Monday, December 4, 2017

Raising an Independent Learner ~ My Tips and Tricks



I believe in giving my children a challenge and watching, observing how they respond to it so I can figure out how they best are 'sparked' into the hunger for that topic.

Kids love playing games, challenges, and rewards. I created these scenarios with them at various times by giving them something to 'hunt' for within a chosen topic.


We used the Sue Patrick Workbox Method to keep us organized. Also, to allow my child to go to one place for their assignments, turning in their work, and letting me know when they needed help. This was an invaluable training resource for their INDEPENDENCE at a young age.


Creating learning and topical scavenger hunts for information is a really good way to stir up additional and directed learning curiosity. Allowing the child to use whatever source, method or type of research material to gather the pieces to the puzzle for their learning really solidifies the topic. My kids did this a lot with HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, SCIENCE and TOPICS OF THEIR CHOICE. This is a great way to add to a topic or completely teach a subject. You can get really creative with this and end in a DISCUSSION, PROJECT PRESENTATION, or a SHOW AND TELL of their findings.


This assignment should include all the makings of a scientific experiment and argument building exercise. With research methods including outward discovery and even finding or coming up with solutions that are not presented within their findings. It can include a paper, artwork, a collage, and a scientific demonstration of their newfound facts. ~Make it fun ~ and validate the child's responses and retention. Make the topic something that they are interested in. Give them methods for research, analysis. Consider the outcome being *creating a game to discover the findings, a video, acting out the finding ~ do whatever you can to make it fun.


Discovery missions is a way of opening up a learning opportunity by sharing one piece of the study at a time and in different ways. You could experience literature by reading a comic together, then going to see the play, then watching a movie, and going to the location, creating the food for that adventure, or artifacts, or creating a room that represents that adventure, or even have your child plan the adventure to show you the way to their discovery.


Part of making the experience fun, is to figure out how to ask the right questions to lead your child to share, desire discovery, and to interact through the learning experience. They should be fueled by questions, that 'spark' a desire to research to find out more about their topic.


The best part of the experience, is when they are finished their discoveries, they take you on the adventure with them. Let them do it alone first, to 'map the route', then have them take you on the journey to share their methods of discovery, learning, pitfalls, and wins.


Lastly, you want your child to have ownership in validating the exercise. The topic areas, the ways you can improve the experience of their learning journey for them. What they learned from it? How they responded? Did it make them more independent?


My kids don't want me to help them initially. They seek to work through their assignments independently first. Then when I check and review their assignments, I ask them about their responses. Then I suggest a method to use to get or confirm their answers.


All of my children have become confident in the discovery of information to support their interest. They do ask for my advice and guidance, but usually only after they have done extensive research themselves. Most times, they just want guidance, not the answers. The answers, they love to discover for themselves.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Planning for Next Block Semester

How do we position ourselves and our kids to go beyond the normal? We take a plunge. Try it out. Decide then to keep going or redo. Nothing is wrong with the experience of a repeat. We see ourselves get better.


Well, I decided to just enroll Speed Racer in a College Class for Algebra! I don't know if he is ready. I will just get a tutor to help him. It will only be an 8 week class. If he does well, I'll sign him up for another, then another and who knows.

Truth is, I am a bit impatient with progress on studying for the CLEPs and DSST when my son can add up the college credits in just 8 weeks. So it will be an extra expense, but we will find a way to fund it.


After, evaluating what work for us this semester and what didn't. I realized that Speed Racer is maturing as a student. He likes to have ordered task that he can do independently. He also, is now rather good in math. Not so much in writing, but, we will recover that skill next semester.

We decided to change somethings up from what we originally planned for January to May 2018 semester.

1) College Math - Enrolled Speed Racer into college Dual Enrollment program. He is allowed to take up to 7 credits which we will break up into 2 - eight week classes. They will be MATH to include Introduction to Algebra (aka College Math) and Intermediate Algebra. These are the pre-requisite course to take prior to Pre-Calc.Speed Racer has to take up to Calc 2 for his selected major.

2) Writing Intensive - Writing Tutor for Intensive 3 Month Writing Class. Speed Racer can write, he just is lazy about it and needs to learn how to better correct his work. Since he and I seem to clash at this, I am hiring a tutor for writing to review and help him with his writing of 350 word / 5 paragraph essays to improve his speed of reasoning and writing. He will need this skill for college level courses I plan to enroll him in next fall.

3) Programming Intensive - The local coding school offers one on one tutoring for programming. I am hiring a tutor to help Speed Racer with this. I have a curriculum selected and want him to have some one on one help with getting through it.

All his other classes will be on Acellus since he seems to like the platform and is learning.


We went to the GLOBTROTTERS! Loved it! I have seen them when I was a kid, when my oldest were little and now with my little ones.


Art Gallery Trip

SPEED RACER's Progress

He is loving using  (1) Quill (Language/Writing) and (2) Knowre (Algebra 1 practice)

I've fallen off the wagon for Daily Status Checks but when I checked he only had a few items left to finish with his Algebra review.

His progress with combine math review of College Math Prep, Algebra 1 and Basic Math is going well. I am shocked how much he retains and works through easily.

English and Writing is not going so well. He is putting in very little effort and will need more hand holding in the future. Reading is going at a steady pace as his father is reading a book with him, essentially they have their own book club.

For History he is working with Acelles. His Coding with Java is going well although I don't think he is grasping it as deeply as I'd like. Still using Quizlet and Instantcert to study for the DSST Computing Exam. He is doing just okay and this may take longer for him to prepare than I thought.

Bible consist of a daily devotion he reads and chats about with his dad. We dropped Logic for now as we don't have time to finish it during the day.

TIGER LILLY's Progress

She finished one class with an A and is now finishing up her Software and Hardware course. Her 2nd half of classes just started and they are pretty challenging. She is taking Business Continuity Planning, Motion Graphics, System Analysis and Design and Information Systems Management.

In addition to those above, her Business Management homeschool course is finishing up. She finished her company's website. Putting together her marketing plan.

Internship interviews and applications are going out. She is learning to do it, and she thinks it difficult, but she is getting better at it. She even attended some virtual Internship fairs.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I had good intentions, but fell off the wagon and missed two nights of prepared dinner. Oh well.

HOUSE CLEANING: I had to stand behind kids on 'CLEAN UP' patrol for some reason they haven't been doing a good job at keeping everything clean.

LESSON PLANNING: This is on track for now. It will be easier in January when we are on a set curriculum.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: So excited that we are going on a vacation with no kids in November! My hubs mentioned he wanted some time alone with just me when I started planning this as a 'family getaway' so I asked my older kids to take over while we go on vacation and I spoil my hubby. I have a plan to send him romantic text and notes leading up to our weekend getaway.

SELF CARE:Working out now on a regular schedule of at least 4 days a week. Trying really hard to keep us as I tend to slip after two weeks :P  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Stumbling Along and Still There is Progress


Speed Racer our first Year

Both Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly Now


I've been rather lax in daily accountability, but the kids are doing fairly well with a few days here and there of slacking.

My oldest got engaged and we are now in the beginning phase of wedding planning. We had many friends and family illness so attending to that has put a damper on our energy.

The kids are involved in several collaborative efforts regarding state legislation and political awareness.

SPEED RACER's Progress

Added two new courses (1) Quill (Language/Writing) and (2) Knowre (Algebra 1 practice)

Overall we've finished a lot of curriculum. He's been working mostly independent but falling behind on subjects that I don't do Daily Status Checks on regularly.

He has a lot of MATH review to get him prepped for the College Math Clep I hope he will be ready to tackle in May. His Math includes, Algebra 1 review, College Math (working with tutor and Acellus) and basic math fact review. He is actually pretty darned good at Algebra 1 and Geometry and rarely if ever uses a calculator for his problems. He is getting high 90s and is progressing well.

English and Writing are some of the major areas we need tuning. His Time4Writing stint is almost over and I will be using Quill and Egump for language arts tuning as well as LifePac. Also, we are starting to do weekly Writing Prompts that we will work through weekly. That's planned for this coming week. He hates writing so I am prepared to negotiate

For History he is using Acellus and is doing well, hopefully, he will be able to retain it for when he starts to study for the CLEP. He is doing Coding with Java with Acellus and in person at a local computing lab, and using Instantcert to study for the DSST Computing Exam. He has to make at least 80% on the practice exams in order to be ready and now he is only making 50s, so we have a way to go.

Bible, Reading and Logic are both being covered with dad so they are having some great conversations and starting to develop an enjoyment for the same types of books.

TIGER LILLY's Progress

After dropping two classes due to incompatibility with the teachers, Tiger Lilly only had 2 college classes until October.

She is doing well in her college classes that remain. Tiger Lilly is working on her micro-company website and blog. Also, building up her product list for sell. Her sister Rose is helping and they are collaborating to have a big launch in May of next year.

Tiger Lilly and her sister are now taking Adult Ballet classes (I scheduled it in order for them to have a hobby they could do together and it's working).

The in person Blender and Unity 3D class Tiger Lilly is taking is fun and she hopes to continue after the fall.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I've been on a roll these last few weeks. I prepped meat, seasoned it and we had fun and interesting dinners. I am tired though and was slipping this last week.

HOUSE CLEANING: It's been tidy, but cluttered. We didn't get around to cleaning our own rooms, but the kids cleaned the common areas and it lasted oh, about two days.

LESSON PLANNING: Only taking me an hour, but did it at the last minute on Monday mornings and had to email it to the kids.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: We were able to go out alone two times in the last few weeks. Then we took a nap when the older kids took their siblings out.

SELF CARE: I am doing a decent job at exercising now. I sneak it in while I am at home with the kids in the evening and checking their work.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The winding path of raising kids with goals

There Is No Straight Road
When it comes to raising kids
According To Their own Rhythm

This was taken on our way home from kid's computer class

Speed Racer doing a safety check of the glider before he flies it.

Still learning to surf

My boys have been my most challenging kids to raise. Yes, my girls had their own set of interesting twist and turns, but my sons have beautiful, wild, and alpha male spirits. It has made me a better person to be part of the molding and shaping of them. 

Speed Racer has matured so much in the last few years. Each year I see more growth. I do give him direct focus on his goals, careers, vision after he answers many questions I have for him. When I do come up with a new focus, I am willing to change it if he voices a change. Lately, he's enjoyed everything I've thrown at him.

Our Vision For him (which I put on his bedroom door is)
Be a Pilot
Become a Martial Arts Teacher
Sail around the world
Become an Aeronautical Systems Engineer
Learn how to fix airplanes

The unconventional plan to get there
1) Get his Info Syst Degree with CLEP, DSST at Online University (graduate between 18-19 yrs)
2) At 19 yrs, attend 2 yr college get degree in Aircraft Mechanic
3) Get Commercial Pilot license
4) Learn to Sail at the local Youth Sailing program
5) At 21 yrs, attend Master's program with Airforce funded degree and scholarship program


13 yrs

Speed Racer has made progress in the following classes.

Online Daily Independent Classes
College Math Prep (Acellus) 6 lessons completed
US History 1 AP (Acellus) finishing from last year (has 80% to do) - 8 lessons completed
Psychology (Acellus) finishing from last year (has 10% to do) - 6 lessons
English (Acellus) 8 lessons completed
Algebra 1 review (Teaching Textbooks & Modern States) - 5 lessons completed
Basic Math review drills - 5 lessons completed
Time4Writing (Writing Mechanics High School) - 5 lessons 2 quizzes & 2 submitted assignments.

Work through with parents
Logic - completed chapter 3
Bible Devotinal - completed 3 devotionals
Computing & Info DSST  - working on 32 terms in Instacert
College Math Clep Review (Modern States, REA Clep Book, & Tutor) - Week 1 finished (Chp 1 & 2) ~ also worked with tutor

Classes In Person
Java Programming - attended first class and loved it
Dance - was in a competition this past weekend and practiced 4 days
Martial Arts - attended 2 days
Young Pilot Program - flew Glider plane
Sailing - signed up, went by Yacht club
Leadership Retreat

16 yrs
This week we decided to drop one of her College classes (even though she finished 2 major assignments) due to the group that she was put in. It was confusing even for me in helping her and the professor was no help. Now she only is working on 1 college class for this coming week and her business homeschool class. Her in person programming class in Unity 3d is extending to add Blender so she is excited. She did the leadership retreat with her brother, martial arts and her older brother has become our (mine and hers) personal trainer. He is wearing us out.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: This week ran smoothly. I had a bunch of meat prepped and did a quick meal with more veggies and no starch (no potatoes, no pasta, no rice) and my family hated it. They did like the mashed cauliflower though.

HOUSE CLEANING: I appointed pappa as the enforcer. I tapped out. He took over and stuff got done. Not to the level I would like, but the house is cleaner than it was. Now I am still trying to figure out how we ended up with sooooo much clutter in just 2 years since our move when we had nothing really.

LESSON PLANNING: Did it on Monday, my day off from work. I even gave them the day off. It took just under an hour.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Still having some logistic issues with finding time together. Mostly, because when I finish with kids at 8:30pm, my hubs takes over til around 10pm and I am sleep. Then the weekends, we were taking kids to all day events and I didn't want to stay up to go out (even though my husband is a night owl, I am not).

SELF CARE: I took a 3 hr nap on Sunday. Best day ever! Then waxed my eyebrows, exercised and read an entire book over the weekend.

Monday, August 28, 2017

My Crazy and Unorthodox Way Of Homeschooling


I reflected on the last few years over my homschooling journey. I've always been a 'survivor' a 'never accept a NO until I find my own YES' kind of person.

Therefore, when it came to my kids, I wanted to expose them to everything while pushing their minds and abilities as far as I could until they grew, or asked for a reprieve. 


It's a method used in private schools, high schools and most work places. However, REMOVE THE STRESS by making it a DISCOVERY.

1) Reach for the MOON

Expose your child to BIG DREAMS but allow them a PASS TO REDIRECT.

2) Fall to the STARS

The redirect is , finish the road started, but revise, and repeat if you have to.

For example, Speed Racer, has taken Alg 1 for 2 years. He started at 11 yrs old. He got a 'C'. Then at 12 years old, we used a different curriculum, he got a 'B'. This year, we are combining Alg 1 with College Math, so far, he's working on an 'A'.

We encouraged him to pursue 3 careers since he enjoys flying glider planes (1) Aeronautical Engineer (2) Pilot (3) Aeronautical Mechanic

I don't actually expect him to do all three. However, both my husband and I have had to or more career or businesses at one time. I am an Engineer, an author, have been a College Professor, Mortgage Lender, Travel consultant, all why maintaining my engineering career. My husband has done the same. Therefore, we want our kids to know, that if you want to experience two or more complimenting careers in a lifetime...go for it. Just figure out a way to do it.

Also, we plan to have him finish a degree in at least 2 of these areas with a minor in Computer Science since he also loves coding.

3) If they want to CHANGE DIRECTION, let them.

4) Don't accept a direction without them researching, defending a new plan.


This isn't the approach many parents choose to take. However, our minds are incredible gifts and when we encourage our kids that there are MANY MANY ROADS to their GOALS, that FAILURE doesn't mean DEFEAT but a CHANGE OF DIRECTION, they won't lose.

13 yrs old
Blended High Schooler

Speed Racer has matured so much in six months. I know he would, but sometimes as a parent, we are impatient. I try lots of methods to encourage positive growth, and never really knows what has worked, but I know, never giving up is the key.


Removed curriculum (1) Logic with Compass Classroom (2) Physics removed completely to year before he officially starts Dual Enrollment at online college (3) Added in person Java class (child requested) on Sundays.


Speed Racer doubled his quiz scores for study of the Computing DSST EXAM review with Instantcert. He has finished all independent work on time, before Friday, with good grades.

16 yrs old
Blended High Schooler

Tiger Lilly is pretty independent with her college classes. On Friday's I review all her work before she turns it in.

She requested another in person computer class. She's taking C#, Unity 3D and now Blender on Fridays for 2 hours. Her in person Japanese class will be moved to Spring since we both think her schedule is pretty booked.

Her homeschool business course is going well. Her website and blog are being created in the coming weeks.

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I haven't gotten back on track with the mail planning or prep yet. I'm just throwing dinner together our we are grabbing fast food.  I am giving myself a month with our new schedule to get this corralled again.

HOUSE CLEANING: Not happening. This new schedule is wearing me down a bit and I haven't been enforcing (verifying that chores are done correctly and completely) like I should.

LESSON PLANNING: I do it mostly on Sunday evenings and it takes about an hour. We still use the Sue Patrick workbox system and the kids get a daily and weekly schedule. I am still working out our schedule. There are many changes in the first week and I am trimming curriculum down that I don't think is working.

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: With my husband and I co-teaching this year, with a more HANDS ON APPROACH to HOMESCHOOLING our Speed Racer, both of us have been. Date night hasn't happened in 2 weeks. I owe him big time and sent him an IOU and he did the same. We set a date over the holiday weekend to have a day together.

Monday, July 31, 2017

New School Year - New Attitude 2018-19 Curriculum


This school year will be just as challenging, but with more planned breaks and more outside help.


Although, he finished all of his classes I'd planned for  him last school year. I still feel he needs a deeper Math review and Writing review.

These are subjects I will not let him go soft on as he needs to be comfortable with these for  Dual Enrollment.


To figure out which learning path works for Speed Racer towards earning college credit. His college of choice will be (1) BS at ~ major Info Tech or Web Design (2) AA degree in Airplane Repair (has to be 18yr for this program) so we will focus on the BS credits first.


Math Tutor
Writing Teacher and Curriculum that checks his papers
Programming Classes


Well, he finished Algebra 1 and Geometry with a B- in both. So I am having him take it over but with a different Curriculum. Then he will transition to Algebra 2 and Trig the beginning of next year.

Algebra 1 Review > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
LifePac (with Mom and Independent)

College Math > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
CLEP COLLEGE MATH-Prep For Success (with Tutor and book )
Accellus (and/or) for 6 weeks
Straighterline (After Modern States)

Algebra 2 and Trig > Nov 16th - July 15th
Abeka DVD based Curriculum


Speed Racer will be tuning the skills needed to pass College Composition CLEP or Straighterline Course.

English 1> Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Life Pac 9th Grade with Tutor)

Writing > Aug 1st-Nov 15th

Vocabulary> Nov 16th - July 15th

Literature >  Nov 16th - July 15th
Live Plays

Speed Racer will be preparing to take either the US History 1 and 2 CLEP or Straighterline course.

US History 1  (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Acellus (Do 1st)
Modern States (Do 2nd)
Straighterline (Do 3rd or take CLEP)
Instantcert or SpeedyPrep (whichever works best for him)

US History 2  (3 college credits) > Jan 7th-Mar 15th
Acellus (Do 1st)
Modern States (Do 2nd)
Straighterline (Do 3rd or take CLEP)
Instantcert or SpeedyPrep (whichever works best for him)

~Computer Science~
Speed Racer finished the Accellus Computer Science 1 course and did exceptionally well. Therefore, he has chosen the Computing and Info Tech DSST for his first DUAL credit course.

Computing and Info Tech for DSST  (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Speedy Prep
Practice Test

Javascript  > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Computational Learners In Person Class

Build a Drone > Aug 1st-Nov 15thComputational Learners In Person Class

~Social Science~
Speed Racer completed these courses with Accellus and last year.

Psychology (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Sociology (3 college credits) > Jan 15-March 15th
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Ethics In America (3 college credits) > Mar 15 - May 15
Modern States
Straighterline (or) CLEP

Intro To Religion (3 college credits) > Aug 1st-Nov 15th

Speed Racer is required to take Physics in college. He took it with but I wanted to expose him to it more at a slower high level pace so we are working through this hands on curriculum that's light, but using some videos.

Physics > Aug 1st-Nov 15th
Youtube Videos
With Dad


In the Winter and Spring of this school year, will do mostly CLEP test study or STRAIGHTERLINE with MODERNSTATES (since they give voucher for FREE CLEP test)

Research Child's Path 1st.
Note: UMUC (college of choice) accepts ACE credits and direct transfers from STRAIGHTERLINE and up to 90 transfer credits form other sources including (CLEP and DSST). His chosen COMMUNITY COLLEGE degree is more hands on and will accept CLEPs/DSST for Pre-reqs so he will have to take CLEPs for his Math and English for the Community College degree if he doesn't have his BS before starting.

 Credits to Attempt this year (Aug 1st to July 15th)
  ~ Modern States, then Straighterline [and/or] CLEP or DSST test ~

Religion (3 credits) 1st
Computing and Info Sys (3 credits) 2nd
US History 1 (3 credits) 3rd
US History 2 (3 credits) 4th
Ethics In America (3 credits) 5th
Psychology (3 credits) 6th
Sociology (3 credits) 7th
College Math (3 credits) 8th
Algebra (3 credits) 9th


She is officially a Junior in College and a Home School High Schooler. Here's her breakdown.


This year is focusing on honing her ART, Japanese speaking skills, her BUSINESS BUILDING, her NOVEL creation, WEB COMIC creation and MOBILE GAME development skills. Also, to finish her BS degree in Information Systems and Computer Science (minor). By the end of her school year she should have completed the following (1) Build her Micro Business Website (2) Drafted her first Novella (3) Drafted her first Web Comic (4) Build her ART Portfolio and placed her works for sale (5) Drafted her first mobile game to be sold

~ College Classes ~
Tiger Lilly has only 3-8week semesters to finish before she is done her required courses for her degree.

Here's her class list.
Fall (Aug-Oct)
-Info Sys Project Mgmt
-Software and Hardward Infrastructure

Fall (Oct-Dec) 
-Motion Graphics
-Systems Analysis and Design
-Digital Marketing

Spring (Jan-Mar) 
-Info Sys Practicum
-Business and Continuity Planning

~ Homeschool Business Classes ~
Tiger Lilly finished the first part of this course by Carol Topp. It was wonderful for her. She has her Micro Business plan already thought out and written. Now we are finishing the set up and figuring the rest.

Running a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

Money and Taxes In a Micro-Business
by Carol Topp

~ Homeschool Japanese ~
Tiger Lilly completed the first three Japanese courses at a local Japanese language school and will be completing the last two before I enroll her in the in - person Community College course.

School Of Japanese
Part 4 (2 days a week)
Part 5 (2 days a week)

~ Homeschool Art Classes ~
Tiger Lilly is taking ART at the local museum, but we are seeking out a more courses that allow her to work with young people on the type of Art she likes.

Art and Drawing
Community College
Art Museum Art School

Friday, June 23, 2017

Experiment of Doing Nothing

Big Brother and Little Brother


The best gift a mom has is when her oldest son matures enough to be a mentor to her youngest son. This moment for me happened at the Lacrosse team end of season party. My oldest son was able to coach and mentor his brother along with some other great young boys.


Well it's been three weeks and I didn't really allow Speed Racer to do an extra-curricular activities. Since he was burned out, and I was burned out I told him to just relax. However, NO VIDEO GAMES and NO LAPTOP unless he has a valid reason to use it.


Opted to going outside to play basketball, ping pong, ride his skateboard, washed the car, picked coconuts from our tree, took out the trash.

Then he said, "I'm bored, can I have the computer to look up some science experiments on I can do?"

Then while watching these videos on:
- Science Experiments
- Crazy things people do
- Conspiracy Theories
- Breakdancing
- Video Game Play

And this...


He said, "What do I have to do for my work?"

My answer, "Nothing. Figure it out. Your choice. If you want to go to camp in July, the work for the year should be finished." *wink*

His actions, he finished all his subjects (Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy)
Then his CTCMath Algebra 1 and Geometry.


In 3 weeks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Had to Halt the School Year For One

I have called a full HALT to Speed Racer's school year. 

Speed Racer and I are tired of working together on school.

We need chill and fun time.

A fresh start.

A break.

Some help.

A new dog-on curriculum.

Summer vacation.

Anger management.


I ended the school year for Speed Racer. He is doing nothing. Factors involved in this decision were (1) Mom started a new job that is higher visibility than the last (2) Dad started a new job and starting a new business. (3) Mom's part-time business is taking off. (4) Speed Racer just isn't in the mood to work anymore. It's been a struggle, frustrating, changing of curriculum, and grumbling.

I took a step back.

Realized that we just weren't excited about learning and were burnt out.

Also, I had to address his bad behavior. So there was a bit of redirected learning. I told him he could study or deep dive, unschool, do whatever he wanted until I sent him to camp in July.

We will see what happens.

Tiger Lilly is going forward. Taking FIVE college classes this next 8 weeks before starting camp in July. Her load will be busy with DRAWING, MARKETING, BIOLOGY with BIO LAB, and WEB DESIGN.

She wants to do it so she can have a light year her last year of college this Fall. If she keeps this up, she'll graduate with her BS at age 17 yrs old. A record for the family. 


Meanwhile as for MOM....I am hanging in there. Although, I still review Tiger Lilly's work 2 times a week, I am free all the other days from homeschool support. 

I am taking lots of naps after work since I don't have to do one on ones with Speed Racer. Gearing up for a job certification test, writing a lot for my part-time business and just putting thoughts of planning next school year aside.

Don't think I'm not itching to get back to it. I just am making myself re-direct so I can re-charge for that passion.

SCHOOL WILL RESUME FOR Speed Racer in August. 

How do I feel about that? 

I love the freedom of homeschool. I control our breaks. Next school year, I may invest in a Math tutor 2 times a week just so I can take a step back from that toxic subject with my young guy. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Is the School Year Over Yet? Another Math Issue


And what did I figure out? That even though I thought I wanted to do Year Around School, I NEEDED THE DARNED BREAK or I was going to explode.

Things I had time to ponder on while on Vacation.

1) My kids would rather be PLAYING VIDEO GAMES than going on tours. That had to change.

2) I need more sleep in days.

3) I DON'T know how to fully relax and do nothing for long periods of time.

4) I don't like staying in the house, even though my kids do.

5) The Math curriculums weren't giving my son ENOUGH MATH PRACTICE.


1) Math - MY SON needed a MASTERY BASED program where HE WROTE OUT his math problems to slow down his MENTAL MATH capabilities.

He will be working with a tutor on Math this summer. I changed his MATH program to LIFEPAC for Algebra 1.

WHY did I SELECT LifePack ALG 1?

 - It's NOT online
 - Read and Do problems
 - Can be done Semi-independently
 - Hard to cheat
 - I can purchase tutor help if I need it
 - It's only $59 for complete program
 - It is different than is online CTCMath
 - It focused on practicing what you are taught until you REALLY know it before moving on. Mastery based learning.

SAXON wasn't working because their wasn't the MASTERY and Saxon is more of a SPIRAL that is just too wide for my son.

CTCMath is still a GOOD SUPPLEMENT but he needs to WRITE OUT HIS WORK.

2) NO YEAR AROUND SCHOOL, we will have 1 month and 1 week off. I NEED it, the KIDS NEED it. My Husband NEEDS it.

3) In PERSON CLASSES for TIGER LILLY. She is too much of an INTROVERT. I found an IN PERSON Japanese class, Art class, and Unity 3D coding class for High School Students after school.

4) Summer Camp for 1 month and 1 week for BOTH kids, even though I initially didn't want Speed Racer to attend since he had some challenges at camp due to his own behavior last year. His siblings pointed out, how will he learn what is acceptable behavior if he doesn't have opportunities to figure it out? Good points. So I am giving it another chance.

5) Our school year will end July 1st. Woot!

Other Good Happenings

I still love homeschooling. I wouldn't be able to give my kids chances to shine, redirect, focus, and revisit work they weren't 100% comfortable with if I didn't homeschool them.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Roses and Opportunities!


Well with all the moving, changing of curriculum, changing, and mayhem in this working parent's household. Things are about to get even more exciting!


My husband got a new job. He was recently laid off, well it took him about three weeks to find another awesome position. My daughter Rose was also supposed to transition to a new job with my husband's old company. That didn't work out with the recent contract cut backs. However, Rose, found another job using a head hunting service that contacted her in the past. It took them 2 weeks to find her a position with a great raise and wonderful company. As for me, I'd stopped seeking new employment and was just waiting until later this year when this contract ends to find something, BUT, a great opportunity with longevity fell in my lap. Now, WE ALL HAVE NEW JOBS!


Well, it takes awhile for us to train up on our new positions and be able to use the flexibility that comes with being in the Info Tech field. So, I had to change my kid's homeschool schedule around a bit.


After 1.5 years of Algebra 1 I have finally figured out something about Speed Racer. He likes an audience for Math and Writing. He does best when I give him the problems to work out on the dry erase board, we check it, if it's wrong, he tries to fix it, then we watch the Saxon video if it is still wrong or he doesn't understand.

Wow! He wants 'interactive' math even though he could absorb it on his own.

So we've worked our schedule around supporting his Math and Writing learning opportunities.

13 yrs old

10am to 2:30pm (Independent Work Online) - Finish all online Acellus Classes (College Math Review, English, Psychology, Geography, US History) * No books are included with these courses or homework

Geometry and Algebra 1 independent with CTCMath

Humanities, Philosophy and Sociology with 

 Note: Sometimes he doesn't finish all of the courses or lessons for that day, but I can check his status during my lunch break via the mobile app provided by Acellus.

3:30pm-5pm - Algebra 1 Workbook: No Nonsense Algebra Review WORKBOOK - we do it together and it reviews Algebra facts.

8:30pm-9pm - Algebra 1 Saxon Math (has Geometry Review and Algebra) with Dive & Mom work with Speed Racer

Since we are running behind, I am moving some curriculum to the summer.

CLEP study (we are still trying to assess what test Speed Racer is most ready for).
Grammar Practice
Basic Math Practice
Python Programming

16 yrs old

10am to 2:30pm - (8 week courses Online College Classes with ends May 7th)
Foundations of Information Sys
Enterprise Architecture
Telecommunications in Info Sys

10am to 2:30pm 
Micro Business Homeschool Curriculum
Blender design with Udemy
C# programming with YouthDigital
Building Wordpress Website for her Art Business

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Algebra 1 with My Youngest Son Is Killing Me

My 13 yr old SPEED RACER is killing me with his nemesis ALGEBRA.

I mean it. I am literally in the mood to throw it out of our curriculum. I mean, he did get a C in the class last year.

Maybe, making him retake Algebra 1 this year was a torturous mistake for me.


Abeka Algebra 1, he did last year, got BARELY a C. So I figured, no problem, we'll just do it this year, but use SAXON. Well, he cheated the first part of the year by using a calculator, sneaking the answer key. So...we restarted the SAXON, and I changed his entire curriculum to ACELLUS because with my new job, I didn't have time to sit with him and go over every problem and subject.

THEN...the MATH breakdown. He was stuck at C and D level with ACELLUS and SAXON. What the heck!!


Now with SAXON, we practice with CTCMATH, which he is doing great with. Problem is, when he WRITES the MATH PROBLEMS, he misses key steps.

IN COMES this great book, No-Nonsense Algebra. Thank GOD!

The reason I haven't hired a TUTOR is because the boy simply hates PRACTICING his math. It's not that he can't grasp the concepts, he is just too insistent on not doing the work. Ugh!

For just $21 it comes with problems and videos. We are using this along with SAXON. 

It's going to be a long summer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My 13yr old Makes his Own Money by doing Surveys?! And More

Yes, my 13 year old got his allowance taken from him and what did he do? Innovate! He started doing surveys, playing games, and earning money through gift cards to create an allowance he could do from home.

Mobile Performance Meter is his current favorite. I have him trying one app at a time with out supervision to see if it actually works.

Now he wants to do the following:

1) Do DROP SHIPPING business online using a business EBAY account to sell items he finds for cheaper at other websites.

2) YOUTUBE CHANNEL he is trying to figure out what would gain him more followers overtime.

3) BLOG in his journey to find a business where he, as a teenager, can make passive income.

4) APP referral business to continue what he is doing.

5) TWITCH and YOUTUBE gameplay business.

MY 16 YEAR OLD has her two business ideas

1) ART BIZ, selling her art online

2) T-SHIRT ART BIZ, selling her art designs on create on demand

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Battle Of Wills. Your kids and You.

MY WILL is a bit STRONGER than my CHILD's

Because I will not allow them to make me give up on them. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes lose the battle and yell at them, punish them by taking away an activity or item, or have my own tantrum. Hey, momma is not perfect. We try not to 'lose' our composure, but my kids can probably find the kink in both my husband's and my armor of parental control better than anyone.

I am always researching, devising, and figuring out how to out do, persuade and decode my kid. They just have more time to do it than I do.


This is one of my most frustrating parts of parenting and teaching. It's not just a HOMESCHOOL thing, it's a parent child thing. I had the same challenges with getting my kids to finish HOMEWORK FROM TRADITIONAL school. Or any 'extra' aftershooling they had to do just to keep up in their classes.

I have timed my kids. I know what they are capable of. My speed racer could finish his packed curriculum in 4 hrs a day if he is in the 'mood'. Other times (lately it's a lot of times) he drags it out while making faces, constant trips to the bathroom, the kitchen, stretching, clicks off screen and may not finish his goals for the day.

What happens when he prolongs school work planned for the week? He gives up his weekend (I don't take his sports from him though). He doesn't get to do any extra and has weekend school.

For this especially difficult year, he will be doing school through the summer since he is unlikely to finish all of his curriculum by the end of May (when we usually end full-day school).

That means (1) No summer camp that is fun (2) No day field trips (3) No Spring Break Camp (4) No electronics on the weekend or after hours.

For some reason, this year, the kid could care less. Me, however, it ticks me off, but I won't cut the school year short. I won't slim down his curriculum. He will complete it since to me he is being openly defiant.


Yes, now it's not loud the loud, kicking and screaming he used to do. It's the rigid set of his shoulders, the thin-lined lips, the silly expressions and out right refusal to get work done.

That means I (1) sit next to him and do my work (he hates this). (2) cut off all media. (3) take it back to the workbook (4) take away something he really wants or wants to do/go.

The truth is, it's exhausting. But I will not give up my creativity. I tell him he will finish this race, even if he takes a break along the way.


This is a consistent issue with him being in online classes and us no longer doing the Abeka DVDs with workbooks. It is a transition I am having my doubts about since it's a constant battle to keep him on one webpage, and focused. The child will slip a youtube music video, pandora, game or anything online to 'slack off' in class.

To combat this he has to turn his speakers up, have his computer facing me, or I use a program that allows me to pop into his computer.

Both of my sons tried my patience in this manner. It's the unpleasant part of parenting and it's made me an 'aggressive' speaking parent that I rarely have to become with my girls.

Now to be fair, the kids have this trait as a 'gift' from both their dad and I. It's not a bad trait, it's just irritating when it means the child can multi-focus on things that aren't important to the list of things they have to do.


Aha! This is another issue. The kid is a computer genius! He has found little apps that allow him to access social media without actually going on his phone or a web page. Grrrrrrr!

As I am typing this, I am seriously considering going back to workbooks since I didn't have this issue before. However, the kid is getting older and has to learn some self control in order to be mature enough for the next phase of learning.


Now, this is the hard part. Being creative with blocking these attempts to procrastinate. We've tried it all and will likely have to figure out more tactics in this.

The first rule is TRY NOT TO GET ANGRY AT THEM, it's the hardest rule of all for most parents.

1) Use a timer
2) Remove all temptations to procrastinate
3) Schedule in lots of breaks that relieve energy and stress
4) Do topic check ups where you make sure the child isn't procrastinating because the work is too difficult
5) Give rewards for finishing and doing it on time
6) Allow some zone out or goof off time
7) Schedule in a 'make up' day or days for when goals aren't reach


The one and final rule I have is not to punish my children by taking away their time to play with other kids. This is so important for homeschooled kids that I try to find other ways to discipline and they know that this


Procrastination? Angry Faces? Stubborn disobedience?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rememberance of Being a Stay At Home Dad - That worked too


My wife was pregnant with our third child. She worked and so did I. My wife was an engineer and had a pretty stable and dependable job. I was a Regional Sales Manager and had worked my job for a year after I'd graduated from college after serving in the military.

I was laid off when the department closed, and was given a 3 month severance pay with up to six months of unemployment available.

Then, two weeks after I was laid off, my wife was put on pregnancy bedrest for 13 weeks until delivery.

Therefore, I decided to get my Real Estate licence before the 'boom' in Real Estate. But to do so, I had to take a class, care for my bedridden wife and still bring in some income to fund advertising of my new business.


I decided to take on a paper route, it would put me at work when my wife and two other kids were sleeping. It allowed me to take my Real Estate class in the afternoon after I dropped our two kids off at school and fed my wife.

Then I took a job on the weekends, working nights as a security guard, two nights a week while the kids and wife were sleep.


I planned on my business to kick off, but it took time. My wife BEGGED me to stay home during the day with the baby since I had flexible hours and she couldn't find a babysitter she liked. Our previous baby sitter retired.


I told my wife we needed a housekeeper 1 day a week since I couldn't keep the house as clean as she liked. We both decided it would be good if someone helped with cleaning our clothes since we spent lots of time washing the kids close. I also was notorious for getting the older kids to school late to the point the school contacted my wife.

So, I gave my 7 yr old and 4 year old alarm clocks, set up the baby's old room (we moved her in with her sister) into an upstairs recreation room. It had a refrigerator with their breakfast in Tupperware containers. The kids clothes for the day were on their dressers and I ran them through getting themselves ready while I got the baby ready.

My wife pumped breast milk while at work from 5am-1:30pm. I quit the paper route job, the Real Estate business took off, and our baby was home with me full-time and the older kids were in private school. Sometimes, I even took the baby to show houses with me and put her on my back. My clients loved it.

Then we had another baby.


There wasn't many friends to be gained this way. Most events had SAHM that found it interesting I was at home. I rarely felt comfortable in those settings so I focused on my kids. They did make jokes though, nothing I took personal, but I found it funny. My wife, however, was offended.

Then, I didn't have much patience for the women that complained so much about being home. I did it and worked and loved it. So, it was lonely. Also, I'd get questioned by school teachers when I showed up for events and my wife didn't since she saved her vacations and time for doing everything with the kids in the evening since I worked then.

These challenges were things I just accepted and created a group of friends from a part-time job I worked four nights a month in security. All guys and adults which helped me get out of the house.


When the Real Estate market took a dive, my youngest son was then 3 yrs old and my youngest daughter was 5 yrs old and already in public school with her siblings.

I went back to school to update my technical skills and got a job in the Tech field like my wife.

It was hard sending the kids off to school and daycare. I still kept my Real Estate business and my new full time job. My sleep suffered, but I adjusted.

We all did.


When I was recently laid off, it seems exhausting and frustrating getting back into a routine with my kids since they are used to doing things a certain way when we parents are at work and their siblings come and go.

We are adjusting, but it will change again, as soon as I start my new job.

Update: I shortly found a job as an network engineer, and now help my wife with the kids homeschooling while we both work outside the home.

Our schedules compliment each other I work late mornings, her early mornings and we switch off reviewing and helping our kids with their work.

We are a team. Especially, with homeschooling. Now we both work outside the home and homeschool. Having a nanny and our older kids pitch in has been a great transition.



Being able to be home with my kids, sleep in, play with them, support my wife and shape their lives.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Working Parents and Homeschooling
The Constant TUG OF WAR

I admit that I'm the type that loves to have a ton of stuff I'm juggling. Sitting still just isn't in my vocabulary.

However, there are times when I feel as though I am being pulled in way too many directions. Most of those times, it's my own darned fault.


I have to ask myself this question hour by hour. Since we have moved, we haven't gotten used to this constant state of summer and daylight in our new home. It used to be, I wouldn't have activities to do, or desire to step outside, or take a nap as often since WINTER = HYBERNATION. Well I don't get that time off anymore.

When I am working at my job out of the house, it is easy to set work as my priority. Once I get home, my kids and husband are my priority. I do work on my home business when I am there but if I need to help my kid with homework, or redirect, I give in to those priorities before finishing my work.

So...WHAT IS MY PRIORITY? It depends on where I am at the time.


I do that now more than I did when I initially started homeschooling. Everyday I get home, I try to find time for a nap, to read and goof off.

This is IMPORTANT. Self care and having 1 hr to yourself a day won't hurt your kid, it will help them in the end.


We have been doing that a lot in January, then February. It means that school won't end for my kids until July. I warned them about lagging schedules and work. They didn't mind doing school longer in the summer.


Lately, we've been learning via GAME SCHOOLING, MOVIE BASED curriculums, PROJECT based and EXPERIENCE based. We are doing that with History and Literature this year. It's fun, less pressure and the kids present their findings via a family presentation.

Truth be told, I really look forward to the movies and plays. Not so much for the project or game schooling since those take much more effort and time for planning.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebration of National Womens Day

Even with woman being the birthers of the next generation. Even with how far we have come. I sat at work today and overheard a male co-worker say, "Aren't you 'girls' supposed to be somewhere protesting today?"

I know he didn't say it with malice, but I corrected him by saying, "The protest is here when you call us WOMEN, girls."

We both laughed, but as women we need to know that perception is still out there. That women who have to work and want to work, have to work within an environment where we are outsiders to the club.

We still rise above it.

I'm teaching my girls to love who they are. To know that they have a special place in this world, and to stand up for the respect we give, that we should get in return.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Working HomeSchooling Parent's Busy Day

The Weekly Wrap Up From Working Parent's Perspective

Inspired by Practical By Default Blog

After reading a blog post by Jen at Practical By Default, I was inspired to give a peek at a typical day from a Working and Homeschool parents point of view.

Usually, I give the viewpoint of Speed Racer (my 13 yr old) and Tiger Lilly (my 15 yr old) but today, I interviewed my husband who co-teaches with me and we both work outside the home.


My husband and I have varying work schedules. We both have pretty flexible schedules that allow us to overlap our coverage of childcare.

My husband is now working in the evenings since he started a new 'temporary' job. I tend to work early in the mornings and some evenings during the month.


Our kids now have curriculum that doesn't require as much hands on interaction between my husband and I. They don't really want our help in most topics, and usually insist on trying it themselves first. It wasn't always this way. I'd say at around 12 yrs old Speed Racer became very independent and around 13 yrs old is when Tiger Lilly did so.


4:45am > MOM wakes up to get ready for work
I shower, do make up, take my pre-prepped meal for the day and put it in my bag.

Meet my 19 yr old, Rose, in the kitchen for my morning water and while she is eating breakfast, I put on my shoes.

5:25am > Mom drops Rose off at the bus stop, then heads to work.

6:00am > Mom gets to work, logs into her various systems that she supports, check status of open issues, attend various meetings, fix system and application problems, create technical documents

08:30am > Dad gets up. Wakes up Speed Racer (who is always sleeping late) eats breakfast with Tiger Lilly (who wakes up at 9am).

09:00am > He gets Speed Racer to eat breakfast while setting up the computer for Speed Racer's lesson.

09:30am > He gets Speed Racer started on lessons and tells him what has to be done by the time MOM gets home.

10:00am > Sometimes DAD leaves for work at this time. If he is home, he pretty much works on the computer at the dining room table with the kids.

11:15am > Take a morning walk

11:30am > Return from morning walk, back to work.

12:00pm> MOM checks the kid's online work status on Acellus, CTCMath,, Membean, Udemy, YouthDigital, IXL, and (Yep, I check all of them, it takes me about 10 min)

12:15pm> MOM calls the kids or DAD (if he is working nights instead of days) to check progress, answer any questions or redirect.

2:30pm >MOM leaves work and goes home

3:00pm > MOM sits at dining room table and reviews progress, answers questions or redirect.

3:30pm > MOM starts dinner, either meal prepped meal that goes on the oven or quick fix on the stove

4:00pm > MOM works with Speed Racer on SAXON MATH

5:00pm > MOM stops kids work and tell them to get ready to go

5:30pm > MOM gets kids in the car, take them to Martial Arts, Lacrosse OR Japanese (Mon-Fri)

6:00pm > If DAD pick up, then MOM goes home to do SIDE BUSINESS work. If MOM stays, usually I bring my laptop and work while they are at practice in my car.

7:30pm > Dinner

8:30pm > DAD (if he doesn't work nights) or 'Save til the weekend' Speed Racer on WRITING or CLEP PREP. MOM preps for the next day

9:30pm > Family prayer time

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Just When You are Having Fun-Life serves up Lemons!

Yep, these last few weeks have been exciting, fun, exhilarating and down right stressful.

Let's just replay all the great fun and hiccups life threw us these last few weeks.

Daddy and girls went to Disney for a 1st every dad and daughter trip (they missed me).

Then my daughter was in a hit and run. She's physically fine and mentally adjusted to it after she went to the police station to file a report. My son was at a stop sign when he got hit. I was parked in the parking lot when a car hit my car. Lastly, my hubs was in back of a utility truck who's debris flew off the truck and hit our truck.

We had 4 hit and runs on both cars! Yep 4 count them! in 4 weeks. Over $7000 in damage on 1 car and $2800 on another. We ran down and had 2 of them stop. So their insurance is paying it. Ours has to cover the other two.

We took those in stride however, and were glad that no one got hurt.

Well crap rolls downhill. With the new president's Freeze on government jobs, contractors or companies that support the government are suffering cut programs, non payment from the government (since the budget hasn't passed). And...My husband got laid off, my daughter who was supposed to transition to her new job also was told the job would be on hold indefinitely.

THANK GOD...I am working too.  My daughter, luckily, is still at her current job and haven't given noticed. My son is still working and happy at his job.

Despite all of the bad, here was more good. The street market this weekend was a great way to unwind. My son and his sister did martial arts in the streets. Then he went breakdancing. It was fun to watch and experience.

And Drama class. Where Speed racer looks a bit bored. He's hardly this calm most of the time.

What does all this BAD and GOOD mean to me?

Well like my Grandma used to say, "with all the bad, the devil must be mad, because I have a blessing coming on!"