Friday, August 31, 2012

Second Cup of Coffee Today

my first method is to assign the subject, and the reading and let them try on their own. I have assigned reading, and book work with vocabulary and grammar that they can read and do on their own. I do a lot of oral discussion with my "unique" 6th grader. it goes much faster to put him on my lap, and cruise through some assessments to knock out lessons that he knows just does not seem to be able to focus on. he takes his text book and reads a chapter here or there. I put in post its of where to start and stop for him. if it appears that they have not picked up the low hanging fruit, I work with them to get them. each day we sit side by side and see what we need to pick up. what I do is block out one on one with each one on something that needs to be addressed, it could be working through a history or science assessment. there are 6 ways to skin a cat, I start by having them try to do it on their own without me 'teaching', then if that is not successful, I parallel play and find the answer myself as if it were my homework and show them the process. we will google it, we will check out the youtubes about it. I do not pretend that I know the answers, I 'act' like I am as dumbfounded as them, and we discover it together. it could be as easy as just orally getting the answers to the assessment, because they are not focusing on the question or it could be that we just need to pick up a video to get the point across. when it comes to having 5 under 12 in the house: I take turns, and sometimes divide an conquer. if I am working with one, I assign chores for others, or some PBS, or some art projects will buy me a 1/2 hour. but I do take up the whole day with schooling / housework / activities so it all blends together. I was a homeschool high school graduation and one mom said this and I have held on to it for years now. "Every Night I quit, I promised never to go back. The next morning, I would get up and try again." She homeschooled 8 children and this was her last child to graduate. I remember that when I am going to quit and put them back out on the curb for the yellow monster to eat them. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION My kids know that means that we will find a way, and it may not be the first or the 1001st way, but we will find a way. I HAVE NOT FAILED. I'VE JUST FOUND 10,000 WAYS THAT WON'T WORK. I only have to find ONE that will. I HAVE NEVER LET MY SCHOOLING INTERFERE WITH MY EDUCATION. The books and the system are just TOOLS, do not let them set your course. YOU set the course, you choose from the BUFFET. always take a clean plate each day. Do not let what went wrong yesterday cloud what could be right today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012



Paint: I get tempura paint every year: 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade so what to do with it all? first I make sure the cap is on secure, and I turn them upside down and with a sharpie put the year we got each bottle. be sure to use the oldest up first. then I combined any partials of the EXACT same color. VIOLA, perfect.

Brushes, I saved an old Jelly Jar, after I wash them good, I store them brush end up to dry I have 3" binders for loose leaf paper. at one point I had 5 partial packs. I have 3" binder with sheet protectors for storing a year's worth of tests reports, report cards, and important legal docs from school in my own permanent file including attendance print out

Thursday, August 16, 2012

new online school year

WARNING: the OLS / LMS will most likely go down with an extraordinary amount of traffic on Monday and Tuesday morning (27 Aug and 28 Aug). Please feel free to chill out, grab a latte and relax. No this school does not suck. No this is not the most frustrating thing to happen to your child. The worst thing to ever is when your child was intimidated and held prisoner in a toilet stall for 45 minutes in B&M, this is NOTHING.

EVERYTHING that you will need to teach your child was delivered in a box. Student Study guides are just that. They are a road map, a turn by turn directions like Google Maps. If you get to a point that it says go on line and you can not do that. PASS OVER and go to the next step. really. seriously. do it. you do not have to do every single part of every single lesson for your child to get an excellent quality education, each part, the books, the study guides, the OLS / LMS are all just pieces of the puzzle. You will find through out the year that there are going to be times that you do not EVER use a component, it does not make a good fit for your student. RELAX. move on. do not start chanting about how awful k12 is because they did not do this or that for you and yours. k12 is a VENDOR. they just sell a product like Amazon. Your school is just a supervisor, they make sure that the Texas Education Agency mandates are met, ULTIMATELY, you are going to have to crack the books, and teach the kids. It is okay, this is what you signed up for.

The first two weeks are for learning the ropes, you will not be penalized and you will not have to make 3% progress each week, learning curve is factored in. Relax. Chill. do not post how you are going to quit, this is a deal breaker, and 100 assorted other nasty-grams. MANY new students will require what is commonly referred to UNSCHOOLING. that is the period of time when they go from birds sitting in the nest with the mouth open ready for you to regurgitate knowledge from your mouth to them. that is all they have known for years. Resist the urge to get irritated. It will take awhile for them to go from passive receptors to active engaged learners, but it does happen. some take longer than others. but eventually they will come to you with solutions to OLS objectives, it is a beautiful day.

 INSTEAD: make a list of WHY you want to school at home. WHAT is your objective because ultimately that is what will be driving your direction, and that you will be measuring your success by, not if you had access to this online tool or that one. This is a whole lifestyle thing, it is not a program designed to cater to this special needs child, or that gifted child. it is designed for you to get from point A to point B. YES, some classes, the books are online only. I know. shhh. I know. but you have 10 other options to choose from during that two hour window. Learn now to adapt and overcome, you will thank me later.

When in doubt of what you should do, grab your novel, and read for lit. that is always going to be a default. *sigh* now as things settle down and we get all 4500 students situated, you must remember that you are not the only one. Do not be that person standing in line at the bank, the grocery store, or the red light totally self absorbed thinking that this is all about you. It is not all about you. It is all about your student. However, you will not help your student if you get all up in arms, flailing around like you do not know what you are doing. ALWAYS maintain your calm. You are the example now. you must be like the duck, calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath. Knowing in advance that this is to be expected each time there is a huge run on the servers should serve to warn you that it is a known issue. It is a fact of life, we do not keep a 747 on stand by for every day use, we take turns with a nice DC10 and during holiday rushes, we chill the heck out.

To start preparing each week so that if this does occur during end of quarter, server maintenance, you will be better served if you log in after midnight on Sunday (big deadline for high school - LMS) and print out the WEEKLY VIEW of lessons for the week. I utilize post its in the books, Start Here and Stop Here helps my children know what to do for the week. Then if OLS / LMS is down we just keep working and even if it is up, we can block out groups of lessons without loosing our rhythm.

Now I know that you are going to say BUT MY SITUATION DIFFERENT. No it is not. BUT MY CHILD IS SPECIAL. No, not really, no more so than any one else's child. MY CHILD CAN NOT HANDLE < CHANGE>< DISAPPOINTMENT> Yes, they can. They get out of bed every single day, that is a change and a transition. They eat something different every day, that is change and they are just fine. YOU must be the household manager, you must teach your child that failure is not an option. They will succeed in school this year, you are there to support not enable them. You are there to model the behavior that is desired from them. Start by how you handle the upcoming challenges as you embark on something new.

 Veteran Parents. Regardless if it is your second or 12th year, it is going to be different. Accept it now. Learn to roll with it now. do not FREAK OUT HERE. You know better. I know you know better.

EVERYONE watch or rewatch every one of these videos. I am not going to hold your hand and spoon feed your this when it is already done for you.

 Invest in Netflix, we all find that some times book learning is BORING, a video that covers the objects is most likely out there, I have found National Geographic to be an excellent resource when we are just burned out on books and OLS.

Finally, if you do not have a sense of humor, order one now from Amazon because this is going to be a long arduous year and I really do not want any sniveling and whining. You have to look for the good or your going to be eaten up and spite out like last weeks crepes if you do not know that. This too shall pass.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Days like These

08:00 AM open blinds no reaction
08:30 AM wake up call no reaction
09:00 AM
made it to the kitchen disassociation
09:15 AM cook requested breakfast breakfast: flour tortilla/ bacon / cheese mildly upset not getting all of bacon cooked
09:30 AM Place school books on table, announce school work
disagreeable facial expression
09:30 AM
eat banana avoid studying
10:00 AM
eat apple avoid studying
10:15 AM open books, place paper / pencil, locate assignment indifference I do not want to
10:30 AM model answering problems 1 & 2 tears masking I do not know how to
10:45 AM model answering problems 3 & 4 anger Mildly verbally abusive, I do not want to
10:50 AM model answering problems 5 resignation I have to, mildly verbally abusive
11:00 AM study buddy stance compliance engaged learning
11:05 AM study buddy stance anger Mildly verbally abusive, I do not want to
11:06 AM study buddy stance engaged learning
11:07 AM alleviate distraction, modify environment interruption Frustration & irritation
11:10 AM study buddy stance Superiority & confrontational Independence: I do not need help
11:11 AM study buddy stance compliance unwilling but working through it
11:12 AM study buddy stance engaged learning
11:15 AM Redirection: “Focus” distraction fiddling
11:18 AM study buddy stance engaged learning
11:20 AM Evaluation: “Bored” Concept Mastered: Skip to next concept distraction fiddling
11:25 AM study buddy stance engaged learning
11:29 AM
verbal violence including maiming of mom start a fight, end the studying, goal achievement
11:30 AM Harsh Chastisement: “Fear” established sincere tears, compliance contrite spirit & fear
11:36 AM study buddy stance diligent learning tears, sniffling, emotionally broken
11:37 AM lecture on choices of defiance bathroom to be sick sadness
11:40 AM regroup, review this list, look for better solution map out daily schedule sad but engaged discussion

6 hours not negotiable, when is negotiable. 8:00 wake realizing that if you want a late morning, you get a late day

8:30 breakfast – specific menu he designed unresolved on that, prefer this for now, re-evaluate later

9:00 Eat, Brush, Bed, Tidy Room

10:00 First Class – 2 hours

12:00 Lunch

12:45 Second Class – 2 hours

2:45 Scooter break

3:30 Third Class – 2 hours
12:00 AM consternation 6:00 Done for day resignation

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fair Warning

I will post this warning now, any issues that you thought you had with the school, that was Kindergarten compared to Virtual School.

You wanted to do this program because it was easier? FORGET ABOUT IT - it is not.

You wanted to do this program because you could do a better job. TRUST ME. you will, but it will be the toughest job you ever took on. you know why? not because you are more qualified. because you are more vested in the outcome.

You will have to honestly PARENT your children. You will SINCERELY have to DISCIPLINE your children in a way that you only read about in a novel. MANY parents have relied on the schools rules and structure to teach discipline.

Well I am here to tell you now that most of the time the parents have ham-stringed the school about that.  They fail to see that STRICT structure and routine and consequences and RULES are vital to a well run company, a well run house, and a well run school.

YOU as a parent have chosen this course.  YOU as a parent will take all the glory and all the blame when the day is finished.  I am not sure what happened to all the parents that read what to expect when you are expecting but apparently they did not read what to expect when you ask the day care to raise your child and the school to parent your kid. 

I have had to learn how to do this along the way, and so will you. You will have to learn about NATURAL CONSEQUENCES of not getting your work done, of STANDING UP TO YOUR TYRANT of a 3rd grader when they intimidate you that if you make them do one more thing that they do not want to do, they will have a thermal nuclear melt down and it will be ALL YOU FAULT.

There will be battles that are not worth fighting, but there will be battles that you better figure out now what you will not yield on KNOW what is NOT NEGOTIABLE and print it out and post it on the wall NOW. Once you have taken that stand, it is much easier to defend it with the kids that will test, push, and pull every button over the next few years.

-Failure is NOT an option
-This is NOT negotiable
-I do not negotiate with TERRORISTS
-I did not leave my career so that you can play
-You will have civilized behavior

When I am done with you, you will be so smart MIT or CALPOLYTECH will be begging me to give a seminar, and when you are working you will pay me back THEN for all the sacrifices that I have made to civilize you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Critters in the house

Lily and Rose are enjoying their own schooling time:
Signing Time

Coloring pages

now time for some Algebra

Monday, August 6, 2012

A place for Everything

And Everything in its place
 Current desk ... for now..NEW COMFY CHAIR
or mom's desk, REALLY COMFY CHAIR
or the Island at G'ma's, MEH chair
5th grade, good chair

or the coffee table at Bestamor's
4th grade, meh chair

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tom Sawyer Novel Study

Thursday, August 2, 2012