Friday, December 23, 2016

Reflecting on 2016 and Way Forward for 2017

Happy Holidays!

Here's some thoughts on my reflection of 2016

What an exciting and unpredictable year this has been for my family and I. I wanted to reflect on some major highs and lows of this year since I will be taking a bit of a posting break til January.


My kids have grown to be independent learners this year. The truth is, they've surprised me and disappointed me in some ways with old habits creeping in. But overall, kids are AMAZING! and Resilient.

They've explored much in their learning and I gave them a lot of freedom.

Speed Racer: He is an exceptional learner. Still he is a bit lazy, has a ton of energy, and can be rather defiant with a smart mouth. However, he is so much improved since we started - and since the beginning of our school year.

I have come to realize that I can't let him push my buttons, although he does and I lose my temper, the kid just doesn't take it too personal. Even so, he's grown as a person and a student. Each year is an adventure and he actually teaches me more about myself, stretches my ability for patience, and my need for prayer.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Tiger Lilly: She is growing into an exceptional young woman who knows what she wants out of life. Her passion for art, video games and authoring is something she cultivates in her free time. As a dual enrolled homeschooled and online college student, time management is still one of her major challenges.

She still needs mom to make her accountable and we are continuing to work on that. Her mind and desire for owning and operating her own business to sell her art, her video games and her talet is astounding in someone so young. I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey with her.

Home Life and Marriage

My husband and I took a huge leap of faith and decided to uproot our family and move to a place we'd considered retiring to. We realized that we were too old to do the work so hard so you could retire early road, or the take a mini-retirement every 3 years road and were left with the 'move where you want to retire' dream realization.

It was the best decision of our lives. It has been challenging, but we wouldn't change a thing. We sold everything we had, transferred jobs (I got a new job) and moved our family.

On the marraige front, those amount of stressful changes did cause a lot of debate, gnashing of teeth, and meeting of the minds. It showed us how strong our bond had grown and that we still needed to learn how not to argue so passionately about things that really aren't important.

Work Life

Both of us are working and homeschooling parents. Thus the change in our work environment has a major impact on our lives. My husband had an easy work transition (somewhat) but didn't get money to move for his new job. In my case I took a consultant (temporary consulting job) that transferred to permanent employment. However, even that has been a challenge as there was downsizing on the job as a whole and lots of changes.

Counting Down

Yes, we are counting down the years we have left to homeschool. Likely, we will be doing it for Tiger Lilly until (2018 when she gets her BS degree at 17 yrs old) and for Speed Racer til 2020 - 2021 depending on his emotional maturity. That means another 5 to 6 years O_o --- oh my!

What are your reflections this year?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Halt! We have a Cheating Problem

We have an ongoing challenge with one of our homeschool kids that involves CHEATING.

It ebbs and flows, but it happened frequently enough that we purchased a safe to hide the answer keys and books in.


I don't know why other homeschooled children cheat, but here are the reasons my kids stated they attempted or succeeded in cheating.

1) They wanted a good grade (old traditional school philosophy)
2) They didn't feel like actually figuring out the work
3) It was easy because the answers were easily spotted
4) They did it to finish their work fast
5) They didn't realize it wasn't acceptable
6) They don't want to ask for help


1) It's not about getting the answers RIGHT it's about LEARNING
3) Cheating will falter our trust in your honesty about your needs. If we don't know you need help, we can't help.
4) There are consequences for our actions, when you cheat at home, you will pay a consequence
5) This is an environment that is created for your own success and we will work through how to teach you, expose you and gain you the time and practice you need to succeed.


Once punishment is doled out we:

1) Tell them the slate is clean
2) Evaluate the method of instruction and figure out if we have to start from square one of the specified curriculum or topic (We've had a few redos)
3) Lock up the materials


Kids eventually out grow this issue. It boils down to a behavioral issue in many cases. Consistency, parental emotional control in this situation and consequences help to move them in the direction of honesty and transparency to their needs, frustrations, or lack of enthusiasm for a subject that causes cheating.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

ReVamping Our Schedule For New Block Semester

A New Semester A New Attitude

With our new semester and our new work obligations, we are having to change up our schedule and courses for the kids this 'block' semester.

This is the plan overall for both kids that we hope will last til March (the end of our new block).

THE KEY = 'Accountability' - Mom checks progress everyday. If work is done - Video Games, Movies, Cellphones are given. If not: Work added to weekend and NO FUN ON WEEKEND til work finished.

SPEED RACER (13 yrs)

His Classes This Block will focus on Algebra and Geometry building. Learning to take notes, study technique building and preparing to take his first CLEP in Psychology.

We check his Online Class progress electronically daily. If he doesn't finish his independent work, he can't check out his video game controllers or cellphone.

He does sneak in some naps during the day and has a 11:30pm imposed bedtime.

English Focused Classes
(He does these independently)

Writing ER (Landry Online Class) - Daily
Daily Grammar (2 pages in Grammar workbook) - Daily
IXL (Grammar Drills) - Daily

Algebra Focused Classes
(With Help)
Saxon Algebra 1 (DIVE cds) Does even questions - Daily
Algebra Drill Problems (4-8 pages in workbook) - 2 days do problems/ 2 days review with mom

(He does these independently)

Algebra 1 Online (CTCMath) - Daily
Algebra concept review ( - Daily

Geometry Focused Classes
(He does these independently)
Geometry Online (CTCMath) - Daily

Basic Math Review Focused Classes
(He does these independently)

8th Grade Basic Math (IXL) - Daily

Social Sciences Focused Classes
(He does these independently)
Sociology ( - Daily
Psychology ( - Daily
Logic (Landry) - 2 days a week

(With Help)
Sociology REA Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily
Psychology AP Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily

Humanities ( - Daily
Earth Science - focus on Weather ( - Daily 

(With Help)
Spelling You See (Mom test on Friday's) - Daily
Humanities  Book Read Outload & Take Notes - Daily

 TIGER LILLY (15yrs) with MOMMA
This block semester she will have 3 online college classes and quite a few homeschool classes.

College Classes Online
Intro to Interactive Design
Ethics in Information Tech
Information Systems in Orgs

Online Homeschool Classes
Wed Development 8am Tues (Landry)
Network Essentials 10am Mon (Landry)

Mom Managed Classes
Business Entrepreneurship (Book)
Youth Digital Unity 3D C# (Interactive)