Monday, July 18, 2011


9 am: wake up to kids playing online games:
announce that today is a school day
response: suddenly everyone has to go eat breakfast, I go down with kids and make my breakfast: coffee, vitamins, cheese sticks, they have left over pizza, hhmmm my favorite

10 am: prompt them to get laptops, meet me in the living room, and log in to Online Learning School, and check kMail, follow the prompts for daily activity which include a visit to Study Island.
while they are completing that, I am cleaning the kitchen and shining my sink.

11 am: prompt them to visit Math is fun and work through the math trainer for multiplication

12: prompt them to go outside and run two miles.

while they are doing that, it is time for NURSES STATION, yep, time to check the First Aid Kit, throw out anything that is out of date, make of list of anything that is running low on supplies, you do not want to break rhythm of the day with a run to the local pharmacy for a tummy ache (Pepto Bismo) or a scrape (Bandaid) so get ready now and thank me later.

I got a Plano Tackle Fishing box to organize the supplies and keep them on a top shelf away from curious toddlers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy Reader

just keeping up with the books is a full time job.

Reading list for the net 30 weeks:

Friday, July 15, 2011


Declutter Day: I dragged up the big bad trash can and am ruthlessly cleaning, I have way too much clutter in the school room to be able to function properly so before we the boxes arrive I need to get this place in order. that does not mean shoving everything in another closet / cupboard or the poor pitiful garage. HotSpot today: School Closet / Classroom lavatory. (for those curious about these names: we moved our bedroom into a traditional child's room, and converted the "Master Suite" into the classroom.

now that I am making progress, it is time to really find a way to utilize my brainiac children's talents:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What is for Dinner

Sunday: PIZZA
Tuesday: Taco's
Wednesday: BOY's Tomato Soup, Hard boiled Egg, Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Thursday: DAD's Spaghetti
Friday: Fish and Vegetables
Saturday: Crepes

Mom's Chicken Deluxe (7 minutes prep time):
1 pack of Chicken Quarters ($3.40)
1 lb of baby carrots
1 onion slivered
2 Tbl corn starch for gravy
1 bottle Vidalia Onion Fig Sauce ($4.95)
baked at 350 for one hour, served on bed of:
3 cups of steamed rice

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Each student is different and each teacher is different and each student / teacher interaction is different. that being said: I have two children, one that is pleasant, interactive and one that would rather not interact at all. when the teacher sends out a monthly 'interactive' email to get a response, one child will respond with a couple of sentences to complete the task, the other child with one word, generally with the least amount of syllables possible. that is not to suggest that either child likes or dislikes the teacher, the school, or the process, it is simple preferences. take those same two children, both are eager to participate in the weekly online classrooms, they arrive on time, and are eager to engage. but one on one puts them on the spot and they feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable.

last year we were having difficulty with writing, the grammar was too easy for the 4th grader but the composition was extremely difficult. by sorting things out, participating in a 6/7th grade weekly composition classroom, the 4th grader was able to help the 6th/7th graders with grammar and they in turn was able to help with writing process. imagine any other place where a child that is three years ahead in grammar but two years behind in composition would be able to get that type of support. By the end of six months, he was able to progress from 8 hours to write two sentences to 400+ word essay in 2 hours during the State Exams. He still answers the teachers email queries with with things like 'no', but he is just a minimalist and he is not being ugly about it.

the cons? it puts a lot of work on the parent / learning coach, we are there 7 hours a day, 5 days a week on top of parenting, we are the teacher, the administrator, the nurse, the nutritional, we are the bus driver, the chemistry teacher, the swim coach, the recess referee, we are the librarian, there are very few 'breaks', no time off, and we always having a running list in the back of our head of how much literature is still to be done before bedtime, how many math lessons are due by the end of the week, and what science supplies still need to be purchased with the weekly groceries to complete the next science experiment or art project and always in the darkest part of our sub conscientious is the thought "will we get through enough to do well enough on the state exams so that we reflect well on our family, our school, and demonstrate that we made the right choice to pull our children from a situation that is considered 'acceptable' in lieu of a child not able to function in a classroom of 20 noisy students and having panic attacks and going to the nurses office three days a week from stress and anxiety, missing academic lessons, suffering teasing for being different .

the saddest part of it all, he probably could benefit from a partial day and a micro small group setting, but the local schools do not see a hybrid as a solution for children that are somewhat homebound. it is currently all or nothing in the majority of the schools. He would do well with a increased frequency with other children, and exposure to other children. the reason we chose Virtual School is that we believe in a non secular classical education with the same benefits and responsibilities of a public education in exchange for a curriculum that is already researched and set out to meet the Common Core Standards, that not all states have adopted. K12 gives us that, they take the State Standards, and they add in the Common Core Standards on top of that so that they follow the National guidelines for an education that will transfer to the University Level when the time comes. Do not confuse Virtual School which is at it's core Schooling at Home with Homeschooling and Unschooling, they are as different as night and day.

As with everything with k12, we generally move at the speed of light. when it comes to IEP / ARD, there is not a whole lot of resources delegated to help the children, it is generally left up to the parent / learning coach to implement the modifications. I recently have had to shake my head at my own school, my child 'needs' a modification in how he takes the State exams, in order to request that, there should have been a simple referral process. however, the school is insisting a written form from a doctor. I provided a letter from the doctor, the school came back with no, it had to be the form, I provided the form, but they didnt get a perfect fax and couldnt see if it had the right check boxes even though they could read the written notes. at that point I was mad enough to tell them to screw it. that I really didnt care if he did well on the exams, that it was not worth it to me to put in the effort to focus on achievements and that it will just be another day which I know negatively impacts their state status.

The overall issue that works well for virtual academy and against it, there is a high population that the typical school is not and does not reach, kids that need a significant support system, they by nature are going to score lower because they already are fighting an uphill battle, the offset is that they are supported by parents that are desperate to something better, something that will reach their kids.

With a teacher that is driven to make a difference, can and does but it is not without sacrifice. there are nights that I am online and get an IM from our homeroom teacher at 1 am, she needs to talk, she is just getting back to me, she wants some feedback before she sends out an email blast to other parents and has me proof it for readability. She has a cornucopia of parents from the absolute brilliant (like me heehee) the the proverbial box of rocks that consistently redefine blithering idiot. she is responsible for 75 kids across several grades in multiple families. I would say that she spends a significant amount of time administrating parents that just can not get their act together.

I can tell you that it is a lot of hand holding, a lot of dancing around with parents that have lots of motivation, lots of hope, as well as lots of excuses and lots well intentions. The key to finding balance is recruiting several parents to be virtual room parents / boosters, working together to keep socials with the other parents and working towards the common goal. this program is just as much about support the parents as it is reaching the kids themselves. we have class connects each week that primarily focuses on the state tests.

I hope that enlightens and doesn't deter your objectives. heehee for new teachers considering this avenue of employment, that your are even willing to take on the adventure speaks highly of you. this is not the education system that you were trained for in college, by a long ways. this is truly inquiry based gifted and talented education where the sky is the limit. I have seen great things with due diligence in my family, granted I earned the nick name benito mussolini which is humorous since my daughter's MIL teaches 5th grade and was surprised that my 3/4th graders even knew who benito mussolini was. what I love most about k12 is that I can incorporate as much or as little enrichment as I want. today we stocked the kid's Kindles with books from the Gutenberg Project so now they have 15 books that they need to read over the next 30 weeks. I have already purchased their rewards today, tiny Lego quick kits.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Space Place Classroom Organization Center

Educational Insights the Space Place Classroom Organization Center

1 for each child with a weeks worth of educational materials and assignments in all 11 courses:

[7]Social Studies

Monday, July 11, 2011

Back To School

Done Shopping (this took 24 months to finance, a bit at a time), Waiting for the k12 Boxes to arrive:

HP Pavilion Slimline s5670t CTO with Intel
  • Intel Core i3-540 dual core processor
  • 512 MB ATI Video
  • 4 GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM
  • 750GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Lightscribe 16x DVD

OR (you do not HAVE to have both)

HP Pavilion dm1z series
  • 11.6" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView
  • Weight 3.52 lbs
  • AMD Dual-Core Processor E-350 (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)+AMD Radeon(TM) HD 6310M
  • 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 128GB (Solid State Drive Flash Module)(much more durable if dropped)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Unfinished Wooden Crate (18x12x9.5)


Expenses to School at Home (not counting curriculum, enrichment, or staff salary):
desktop $650
cam $70
mouse $27
keyboard $47
headphones $95

laptop $455

light $8

sharpener $31
desk $61
chair $60

trimmer $22
stapler $27
tape $18
scissors $5
brushes $5
clipboard $5
crate $10
11x14 $8
paper $23
ink $105
pencils $12
markers $26
alcohol $3
cotton balls $2
staples $3
glue $4
Post its $13
envelopes $5
Total $1,764

Friday, July 8, 2011

I want to get started RIGHT NOW

If I knew then what I know now, what would I do differently?

You made the hardest decision in your life, you are going to buck the system, pull your child from public school and homeschool.

You look at your options, weigh in your finances and opt to go with K12.

You pre-register, you follow up with mountain of paperwork, more than when you signed your first House Note, and you wait. You wait for the Registar to get it all input in to the system, and you wait, you check hourly to see if your missing any vital documents, you find 5 new grey hairs and you wait. You worry that you will not 'GET IN" or be "ACCEPTED" and you worry some more. You wonder what your Plan B is if this does not work out and you check your online dashboard again.

FINALLY, your IN, your registered, your approved, and your ready for the enlightenment to begin. and then you have to wait for the curriculum to come, for the OLS to open and you WAIT until you are quite sure if you wait one more minute, you will get a bleeding ulcer.

How about a guide to what to do while you wait.

If your going to build a house, your going to want to nail those board together, get the sheet rock up. WELL a walls / roof a house does not make. It is the same with Online School.

My first step: this is not "HOME SCHOOL", this is SCHOOL AT HOME and there is a difference. With the TXVA program, we follow the state mandates of public school, attendance, quarterly progress, standard testing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pump-It-Up Cy-Fair

Meet TXVA @ Pump-It-Up Cy-Fair, Texas

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire [Kindle Edition]

Rick Riordan


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Enrichment

Razzle Dazzle Writing: Achieving Excellence Through 50 Target Skills

Razzle Dazzle Writing: Achieving Excellence Through 50 Target Skills

Melissa Forney

Caught'ya!: Grammar With a Giggle

Caught'ya!: Grammar With a Giggle

Jane Bell Kiester

Journaling with

Monday, July 4, 2011

Laser Tag Meetup

Happy 10th Birthday Magnus

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Aquanaut - Webelos

Sam Houston State Park, Huntsville, Texas

Friday, July 1, 2011

Camp Invention

The SPARK Program

Join us on a W!LD animal adventure and explore the most spectacular and inventive animals on the planet. During the W!LD: Wondrous Innovations and Living Designs™ module, children explore W!LD and wondrous animal inventors. During the week, participants explore how cuttlefish use camouflage to hunt and hide, paper wasps that make “paper”, snails that create iron plated armor, fire beetles that use infrared light, and geckos that climb walls using nano hairs. Mother Nature’s very own inventors are sure to spark your imagination on thisW!LD animal exploration.

Mysterious coded messages have been left at The Curious Cypher Club™headquarters, and it is up to the Camp Invention participants to solve this puzzling mystery. Each day, children solve a different coded message and use the same code to send a message back to the culprit. After working on their codes each day, children work together to build a clubhouse using materials such as PVC pipes, rolls of corrugated cardboard, and other upcycled materials. After a week of solving coded messages and using their engineering skills to build a unique clubhouse, children uncover the culprit, end the message sending, and are awarded membership into The Curious Cypher Club!

During the Bounce! An Atomic Journey™ module, children investigate the science of atoms and molecules by experimenting with bouncy balls! A dynamic mix of chemistry and physical science, children bounce their way through atoms, molecules, mixtures, and compounds to figure out how cool matter (like a bouncy ball) is created. Children gain experience designing and conducting their own experiments and investigations as they explore how atoms join together to make molecules that shape our entire world! Children design high-bouncing investigations, practice moving atoms like nanotechnologists, conduct inquiry-based static electricity experiments, and make salty solutions, slimy compounds, polymer snow, and their very own bouncy ball to take home!

Children shake up traditional games to create new experiences that will have them thinking and upcycling their way to a brand new kind of fun! In the Game On: Power Play™ module, children are challenged to use nontraditional equipment (such as water balloons) to play classic games. Each day features fresh ideas that will have children mentally and physically engaged and completely entertained. The laughter is contagious as children use fun ways to enhance their level of cooperation and coordination in these innovative, team-building exercises. Children's minds and bodies are put to the test as they combine physical activity, creativity and fun!

During the I Can Invent: Edison’s Workshop™ module children walk in the footsteps of Thomas Edison as they create and market a multi-step machine. Creative problem solving is fostered as children imagine and assemble the unthinkable! Younger children work in teams to create multi-step inventions using pieces and parts of broken appliances and other upcycled materials. Older children work in teams to build complicated, multi-step machines that solve a challenge. All children further explore the process of invention as they market their inventions. A participant favorite, children of all ages find this module incredibly challenging and exciting!