Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taking Pride In What We Are Doing

When I first started homeschooling, I was sort of embarrassed to admit what I was doing. At the local elementary school's book fair, I tried to slip in and out without being noticed. I held my head down in that age old "don't look at me" posture. Picture women from the polygamist compound caught on tape.

It's taken almost an entire school year, but I find I can now hold my head high.

We went back to the elementary school a few weeks ago for another book fair and man, I felt proud walking through those doors!

I felt like a great mom, with great kids. I am proud of what we've done, proud of who we are as a family. Proud of our choices in a world where it's hard to go against the grain.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy To Be Stuck With You

Well, the end is in sight and I find myself reflecting on the year, how it's gone, how I hope to do better, how I am so grateful.

I am grateful for my children and for the opportunity we've had to be together this year. It truly has been a blessing for us. Logically, you'd think we'd be sick of each other by now, but strangely we're not. We are closer--not only me with the boys, but the boys with each other. 

We are happy to be stuck together.

When David and I got married, this is the song we danced to. It's long been a happy memory for us, because no matter what life throws at us, at least we get to deal with it together. I feel that way with my boys. What an awesome year it's been!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I think it's important for families who homeschool to get out there and participate in a variety of activities. I admit that so far, neither the boys nor I have made any real connections at these activities, nevertheless, that too is a work in progress.

Yesterday, our school had March Marble and Math Madness. This was probably the third K12 activity that we have attended, not including Tennis Club. It was the best one so far.

Charlie was the photographer for these shots of yesterdays' events.

Not so much in what we did (the boys probably enjoyed The Children's Museum best of all) but because we all made some connections.

We met people we've seen at other events and were able to feel that friendly, comfortable sensation of belonging. We are very slowly building relationships and making friends.

We need to do this a lot more, I think, so that those friendships can really stick. I think many families that homeschool tend to get stuck in the comfort zone of their own home. It is so easy to do. But I think it's important not only for the children, but for the moms as well.

Tomorrow I'll start going back to Tami's playgroup. She's changed the day from Friday to Thursday which makes me happy because it'll be easier for me to attend now. And I really need that association.
Even the photographer needs to get in the picture now and then.
I encourage you to reach out and make some connections of your own. It's worth the effort. I promise!
Xan and his favorite gold marble which, unfortunately, did not make it home with him.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Last time I posted I quoted my friend Tami who had commented here that she was caught up and was now cutting back on the amount of school she was doing. I thought that meant she was nearly totally done with their schooling. But I was mistaken.

Tami only strives to reach that 80% benchmark K12 requires by the end of the year in order to order your next years' supplies--this is advantageous because it means you'll get your next years' supplies in July or August, rather than waiting until those months to even put in your order.

Then, Tami has the ability to continue working that last 20% over the summer months with her kids. The advantage to doing that is that the family never entirely loses it's routine and the kids don't fall out of knowledge. 

At first, I thought I really needed that long summer break, but in closer examination, I think that could perhaps be detrimental to both the boys AND me. By only doing 20% of the course work over the summer (and even then it can be pretty laid back as everything that's accomplished at that point is just gravy, so to speak) we can still enjoy a relaxed summer without losing all the hard-earned knowledge.

So, we've decided to follow in Tami's footsteps!

We'll be homeschooling year 'round, doing 80% between August and May and 20% or less between May and August. 

I talked it over with my boys to get their opinion. Of course, they aren't thrilled at the idea of having to do school at all during the summer, but I also think they can see the positive side of it too. I think we can all agree, this is a win/win for us.

I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Decision Time

The time has come to decide whether K12 is working for us or not. Should we stay with the program? Or should we try a different homeschooling approach? Or should we re-enroll the boys in a bricks-and-mortar school?

And the decision is ... We will stay with K12.

Amazingly, it really wasn't a decision at all. It just is. We are a K12 family.

Though I was surprised by my boys' response. They want to stay with the program.

I hope we have a better year next year. I feel confident we will. 

Did you happen to see Tami's comment from my last blog? She wrote:

"We have caught up to where I want so we now adjusted our days to k12. Tayler will Tue Wed Thur Fri, and Tanner and Teralyn will k12 on Tue Wed Thur only. This gives them days to do other things. Gardening time is coming up next week and other things we want to do."

This year we really didn't figure out a good schedule for school until January. And the boys didn't grasp their responsibility in their education until perhaps this last month or so--thanks to Love & Logic.

Next year though, I think we'll all have a much better idea of what to expect--not only from the program, but from ourselves. 

I kind of can't believe that I am going to willingly take on another year of homeschooling, but I also can't imagine it any other way. This is just how it is. We are a K12 family.

How about you?

Friday, March 6, 2009

What's Working For Us

It's been a while since I've posted about our day, so I thought I'd thrill you with the details :)

Xander wanted a picture of him and Jack so it's here just because :)

This is what I've been doing lately that has been working for us:

Every weekend, I spend a couple hours (yes it takes me hours, I'm super slow though I'm sure) and go through each boys' lesson list to make them a schedule for the week. I could print out the weekly view sheet, but we found we liked to have little boxes they could check off for each item in the lesson.
This is Charlie getting ready to do a unit review in History.

For instance, with K12's weekly view printout, you'd see the lesson title and number only.

When I do it, I put the lesson title and number, but then list below each item that needs to be completed before the lesson is done. So it might look something like:

MATH 4:12
  • online student activity
  • pig 235, 236 (we call the math textbooks the ugly pig books because of the pictures, lol)
  • big or small w/s (a worksheet)
  • assessment
    Charlie's to-do list for this week. He or I check off the items that have been completed.
    Sometimes he goes straight to the assessment, if he feels he can handle it.
The boys are responsible for checking off each item as it is completed.

I print out their to-do list with all the lessons they need to do for the week. Using columns, I can fit it all onto one page. They do six math lessons, eight language arts lessons (but in Xander's
case, it equals many more smaller lessons since the lessons are broken down into subject matter for him), four history, five science and several spanish lessons, each week. 

At the top of their page, I tell them how many lessons they need to complete each day. So they know they need to complete five or eight lessons a day, whichever it might be.

Xander standing in front of our school shelf.
They each have their own shelf, and I do too.

Charlie having a bad-attitude day :)

I also print out every one of their worksheets and such and file them in my "Secretary". That way, the boys can do many things on their own if they are feeling proactive.

On the left you can see the tabbed folders I use in my Secretary to keep handouts and tests for each subject. The boys can find their own stuff easily.

We start our school day at around 10:00 in the morning, and go until 2:00 or 2:30 with a lunch break. The boys take fifteen minute breaks between every two lessons. 

And there you have it! What's been working for you?

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Love & Logic Update

It's been a couple weeks since my last Love & Logic class, so I thought I ought to report on how we're doing. 

And, we're doing great! At least, in regard to school, we're doing great.

I've found it incredibly liberating using the Love & Logic approach to school work. The boys have complete control over what lessons they do each day (with the exception of History which I do only on Tuesday and Thursday) and they are in charge of whether they get done or not. I just need to show up, do my own thing at the computer, and be willing to help them/teach them, if they ask me. 

Some days, they goof off a lot and then find themselves without me to help and without any privileges to play the computer or play with friends.

Those days are so sad.

But, I'm okay with them :)

The good news is, those days are few and far between and, come to think about it, haven't happened at all for the past week or so. They are learning how to make this program work for them.

I still haven't sat down and figured out what could be the choices I give the guys for household stuff. Like how do you get them to brush their teeth? I mean, the natural consequences of not caring for your teeth are not ones I'm happy with so ... ??? I have no idea. I need to work on those things, but I'm happy to report that as far as school is concerned, Love & Logic has been a life-saver! 

Fully Awesome!