Tuesday, August 12, 2014

School is in session!

So it's August 12 & we have finished our second full day of school. I cannot believe it! Technically the official first day of school here is next Monday, the 18th, but we just got back from vacation & felt refreshed & decided to get the ball rolling. We are officially enrolled in ARVA (Arkansas Virtual Academy), which is a K-12 school. So far things could not be going smoother. Right now it seems to be the best of both worlds. I fully know everything my child is working on (unlike our public school experience), yet she has a teacher online (of course unlike the experience homeschooling on my own), as I am her Learning Coach. I talked to the teacher for the first time today & during that one conversation I had more information & one on one time with her than I had all last year with my daughter's First Grade teacher. I am feeling more & more confident we may have finally found the right fit for us.

Just a couple of cool (I think) tidbits of things we are enjoying.....We just received an email that we are receiving a Kindle Fire for school, which the girl is super excited about. Also today we had lovely weather so for PE, we went for a bike ride. I really love the flexibility involved. Yesterday we did all our subjects for the day in 2 hours, today in 3 & 1/2 hours, I know that will not always be the case, but it's nice to know that we can really fly through the things my daughter already knows. I think the thing I love the most though is the prep time, or lack thereof, for school. I recall when I was doing this on my own for Kindergarten, taking hours of prep time during the week planning exactly what we were going to do each day. With this you make your own schedule online of what courses you are going to do which day, then you can go in see what materials you need & I pull out the worksheets, set aside the books to read, or whatever the case is & I am completely ready for the next day in 5 minutes time. I am starting to feel my muscles relax & the stress level go down.... Maybe I even have time for a nap.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Back at it

So it's been a long time since I have posted but this year I decided to put my daughter in Public School. As an only child I thought it would be good to have some more socialization & her reading needed more help than it appeared I could give her. Now that we are in the last two weeks of school I will say I don't regret putting her in school. As far as the two things I have mentioned she has exceeded in, especially her reading. She is in the top reading group in her class. But through the year I could see that besides those two areas everything else seemed to be lacking, she complained all year that they were still reviewing Kindergarten, because we had covered everything last year. When your child is craving to learn more & it isn't happening it gets frustrating.

About a month ago I decided for Second Grade we were going back to Home School. In Kindergarten I assembled all the work together & it was really hard for me so I decided this year to try the K12 program. After some research I really liked that they tested your child in Fall & Spring to make sure the work they are doing is tailored to them & not just a generic Grade pack of work, this was exactly what I was looking for!

As of right now, we are awaiting our official approval that we've been accepted but if we do not get accepted I am still determined to home school because I know know it is the best decision for my child & my situation.

To be continued......

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Evaluation

So apparently it has come time for me to start thinking of schooling next year. I'm not sure exactly why I've been thinking of it so much. Maybe it's partly because I've been getting all the school catalogs in the mail lately and looking what kind of books & things I would like to use. It starts me thinking how my first official year of homeschooling has changed just since August until now & how I don't want to get caught up in buying a lot of books, that as it turned out this year, I used less worksheets from.

I did want to point out one website, for some reason I just found out about: Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. This sight is fantastic. If you are a parent who is thinking you wish you could home school but you think it would cost too much or take to much time to figure out a curriculum then check out this website! This is a complete, FREE, curriculum, this parent so wonderful prepared, a day by day curriculum from Pre K through 8th Grade. Whether you would like to use this solely or use parts of it, it is a wonderful resource. I wish I had known about it when I was starting Kindergarten at the beginning of the year, it would have taken some of the pressure off.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Break Down, Slow Down

So about a month ago I felt very much on the verge of a break down. I just felt that I was a wife, mom, teacher & that was all, no me anymore! I love being all three of those things, but as my husband asked me what I liked to do when I had time for myself, I simply didn't have an answer. As I really thought about this I realized that I have never really had a hobby. I did used to DJ parties when I was in IL, but gave it up when I moved here. I really needed a hobby that I could do at home, between teaching, whether it was for a few minutes or a few hours. I decided to try crocheting. So 2 weeks ago I signed up for a class at Hobby Lobby. I have tried to crochet on my own before, buying a starter kit and all, but needed some guidance. I loved it! The 1 & 1/2 hour class just flew buy & since then I've made 3 scarves!

The real test was last week, Thanksgiving week. My husband had the entire week off work. Usually when he is off work it is him sleeping and reading all time and me being annoyed he's not 'doing' anything. I have to say this vacation week, however, was wonderfully peaceful! Since I have been crocheting it gives me something to do. I love how calm it makes me feel and I can take it anywhere! I feel like I've been more patient in general with my family because of it, which makes me happy!

What hobby do you enjoy? If you don't have one, get one soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great School Deals

I am writing this quick blog to make sure you check out some of the deals right now at Home School Buyers Co Op. This website has amazing deals on all sorts of programs and curriculum for your kids! Go under the Group Buys tab & you will see all kinds of programs, you can even sort by the grade level you are looking for. The group buys are great because the more people that buy that deal, the lower the price comes down.

I want to mention a couple things on the site right now that I am using & love!


Home Art Studio - I cannot say enough good things about this DVD. My daughter has always loved arts & crafts and I, unfortunately do not. All I do is put in the DVD & set out the art supplies needed for the lesson & the art teacher, Lindsey Volin, does the rest. My daughter gets her art class, and I don't have to do it, so we are both happy. Currently you may order the DVDs for K-5 grade level.


Dream Box Learning - This is one of the two online programs we are using right now. DreamBox learning is all math games. The thing I love about DreamBox is they don't 'box' your child into a certain grade level. They let you know upfront not to help your child at all with the program, so it can be tailored to what they know & jump off from there. They have an excellent Parent Dashboard that tells you how your child is doing and even breaks it down on what things they have accomplished in each grade level of math.

Those are just a couple of things I've been using this year, that are on sale right now. There are a few things I have my eye on to order. You can also set up reminders from their website (if you need to wait until payday like me). Make sure you check out the Home School Buyers Co Op before you buy any books, programs, or magazines for schooling!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Ch-Ch-Changes

I feel like when you start home schooling, it's a lot like when you bring your baby home from the hospital. It's new & beautiful & lovely, you are learning & growing with your child, then it happens. Something (enter your personal experience here) happens that makes you step back & say, 'I didn't expect this, what do I do now?' It's like you finally 'know' what you're doing & where you are going & BAM, no, that isn't going to work now. Well, with children they just keep on growing up so guess what, we have to keep changing what we're doing. This is exactly the same with schooling.

We started Kindergarten the end of August, and now at the beginning of November we have had to switch out different things. I was getting a little frustrated, thinking it was my planning that was off. Then today I read on my favorite homeschool website, The Secular Homeschool, they have a poll on who has made changes on their curriculum this year. Guess what? Right now only 4 people haven't made changes. Whew! What a relief! It's nice to know you are not alone in the world because sometimes when you are a stay at home mom you feel like no one else feels your frustrations. They do!

I have to tell you about a book I just finished reading, I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids by Tricia Ashworth & Amy Nobile. These 2 moms interviewed a ton of mothers, in every different life situation and made this book. This book made me laugh, gasp and tear up. Most of all this book is a great read because you realize you are not alone on those hard days, in fact I guarantee when you read this you'll realize one of these moms have had a worse day than you!

Change is good! Just remember, "Will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three quarters guaranteed!" ~ Dr. Suess

Monday, October 1, 2012

Freedom

Who doesn't love freedom? Freedom to do what you want when you want. Well that's what homeschooling is all about. Just because you have the freedom in homeschooling though doesn't mean you won't have the work, in fact, you'll have more.

Because of the way I choose to home school I have to get school work ready for our work week. Right now it is taking about me about 4 hours & I usually gather work for 2 weeks at a time. It's not just me, that is a lot of time right? After a few weeks I was thinking, I should have just bought a curriculum. In the end that extra time of work that I do gives me the freedom to teach my daughter the things she needs to work on & the things I want her to learn.

Socialization freedom. So when it comes to home schooling you also have the freedom to chose different social things for your child. I have found there is actually a lot of Home School programs when you look for them. In my area, there are programs specifically for home schoolers at the library, I have found a golf program, Art programs, and a Science program through 4-H and more. Since this is our first year, I decided to keep it simple and only go to one program although next year I have my eye on a couple.

I want to talk for a minute about Home Schooling Co-Ops. If you are not familiar with these, you are not alone, I actually didn't know about this until we've already started our school year. A Home School Co-Op is, in essence, just a local group of home schoolers and their parents. Locally, I looked into the one where I live and found that to join I would have to pay a fee (I think it was $50) and had to guarantee that I could devote some of my time for Co-Op activities. Now these are not unreasonable requests considering that they schedule fun activities, field trips & even conduct school classes once a week where you can drop your child off for the day, just like they are going to school. Not to say anything negative about Co-Ops, I just know it's not for us. I do find that a lot in the Home School community online find them quite necessary for socialization.

 Again, sweet freedom, I decided in this regard, I was going to go, maybe against the grain, I didn't want to spend money and devote time to volunteer when I feel, currently anyway, that my week is packed as it is. And although sending my daughter to a class for a day a week sounded tempting for selfish reasons, the whole point is that I have control of what she is learning.

If you are worried about socialization with your home schooled child there are plenty of options out there! So if you are thinking about even possibly home schooling your child, I encourage you to just peek online & see what there is! Don't be overwhelmed by it all, just think of it as the freedom to chose any path you'd like.