Monday, September 23, 2019

We Survived The First Month of School - Barely!


Here's a long awaited update of our homeschooling journey which includes Community College courses, homeschool classes, and online University courses.

Madness I know, yet my highly active, high energy kid keeps rising to the challenge (with some nagging and oversight for accountability by mom).

Parental Support: Review and validate homework before he turns it in. Gives him accountability measures and boundaries.

Monday: Read Physics chapter, create notes in Quizlet for studying, review notes on Quizlet with a practice test. Do reading for his four online college classes. He usually ask me to review his discussion post before he submits them. Mom gets home from work, I read his discussion post, give him the okay to turn it in. Then he plays video games or watch movies until really late at night.
Activity: Martial Arts

Tuesday: He sleeps til 11am. Goes to Community College Physics Lab class, then the homework help center and to tutoring. Physics online class he does the discussion and the homework problems at the homework help lab. He takes the bus to his friends high school and hangs out there while his friend finishes practice, then catches a ride home with his buddy. My husband scoops him up from his friend's house.
Activity: Go to the Gym with Dad and Sister

Wednesday: He finishes the discussion post (usually 2 to 3 paragraphs with 2 references) for each of his online University classes (Project Management, Telecommunications, Systems Analysis and Design, and American Society Sociology). Quizlet study of Physics terms and problems. Dad checks his progress, if he isn't progressing, his weekend plans are usually on the line. No fun on the weekend until work is done. Also, dad takes his cellphone until progress is made. This doesn't happen much but it is the rule in our house.
Activity: Go to Youth Service and Bible Study

Thursday: Draft papers or do projects for University classes. Quizlet study of Physics terms and problems. If he is having problems with papers, he sends email to professor or post on the online board. Then ask mom or dad to help.
Activity: Go to the Gym with Dad and Sister

Friday: Finish papers and all assignments for course. If he isn't finished but has something he wants to do, he has to explain why and it has to be at least 80% done. We check to make sure, then he will do the work on Saturday morning. All his online University work has to be done by Saturday night - the school requires its turned in by Sunday.
Activity: Martial Arts or BreakDance practice
Activity: Hang out with friends

Saturday: All work done and turned into online courses (mom or dad reviews his work and the quality, give him the okay to turn it in, if it's not good, he has to fix it).
Activity: Go to flying lessons or social justice group. Hang out with friends

Sunday: No work, just church and relax

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I've had to change up what I cook. No pastas, no potato, no starch. Oh my! I've basically have delegated dinner to the other kids for 2 days and I am prepping 3 days. Crock pot and oven meals are where it's at for us. We've been doing well - this month.

HOUSE CLEANING: My son who now has tons of activities with his friend has been doing a great job of doing his chores (so he can go hang out with his friends). My youngest daughter cleans on the weekend. However, my room is still unkempt, our clothes need to be washed, so we actually had to go to the laundry mat to catch up on washing clothes. Yes, it's been one of those weeks. Overall, the house is okay, not spotless, but you can find a place to sleep and it smells good (lots of air fresh and essential oils)

LESSON PLANNING: My son request that I give him a weekly schedule and I still have had to send daily reminders (kids!).

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Well I've basically overrun our date night and my husband and I left the kids home to go out to dinner and a movie. He kidnapped me I think, ha!

SELF CARE: I have been getting my nap time in you know. Thirty minutes to two hours, whatever I need and when I need it. I just tell my son to wake me up in an hour.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Keeping House Clean As a Busy Mom


My number one strategy for keeping a clean house when our children were little was, limiting where they were able to roam. They only had one room that was their domain, and that was THE PLAYROOM. 

PLAYROOM: We had a small house, but we realized that we needed to designate an area where our kids would have their toys, things they played with, and that place had rules.

Coral The Kids

When kids are small and you are a homeschooling and working parent, there is little time for cleaning the entire house. We had to find a way to coral the kids into only a few areas in the house so we had to only clean two rooms daily. The kids rooms they played in was the Playroom (our former living room or dining room). We would be in that room with the kids and if we were working while they wanted to play or watch television, it would be in that room. We would take our laptop and either watch what we wanted on our laptop or tablet, do work, or read.  

The bedroom was only for sleeping and there were no toys in the bedroom besides what toy they wanted to go take to bed with them.

In the bathroom, they had their own shelf where they were taught to put their stuff.

The kitchen was for eating, snacking, and there was a small TV in there that they could watch if there was a show they just had to see while snacking. They couldn't watch television during lunch or dinner though.

Playroom (or Family Room) Rules

This is the kids domain. They need to have one and we gave up a living room and sometimes a dining room for them to have this space. As parents we hung out in the playroom with them. We just learned to tune out their play if we weren't actively playing with them. They also were responsible for helping us clean it as soon as they could walk and carry their own toys they learned to put them in the bins. Truthfully, they were cleaner as children than as teenagers.

-There is only one room for playing with toys, doing art, watching TV and looking at devices for entertainment
-No food in the playroom
-No drinking in the playroom without a top on bottle, sip cup
-Organization of types of toys in toy box with lid and bookcase
-Limit the amount of toys and do an overhaul monthly if needed to donate old toys
-Every night before bed is the sing the 'Clean Up' song and put the toys away

Thursday, September 5, 2019

There is an Independent Learner in Every Child



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.