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I created this journal to help chronicle our experience as a Pagan homeschooling family. All are welcome to read this journal and to comment. I only ask that you be polite about it.
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Homeschool Association of California California Virtual Academy
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Nov. 25th, 2011 @ 04:19 pm Going indpendent
I've decided to go independent with the kids' homeschooling. K12 is a good program and CAVA is a good school. But with two children it's impossible to do such an intense program. OK...so maybe not impossible. But with my children it's beyond difficult. With just one of them it would be doable. Difficult but doable. With both...yeah it's just not working out.

The problem arises from their PDD diagnoses. Add to that Orion's ADHD and Kieriana's bipolar and you have problems all over the place. But there is hope...

I've been watching my children very closely. Figuring out way more than their teachers in NY apparently did. For instance, it's not that my children can't do the work. It's that it needs to be taught to them in a slightly different way.

Orion needs extra time in Math. Just giving him examples with a brief explanation on how to do them isn't working either. They both thrive on hands on learning. Visual stimuli helps too. Telling them or having them read about what to do...yeah that doesn't work so well.

So I'm developing a plan. Utilizing the events and activities around San Diego I can give them a ton of hands on experience with various things. Add to that some simplified learning using workbooks I found on Amazon and the wealth of knowledge both on the internet and in the libraries.

We can truly work at their own pace. We can do things that are fun and educational at the same time.

I think this is for the best. If it doesn't work out then I can always find another charter. Eventually we'll find what works best for us.
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Nov. 22nd, 2011 @ 07:41 am Indipendent work
I want Orion to do more independent work. If he does then we can potentially have all of our work done by the end of the day (ie. 2 or 3 pm). I really want him to do more independent stuff. Getting him to do it will be a challenge. If he could do his work independently then our day today would look like this:

OrionKieriana
SpanishLanguage Arts
Grammar/Vocabulary/SpellingPhonics
Math
CompositionScience
ScienceMath


I'm leaving math, which is his most difficult subject, to be done one on one. He has way too much anxiety about math to be able to do it on his own at this point. In a perfect world this could all be done in 5 hours. With an hour break for lunch and starting at 8 am that would put us at 2 pm for the end of the day.

We're going to start off slow. Spanish and the language skills he'll do on his own today. Those are his easiest subjects. He did Spanish on his own yesterday and it went well. So we'll see.
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Nov. 20th, 2011 @ 11:58 pm Midnight epiphony
I had an epiphany about my children's homeschooling that I think will be truly beneficial to them.

I was thinking about the struggles they've been having (mostly Orion) and where their strengths are. I have a new idea as to how to reach them educationally and even get some independent work out of Orion.

1st, I'm going to buy Orion headphones that block out all other noise. His main complaint is distractions. The main distraction is audio. So if he can have no sound, maybe he can find a way to focus more.

2nd, When it comes to reading, I'm going to have Orion read books on whatever he is interested in. I will also have him watch documentaries on such interests. These things he can do while "school is in session" and it's Kieriana's turn to be taught.

3rd. I'm going to encourage the children to do some work at the same time. This won't be able to be done everyday. Such as the days where one of them has an assessment.

4th. Most of Orion's lessons will be discussion. We'll do the required reading and discuss what we're learning. This will be especially useful in science and history.

5th. I will give Kieriana videos on any subject she's finding to be particularly interesting. The trick will be finding out what she's most interested in. Bonus if it's a netflix video or something we find at the library.

6th. I'm going to get them to log onto study island after dinner. They really need to start doing that. Here, those headphones will really come in handy.

7th. I will plan about 3 field trips a month, giving them plenty of time to do something hands on. At least one of those field trips will be about one of their particular interest subjects.

8th. I will rearrange the room so there is more room to work and so the children's stuff is more together. (maybe...have to figure out how)

9th. I will break Orion's math up into two parts. One of those parts can be done either after dinner or on a separate day. I'm not going to worry about his catching up right now. I'm just going to focus on letting him learn the information and become confident in it before I bring it to back to one lesson.

10th I'm going to focus on Kieriana's handwriting and dictation. I haven't been doing them because by the time we're doing with phonics there's just no time. So I'm going to break that lesson in two for her. If we do it after another lesson then it might really work out.

11th They will both participate in each others' science experiments. I think this will really help them to bond and plus they're really fun!

12th I'm going to remain as consistent as possible and try not to let my own frustrations and fatigue get in the way.

13th I'm going to get them involved with things. Extra fun stuff they can do. Like the classes that they used to have at the aquarium. I'm going to do that again.

14th. When a lesson has questions to be answered at the end I'm going to have him do it during the lesson. This way he is getting into the habit of writing down what he's learning as he learns. He'll complete the work and maybe it won't produce so much anxiety that way. The exception will be assessments.


I can go on and then I'll get no sleep. These were just some things that were bouncing around in my mind. It's late and I desperately need sleep. So maybe this won't sound as good by morning. We'll see.
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Nov. 18th, 2011 @ 01:16 pm Break time
The kids and I took a break from school today. We didn't plan to. We started the day as normal and then Orion started complaining of a stomach ache. I worked with Kieriana for a bit and when I went to get Orion he was fast asleep. Orion never sleeps in the middle of the day so I figured that he really wasn't feeling well.

Then Kieriana started complaining that she was so tired. Honestly so was I. I had been up since 5:30 am and the kids got up at about 6 am. So I didn't doubt she was tired. So was I!

So we all took a nap. Orion was the first to wake up and he's feeling much better. So is Kieriana now. They're watching TV right now.

They both had been working so hard. We haven't had a day where we got everything done. But the kids have been working hard at what we were able to do. So a break is fine with me.
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Nov. 17th, 2011 @ 05:04 pm Good day
Today was one of the days where we did really well. No, we didn't get everything done. But we did get enough done that I feel good about it. I just wish I wasn't so tired. lol Orion still has some math to complete and after he's done playing outside (he has 1/2 hour left) then we're going to finish it. I realized that he needed a big break which is why we're doing it this way.

I need to find something for Kieriana to work on when Orion and I are doing his lessons. It's great when they can do their work at the same time. However, he needs as much one on one time as she does. We'll get there, it'll just take longer

CAVA has the kids doing something called "study island" which is a site that they can use to help them learn. I'm thinking about having Kieriana do that while I'm working with Orion. The school is really pushing for the kids to do something on there. And, it'll occupy her attention while I work with Orion. We'll see.
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Nov. 17th, 2011 @ 09:30 am (no subject)
I've been working with Orion for about an hour on math and we're no where near done. We're taking a break right now. Kieriana, out of boredom, fell asleep on the couch. He just struggles with it so much! He seems to know the work. But when he sees all those numbers he gets overwhelmed and then shuts down. It's a real struggle for both of us actually.

I think he'll be OK eventually. If I had him in school I know this would be a problem. I wish I had been homeschooling this whole time. I think he would have a lot more confidence if he was always able to go at his own pace.

Well, time to get back to it. So far today we've done Spanish and Kieriana and I did math. Orion will probably be done by 10. *sigh* But hey, if it gets him to learn it then I'm all for it!
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Nov. 17th, 2011 @ 07:21 am (no subject)
I'm about to start our day with renewed optimism. I need to clean off the table so the kids and I can do some work on it. Kieriana has a science experiment today to teach her how to use a thermometer (her science lately has been teaching her how scientists measure things). Orion needs to finish his history assignment from the other day so we can turn it into the teacher who oversees us.

The rest is the usual stuff. Math, Phonics for Kieri and Lang Skills for Orion, Literature/Language Arts, and Spanish. If the kids will be willing to do some stuff at the same time then we can get everything done. Though lately Orion's been fighting me on his doing independent work. He loves the one on one time and personally I can't blame him.

Well, time for medicine and breakfast. We're going to start hopefully before 8 today. Mommy is ready to go go go!
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Nov. 17th, 2011 @ 05:11 am To do or not to do...
Tuesday was a difficult day. I've had worse...but it was one of those days where nothing seemed to go right. I was exhausted and cranky. The kids were fighting me on every little thing. I was ready to give up. To throw in the towel.

But there was that little voice in the back of my head telling me to hold on. To keep on going and not give up. I decided I would wait till today to make a decision. I'm glad I did.

Yesterday the kids and I went on a field trip with other families from CAVA. I talked to one of the teachers about how I was feeling. She seemed supportive of whatever decision I made. But I still didn't know what to do.

We were at an organic farm. It was a pretty cool field trip and the kids all seemed to enjoy themselves. I enjoyed myself as well. And before the trip we did get some work done and the kids didn't fight me. It was a good day.

When we were about to leave I stayed and talked with one of the other parents. Her son and my son were really getting along and we exchanged numbers and e-mails. It turned out that we had a lot in common, including being artists. It felt really good to talk to her. She assured me that what I'm going through now is something that every homeschooler goes through from time to time. She told me that it will get better over the next few weeks/months while we settle into a routine.

It made me feel really good to hear her say what she did. It made me feel less like a failure and more like a person. I don't know if that makes any sense. But it's how I felt.

My end decision...I'm going to keep on going. I'm not throwing in the towel. At least not yet. I can't really give up on something I've only been doing for 2 1/2 weeks! I need to give myself and the kids more time! And that's what I'm going to do.

I have a wave of new confidence growing inside of me.
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Nov. 14th, 2011 @ 07:40 pm Math was better
So today was better with Orion and math. Before we started our lesson I had a little talk with him. I calmly told him that he can take as much time as he needed and that we would do the problems together. I told him that we were a team. He wasn't all that enthused. lol As we did the lesson I made sure to go slowly and kept my voice calm and soft. It took us about an hour and a half to do the lesson. That was half the time it had been previously. Score!

Not only did we get through the lesson without much fuss, but he actually understood the work!

Kieriana was in a terrible mood though. She would yell at me midway through her lessons and just seemed to be really upset. I think some of her work is just too easy for her. Mostly because she kept on saying, "This is for babies!" lol It looks like I'm going to have to take a different approach for her too.

Unfortunately once again we didn't get everything done that we were supposed to. I had told the kids we would do some of it tonight after dinner. But my head is splitting open (migraine prone). I just can't focus.

I think next year I'm going to write my own curriculum. Certain things will be done separately, but some will be done at the same time. Kieriana has a high understanding of math and science. And while her math isn't near Orion's level, she can understand some of the science I do with him.

I believe that science, art, and history can be done with the both of them together. I could have any follow-up work be grade level appropriate for them. Math, Literature, and Language Skills would have to be separate. Still it would shorten our work day by 3 hours. lol

Plus, next year I can even include some spiritual stuff. That's something I'm just not finding time for right now.

We'll see. I'm sticking with CAVA for now. I'm just not ready to be totally on my own yet.
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Nov. 12th, 2011 @ 03:30 pm Today's lessons with Orion
Orion had science and art today. Kieriana has art and music and history. We've spent the past 3 hours on Orion though. He's moving that slowly today.

That's OK...after dinner I'll work with Kieriana. She's quick.

The most difficult part wasn't science. It was art. He had to do a self-portrait and he was so anxious and freaked out about it. I stayed calm and at one point told him, "I'm not giving up on you. You may be giving up on yourself but I will NEVER give up on you. We are not leaving this table till you're done." I stayed calm and didn't raise my voice. I kept my tone calm.

At one point I figured that maybe it was my presence that was causing the issue. Maybe he just felt shy. So I told him I was going to leave the room for a few min and would be back. I went outside and had a cigarette. At one point I peeked inside and he was drawing. When I went back inside he had drawn a beautiful picture of himself.

Score 1 for mom!

Then we did science. As I was explaining to him the different types of water systems and how they're used...I had a feeling he wasn't quite listening.

Then we did our experiment. We basically did what water plants do, including making a water filtration system. It was a lot of fun and he was really into it. (Pics below). Then when it came time to do the assessment he went back to being difficult. i worked with him and helped him as best as I could while not flat out giving him the answers.

I think Orion's issue is that he is so afraid of failure that he doesn't want to even try. Frankie thinks Orion is being lazy. But I see him struggle and it's not lazy behavior. It's fear.

It's probably going to take longer than I thought for me to get Orion to the point where he has more confidence in his work.

pictures!Collapse )
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