medical related work for Physician Assistant school made her really want the job. However, she is taking 21 credits this semester.

We talked and she decided to volunteer at a Senior Citizens home, or get a job that she works weekends only in order to focus on school during the week. She's also looking at Computer Programming type summer internships. At this moment, she's feeling out her options.

Her ultimate goal - save enough money to fund her own graduation trip of 2 months in Hawaii (I'd like to be like her when I grow up, lol!)


Meals. Horrible week for us. Another fast food week since I haven't seemed to find time to go to the store. So I did get meat. Put it in the refriderator and haven't seasoned or frozen it for next week - yet.

Cleaning. Did not get done. Even though I had a day off and got home early.

Work & Life Balance. This isn't working out too well. The day job is going well, it's the side work that's starting to pile up. I'm having my husband move my 'work at home' desk down to the basement where the kids do school so I can work while they are working. I used to work on the laptops but now both kids use them for some of their classes.

Lesson Planning. On a roll, with the exception of having to revise them due to our spur of the moment planning for our field trips. I hadn't realized I missed 2 of the mandatory trips and signing events for my Umbrella school.

Rest. Got none! Even though I was off, I had a lot of things to do to prep for the coming semester. I worked on our budget, got the cost for books (college kids books), did their fasfa (financial aid forms) with them and then still didn't finish some things. I must have only gotten 4 hours of sleep Tue-Fri. I can't wait to sleep in on Saturday.

Marriage Check Up. Date Night didn't happen, but this weekend was hubby's birthday so I snuck his gift in his dresser. Bless the man because he conducted class for me on his birthday and told me to go to bed early.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Keeping Active, Ansy, Kids Focused with Fun!


Yeah, I have wigglers, kidders, and all around goofy kids.

I try several things to redirect them.

I had to use this more when we first started homeschooling.

How to use this hat full of exercises, things to do, to re-direct.

When you notice your kid starting to goof off. Make them an offer:

1) Decide to get back on task
2) Pick a task out of the hat
What's in the HAT?

1) Timed exercises
2) Goofy concentration games that are physical
3) All under 5 min
4) With directions on how much time to set on the timer

Exercises and Goofy Concentration Games In Our Hat

Jumping Jacks, push ups, run in place, squats, stretches, sit-ups, wall stands (any exercise you can find)

Stand on one foot, draw a quick masterpeice, read out loud a funny comic, play the silent game, stare at a picture until you can see the 3 D image.

We No Longer use it as much now.

Why? Because my kids now want to finish - go to their activity of the day - and play video games (their reward for finishing all their work).


Tiger Lilly is doing AWESOME with her online classes and Dual Credit College course. She's found a rythm and we've shortened some of her days to work with her long classes. She's now down to just 3 Abeka courses, she's finished most all of the others.  We are having to get her some help on a roadblock she hit with Algebra 2 concepts and Editing skills.

I had to sit with her the first week to review how to log onto her college course. I also created a calender lesson log with all her task and due dates spelled out. This is working for her. Next semester (starts on Jan 26th) I'll teach her to do it for herself.

We purchased the dress for the homeschool Fire & Ice Dance for this Friday.

Also, we signed her up for a dance class, for exercise. She'll still be doing martial arts.

Speed Racer had a great week. His schedule is more involved in someways for me. The parts that are independent he is doing well. Math (fractions and decimals) are still his struggle. We are working on that. As well as his writing, so we are having him doin Time4Writing (paragraphs then essay). It really just seems like he's a lazy writer.

Hands on homeschooling is hard on a working parent. He has several classes I'm working with him one on one. Anatomy, Spelling You See, American History, Speed Reading, Saxon Math. He enjoys these subjects and working with me, so I can dedicate the next few months doing this with him. But next school year, I'll cut this to 2 subjects per semester.

Since Monday was a freezing rain day, and Speed Racer slept later than usual, we skipped dance class for him so he could finish his work.

Rose (my older daughter) dropped in after her job interview. She got the job as a PT - Tech by the way. As well as she had an offer for summer employment. Not to mention, she is also taking 2 college courses over the winter break because she just wants to be finished. Now we are doing her scholarship applications (about 26 of them) and she's applying for computer programming summer internship jobs.

Razor Ray (my oldest son) came over also to ask my help in setting up his resume and submission to jobs search websites. I helped him with his cover letter. Then we did his monthly budget and financial planning since he desires to move into another apartment in August. My husband and I are not supporting him financially for his final years in college so he will have to work two jobs for the summer to save up for his expenses during the school year if he won't be moving back home with us. He currently works one job, but is working hard to get another this summer.


Meals. Didn't get to do any prep really. I did have some meat that I'd season, then thawed for dinner on Monday. However, the rest of the week my hubby picked up fast food. I hope to get back on track next week since I will be off work on Monday.

Cleaning. Nope, did none really. We'd just gotten back from our holiday cruise, then had one week where we started our new coursework. Also, Sunday, we went to New York to visit family so the house is still wrecked from the end of the year.

Work & Life Balance. Still wonky since I am having to do more hands on homeschooling with Speed Racer. Now when I get home I don't get any time to do my side business so I'm behind on deadlines there. The day gig is going well and I'm enjoying what the day to day work is and the team I work with.

Lesson Planning. Am working on the next two weeks of lesson plans since I will have to move courses around a bit for Tiger Lilly since her Winter College Course semester will end and she will start her Spring Semester taking 3 classes.

Rest. I got plenty this week since Monday we had freezing rain - so I slept in. Then took power naps the rest of the week. Wednesday I actually went to bed at 7pm and my hubby took over for me. It was great. But Thursday I had to wash and style my oldest daughter's hair so it was a late night that I paid for in just 4 hrs sleep before going to work Friday.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Curriculum Change Up - Mid Year


After I reviewed report cards and plans with my two young people, we addressed some of the proposed changes to their scheduled days.

My older daughter Tiger Lilly really loves to learn. It's rather hard for me to keep up with her interest.

COURSES CLOSED OUT from 1st SEMESTER (July - December 19th, 2014)
Tiger Lilly (9th Grader) - These are the courses she finished

Algebra 2 with Teaching Textbooks and Abeka
Java Programming (using Youth Digital,
Economics (Abeka Academy)
American Government (Abeka Academy)
Writing & Composition - daily course, Analyzing Lit
Art - Art DVD course
Sociology Home Study -
Psychology Home Study -
Python Programming (Part 1)- Landry Academy with
Physics with Abeka
US History with Abeka

Speed Racer (6th Grader) - These are the courses finished

Math 6 - Teaching Textbooks
Paragraph Writing - San Diego Scribblers
Earth Science -
Art Appreciation
Art of Argument - Logic (first 3 chapters)

GOALS 2015 (Semester 2)

Tiger Lilly (9th Grader) - She took her College Accuplacer test for English and tested into College English. After studying for the CLEP Composition Exam and reviewing the College entry English couse, she decided she'd rather take the course since she enjoys writing and wants to author books in the future. However, the studying didn't go to waste as it helped her place into College level English through the Accuplacer test at our Community College.

Dual Enrollment Courses:
English 121 (Winter Semester Online College)
Sociology (Spring Semester Online College)
Art Appreciation (Spring Semester Online College)
Interpersonal Communication (Spring Semester Online College)
CLEP Courses and Test (Revised)
Analyzing Literature
US History I
ACCUPLACER (College Placement Test)
Math (in May) in hopes of testing into PreCalc or higher

Finish Core Courses
Pre-Calc with Abeka
Speed Racer (6th Grader) - continue to improve his focus, writing, spelling and logic.

THE PLAN for Jan-May 2015


9th GRADER - Blended Schedule
Time in School - 6.5 hrs a day
School Year - Jan. 5th- May 20th - 2015

Daily Classes:
English Composition - Community College Course (Jan 5th-27th)  (Class Online)
Physics -
Pre-Calc - Abeka DVD & Teaching Textbooks as supplement
Chemistry - Abeka DVD Course
French - Middlebury Interactive

Blocked Courses (Either 1, 2 or 3 times a week) or start mid year

3 Days a Week

Sociology - Community College Course (Jan 29-May 10th)  (Class Online)
Art Appreciation Community College Course (Jan 29-May 10th)  (Class Online)
Interpersonal Communication Community College Course (Jan 29-May 10th)  (Class Online)
Adventure Novel - One Year Adventure Novel

2 Days A week

Python Programming Part 2 - Landry Academy with as supplement
3 D Animation - Youth Digital and DigiPen (Class Online)
Web Design HTML 5 -  (Class Online)
Psychology -  (Class Online)
Java Programming - Homeschool Programming with as supplement
US History I (Clep Test Review using Instantcert or
Math Accuplacer Practice - Accuplacer Practice Exam, Clep Professor, IXL (Geometry)
Money Doesn't Grow on Trees -  (Class Online)

1 Day A week

African American History - Movie-Based Curriculum

Misc. Enrichment planned
ChemistryLabs Hands on Lab Review at Landry Academy Camp (6 days in June)

Martial Arts

Time in School - 5.5 hrs a day
School Year - Jan. 5th- April 20th - 2015

Daily Classes:
Bible - Abeka DVD
Math 6 - Abeka DVD with Saxon Math 6/5, IXL
Reading - Abeka DVD and Speed Reading Instruction
Spelling - Sequential Spelling and Spelling You See
Language Arts - Abeka DVD and IXL
Science - Abeka DVD
Spanish - Abeka DVD with Tiger Lilly
History - Abeka DVD

3 Times A Week - Independent Work
Typing -
Computers - then 3D game design
Music Appreciation -
Piano - Simply Music
Science and Geography Labs -
Anatomy - Lap Book
Vocabulary Builder - (via and
Writing Essay -

1 Day A week

African American History - Movie-Based Curriculum

Break Dancing Competition
Martial Arts