Monday, February 10, 2014

Have you ever been to a Homeschool Conference?

I have wanted to go to one for YEARS. In June, I will finally get the chance.  The Appalachian Home Educators Conference will be held in Pigeon Forge!!  June is a GREAT time to visit the beautiful Smokey Mountains.  In addition to the conference, there are tons of fun things to do in the area.
http://www.appalachianhomeeducators.com/a/idevaffiliate.php?id=106_0_1_6

This is our first year doing traditional homeschooling and I can't wait to go to listen to all the amazing speakers, browse the used curriculum and talk with homeschooling experts about all the wonderful options available to us as a homeschool family.

AHED is having a Facebook party on Tuesday, February 11th from 7-8pm EST.  Several of the speakers appearing at the conference will be at the party and there will be prizes to win.


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Funnix Reading & Math--FREE downloads

All of my kids have learned to read on their own terms.  I've had several early readers and a couple of late readers.  Melanie is 6 and reading has not fully "clicked" for her yet.  She is the baby and seems to think that reading will change that.  I've heard great things about Funnix Reading and they are offering a free download of both their reading and math programs until December 20th.

The program also provides a printable workbook to go along with the computer driven lessons.  I think this may be just the thing to help Melanie finish putting together the little pieces needed to fully grasp reading on her own.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Time 4 Learning Review!

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Over the last month, Maggie has been using Time 4 Learning as part of her school work. I have been impressed with the amount of options and flexibility.  As an 8th grader, she is rather complex.  Time 4 Learning gives the option of working at grade level, one level above or one level below.  In Math she had been struggling with Algebra 1, so we chose to go back to Pre-Algebra  and reinforce the math concepts she will need in order to be successful in Algebra.  Science, History and Language Arts each have options that allowed Maggie to choose WHAT she wanted to study each day. The program tracks what they have completed and starts back up where they left off in each subject. 

In the Parent Account, I am able to access reports that show how long she worked on each subject, what material she completed and the results of any quizzes/tests.  I can also print out reports on what she is doing. 

My younger girls also used the program, but not as extensively as Maggie.  Melanie is in 1st grade, she primarily used the phonics and math lessons for review/enrichment.  She was a bit disappointed that the "Recess" rewards games were links to websites that she already uses.  Marissa is in 2nd grade and a bit more serious about school, she did not like the humor in the lessons and quickly decided not to use it anymore.

Overall, I am very impressed with Time 4 Learning.  It is very affordable, it covers all the subjects my middle schooler needs and it is enjoyable for her, which makes it much easier to get her to DO her schoolwork.  We are on a tight budget so I can not see us paying to use it as a supplement for the younger kids, but it is nice to know it is out there in case we ever need a complete program for them.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No more brick and mortar school

The public middle school experiment is over.  Maggie went to 8th grade at the very nice school down the road from our house from October 14th until November 12th.  It is a fairly new school and they are extremely proud of their prison like security.  I understand that this is all due to terrible events that have happened in public schools over the last few years, but it did not make me feel SAFE.  It made me feel as though I was willingly putting my child someplace that has a reasonable expectation of imminent attack. 

During her four weeks, Maggie was sick and missed 8 days due to illnesses.  This is more days than she has been sick in the last 2 1/2 years of virtual school.  I understand that kids are going to catch things when they are put into an environment where they are in close contact with others all day long, but since we have other choices, we decided to exercise them.

It was definitely stressful for Maggie and she was more than willing to return to schooling at home.  I am hopeful that now that we have given her the chance to try out brick and mortar school, she will be content with the method of schooling that works best for her.

She will not be returning to the K12 virtual school.  We have registered her as a homeschooler with the local school district and are currently using Time 4 Learning and a variety of other resources.  Registering with the school district was extremely EASY and it was free.  I had been told by many people that we need to sign up with an umbrella school, but for us the cost was prohibitive. Next year, if we do not enroll Maggie in the virtual high school Morgan attends, we will consider using an umbrella school for transcripts, etc.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Some background.

We are definitely feeling led (pushed) to leave K12 and become traditional homeschoolers.  Morgan's virtual high school is not K12, it is a grassroots effort by an individual school district.  We have been very happy with his school.  He is struggling in a few subjects because he prefers to only learn things that interest him.  I am looking at several supplemental programs to be sure that he is prepared for the End of Course (EOC) exams for these classes.  He is academically gifted with a severe lack of self motivation.  Since he is a Sophomore this year, I'm really searching for ways to improve his study skills and motivation.  He has set a goal to attend a big name college and he will definitely need to qualify for some big scholarships to finance that goal.  We are also working on figuring out what degree he would like to pursue at that big name college.

Maggie returned to Brick & Mortar school on Columbus Day after spending 6th and 7th grade and the first 9 weeks of 8th grade in K12.  She has wanted to be with other kids and go to "normal" school for over a year. We have been most dissatisfied with the middle school program, so we decided to give regular public school a try. She likes her teachers, she's at the top of most of her classes academically and she has made friends. It's been 3 weeks and she has already missed 4 days due to illness.  It has been FUN for her, but I'm not sure she is learning anything.  We may have her finish this quarter, but public schooling long term does not seem like a good option.

Marissa and Melanie have never been to regular public school.  Marissa is excelling with the K12 curriculum. Unfortunately, our virtual school is forcing common core/state standards live classes into our daily schedule at the expense of time spent on the actual curriculum. Purchasing the K12 curriculum directly is cost prohibitive for us. Melanie is doing well in most of her subjects but her learning is constantly being disrupted by required attendance in live classes that never seem to cover the material she is currently working on.

We want our children to enjoy learning and we feel it is our job as their parents to provide them with a quality education that will encourage them to be life long learners.

Time for Learning Review!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's been forever!

I realize it has been a really long time. Life has been hectic. The kids are all getting so big. Morgan is in his second year of High School. Maggie will start high school next year. Marissa is technically in 2nd grade but doing 3rd grade math and reading at a 4th grade level. Melanie is in first grade this year.

This is our third year schooling at home. Due to technical issues and general frustration we are currently exploring a variety of options. We are seriously considering transition to traditional homeschooling. An umbrella school looks like the best option for the girls while registering with the local district may be best for Morgan.

To complicate matters, I am working 35-45 hours per week outside the house and we can only get satellite internet service.