Time for an update!

Time for an update since I know I haven’t logged on for awhile.

Li, Hayden, and Jared are continuing homeschooling, and it does have its frustrating moments mainly with the boys. Sometimes, if I’m not standing right next to them, they have a tendency to go back to watching YouTube videos or playing video games. They’ve gotten better, but it’s a matter of getting their focus back on track. But I still wouldn’t want to put them back into private school. I LOVE the flexibility of homeschooling and how we’re not rushing out the door in the mornings nor worrying about what they have for homework for the night or if they even DID their homework or what projects are due when or if they have enough lunch money or if I paid after care or needing money for various school programs or wearing a certain something just to get an ‘out of uniform’ pass. I like that they’re not getting in trouble (ie “thinking time” or detention or points off conduct) for talking in class or for forgetting a pencil or for wearing the wrong uniform. I love that I get to be home with my kids and how they can come to me whenever to ask questions about something they don’t understand. And sometimes, I learn new things with them as well!

I had started doing MUS (Math-U-See) with them back in July and realized that at the pace they were going, they would be into the next level by September! So I will probably end up buying the next level in October or so. I really don’t see a reason why I should slow down since it would then just be a lot of busy work for them.

We went up to about Lesson 70 in the “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” book with Li. I’ve stopped using that, although, Li will occasionally pick it up and want to read from there. Her reading has improved tremendously. I videotaped her reading a 2nd grade level book, and my brother, who has a daughter about 6 months older than Li, said they have got to “get on the ball” with their daughter and that he could tell Li was actually reading and had not memorized the book. Michael also said I did a tremendous job with Li and her reading. I wish I had used that book with the other kids growing up (less fighting, less tears), but live and learn. Li’s reading now comes from a variety of areas – starfall.com, RazKids (usually does Levels D-F), library books, Junie B. Jones etc.

I’ll also have the boys do a couple of activities on http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com. Jared told me he knew what today’s Word of the Day (“melee”) meant since it was used in some video game. heh.

I hadn’t intended on buying any more programs, but I saw this Mod Design I course by Youth Digital offered on the Homeschool Buyers Coop website. And seeing as how the boys like Minecraft, I thought (AND HOPE!) this would be a great way for them to learn Java. We haven’t started it yet, but Jared did like the videos about the course.

Jared is currently listening to The Maze Runner on YouTube and wants to see it when it comes out in theaters. When he first started listening to it, he was really bored with it but also had no idea a movie was being based on it. After I showed him the trailer, he said the book got more interesting. 🙂

So the boys and Li basically do Math, Science, Social Studies, Vocabulary, Spelling, Reading five days a week. And the other 2 days, I think they’re still learning as well. I told my sister that homeschooling is really just constant learning.

Michela started school this week at a local Christian high school. She’s doing great as a new Freshman, making new friends, understanding her classes and is already on their Cheer squad. But surprisingly, she did tell me she was interested in homeschooling next year. She has it in her mind that she wants to graduate early. I’m thinking, though, she might change her mind. It’s funny, I was reading through each of her teacher’s syllabi and their expectations etc. I mean, it’s what you would typically expect – when the teacher is talking, the student must be quiet and no bathroom breaks during class etc – and it’s just funny how the parent and student have to sign a form for that. I wouldn’t give it a second thought if I wasn’t homeschooling, but now that I am, it’s just eye-opening that I would always just sign those forms in the past without thinking much of it. Can you imagine telling your homeschooled child they couldn’t use the bathroom while in the middle of a Math problem? And then just the assignments itself? I mean, last night, Michela had a Science worksheet on conversions. Seriously, how many of us have had to convert a decidime or a kilogrand? Yes, you read that right. Granted, that part of the worksheet wasn’t graded, but she probably would’ve gotten an Incomplete if she didn’t even try. And I get that it’s basically all review in the beginning of the year, but how basic does one have to get? I LOL’d when I saw her Algebra I assignment where it pretty much asked you to add 3-digit numbers! And I’m paying $700/month for this? I’m sure it’ll get more challenging. 🙂

We will probably reassess early next year on what Michela wants to do, but I’m hoping she does want to homeschool. Okay, so part of it is for selfish reasons. I would like for all of my kids at home and to not be paying anymore private school tuition. Plus, Michael and I celebrated our 5 year Anniversary in Hawaii 9 years ago. I LOVED Hawaii, but I always felt guilty for not taking the kids. So next year, with hopefully all the kids homeschooling, I’m thinking how great it would be to take a Hawaiian family vacation maybe in October 2015…when typically most kids should be in school. We’ll see. It’ll be expensive, of course. And I want all our credit cards paid off first! But I’m still working my at-home jobs and I’m very appreciative for how much I get paid for such easy work!

Oh, I did end up telling one of my managers how Michael and I have decided to homeschool. Surprisingly, she was excited for me. And although she herself wouldn’t consider it (I think she has a 2 and a 5-year-old), she does ask me how it’s going. That was one thing I was worried about – having to tell her – and I’m super happy she has no negative thoughts about it!

Advertisements

“GOOD BYE, FAT MAN!”

Kids say the darndest things, don’t they?

I’m still so embarrassed. I had to write this down since I’m still replaying what happened in my head. Although, I know more embarrassing things have happened to others.

Yesterday, Michela’s friend, Amy invited her over for a sleepover. Amy’s family was staying at a very nice hotel while the floors in their million-dollar home was being worked on. So Michela and Amy were going to have a room of their own.

I took Li with me when we dropped off Michela. I should’ve known better. Li had not taken her nap. And yeah, we know how that is when a 4-year-old hasn’t taken her nap. UGH.

So Amy’s mom showed us their rooms when we got to the hotel. Li was just so excited about everything in the hotel and exclaiming how it was “so beautiful!” and how she didn’t want to leave. Amy’s dad also showed up, and Li was wanting to hold his hand and walk everywhere with him. Then they invited (ie were really insistent) us to eat a snack with them in the hotel’s cafe. So we went.

Li wanted to walk everywhere but managed to sit down and eat and drink something. And of course, she kept interrupting Amy’s mom and I as we were talking. And she kept asking Amy’s mom questions and then showing her the food in her mouth. Lovely. I know Amy’s mom was getting annoyed. Then Li said, “I have to go potty!!!” and of course, she had to repeat it like 4 or 5 times. So Michela and Amy took her to the bathroom. Amy’s dad had run into some people and was talking with them.

So Amy’s mom and I were talking about school etc. Of course, she was shocked to hear I was going to be homeschooling, and told me some stuff she heard from the former school principal on how she didn’t know she was going to be fired and took it to the bishop who didn’t care etc but that’s not the point of this post.

When the girls got back from the bathroom, after a little bit more chit-chat, I told Li to say good bye to everyone. Amy’s dad had gotten back to our table by this time, and he was standing, looking down at Li, with his arms wide open, and she screamed, “GOOD BYE, FAT MAN!!!” Silence. Amy’s mom’s mouth literally dropped open. I was so embarrassed. I mean, in Li’s defense, he is a really tall, fat man, but I just felt so bad. Of course, Amy’s dad played it off like he didn’t care and made the comment, “Kids are so honest.” Li and I got out of there fast.

Hopefully, when they drop off Michela this afternoon, I will be busy with something.

So I may have overdone it

I’ve been doing more research on online curriculums and decided not to do T4L just because I really wanted a stronger Science course. Also, I could see that Jared (my 8th grader) would probably get bored with T4L’s Science and Social Studies sections since, from what I read, it’s mainly just reading. I haven’t found any really good Social Studies online programs…maybe Alpha Omega’s Monarch? Still not sure. I mean, the boys are already signed up for a Session 1 class for Minecraft Homeschool. Jared’s going to be in the Castles and Cannons class, which supposedly covers “Ancient History,” so that could count towards Social Studies, right? Hayden’s signed up for Build Your Own Adventure, which is supposed to cover “Creative Writing/Videography/Public Speaking/Research”…so that’s more Language Arts. But he wants to do Castles and Cannons for Session 2. We’ll see.

For Math, we’re going to use Math-U-See. Even though Jared took Algebra for 7th grade, I showed him the sample Math-U-See Algebra lessons, which he didn’t recognize, so I got him the Pre-Algebra packet. I got Hayden the Delta package, but I’m thinking I should have started him at an earlier level even though he saw the online sample Gamma lessons and thought they were too easy. Initially, I was going to go with TeachingTextbooks for Math instead, but Jared didn’t like the teacher’s voice. heh.

I found this Homeschool Buyer Co-op site and decided to get the ScienceFusion program. I’ve read the complaints of the ScienceFusion site’s layout, but it seems like a solid curriculum, and I like the online/workbook combo.

I’ll probably also end up getting the Wordly Wise 3000 Online to use along with Vocabulary Spelling City. The kids used Spelling City when they were in school, and I always thought that was a good site. For Li’s Handwriting Without Tears, I ended up getting the following items: Blackboard with Double Lines, Letters and Numbers for Me workbook, Little Chalk Bits, Little Sponge Cubes, Pencils for Little Hands, Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn CD, Wide Notebook Paper (500 sheets). She already had done some writing in Pre-K, so she’s doing fine with HWT for now. She likes the CD and also that I let her draw pictures on the chalkboard after doing a lesson. No issues really with the workbook either. She’s also signed up for Starfall for more reading, phonics etc. I’ve always liked that site!

The Discovery Education Streaming Plus also looks good as a supplement for many subjects! I’m signed up with their Free Trial at the moment and was surprised at how much there is. I thought it was just going to be a collection of boring, old videos. 🙂

For Reading, Jared finished “A Christmas Carol” and is going to start on “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which I don’t know much about except that it looks like a book he’d be interested in since he likes those Lemony Snickett ones. Hayden finished and loved A Wrinkle in Time – that was one of my favorites as a kid. I had no idea Disney made a movie on it, so we watched it after he finished the book. I could tell there was a lot of green screening used in the movie. 🙂 He’s also started reading The Lemonade War. And as I mentioned in my previous post, Li is doing a lot of reading of children’s books.

I’ve also found a ton of sites to use for FREE for Foreign Language, Music, and just educational games for supplement. These are the links I’ve looked at:

Funbrain

Hoffman Academy

123 Teach Me – Spanish for Kids

Duolingo

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool (ton of stuff here!)

e-learning for kids

Teach Your Monster to Read

ABCya

MrNussbaum

Khan Academy

Xtramath

Lesson Pathways (lots here, too!)

Scratch

Kindersite

Codeacademy

Code Maven

Typing Web

So now, I’m working on Lesson Plans etc, but I’d prefer to use an online planner just because if I wrote it in an actual planner, I could see myself rewriting and crossing out things, which would be a mess. I looked at a few and settled on Mardel’s online one. It’s ok. But if anyone has other favorites, please let me know.

“Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” – so far so good!

I found some homeschool forum that recommended the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by Siegfried Engelmann for teaching your child to read. I checked the book out at the library and have started using it with Li. It seems pretty easy for a parent to follow. The beginning lessons were repetitious and super easy for Li since she knows her ABCs and letter sounds and some sight words. But even though she knows all that, I’m still doing each lesson with her.

We’re not doing any of the writing lessons that come with each lesson, though. From the reviews I’ve read, some moms have also opted not to do the writing, and their child has done extremely well even when not completing all 100 Lessons. We just started doing Handwriting Without Tears a few days ago, which she loves. No tears so far!

Anyway, based on many of the book’s reviews, the overall recommendation is to not do the Lesson if your child is just not ready nor interested. Makes sense so your child doesn’t start to hate the book everytime you take it out. I’m trying really hard not to push Li to complete a lesson if she’s starting to get bored or would rather do something else. And we also haven’t done it every day just because either I’ve been busy with something or she would rather play something on my Kindle or go on sproutonline!

We started Lesson 1 on 5/18/2014 and have averaged a couple of lessons per day. We’re now up to Lesson 52! Just a little over halfway there, and she has definitely improved. I think the book, though, says something about not doing more than a lesson a day? Or maybe I read that in a review. But we don’t follow that especially since the beginning lessons were way too easy for her. I like how this book actually helps with comprehension, too. The book itself is easy to follow, but I don’t always follow the instructions (ie what the parent should say verbatim) and that’s just because Li will see the words on the page and just start reading them so sometimes, we don’t repeat certain words as instructed. Since the book will be due back to the library soon, I ordered a used copy off of abebooks.com, so she loves that she has her own book. Of course, when I take out the book to do some lessons, she still likes to jump around and say stuff like, “Ooohhh!! Why do I have to read??!!” But once she gets into the lessons in the book, she can go super fast! Sometimes, we’ll do things such as rolling a ball back and forth and saying the words on the page, or she’ll just jump around or use a balance board while reading. Try doing that in a typical classroom! She definitely does not like to sit still for long and read. The horror. :p We’ve supplemented by reading other books as well, and I’m definitely satisfied with her progress. I’m thinking I’ll do a video of her reading when we’re close to finishing the book. I wish I had done a video of her reading level when we started a month ago just to compare.

Oops! (note for my followers etc)

Sorry. I haven’t checked my email that is connected to this blog for about a week now, and I did not realize I had any followers! HA! Sorry about that! I feel SO honored by you all and any future followers! Thank you so much for liking my posts, comments, and just being interested! SO SWEET. What a nice way to end the week!

 
Also, today is my kids’ LAST DAY at their private school. FREEDOM!!!

WAHM and Homeschooling

I’ve come across some “WAHMs (Work At Home Moms) who Homeschool” websites (blogs, forums, videos etc). I love some of their tips! Below are some of my favorites so far. I saw a really good one on youtube, which I can’t seem to find right now! I may update this post as I find other favorites. Please email me at itstimewehomeschool@gmail.com if you have any other recommendations.

 
 
 
 

“You’re Too Frail!”

It’s funny that no matter how old we get, we still sometimes worry what our parents will think. 🙂

 
I finally told my (almost 70 yr-old) mom I plan to homeschool 3 of my kids, and she was not happy. Naturally, she has the old school mentality that one has to homeschool 8 hours a day and worries about me teaching the correct curriculum and of course she brought up the “s” word (ie socialization). She worries that because I will also be working from home, that I will either not have time to dedicate to the kids, or that I will be neglecting my job. She’s worried I may get fired because something’s gonna give.
 
She also thinks I should be “selfish” and just spend the money to have someone else educate the kids. As a mom, she worries about my health and worries I may be “too frail” for this. Her reasoning is because I have some internal tremor condition where my hands will occasionally be shaky. My dad had the shaky hands thing, too, and I guess it doesn’t help that he was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
 
It’s not that she’s 100% against homeschooling. She feels socialization is not that big of a deal if the kids get involved with other activities. When we were in elementary school, there was a family who had enrolled their homeschooled kids, and they were very bright and socially fine. She also doesn’t agree with how the kids’ school wants to hold Li back for maturity.
 
My mom is just primarily against it for the sake of my health and my career. So I can see why she would worry about me.
 
But I KNOW homeschooling is something I really want to do. I LOVE spending time with my children even if they do drive me nuts! I KNOW that the standard, structured school system is not where my kids, particularly my two youngest, belong. I KNOW IT. I LOVE that I will get to be home with them and learn with them.
 
I’m not dumb. I know it’ll be a challenge to both work from home AND homeschool. But I know it can be done. I know there are numerous moms who work at home and also homeschool. And I’m not going to let anyone’s negativity distract me from this life change.