Thursday, May 26, 2016

Life After HighSchool, College, Military or Work


Here's how we guided our kids through this decision.

1) Ask them the type of lifestyle they want to have when they 'grow up'. (Select a house, Location to live, Car they want, kids, marriage)

2) Tell them to select 3 careers they'd like to explore.

3) Have them research the following about the careers and put on a Project Board (a) Map out the road to the career, like college, tech school, trianing, etc (2) Job seek in those fields using, and other job search boards (3) Map out starting salary, mid-career salary (4) Research work life balance in the career choices

4) Create Monthly Bills to include living expenses, cars, student loan debt.

5) Compare their prospective careers, monthly salaries against their Monthly Bills (a) Note that to keep above water in some cases they will have to work 2 jobs (b) get a roomate (c) give up the style car or home they want (d) not have as many kids

Selection of College

Every kid has a fantasy about going to college. But a lot of obstacles and cost/benefits should be considered.

It concerns me when students take our HUGE COLLEGE DEBT and have college majors that don't return the level of income commensurate with the amount of debt.

1) Community College should be first - The trick with going to Community College is that you get a 2 yr degree as fast as possible IN AN AREA THAT YOU CAN BE EMPLOYED IN RIGHT AFTER YOU FINISH

The Benefits of doing an AA degree is:

a) Better Internships
b) If it's a local Community College that transfers to state university they give 'completer' or 'transfer' scholarships
c) Allows student to work and complete 4 year degree with AS LITTLE DEBT as possible
d) Gives the student the opportunity to WIDEN career and job reach by selecting a major in Community College that is different than their 4 yr college major. Giving them 2 career fields instead of just 1.

2) Go to a Local University [OR] a cheap online College  - unless there is some specialized major your kid wants, go with the cheaper option. MOST COMPANIES DON'T CARE WHERE YOUR DEGREE IS FROM-only that it is from an accredited institution.

The Benefits of Staying Local

a) Saves you money and lowers college debt
b) Saves cost on living on campus - but if student does want a few years on campus, it is a great tradeoff IF the student finished an AA degree first
c) Gives student more options and deeper networking opportunities
d) Opens the financial possibility of doing a STUDY  ABROAD since they have saved money in other cost of their education
e) Local scholarships are usually more plentiful


Not every student wants to go to college. However, I told them if they weren't going to pursue college they had to do one of the following:

1) WORK: the deal here was, TRY TO FIND A JOB THAT LEADS TO A CAREER. And MAP out your road to growth. So being a receptionist can lead to being and Administrative Assistant, to Secretary to Office Manager

2) MILITARY: Ultimately, I would prefer that the student was in a program like ROTC or the CAP program prior. And that they DID THIS AFTER THEIR DEGREE, but if that isn't an option, the parent should do their research on JOBS within the military and HELP THEIR STUDENT enlist with the best and highest level possible.

3) TRADE SCHOOL: This is where the student should do their research on the job probability after the trade school. Some of these schools are expensive, offer very little financial aide and don't necessarily guarantee a job.

4) VOLUNTEER: The FEMACORPS, AMERICORPS, Help Exchange ( and other like programs are great ways for young people to explore the world


Research! Research! and PLAN their way forward for 3 years.

With doing the above, at least they would have a well thought out plan for the next 3 years. And if PLANS CHANGE? Then RESEARCH and RE-PLAN again.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We've Come A Long Way Baby!

Review of all the Curriculum We've used thus far!

This has been an exciting year. We've done a lot. There were some things we didn't finish, but that's okay. I know my kiddos got more out of their school year with me than they would've in another environment.


They want to homeschool. Even though Speed Racer was entertaining the idea of doing a CO-OP.

What were our KEEPERS? Curriculum that WE LIKED
Kid Approved 

Some of their choices surprised me, mainly because they complained about some of these items while doing it. They decided to re-do it.

Overall What Works for Us:
Math and Writing has to include curriculums that have written and video.
Most of my kids likes are based on interactive, moving, curriculums with quick responses.
They don't like to read too much, but are efficient readers.
They don't like a lot of writing, but are willing to take notes.
Curriculums with accountability works well. They don't mind quizzes or test.

Items they enjoyed and felt they learned a lot from:
Acellus (online full curriculum learning)
FunCation Academy
The Animation Course
Digipen Online Workshop
Youth Digital
ACE Speed Reader (online)
Acellus (online)
Slavery And The Making of America by Morgan Freeman (movie set Amazon)

Items they complained about, but admitted they learned a lot from:
Abeka Homeschool and DVD Lessons
Landry Academy
Sandiego Scribblers
Teaching Textbooks (worked for Geometry and Pre-Calc ONLY)
Spelling You See
Sequential Spelling
Analytical Grammar
See The Light (Art DVDs)
Worldly Wise
Maestro Learning (State Standards Test)

Items they may have learned something, but enjoyed it so much they didn't care:
Minecraft homeschool
Currclick Live Classes (We had short fun classes)

Duds - items that didn't work for us at all
Rosetta Stone
Japanese Video Immersion
AllinOne (Easy Peasy) homeschool (was too light in most areas)
A+ Math
Switched On Schoolhouse
Homeschool Programming (kids just didn't like the format)
Middlebury Interactive (my kid needed live class)
Mango (my kid needed live class)
Mark Krister's online virtual class
Teaching Textbooks (didn't work for us for Algebra or lower grades as well)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Planning Our Summer School 2016 Curriculum

It Never Ends Right?

Summer School Planning for 2016

Yep, we are doing school this summer. The kids had two weeks off and here is our plans for the Summer of 2016.

SPEED RACER (age 12yrs) my Middle Schooler
Moving from 7th grade to 8th this coming Fall.

Summer is the time for Socialization in a major way!

Therefore, we have planned a summer long enrollment in Day Camp at the YMCA, Martial Arts, Surfing Lessons and Breakdancing. Speed Racer will be hiking, swimming, surfing, crafting, exercising and meeting tons of other kids.

We will be working Math, Writing, and Reading daily using the following:

Spelling - Spelling You See and Sequential Spelling
Math - XtraMath, Math workbooks (Spectrum)

Writing - Writing and Reading Workbooks (Spectrum)

Other Curriculum I am sneaking in with a Movie Based Curriculum:

Shakespeare - Movie based - Shakespeare: The Animated Tales 
Science - Using Teach With Movies -
Literature - Using Teach With Movies -

TIGER LILLY (age 15 yrs) the Dual enrolled High Schooler
Moving from 9th grade to 10th.

More Socialization for my Introvert. I am literally having to push her out the door!

I signed her up for a Leadership summer Day Camp and a Hip Hop dance class since it doesn't require prior training. I will sign her up for martial arts in the Fall.

She is taking summer school at her online college from the end of May til the 2nd week of June. Then she is free of 'formal' learning.

From May til June she is taking:

Java Programming she asked to take this in the summer.
Pre-Calculus this class is a redo. We had dropped this class due to a non-resonsive teacher so she is retaking this course.

From June to August she will work on homeschool topics:
Lua/Corona SDK Game Programming she wants to learn this for her future career goals.
Calculus she will be using CTCMath to get acquainted with Calculus before she takes it at the college in October.
Linux she wants more practice with this operating system. 

Project to work on Mobile Game Design that will be coded during next school year.


Meals We only ate out once this week. I made some quick fix dishes that only required heating up a pan or two.

Cleaning. We are down to just 3 boxes. The rest of the home is easy to clean since we don't have as much stuff or people in the house. However, my older kids get here in 2 months, that may change.

Work & Life Balance. My new job is very laid back, the team is great and I love my work. I'm a Data Architect and Database Engineer. Even though I have more than one hat, it isn't bad at all. My schedule is even more flexible on this job as I can come in whatever time I want and work from home here and there.

Lesson Planning. I have the kids doing it for the summer with me. Don't know if I will continue on that way, but it's helping.

Rest. I am still getting a nap when I need it. Figure that will change when we start back at full-time school, but for now it's great.  

Marriage Check Up. The new change in scenary and jobs has relaxed us more than ever. We still have our date night. Lately, we've been doing it up with expensive dates since we went to see Kevin Hart comedy show and Salt N Peppa with EnVogue which was great! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Celebrate My 1st Homeschool and College Graduate

One Made It to The Finish Line

My Rose

From Traditional School To Homeschool
She was my first adventurer! The 2nd child that asked their working mom to homeschool them. She encouraged me. Told me I could work and homeschool her. It would be like helping with homework.

Her accomplishments are wide. She humbly doesn't realize how proud and in awe she's made me.

Here's the journey. From Private School, to Public school at 2nd grade. She stayed at the top of her class. In Elementary, she was ever watchful of her grades and noticed that her teachers were giving her low grades for the quarter when she'd made 'A's ' on all her assignments. My dutiful 5th grader started scanning and copying her grades to keep a 'check' on her teachers. This paid off, by making her an 'A' student through middle school and on to High School.

In High School, she was in the 'gifted and talented' program and took AP classes and Computer Science classes. In those classes as on of the few girls, she had to do many 'group' assignments alone as her fellow computer programming male peers, didn't want her on their team. So she and the only other girl, made it their mission to beat out the boys in time and quality of the assignment. They did.

She also tried out for the Lacrosse team as a goalie since she'd been going to Lacrosse camps and were told by her coaches there that she had a great talent. But at her high school, she got 'cut' by her coach. Although, discouraged, she started running track and loved the sport.

At 10th grade, we moved to another home, and she didn't want to attend the school there. Also, her younger brother, Speed Racer, kept saying how he wanted to be homeschooled since he was having so many problems at school. Well, his big sister listened.

 From Homeschool to Dual Enrollment to Community College

We started homeschooling her, and I just admitted her to the local Community College at age 15 yrs, where she was recommended by her Math teacher to become a Math aide and tutor at just 15yrs old. She was uncomfortable sharing her age, but we got her the work permit and she started tutoring and acting as an Aid in Math, Computer Science and English.

Lacrosse season started, and she tried out for the team, not thinking she'd get selected, but she was. Shortly after, the 1st string goalie left, and her coach gave her a scholarship to play that year. She was 16 yrs old. And was able to 'coach' her former high school team members at a workshop given at her Community college for lacrosse. ~ Talk about blessed.

Then she researched the steps needed to become a Dermatologist, her initial chosen career. After determining that she didn't want to be in school that long, or pay that much, she considered being a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant, but her love of computers led her to BioInformatics that combined Pre-Med and Computer Science.

She graduated with her AA with a 4.0 in BioInformatics and was the YOUNGEST and FIRST graduate from her Community College for that major within 1.5 years.

From Community College to University to Beyond
She went on to a local 4-yr University, with a scholarship and within 2 yrs she completed her dual Bachelors in BioInformatics and Computer Science at just 19yrs old.

She is speaking at her University's graduation, has a new job as a Data Scientist, and has convinced her entire family to take the adventure with her and move to her 'dream' location in Hawaii. She will continue her MS in Data Analytics while working.

Mom is so proud and blessed to have you as one of my amazing daughters.