2014 homeschooling schedule

I am excited for this new chapter of schooling. I made some changes that I hope and pray will work because I just don’t know if I can handle throwing out and starting over part 3. Originally we were doing 6 weeks of school and then a 2 week break. This was idea when my kids were younger, but now we are in middle school. And honestly 6 weeks isn’t enough time to fit in all the learning that we wanted to do. Basically any hands on activity and field trips got pushed to the back burner. They have burned to a crisp by now.

Plus I realized when the holidays were upon us, there just wasn’t enough time to do our regular homeschool routine and celebrate with fun activities. So, of course, all the fun was sucked out again. Also I felt like I was always rushed to shop and entertain and homeschool and EVERYTHING!!! I didn’t get to enjoy it!

Well I have found a schedule that will fix all that. January through May, we are doing school consistently with a week off in March for Spring Break. Our spring break will be different every year because we will coordinate with my oldest daughters school schedule. They will also have the occasional day off here or there.  We will wrap our school year up in May and have June and July off for summer break. Then in August we will start our new school year and homeschool strong with the occasional day off through to Thanksgiving. The week of Thanksgiving will mark our Holiday break. We will be off until after the first of the year.

This schedule is just for my older kids. My preschooler will be doing school all the time. His schedule is a little more relaxed. We usually do school 3-4 days a week. And he needs consistency to keep up with what he is learning. These breaks are the perfect time for some one on one time with mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome 2014!

Oh how I have looked forward to you! So many things are going to happen this year.

My hubby turns 40. We celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We have been together 12 years. Our children will turn 17, 15, 15 and 5.

But other than that I look forward to the life I am ready to live. I have spent way too much time putting things off and now I am going to do it! 

I am looking forward to blogging more because I feel like I have finally found something I love.

I am determine to take photography classes to go along with that fancy camera I got so many months ago.

I want to homeschool in a way that I see my kids love learning and flourish.

I want to get and feel healthy. I am tired of being tired and not feeling like a 32 year old.

Also I want to grow our family!

But mostly I just want to be present in my kids lives and live like it’s our last moment on Earth. As you know I have fought depression in the past and though I did good this last year, I feel like in the new year I can be even better. And after a health scare with my son, it just jump started that feel to make the most of what you are given.

So I hope all of you the best in 2014. I hope you reach your goals and I hope you will follow me on this crazy journey I call life.

 

 

Back to basics~ turning frugal

6 months after we moved out here, the economy tanked and my hubby’s business took a massive hit. We had to quit paying on our credit cards and let 2 cars and hubby’s motorcycle get repossessed. It was awful feeling knowing you had a very, VERY successful business and in a blink of an eye it could all be taken away. But we kept at it and Hubby’s business was one of the few small cabinet shops to pull through. A lot of friends of his had to close their doors and walk away after years and years of being in business. We did everything we could to make it through and the best part is our children never knew we were poor. Today when I talk about the bad days, they are shocked. That I am thankful for.

During that time, I found ways to be frugal and live on cash only. Something I had never done in my entire life and something my hubby had to relearn. If there was no cash for it, then it wasn’t happening.

Now here we are 2013 and I have been looking back at all the stuff we spend money on that we really don’t need right that minute. First off, my hubby loves to spoil me and sometimes it’s very hard to say no when he wants to buy new boots (my obsession) or when he wanted to buy me an expensive camera because I said I would like to photography classes. And if a computer or TV breaks, we have to replace it ASAP. These are all things that could have been bought as christmas presents and he wouldn’t be struggling to get me something now. Hubby can be very extravagant sometimes, spend a $1000 at one time and not even blink. That shocks me.

We are still on a cash system, but have not been frugal at all. We eat out too much….way too much! And every time we go to the store the kids want drinks, snacks or toys. Hubby is constantly buying tools or other things he says he needs.

So with that said we have taken another hit. Now we need to cut back our grocery spending to just $500. I was spending anywhere from $800-$1000 and still listening to everyone complain there was nothing to eat. They also are in a phase of everything needs to brand name. My family also had an aversion to leftovers. Some family members would have a cow if they didn’t have a freshly prepared meal. I don’t even want to know how much money I threw out with all the leftovers.

Well change is coming. I am getting back to basics. The snacking all day is out! The sodas all the time is out! The fast food lunches is out!

We are self employed! We don’t have a 401K or retirement plan. We have only what we have saved. And since my hubby turns 40 next year and isn’t getting any younger. 2014 is my getting back to being frugal and saving year.

Time to break out the Dave Ramsey book and refresh.

My old life vs my new life

City Life vs Country Life

Stay at Home Mom vs Homeschooling Mom

I remember dropping the kids off at school and going to a PTA meeting. Then heading to the mall, Target or a restaurant for lunch. Grocery shopping with no kids was normal. I made sure all of my errands were done by the time I picked my kids up from school so I wouldn’t have to go out with all 3 of them.

But I also remember the traffic and the way our neighborhood was going down hill. Our kids had no yard to play in and even if they did I wouldn’t let them. The playground down the road was home to daily drug deals and bratty teenagers. All things my babies were not going to be exposed to.

Then again, I remember how much I loved my children’s school. How nice the teachers were. You couldn’t go ten feet without someone saying hello or good morning. The school was fantastic. Had we stayed in that area, I don’t know if I would have started homeschooling.

But then I remember the way I had to leash up my dogs and take them out one by one. I also remember how scary it was doing that in the dark.

Then we moved out here where there is no traffic except during our fair days. I have an acre and half for my kids and dogs to run in. No more leashes, drug deals and bratty teenagers (except my own).

Oh but the school, I hated it. I was supposedly part of the PTA board but they never included me. I was made to feel like I wasn’t welcomed because I was new. The teachers gossiped instead of greeting you when you walked through the halls. I remember being mortified when a teacher followed me out of a classroom to continue an argument with me. I remember being looked at with disgusted to whole rest of the year. I also remember constantly fighting with the teachers to follow my special needs child’s IEP. I also remember the way they let kids bully her because she didn’t look special needs.

And now I get up start my day with a cup of coffee. Get my oldest off to school and feel good knowing my other kids are right where they should be. Every child’s path is different. Every family’s life is different. There was a fork in the road for me and I could have stayed being the typical suburban mom or moved to country and become a totally different person.

My heart is fuller knowing I changed into someone who is not so shallow, not self absorbed and very much fighting for her kids. I wanted to fit into the whole status quo of what a suburban mom is: shopping, socializing and, yes on the outside, a good mom and wife.

But I honestly regret those years that I wasn’t home with my girls. I wish I lived out in the country from the beginning and homeschooled from Kindergarten and up. I wish I saw how fast that time was going to go by and treasured it a little more.

Better late than never though.

We have a new diagnosis!

As most of you know, I have a special needs child. I came into her life at age 3 and she was unable to talk clearly at all and not potty trained.  Compared to my daughter who was only 5 months older, she was very delayed. Once I felt comfortable to say, Hey she needs help, I started fighting for her. And I have still been fighting for a diagnosis. In an earlier post, I wrote about my frustration with getting an answer, which you can read here. Well since then we got a new doctor who really listens to me and my concerns and who actually wanted to see the results of the outside test I got done on her. Since then the word Autism has been used here and there. But nothing definite. Finally I said what is her diagnosis. I just want an answer.  As of right now, she has Asperger’s Syndrome with PDD. Now he did say this will change next year because the guidelines and titles are changing. So she will be considered under the Autism Spectrum. But I feel finally on a path to answers. And with this doctor, instead of making me feel stupid for saying I don’t think she is maturing like she should, he has told me that we won’t know what the bar limit will be for her because everyone is different. I always been made to feel like a terrible parent for not having confidence in my child that she will live a normal life but that was not reality in what I was seeing at home. I didn’t want blinders on. I wanted to know why and what to do next.  And now I feel we have finally gotten the right doctor for us. It may have taken 11 years but we are at a turning point.

Here we go again! Throwing out the plans Part 2!

Yes, that is right. I am revamping our homeschool schedule again! This is what I love about homeschooling. The fact that I can stop and change directions on a whim is empowering.

So this what we were doing in the beginning.

I was trying to fit every subject into everyday. I was also trying to do preschool like I did it back 10 years ago in a daycare center. And I was trying to follow the Florida school calendar.

This didn’t work at all!

Then I began:

Doing split scheduling like I did last year. We also started 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, except preschool. And mostly book work.

Forget about it. With 4 kids that have dentist appointments, doctor appointments, sick days and the everyday household running, I felt like I was flying through the 6 weeks, but not accomplishing anything and rushing my kids through. I would leave out the “fun” part of homeschooling~ all the hands on stuff. And I still had a preschooler who hated school. He woke up twice and told me my school sucked and that he hated school, especially coloring. Plus with Christmas here and all the fun of that, it is hard to fit in school, fun, errands and cleaning.

So for now we are just coasting through. Working on hands on projects, finishing up books that we were reading, practicing our writing and working on Math. For Lil Man, we are making everything hands on. More learning centers, more arts and crafts, more computer and tablet time. And it has been working so far.

But beginning in 2014, we begin a whole new chapter, which the girls and I are very excited about. We are starting back to school January 6 and I will be posting more regular updates then.

First Day of homeschool 2013

Here are my angels on their first day.

 

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Dakota on the first day of Preschool. This was our 3rd attempt at a picture.

 

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Brianna on her first day of 6th grade.

 

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Cailin on her first day of her 8th grade gap year. She has a goofy smile because of her uncle standing behind me.

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Here they are my 2013-2014 class!

You know I still can’t believe how fast time flies. When we started our homeschool journey Cailin was going into 3rd and Brianna was in 1st and little man was just a hope and dream!

The 5 minutes my heart stopped

Two days ago I had the worse scare of my life. I felt like the safe sanctuary of my country life had been compromised. I was talking on the phone to my mom, when Brianna came running out of her room terrified. I mean completely terrified to the bone and yelling there is a guy with a gun. So I jump up and run to her bedroom window. And I see this strange guy casually walking with a gun hoisted on his shoulder between my front yard and my neighbors. I immediately tell my mom I got to go there’s a guy with a gun. The last thing I heard my mom say as I was hanging up was call the cops.

Now let me give some background. My mom lives 30-45 minutes away. My husband’s workshop is in my backyard. And him and my 2 oldest daughters were out there working.

So I try to call my hubby’s cell and got no answer. I told Brianna to watch her brother and lock the doors and I ran full force across my yard, shoes flying off to get to the shop. I yell there is a guy with a gun. My hubby yells WHAT?! Then I turn and realize my kids weren’t there. I yelled where are the kids. And we take off out of the shop to see them casually walking across the yard. We both yell get in the house~ there’s a gun. We all are running full force. Before any of us called 911 or my hubby grabbed his guns. He looks out the window and sees he is pumping it because it is a BB gun. We were all completely freaked out. But relieved!

Apparently he is our new neighbors boyfriend. And he was chasing their ducks because they were hungry or bored. I don’t know and I don’t care. That is just not what you want to be doing in a neighborhood in this day and age.

Now in the meantime, my mom has practically had a heart attack because she never got to the point of our conversation of where my hubby was that day in our shop or installing a job at a house somewhere. So she called my brother who has moved in with me, asking where he was and where was his brother in law and what was happening. He is flipping out and called me while driving. Which is awful because he has had his license for less than a month. I explain to him what happened and how we are fine.

I then called my mom and explained to her. And we both praised Brianna because even though it wasn’t a real gun, it was the right thing to do to warn us and get an adult. And that you can never be too careful. Then I realized that that 5 minutes knocked about 20 years off my life! And then I felt sad because this is the reality of the world that my children are growing up in. Shootings everywhere~ theaters, shopping malls and even our sacred schools.

But thank god it’s not in my neighborhood. I will take crazies with BB guns anyday. Well maybe not. I don’t think my heart can take it.

Why I homeschool?

10 years ago I would have never thought I would be a homeschooling mom.

But now 6 years into this journey, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Let me paint you a picture of my former life.

I was a normal suburban mom. I got the kids up in the morning, fed them breakfast and off to school we went. Some days I would stay and volunteer all morning. Other days I did grocery shopping or leisurely shopping. I made lunch dates. Then I would go back and pick my kids up and go home to homework, dinner and bath time. And always couldn’t wait until bedtime. OH MY bedtime couldn’t come fast enough. One year I was even a PTA board member. Voted as volunteer of the year in our school! Homeschooling never even crossed my mind. I loved being away from my kids.

So how in the world did I become a homeschooling mom?

We moved out to the country. And people weren’t as nice as they were in our old neighborhood. I wasn’t embraced by the school, teachers or PTA and neither were my kids. We came in the middle of the year and that made us different. Why I am not sure? Tons of people move schools in the middle of a school year. Out here it made us outcast. I had a daughter who was brilliant and they couldn’t see it. And a daughter that would freeze and have a panic attack at the mention of a test and they didn’t care.

Down here in Florida we have an annual test called the FCAT. Like a standardize test, but Florida thought it would be fun to say if you don’t pass this test in 3rd or 12th grade, you don’t pass or get a diploma. So the teachers were under pressure and they put their students under pressure. This wasn’t a good situation for someone with a test anxiety. So I talked to the teachers. The results were deal with it because the State of Florida says this is the way it is. Let me tell you, I tried to walk away from this teacher without an argument. But she followed me out into the hallway and confronted me. After a huge argument which got me labeled as the Bitch mom. I walked away and decided no one was going to tell me to deal with it. This was the day we decided to homeschool.

At first it started with just my oldest two children. But half-way through the year, my youngest joined. Over the years, my kids have chosen home or school. I think we finally got it right with my oldest in a regular public school and my 3 youngest homeschooling. It fits everyone’s personalities and makes everyone happy.

It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. And there are days when I am like what was I thinking!?! But to see my test anxiety child, who hated reading and took 3 hours to write spelling sentences, pick up a book on her own and fall in love with the characters and stories was amazing. To see her read a 700 page book with joy, unbelievable. And now I am experiencing it with my special needs child. Who always felt safer to stick with the easy reader books, branch out and found, not 1 but 2 series that has her excited for our library trips. There were tears, fights, judgement and criticism. Still is.

But I have seen so much and learned so much through homeschooling and my kids.

I realized I love them more everyday! And being with them to watch them grow is a blessing.