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.

Windy day fun, FINALLY!!!!!!

Our yard has finally dried up and is somewhat back to normal. And it happened just in time. We have had some BEAUTIFUL weather lately. The kids and I had to take advantage of it. With all the rain and mud, cabin fever was beginning to set in. Not a pretty site with 4 kids and 3 dogs.

So as soon as we could we took our learning outside.

And then the wind started blowing and what does a kid always want to do on a windy day……

Fly kites!

I was lucky to have found some clearance kites at the end of summer at Walmart. And the kids were itching to get them out and in the sky.

Lil man did fantastic!

Tadpoles

One fun thing did come from all that rain and standing water in our yard. TADPOLES!!

I have never seen tadpoles before. Yes I know I am deprived. But ya know I was a city girl!

So when the kids told me they saw a ton of tadpoles, I had to see for myself.

And then we had to catch some.

Luckily,I had a tank leftover from our pet turtle that we released in our pond last summer.

We kept them for a week or so and then released them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to school~ our core subjects

I am very lucky in the sense that my kids all have similar interest which makes homeschooling 3 different levels easier. Not saying it’s a breeze, but easier to connect everyone together and I am not in 50 million directions, only 49 million.

This year we are doing Science, History and Geography together.

Science~ We are using Apologia Zoology 2 and are studying Marine Animals. My kids LOVE animals so the zoology books were a great fit. My 8th grader uses the corresponding Notebook while my 5th grader uses a varied of free lapbooks.

History~ We are continuing with Story of the World book 1. I did have my girls doing 2 different things. But the youngest was getting lost so I decided to bring her back in on the Story of the World lessons and she has done wonderful.

Geography~ The original plan was to have the 8th grader continue to study the states and the 5th grader to study the countries. But the oldest wanted to learn the countries. So we are all on the same page there too. For this we use Little passports and then I supplement with information from the internet and books/DVD from the library.

Language Arts/ Writing~ This has been a struggle because both kids hate writing. They hate capitalizing, punctuation, all of it. All I want is a paragraph and it’s like pulling teeth. So we have been on a trial and error basis on curriculum. We have been using Daily Language Activity book consistently.

Math~ Our 8th grader is doing Pre-Algebra while our 5th grader is doing basic math. For my 8th grader, I actually ordered an old textbook from Ebay and we found that we LOVE this book. The examples are clear and really make learning easier. Before we used the Spectrum workbooks and though I love them, there wasn’t always a good example. But this book is fantastic. I also ordered an old textbook for the 5th grader, but considering her special needs it is still way to early to tell if this will work or not.

Spelling~ Each has their own workbooks.

Reading~ Each will be reading their own assigned Novel and then supplementing with activities.This month our 8th grade is reading The White Giraffe and our 5th grader is reading The Magic Treehouse Book 1~Dinosaurs after Dark. Each also have a reading comprehension books.

I just wanted to make a quick note about some of the levels my kids are on. Both of my daughters show signs of learning disabilities. And my 5th grader is more on a late 3rd early 4th grade level. So I know this will not fit for everyone. And my oldest is right on maybe even above in some areas but then lacks in the writing department.

International Homeschool Spirit Week

Last week was International Homeschool Spirit Week. Basically all around the world homeschoolers thought why should those public schools get all the fun. We have spirit, yes we do, we have spirit just like you!!!!! But in the comfort of our home and pajamas. Ok now that  I got that out of my system, here’s how our week went.

Monday was Homeschool away from Home. Problem was I didn’t read my email about this fun week until Monday afternoon. But my kids had a laid back Monday due to our schedule changes. So we had mostly fall fun stuff planned.

Tuesday was Comfy Cozy Day. We spent the day in Pajamas and just laid around while doing school.

Wednesday was Crazy Sock Day. This was fun. My grandma had gone out the day before and bought us some tall crazy socks. And the kids loved this. I especially loved the looks I got when I had to go to Walmart. Some just laughed and one shook her head and glared at me.

Thursday was Mismatch day. I meant to take a picture because my kids and me looked CRAZY! I mixed hubby’s hawaiian shirt over some crazy patterned clothes and then did 80’s hair and make up. My kids came out with a different sock on each foot. Mismatching clothes were easy for them because I am always telling them they are mismatching.

Friday was Twin Day! Cailin and I were twins, as were Dakota and Brianna. Again another day I meant to take a picture! But we were having so much fun! And I forgot!

I am hoping this happens again next year. My kids had a blast!

Back to School~ schedule

Homeschool is in session. We have been back to the grind for the last 4-5 weeks. It has been a slow start up process. But we are definitely making head way. Though a little slower with a 3 year old wanting to get in on everything, but we are on the right track.

With having 3 kids at home on 3 different levels, we decided to try a block schedule. For the first 3 weeks, we had subjects 1-5 on Monday and Wednesday, subjects 6-10 on Tuesday and Thursday, and all subjects on Friday for a review day. But I started thinking about Bri’s learning disabilities and realized reviewing on Friday does no good if you have 2 days off right afterwards. So this is our new schedule for now.

Monday is our review day. We cover all of our subjects and just review and go over what we learned the previous week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are subjects 1-5. We usually take about an hour on each.

Wednesday and Fridays are subjects 6-10.

Spelling is done everyday because if not my kids will get confused and lost.

So here is the basic set up.

Monday~ Writing, Spelling, History, Reading, Geography, Science, Art, PE, Math

Tuesday & Thursday~ Reading, History, Science, PE, Spelling

Wednesday & Friday~ Writing, Geography, Spelling, Art, Math

Our school starts at 8:30am. We get an hour and half for lunch from 11-12:30. And usually finish up between 1:30-2:30. I always leave Math for last because that is my kids longest subject. Meaning sometimes it takes them a while. And my kids are the type that don’t stop unless its done or I tell them too. So this more relaxed for me and them as we aren’t worrying about the subjects we still need to do because it’s last. I may switch Art and PE. That way they get their juices flowing with PE right before Math. I think and hope that is the last change I need to make. So far it has worked out for us.

Next up~ what we are covering in each subject.

NOT Back to School week 1

As homeschoolers we have the luxury of doing what we want, when we want.

With my oldest heading off to school this week, I decided to give my homeschoolers a couple of fun weeks. Yes they are filled with learning experiences but my kids wouldn’t know it. They think it is all about hands on activities.

Take a look at our week in pictures….

He was cold so he had to wear Mommy’s jacket. Getting up early is hard to do, you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

School time or so he thought. He wasn’t thrilled that there was no school and that I was also taking his picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First day picnic lunch. Because of rain we had to do this indoors with a movie.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for our homemade bouncy balls to be ready.  The kids thought it was fun how I could capture them in movement with the Sport setting on the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy kids! I am convinced they get it from their father.

 

 

 

 

 

I honestly love this picture. They are so happy and carefree and young. Gosh how I miss that.

 

 

 

 

 

By the way the bouncy balls were a dud for us. Instead of bouncing they went THUD.

Wrapping up our homeschool year (pun intended)

I wanted to finish this post a month ago but life got in the way. Anyways better late than never, Huh?

 

My kids have busted their butts these last two months. And they have hit almost every goal I have set for them and I couldn’t be more proud of them. (Beaming Momma moment) Technically they have about 3 weeks left of school and I am trying my hardest to stretch their lessons to last. But I have to say I am having a hard time. So what do you do if you start going a little crazy coming up with ideas. You go crazy and plan a party and a field trip. WHY NOT? The kids have earned it! So that is what we did.

We finished up our project of comparing our Egyptians scrolls and clay tablets. Unfortunately our experiment had opposite results. Our scroll last and our clay tablet just fell apart. Apparently it was the wrong clay and some darn good paper we used. So this was our end result.

Terrible picture, I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we wrapped up our chicken mummy ( HAHA~get it). It has been 6 weeks and we were ready to wrap it up to gross out  show everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also went on a field trip to our local Science Museum where they had a special exhibit about Mummies around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really liked this exhibit. It is not for the faint of heart I might add. There were a few moments that I had vision of mummies attacking. But I kept a cool head and the kids never knew.

In the end we manage to “wrap up” our mummies unit and the rest of our lessons early so we took two weeks off instead of just one!

Jeanette

 

 

 

Our week in homeschooling~

This week has been full of hands on activities. Which my kids have really enjoyed, I think I may continue it for our summer learning camp. We finished up our yearly testing a couple of weeks ago and are now just coasting through the last month of “real” school.

Science~

We are learning about Birds. This has been a very exciting lesson for my girls as we have set up a bird feeder area in our yard. This week we learned about bird wings by doing a dissection of a chicken wing. I just bought a pack of chicken wings from the meat department. The girls got to see all the muscles and tendons. They thought it was interesting to see how the joints worked. This was a favorite in the house. We also learned about the different types of nest and the girls had to try to create their own nest. Needless to say this was a messy activity and required showers afterwards.

History~ 

We are studying World History and have been learning about the Egyptians. Which we have also tied in with Geography and started learning about the country also. Last week we made a replica of the Nile River. We then filled it until the water overflowed to represent the flooding of the Nile. And this is what we got after a week.

We also learned about the types of writing the Egyptians used. The girls made a paper scroll with hieroglyphics on it and a clay tablet using cuneiform writing.

Little Man even had to get in on the fun!

These came out SOOOO good! Proud momma moment!

We also read about mummies and decided to start our 6 week project of making a mummified chicken. The kids really liked this idea.

This is a very lengthy and involved project but it was something we all really wanted to do.

This is day 2.

Special needs mom fighting for diagnosis

I never wanted to be the mom of a special needs kid.  The idea and thought terrified me. Then I became very close with my cousin who one day just stop growing and no one knew why. He was like having a baby under the age of 1 for about 2-3 years. And I watched what my Aunt was going through and I definitely didn’t want it then. I had a perfectly healthy daughter and that was how I wanted all my kids. But then I met my husband.

I have a blended family. My oldest daughter and youngest daughter came from my husbands previous marriage. The mom got into some trouble and lost custody. The day I moved in, she quit coming around or calling much. Eventually she signed over her rights and I adopted the girls as my own. My middle and youngest daughter are only 5 months apart. But they are mentally and physically years apart. When I came into the picture Bri would talk but you couldn’t understand her at all. Only 3 words came out clearly. She was having a hard time potty training. Very small and petite in size compared to the other kids. It seemed like everything with Bri was on hyperspeed. And she was very impulsive and unaware of dangers.

We originally got the speech diagnosis and started her in an intense pre-k with tons of speech therapy. About 2 years later, we got the ADHD diagnosis. But within 6 months of being on meds, she turned violent and out of control. My little sweet petite girl could bust my lip, punch a hole in the wall and break a window all in one day. And yes she was only 6 or 7. From there we got the diagnosis of mood disorder. She has been on meds ever since. But I kept saying there was something more. That something wasn’t right. I homeschooled for a couple of years until her meds weren’t working and she became a danger to myself and the newborn in the house at the time. We decided that we needed a break and public school would give us that. But in school she was struggling. Inevitably getting in a fight because and I quote “the other girl wanted to”. She didn’t have any social common sense in my opinion. She will talk to you like dirt and treat you like dirt but the minute you do it to her; your labeled as mean and she runs to her room crying which then goes into a temper tantrum. She doesn’t understand right from wrong or just doesn’t care. I am not sure. She struggles in school with making friends and being on her grade level. No one has an answer, a solution and just keeps passing her along!

I have been to therapist that have suggest locking her in a closet to talking to her like she is a baby. I have been to neurologist, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, psychologist and had many IQ test done. But finally I might have a light at the end of the 9 year battle! It took the 5th psychiatrist to listen and say whoa, i think she might be this instead. But finally there is hope. And the scary part is I have suspected it all along.

Asperger’s!

I am really hoping this is the answer. I am exhausted and beginning to lose my drive. But I can’t quit; I know that. But it just sucks going on this journey.

I will say that with everything I picked up with my daughter and cousin, I have learned a lot. I can look at someone at the restaurant and say he is autistic or listen to a friend share her worries about her child and say sounds like a sensory issue.

But it still is hard…….