Friday, February 27, 2015

Always Working Towards The Right Fit


As we move into the month of March, I find that our block schedule is a perfect fit for us. My kids constantly love a good challenge, but sometimes, they want to coast a bit.

This is coming into our last quarter of our school year. It will last from March 2nd to May 17th.

My steps for sliding into 4th Quarter.

1) Create Report Cards for my kids
2) Update their Umbrella School Review Forms (which are rather detailed and can take a lot of time)
3) Place Test, Quizzes, Project Pictures in their big Notebook of their school year.
4) Put aside pictures for the yearbook they will create at the end of the quarter
5) Plan out the final quarter with 'KID's CHOICE' classes
6) Plan summer camp and curriculum

I let them pick what they want their school year to look like (for any course except Math and Writing)

OUR 4th QUARTER and Final BLOCK of the School Year Curriculum
*Kid Approved*
Spring Break Camps offered in our area: (1) Circus Camp (2) Lacrosse Camp (3) Exploration Trip Camp
We are lucky to have an area that caters to the working parent and they have Spring Break camps for the time where schools are out. Where were live is close to 3 counties which all have different Spring Break times which allows us up to 3 weeks of camps to enroll. This is how my kids get a lot of their socialization. It seems to be enough for them and keeps them happy.
Sports (ongoing): Spring recreation sports leagues sign up (in addition to Dance and Martial Arts)
Since he finished Abeka Academy, he wants a mostly online, interactive curriculum (and so do I since it's easier on me.)
Minecraft Homeschool (Underground Railroad Study)
Saxon Math
Speed Reading (software)
WordSmart (online Wordsmart-Vocab Building Program)
Teaching Textbooks (3 days a week)
Spelling You See
Sequential Spelling (the cd)
Biology (
Language Arts [High School] (
US History [High School] (
Spanish ( and
Black History (DVD Based Curriculum with Mom's homemade syllabus)
Art Apreciation (Dual Enrollment Community College Class)
Interpersonal Communication  (Dual Enrollment Community College Class)
Sociology  (Dual Enrollment Community College Class)
Animation (Digipen and Youth Digital)
Web Page Development (Currclick)
Python (Landry)
Chemistry (Education-Portal)
Psychology (Currclick)
Pre-Calculus (Abeka Academy)
One Year Adventure Novel (DVD learning set)
TEST Planned: US History CLEP, Analyzing Literature CLEP, Math Accuplacer

Weekly Wrap Up

Speed Racer, 6th grader

He's been rushing through is work this week. I've let him do much of it independent. However, there were a few test and assignments he's had to repeat. I believe it's because he wants to start his new schedule for our 4th quarter. He is finishing up his last week of Abeka instruction and asked to foregore the videos to just finish the work. I let him since he was so passionate in his desire to do so.

Overall, it was a great week with little hiccups.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly had a hectic week as her coursework for her Dual Enrollment courses picked up.  (Sociology, Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation). She had several papers and projects due that she had to prepare over the weekend to be ready to turn in on Monday.

Her Wednesday, Web Design with was pretty slim as only 1/2 the students showed up online that day, Python class with Landry she is working on another project - her teacher emailed her to see how she was doing on it, Psychology with Currclick on Monday was a breeze. Blender Animation with Youth Digital is almost 75% done. Chemistry with Education-Portal, she finished 24 videos this week (they are only about 10 min a video so she's been watching 3 a day).

She missed her Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya class, so I emailed the teacher to see where she could submit her animation project she'd finished. She didn't have time to attend the class since she had some college work deadlines.

Pre-Calc with Abeka had her doing 1 quiz and 1 test (her 2nd) this week.

She's studying for her CLEP exam in US History to 1877 Review with Instantcert and has memorized  75 of the 82 facts in her 1st set of instantcert flashcards. CLEP Professor Algebra she finished she completed a Diagnostic test and scored well on it. We are using this to refreshen her math so she can take the Math Accuplacer (college entrance exam - hoping she test into Calculus 1).


Meals. I'm on a roll and prepped my meats for the week on Monday. Then I got fancy and put the meals into foil pans for baking. I had my daughter place them in the oven or crockpot when I was on my way home. So, from Mon-Thu we had a homecooked meal. Friday's is always Pizza day (my break from cooking day).

Cleaning. We expected furniture delivery but I had to call and postpone it since we didn't move the old furniture out. Why? It snowed. Ugh! So my Hubba and I had to rush and move furniture (it nearly killed me I'm so out of shape). He did a wonderful job of cleaning the house, putting together some of the furniture and taking excess furniture to the dump.

Work & Life Balance. Well even though I was off work to escape to Florida, I came back to some high profile deadlines. I worked some long days but still got home by 6pm. The kids just had some later nights doing school with their dad.

Lesson Planning. Finished my quarter end report cards. Did the lesson plan for the final quarter of our school year. Also, had 'grade' and goal discussions with the kids. Summer camp list and links were sent to the kids for their final okay, and I'll put the deposits down for them next week (I hope).

Rest. Sporatic this week. I seem to have a bit of insomnia. So I've stayed up editing one of my documents for my side business (yes - I'm insanely hyper. But I'm working with it.)

Marriage Check Up. Date night with the husband included going out to the movies to see Seventh Son. It was okay and kept me awake. Then we did dinner and chatted about work, the kids, and TV shows.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Teaching is For Kids - by Grant Baker

My thoughts on a great books for Parents to read with their child on the full cycle of learning. From a Child's, Teacher's and Parent's point of view.
Written by a Teacher and a Parent: Grant Baker


Blurb from Amazon:
Buy From Amazon
At last, a book on education that is just plain fun: Teaching is for Kids! Everyone is tired of the debates and politics surrounding our schools. This book offers a refreshing take on the subject, from the perspectives of students and teachers, speaking in ways that parents can agree with.

The main section of the book explores school-related themes as they concern elementary school teachers, students, and their parents. You will laugh at the differences in point of view and maybe even learn something. Each discussion is followed by a hand-drawn illustration. This collection of kid-friendly artwork is a special attraction of the book, a sure pleaser for educators and children alike. Finally, there are stories that span a school year. They provide glimpses of the surprises, frustrations, and joys of elementary school.

Teaching is for Kids is a celebration of our early years. It lets us look back at those magical times with a smile, even a laugh.

If you’ve ever been a teacher, a parent, or a student, this book is for you. And it’s fun.

29,000 words, 56 hand-drawn illustrations, 148 printed pages

Book Review:
As a mom of four kids and now a parent who is homeschooling two of them (previously one other who's graduated), I always wanted to know what was the teacher's perspective. The book starts out with giving you a full view of some of the strong players in your elementary school aged kid's education. The teacher, the child, the parent. Also, in doing so, it gives you tips on how to make the learning experience for your child more full and memorable. Tips that show how you as the parent can share interest with the teacher that can help your child transition from the home to school experience. Also, each role is spoken in a different 'voice' that reflects the thoughts, concerns, or interest of the one doing the speaking. There are artful pictures, that make it a great tool to read with your child to get their perspective. My son loved comparing his opinion and the kid's in the book's opinion on learning.

Friday, February 13, 2015

So Close Til The Finish Line

Weekly Wrap Up

We are so close to actually finalizing our school year with our core curriculum, Abeka Academy, that I and the kids are jumping for joy! Just two weeks and we are on lessons 155 (which is where we usually end our school year even though Abeka Academy has 170 lessons included).

I'm looking at and for Speed Racer. Stay tuned.

On The Road Again - Yep! This is a big field trip for just me and the kids. We are going to Disney world (again) to hang out and relax while doing a 'light' school week. So we packed our gear and are ready to leave this weekend. Rose is coming home to hang out with Hubba so he doesn't get lonely.

Speed Racer, 6th grader

With MOD Design (Java beginner curriculum) by Youth Digital he worked with support to get some things back in order. Also, I'd noticed he didn't do the section reviews and troubleshooting for each Module - so, I told him he'll be backtracking and finishing up the 6 of them he'd missed. Clever Dragons he played in during the morning finishing more Spanish and Literature. WordSmart (vocabulary software program) which is working well to teach him word meaning.

We had some glitches with Time4Writing [Paragraphs] since they are doing updates to their web app.

He's worked independently this week on his Saxon Math, Spelling You See. While his dad worked with him during his Abeka Academy [Bible, Language, Reading, Penmanship, Science & History]. No copywork this week in Anatomy. He is still working on consistency with his Fraction Practice Review Sheets. I videotaped him while he played his 2nd song he learned on the Piano with Simply Music.

Yellow Belt advancement was this week, and he squeezed in two days (4 hours) of dance and acrobatics practice as well as 2 days (2 hours) of martial arts.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly is in the groove. She is working independently on her college courses now in their 3rd week  (Sociology, Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation). On Friday, I assigned her the task of making flashcards for her to use to study with for her coming mid-terms and quizzes.

She is no longer doing her Physics class online with Education-Portal since she finished all the videos and quizzes.

One day of Web Design with (she finished her 2nd project), Python class with Landry she had her class on Wed with a quiz, Psychology with Currclick was a little longer class on Monday. Blender Animation with Youth Digital is almost 70% done. Chemistry with Education-Portal is still fun for her and she watches the videos and does the quizzes that follow each video.

While her brother was snowboarding, she did her Saturday session with Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya. She had to work on her animation project for her next class this coming Saturday.

Pre-Calc with Abeka had her doing 2 quizzes this week - she got 'A's on it. She complained that Pre-Calc is just like geometry - only more of it, lol!

She's studying for her CLEP exam in US History to 1877 Review with Instantcert and has memorized 50 of the 82 facts in her 1st set of instantcert flashcards. CLEP Professor Algebra she finished 4 days of lessons this week of her total 20.

She does two days of martial arts (2 hours) and 1 day (an hour) of Hip Hop dance. I promised her we would do 30 minutes of exercise 2 days a week but momma is lazy about exercising.


Meals. This week went by like a breeze. I had all my meats prepped and we had a hot meal every night. Hubba even cooked (put meat in the oven and made the minute rice with veggies). I was a bit miffed when I came home from work after a 12 hour day and cooked dinner - only to have my Hubba take the kiddos to Chick-Fil-A. However, I felt bad afterwards for fussying him out about it since the kids asked him to take them since they got their Yellow Belts in martial arts that day and wanted to celebrate. Sigh. So I ate, then packed that day's dinner up for the next day.

Cleaning. Don't ask. I did put away the clothes I washed last week. But there is another pile on the couch since my Hubba decided to wash clothes but hadn't had a chance to fold them. We hope to prep the living room for painting since we are getting new Dining and Living Room furniture.

Work & Life Balance. A crazy week of 12 hour days and freezing rain. Also throw in some pretty highly visible work product deadlines to present to other engineers - eek! I'm trying to work extra hours to compensate for my plan to be off next week for our trip to Florida and I may end up sleeping to recover, lol!

Lesson Planning. Not done for next week since it's going to be a light week and we are going out of town.

Rest. I actually got 6 to 7 hours of sleep out of the way. So I wasn't tired this week, surprisingly.

Marriage Check Up. We stayed up way later than I should've to watch my Hubba's favorite show together while eating candy we 'borrowed' from the kids.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sibling Rivalry and Quarrel Mediation

How to get kids to get along

Sibling Rivalry is a big issue - especially for homeschooling kids that spend A LOT of time together. I've fought this in several ways:

(1) Have Rules Posted (like: Say it nice. Give Space. Respect Each Other. Apologize.)
(2) If they both bicker, they both pay the price (We have warnings and chores. If they break the Posted Rules - they have to do a chore, spend time facing each other until they laugh and hug)
(3) Don't allow hitting or physical agression (have a stiff punishment for this - like removal of game system
(4) When they break the rules - punish them both. (in some cases this doesn't work but most times it makes them draw closer).

What another crazy week

Another Wonky Week! This has got to stop! Lol! I can't seem to nail down a set schedule to save my life. I think we must have the winter willies.

I had some appointments on Monday, so the kids pretty much did their work independently.

Black History Month Kick-off! We are doing our African American History by watching movies this month.

SELMA was wonderful! The kids loved it and stayed glued to the movie for the duration. It had a lot of great discussion points for us.

A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

Snow Boarding Planned for the weekend! My kids love to snowboard, snowtube and tons of other cold weather stuff. I hate it, but am squeezing in another snowday adventure with all the kids (including my college ones Razor Ray and Rose)

Summer Camp Planning and the ending of our Year Around School. Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly requested a fun summer. You know the kind they had before homeschooling, lol! Well I decided to book them a ton of summer camps. Tiger Lilly will be going to Landry Game Design Camp and will attend Camp Wabanna, River Valley Ranch and Highpoint sleepaway camps with her brother Speed Racer. In addition, in between sleep away camp they will go to a fun day camp that is action packed with trips to amusement parks, museums and tons of fun from June 14th til Aug 8th. It's what I did with them while they were in traditional school. Now it's time to bring it back.

Unexpected drama. My college kids got their car towed and had a dispute with the college apartment complex because of it. Hubba went to check it out, pay for the car to get out of tow. The same day, late that evening, Rose went to a class she is taking at another college, left her car lights on, and killed her battery. She called her dad who walked her through getting a guard to help her at the school (it was 10pm at night and she was scared).

This Week's Scoop
Back to a 5 day schedule

Speed Racer, 6th grader

He worked pretty well independently this week. This month though we'll be finishing his Abeka curriculum O_o so I will have to come up with an easy, independent and fun curriculum for him this Spring. (stay tuned)

He didn't work on his MOD Design (Java beginner curriculum) because he had some technical issues and I didn't have time to walk him through the directions sent from Youth Digital to fix his programming code. Clever Dragons - he did this a few times this week but he doesn't like their math so he's sticking with the Spanish and Literature. WordSmart (vocabulary software program) he actually likes doing independently.

He is making it successfully and independently through Time4Writing [Paragraphs] now and making a high 'B'.

The evenings (we've been starting late this week - around 4pm) I worked with him with Saxon Math, Spelling You See, Abeka Academy [Bible, Language, Reading, Penmanship, Science & History]. We did a few days of copywork for Anatomy, Fraction Practice Review Sheets and he practiced Piano with Simply Music and I had him write down the notes for each key he played in the song for the week.

He did two days (2 hours) of dance and acrobatics practice as well as 2 days of martial arts.

Tiger Lilly, blended 9th grader

Tiger Lilly finally confirmed her 'B' in her college English 121 she took this winter.

Some of her classes ended this week. This was the last week of her Currclick, Money Doesn't Grow on Trees class that ended her Economics course study this year. She finished her Chemistry with Abeka but is now doing it with Education-Portal (yeah, she wanted to since she will be taking Chemistry next year in college).

She basically works on these classes four days a week. Her online college courses are in their 2nd week and she's getting in a rythm (Sociology, Interpersonal Communication and Art Appreciation) although we both agreed she'd need to start on her reading for each class on Sunday's since its so much reading in a week. 

Two days this week she worked on Web Design with Currclick (she just got her book for it and has some projects to make up over the weekend), Python class (she's finishing up her program and it looks good! Her sister reviewed it with her on Thursday), Psychology with Currclick was great this week (she doesn't get much homework from this class - just reading). Blender Animation with Youth Digital.

One day this week she has Digipen-Animation with 3D Maya (started last Saturday and she LOVES it! There were 7 other students loggin in for all over the world).

Her daily Pre-Calc with Abeka is doing well and she's been making high grades on her test and quizzes. US History to 1877 Review with Instantcert she is doing well on memorizing the facts off the flashcards since she plans to take this CLEP in May. She did a Diagnostic Test with CLEP Professor Algebra and did better than we expected as she works through a lesson a day.

She does two days of martial arts and 1 day (an hour) of Hip Hop dance.


Meals. I'm on a roll again! I had a hot dinner on the table every night (even though I worked 2 long days). Thank you crockpot.

Cleaning. Have to find time to paint, but don't know when. Still putting away clothes. The floors have to be mopped, walls washed down and carpets cleaned - but that will not get done this weekend.

Work & Life Balance. Not working this week. I took off Monday for some appointments and had to work 2 - 12 hour days to make up that time. Let's just say - exhausted - this week. Saturday here I come (I sleep in on Saturday's).

Lesson Planning. So much easier now that I don't have to put as much Abeka lessons and homeworks in for Tiger Lilly. I finished next week's.

Rest. Got 5 to 6 hours sleep this week. Also, I didn't get my power naps in because I worked long days. Grrrrrr.

Marriage Check Up. Hoping to get one this Saturday. This week we were ships passing and tagging each other to do homeschool. I did text him to tell him he's great and that I love him.