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.

Minecraft Homeschool – Q&A

I was browsing some homeschooling forum and came upon a thread discussing Minecraft Homeschool. My boys really love Minecraft. Jared and I even went to the Minecon convention in Orlando last year. Talk about an expensive trip! But that’s pretty interesting that children can learn from this video game. I emailed them (info@minecrafthomeschool.com) some questions, and Ms. Jody responded.

Q1: On what date can I start to enroll my kids for the 2014-2015 Session 1 class? What is the deadline?
A1: June 2nd Session 1 opens for enrollment. Deadline is always 2 weeks before the class begins.

Q2. It looks like the Core Classes are $15.95 for a 5-week session. Is that correct?
A2: Yes. Plus a bonus 6th week with no curriculum to “say goodbye” to the sever.

Q3: Do you offer any sibling discounts?
A3: No. We feel that we offer an unbelievable price on the program already. We expect kids to spend 4 to 6 hours per week in our program so that is a rate of 0.66 per hour.

Q4: Is there an option to sign up for all Sessions 1-5 before September 2014? If not, how far in advance would one have to enroll for subsequent sessions?
A4: Not at this time. We are considering the option to allow you to enroll in a single set of classes, but it would be 100% nonrefundable. Our single enrollments allow you to request a refund up to the end of the first week of class. The group enrollments would allow you to sign up for all US History, or all Creative writing… We are still working through the details of that and if we offer it, will have it ready by June 2nd.

Guilt…and then…not so much

As this school year nears its end, the onslaught of school concerts and programs and other events occur. Just the past 2 weeks have included Li’s Pre-K play, Hayden’s outdoor class erupting-volcano project, volleyball games and tournaments, Jared’s guitar concert, and Michela’s choral concert. And there’s still a few more upcoming 8th grade events Michela has.

I love watching my kids interacting with their friends and just seeing them get excited about their performances.

And then I feel guilty.

I hate that my 3 kids that I will be homeschooling for 2014-2015 will no longer be involved with their friends in anymore of these school events. I feel guilty that Jared won’t get to experience all the fun 8th grade activities – trips and graduation – with those he’s known since Kindergarten. I feel guilty that Hayden won’t get to join the basketball team next year with his friends. I feel guilty that Li won’t get to grow up with those kids she met this year.

But then I look at the positive.

I love that I will no longer receive a note from a teacher about how my 4-year-old daughter “did not get a sticker this week” for not listening or for not sitting still in circle time. Did I mention she’s 4??

I love that I will no longer receive a note from a teacher about how my son could “not sit still” in class and so she had to move him away from the rest of the class.

I love that I will no longer receive a note from a teacher about how my child was not paying attention in church (because aren’t all adults 100% attentive at church?).

I love that I will no longer hear about my sons being bullied in school.

I love that I will no longer hear from my kids about how some teacher was “being mean” or has their favorites (admittedly, Michela is a favorite of one of her teachers) or how some teacher was being condescending or rude or only being nice when the parents were around (you know who they are!).

I love that I will no longer get a call from the Assistant Principal saying my son has detention for having his ipod (which the teacher assumed was a phone) at lunch, or for having his ipod in church (how many adults have been on their phone in church?), or for talking in class, or for interrupting the class, or for questioning a teacher about a subject (in which the teacher thought he was being rude), or for being out of uniform (ie not having a belt, not wearing the right shirt, not wearing the right shoes, having his hair too long). I understand I signed up for all those rules when enrolling them in a private school, but now that I can reflect on this, really, who writes up these rules? And does it really help the kids in the end?

I mean, I think back to all the times for which my kids have “gotten in trouble,” and really, none of them were “OMG! SHE/HE DID WHAT?! THAT’s JUST TERRIBLE!” Stop the presses. My child hugged another child, and they just can’t do that. Really?

It will be SUCH A RELIEF to not have to deal with such trivial things anymore!

And then I feel guilty that I actually punished my kids for not sitting still or for not listening in class or for whatever reason the teacher gave in her handwritten notes. I hate that those notes made me anxious, and yet, I had to act cordial in front of these teachers.

I don’t want this to sound like I hate their teachers because I can understand their situation. No way would I want to teach 20 kids at the same time in the same room for a whole day for a whole school year. NO WAY. So I can understand they may have their frustrations; although, I’m guessing you do know what you’re signing up for when you study to be a teacher. But, I mean, I get it. I do. I have friends and family who are teachers. I respect them. I think my kids’ teachers have done a great job teaching my kids the curriculum they intended to teach. I just don’t like some of the nit-picky things they have had to write home about. Just because I don’t agree with some of the things they’ve said or done, it does not mean I think they are horrible teachers. They’re not.

And, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s OK for my child to bite someone. And I don’t think it’s great that both Li and Hayden were able to cut a hole in their shirts during class. But, there were times when I would see a teacher’s note, and think, “Yeah. So what?”

Now that I will be homeschooling, I love that Li and Hayden will be able to focus on expressing themselves and learning through their “projects” and that they won’t get in trouble for not putting their stuff away because “it’s not time for that.”

I love that Jared will get to learn some computer programming skills on his own, which the school doesn’t teach. He’s already teaching himself how to program now! I think he will be my IT Geek.

I love that I will get to be with them and see them have their lightbulb moments.

For now, Michela will be in a traditional Christian high school with all their policies and procedures, and she’s good with that. Some kids like that and learn well that way. I wonder, though, how different her life would be had she been homeschooled from the start.

HomeLife Academy (HLA) – Q&A

The following are some notes from a couple of emails between HLA and I. These questions were initially sent to David Parkerson (admin@homelifeacademy.com), but they were answered by Lynn Knowlton (lynn@homelifeacademy.com). Lynn Knowlton is an HLA Counselor; phone # is 1-888-560-0774 ext. 3509.

Message: I live in TN and plan on having my kids finish the school year in May 2014. Then I plan to start homeschooling them (for the first time!) for 2014-2015. I have been researching Church-related Umbrella schools and have seen HLA keep coming up in my searches. I have a few questions about HLA.

Q1: Let’s say I were to decide to enroll with HLA this week. If I decide to register for 2014-2015, will HLA contact the kids’ school before the end of May? I just want to be sure their school won’t be confused and think I’m pulling them out for the 2013-2014 school year.

A1: HLA will begin requesting records for all student’s enrolling for the 14/15 school year on May 15th. If you need HLA to request records at a later date you can make a note at the top of the Educational Plan box of the application.

Q2: One of the reasons I am looking to homeschool is because my 4-year-old daughter, who is in Pre-K at a private school, although she passed her Kindergarten screening, her teacher still wants to hold her back for maturity reasons. I disagree with this, but because it is a private school, we would have to abide by their rules if we stayed. I noticed HLA has this question as part of their application: “Has the student(s) been charged with truancy, suspension, expulsion, misdemeanor, or been on probation?” How would you expect me to respond to that knowing my 4-year-old’s situation?

A2: You would answer “no” to that question because being held back is not the same as being kicked out of school or receiving disciplinary action by the school.

Q3: I also noticed that HLA requires an “Educational Plan“. This is very confusing for me since HLA states “An educational plan is a list of books and other materials your student will be using at home for each class. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to determine the courses and materials/books your student(s) will be using for his/her classes.” What is confusing is if I decide to use an online curriculum such as Time 4 Learning (www.time4learning.com). I did find their online curriculums for my kids:

Is that good enough for HLA? If so, would the information on those pages need to be entered in the application, or would the links suffice? If the information on those pages are not good enough for HLA, then does that mean HLA does not support online home schooling where no specific books are listed?

A3: The Educational Plan is a list of the classes and the resources being used for each class. If you will be using Time4Learning for each class, you will simply list the information as follows: Math – Time4Learning, Language Arts – Time4Learning and etc, on your application. You will do this for each class.

**I emailed Lynn a followup question to this asking what are all the subjects that HLA expects as part of our curriculum. Here’s the Q&A to that:

Q3 Follow-up: I’m still hung up on curriculum. Are the following subjects ones that HLA is specifically looking for? Am I missing anything, or are there ones I don’t need to submit? This will be for a Kindergartener, 4th Grader, and 8th Grader.

Language Arts
Social Studies/History

A3 Follow-up: HLA does not have specific “requirements” until high school. However, all students in grades K-8th should be focusing on the 3Rs (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic) at minimum.  Any additional courses can be based on the student’s interested or whatever you feel is necessary.

Since you have an 8th grader, now is a good time to begin looking over the High School section of our website to become familiar with our high school requirements. This information may help you determine what courses the 8th grader needs to focus on the most over the next year.

Q4: If our Educational Plan changes, and I switch from Time4Learning to something else, would I have to notify HLA anytime that happens?

A4: If you change resources for a class, simply log into your account and update the information as needed.

Q5: Does HLA give any sort of “It’s time to renew” reminder towards the end of the school year for their existing students?

A5: HLA sends out notices by email advertising Pre-registration discounts beginning in January of each year. You must be re-enrolled each year by the time school starts in your area. Discounts are greater the earlier you re-enroll and the fees increase in August.

Q6: Do you think it is necessary to register with HSLDA.org?

A6: Yes, we recommend that families sign up with HSLDA.

Q7: Also, I noticed on our school district’s webpage, it states:

It is the responsibility of these schools to notify the school system when they enroll a student from our school district. Parents enrolling a child in one of these schools should take the initiative to see that this is done.

I’m sure we’re not the first family in this area who has used HLA. 🙂 I’ve emailed the Policy contact person from our school district about this, but have yet to hear back. Do you know if HLA will notify our school district after we sign on with them? Or, will I have to do that?

A7: You do not have to notify anyone about homeschooling. Simply let the private school know that she will not return in the fall. HLA will take care of requesting records from that private school. This will serve as the schools official notice that the student is officially transferred so they can send records. HLA sends a list of students to the county each year notifying them who is enrolled.

Homeschooling Curriculum: Time4Learning?

Homeschooling Curriculum. Can you say OVERWHELMING? There are SO MANY choices to choose from.

After searching and reading reviews and knowing that I want primarily an online one, I am going to try Time 4 Learning (http://www.time4learning.net) to start with. At least, they have a pay month-by-month option which is good. I don’t want to waste money on an entire year’s worth. I’m not sure if the 8th grade one will be challenging or even interesting enough for Jared.

I’m wondering if I even need to get one for Li since she’ll just be in Kindergarten. And she likes Starfall.com. I wonder how that compares to Time4Learning.

I’m still a little confused, though. I mean, I know homeschoolers will pick certain curriculums for certain subjects. But can you use more than one curriculum for a specific subject? Hmm…I guess I could ask HLA (HomeLife Academy) that.