Monday, August 31, 2015

Happiness for kids Means Success

Strive for Your Kid's Happiness
Will Equal Their Success

I've learned so much in these last 20 years of raising kids. More about myself, then just them I believe.

However, they are like their mom and dad - OVER ACHIEVERS but only because we focus on the things they are passionate about.


I always demanded my kids try something - at least once. If they didn't like it after trying it, I would let them select the next activity.

Pushing your child or even yourself to try something outside of your comfort zone widens their perspective. Also, just because they don't love something the first time, doesn't mean they won't try it again.

For instance, we put my oldest son in football at 9yrs old. He hated it. However, when he turned 12 yrs old, he requested to play again. This time - he gave it his all and played running back from 7th grade to 12th.

I made him sign up for track in 9th grade. He disliked that also, said the competition was too difficult and he was too small. Then in the 11th grade he ran track in the winter months and medaled in his 12th grade year.

Since he didn't have a sport to occupy him in Spring that he liked, I signed him up for Lacrosse...and he ended up playing in College and was one of the top 'Face Off' champs in the county.


Teaching kids to never give up on themselves is a good thing. Reinforcing positive vibes is just fine. Also, teaching them to not give up when things are hard (by cheering them on) last a lifetime.


Don't be one of these parents that devour their kid's voice. Allow them to own their destiny. Give them permission to change their minds.


After they've tried many adventurous things you've set before them. Ask them to lead the way with you. Guide them, but slowly teach them to do this for themselves.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sliding into Another Adventurous Week


See that compact set up? Well that's in my dining room. Tucked in the corner as his sister's desk is tucked into the other corner. The chair and the desk are foldable. The drawer set is a product of using Sue Patrick's workbox systems (changed a bit to fit our needs). So when company comes over, we just put them away.

SPEED RACER (age 11yrs) my Middle Schooler
Homeschooled at 4th grade on.

Had a great week. With this shortened schedule he and I were looking at each other at the end of the day as though we were lost. He asked to play on Clever Dragons or to be signed up for Minecraft Homeschool. I told him 'No' since I want to keep things manageable.

So instead of adding more school work, I signed him up for Archery of 5 weeks.

He has gotten the hang of his subjects and in English, Grammar and Spelling (an all in one class for Abeka) he read several short stories, picked out a book for his book report, completed a spelling test and passed his quizzes in Grammar with a high score. Biology, History and American Government are challenging for him and he doesn't like the task of taking notes daily (I require him to take notes from the teacher for me to sign off on each day). Economics is a class we discuss afterwards since I minored in it in college and liked it. Saxon Math 7/8 is coming along well with solidifying things. He enjoys the way CTCMath explains math topics and does a daily drill. Membean has improved his vocabulary, spelling and ability to break down words. In Techrocket he is on the 2nd module on Python Programming.

TIGER LILLY (age 14 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Homeschooled at 7th grade on. 

 Tiger Lilly is a budding Artist and Game Designer. She drew the cat.

She had a project and quiz in both her Landry courses, C Programming and PC Pro. Her Japanese class had her doing some writing exercises and she and I watched some Japanese Anime where we had close caption on. We also listened to some Immersion CDs in Japanese a few days of the week.

The Community College courses started with a bang. She got access to them online this past Saturday. We went to an in person orientation for her Software Application's class. Her US History 1 course has her reading a chapter, reviewing the videos online from her instructor and writing a reflection paper. I had her add notes and terms to for her to do a review of topics daily. In Psychology, she has some class interaction through online discussions, reading of chapters and a weekly quiz. In College Math, she did the homework in advance of class, read the book and looked at some Yahoo videos prior to attending class on Friday (today).

For fun, she is on Techrocket, learning Unity 3d and practicing Java (since she has to take it next semester at the college). In addition, she is doing some Art DVDs to practice her artwork since she is excited about the Animation Course she is taking this September.

For PE, we've been slacking on her going to the gym. But we did better this week and I also signed her up for Archery.

The other two young adults in the house...

Are living back at home after a year on campus.

ROSE (age 18yrs) senior in College
Homeschooled in the Middle of 10th grade on.

Is taking 21 credits this semester. She's a bit bummed she can't work. But is making some money helping me 2 days a week as a tutor and homehelper for her siblings.

Her goal is to work next semester to continue to save towards her move to Maui, HI next May. She wants to live there a year before she attends Grad School. In between her AA degree and starting her BS degree she did a study abroad program to Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. We spent 18 days in Maui in planning for her move next year.

In just 3.5 years this girl would have accumulated an AA in BioInformatics, a BS in BioInformatics and Minor in Computer Science with so far a 4.0.

RAZOR RAY (age 20yrs) senior in College
Never Homeschooled.

Has a hefty load. He is working on 19 credits this semester. He also has a weekend job at the hospital as a patient transporter. Then the young man added on using his talents as a Physical Therapy Tech at the college in the Athletic Department.

In addition he's taken on dropping off his siblings at some of their sports events.

I am hoping he didn't take on too much, but he seems eager.

He also plans on moving to Hawaii next year with his sister. A little later than her since he changed his major a few times.

He also did an AA in BioInformatics but changed to Information Technology with a focus in User Engineering for his BS degree.

Although, he loved playing lacrosse and was pretty successful at it, he gave up playing at the college level so he could concentrate on his studies.


Meals. The kids cooked 2 times this week. I prepared and cooked the other 2 days. Friday is always pizza or Chinese it seems.

Cleaning. The house and bedrooms are cleaned, but the laundry is again out of control. We are planning to make a trip to the laundry mat so I won't be washing clothes all day. Also, we had a squirrel in our attic (my little man told us he heard noises but..we didn't believe him). A company came by to fix that up for us.

Work & Life Balance.I had Monday off work (Yay!) and got to sleep in til 8am. We had some work done on our roof so I hung out till they were done.The rest of the week at work has been busy and I've gotten home later than I wanted. Luckily, my home helper started the younger kids off with their work.

Lesson Planning. Nailing it. Can't seem to do more than 1 week at a time since I am still trying to make sure this will stick.

Rest. Well rested earlier in the week, but by Thursday, I'm living on coffee.

Marriage Check Up. Me and hubby went to the farmer's market and I read out loud to him on our trips to run some errands. He and I are reading a Zombie book, then discuss the characters.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Morphing Into What Works

Morphing into Best Fit

Well, I've augmented their curriculum 3 times since we started. Now, finally, now, I believe I've got it right for this first 'block' or 'semester' of our school year.

The changes were mainly for Speed Racer as Tiger Lilly's schedule is one she helped me build for herself.


He got through all of the initial courses I've scheduled for him this week. I found that with his PE schedule of activities (Martial Arts, Break Dancing, Kids Coders and Tennis) getting all of it done and is not going to be possible.

So, I cut out some of his extra work.

Also, this week we went to the County Fair, which was fun. Speed Racer wasn't interested in the animals as much this year. Also, he figured he would pass on the carnival rides in place of a trip to an amusement park we frequent since I was making him use his own allowance money for the day.

His new schedule will be the following:

We are able to get through all of these within 5.5 hours

Does in the morning:
CTCMath (for Math lab): M-F (Independent)
TechRocket (for Python programming):  M-F (Independent)
Membean (for Vocabulary building):  M-F (Independent)
Time4Writing (online): M-F (Independent) 

Do in the evening:
English/Spelling/Reading - (Abeka) :  M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Saxon (Math 7/8): M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Biology (Abeka): M-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
Economics (Abeka): T-Th (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)
American Gov't (Abeka): M-W-F (with Mom/Dad or Homehelper)


She is getting into a steady groove. Her college classes start Monday. However, her Landry courses started this week.

Japanese, PCPro and C Programming took off this week. Each required some reading and homework. She has done this independent of any assistance. I've gone online to check her grades, that she turned in her work. The C Programming course has a lab on Friday (today) that she is looking forward to.

I had her review some of her Algebra and Trig concepts this week using CLEP Professor Algebra which she said was a great help and review.

Her college courses (Micro Computers, Psychology, College Math, and US Hist 1) will upload their syllabus on Saturday. She and I will sit down and create her schedule for next week. She will be attending her first in person class on a college campus next Friday.


Meals. I made the kids cook this week. This has been wonderful! They each have a day and we all did the prep for it on Sunday (well me and the girls).

Cleaning. The house has been pretty tidy. We created a makeshift bedroom in our basement for my oldest son. We purchased a wall/room divider from Walmart for $220 and it worked out nicely. My son's bedroom is in the basement and conveniently private from the rest of the room and I didn't have to pay someone $10,000 to renovate my basement.

Work & Life Balance. Everything is working great. My husband's job has picked up so he isn't able to work from home as much. My job still allows me flexible hours and they even told me if I wanted to go to a 32 hour week I could. Doubtful if I would have to since I need the extra income to pay for my kid's college.

Lesson Planning. Going well now that Tiger Lilly is being taught to do her own scheduling.

Rest. On schedule with 7 hours or more this week. This may change for next week.

Marriage Check Up. Good times. We just relaxed and watched a movie together after kicking kids out of our room.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Madness of the First Full Week of School


The First Full Week of Homeschool as Working Parents

Things We had to Do to Make it Happen:

Rose was hired (but Razor Ray steps in) as our Tutor and Home Helper.
LapTops were configured
DVD Players were tested  
Workboxes were organized
Schedules were put up

Schoolroom was moved to the Dining room and I'll post pics next week since it's not finished.


Speed Racer's

He survived it and completed all of his work. The independent work was done when the homehelper (Rose or Razor Ray) was home doing their college homework.  The 'Do With Mom' he basically did with me as he needed or wanted help. The 'Abeka' and Saxon work was done with either my husband (who takes the late shift) or me who does the first half or classes before he leaves for either dance, martial arts or tennis.

Tiger Lilly's

She actually loves her schedule. It's much lighter than her schedule was last year. The classes are topics she is passionate about so I just check or review her work before she turns it in.

Her Math-070 class is really College Math that she takes at the Community College. She also goes to FREE tutoring sessions at the college on Tue and Thur.

Some homework does spill over to her weekend but she seems to be on top of it (especially since I check her work before she turns it in). Although, to be honest, I am not good at the Japanese and rusty at the C Programming and Java. Unity3d I don't know at all. So I just google what she turned in or ask her to explain it. If she can explain what she did, usually she is right.


Meals. Great week since I treated myself to a cooking week off. Myself and a friend (who's also a working mom) went to Let's Dish to create our freezer prep meals for the week. The food was fabulous, but a bit pricey at $25 a dish.

Cleaning. The deep cleaning for a new school week is still in effect. The kids are earning allowance now. I purchased them a Bluebird (American Express Gift Card) that I put their allowance on based on their daily completion of chores. It's helped them to manage money and understand when spending.

Work & Life Balance. Wonderful. I love my new job. It's rather flexible and the work is not so challenging that I have to bring it home.

Lesson Planning. This is done on Sunday's. I wanted to do 2 weeks at a time, but haven't gotten back in the hang of things.

Rest. Getting more this year. Up to 7 hours of sleep. Whahoo. Thanks for hubby and my home helpers working out.

Marriage Check Up. Doing well. We got out for a movie (a kid snuck in with us) but we enjoy having the adult kids join us sometimes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kid approved Curriculum Favorites


HERE's Their Favorite Curriculum Choices

I asked my kiddos which providers and products they enjoyed most or would recommend to other homeschooled kids based on the following:

Most Thorough
Fun and Informative
One that made it easier to learn

Full online curriculum: -  DVD based or online. (can get diploma) - Live classes. Less expensive when you purchase a year in advance - Live classes. This is cheaper than Landry but just as nice
Funcation - Offers tutoring and live classes. Not used yet, but kid evaluated  - 3d interactive school (can get diploma) - online complete curriculum (can get diploma) or

Technology: - online workshops
Minecraft Homeschool

IEW (book based)

Vocabulary and Spelling:
Sequential Spelling
Spelling You See

Analytical Grammar

Math: - for everything but Algebra. - for all math up to Calc
Saxon Math - for math up to middle school - live class - practice

Mango Languages
Middlebury Interactive
Homeschool Spanish
italki - for live tutor
Currclick Academy

Science: or

CLEP Prep:
Free CLEP Lesson Plans:
Online Tools: Instantcert and SpeedyPrep