Monday, September 5, 2016

High school / College Prep

So Skylar is going to be 15 soon and while she hasn't completely nailed down exactly what she wants to be when she "grows up", we have been kicking around some ideas for her to gain some direction. She's always loved history and just by that love has covered a good bit of high school subjects such as Gothic Literature, Greek Literature, British Literature, Modern Literature, British History and American History. As a result her writing and speaking are fantastic and very mature and well thought out. One thing we may do is grab a GED test taker prep book for Language arts just to see where she falls Language arts skills wise.

She's expressed an interest in possibly working at the crime lab, so our first stop has been to look up the educational requirements for said job. Lots of science of course in the mix and we have never done any traditional science in our homeschooling. So those are some things we will be addressing if that's a path she wishes to take. There are a lot of great online courses she can take for these so those are possibilities.
Next on the list is getting her a visit with the crime lab so she can see how she does, more so looking to how she will be in the morgue before we focus on a heavy science load for high school credits.

Regardless of the career path, she is going to do some of the Life of Fred books we have sitting on the shelf and work through those and take those as far up the ladder as her interests go. Just so she has the college prep "math" under her belt, although untraditionally.

She's also expressed an interesest in reading up on Psychology, so we are getting her some of the series by Travis Langley, first stop being The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead.

We found an accredited college that offers online Associates and Bachelors Degrees for a very very affordable price. And we discussed her doing like a general associates or bachelors and then doing a focused science study with a minimum of 14 college level credits in addition to that if she is interested in the science focus, which would meet the job requirements for the job she is interested in. And then if she wants to take it further once she is working she can pursue a higher level degree if that's needed. And she possibly can work somewhere that pays for college tuition or she can work in her chosen field and contribute some of those earnings toward any further education.  This college does require a portfolio for homeschool admission so that is something I started to put together based on things she has under her belt already from this year. They get pretty detailed with wanting pictures of the front cover of books used as well as the title page of the book. But I think it's easier to accomplish that than it is to pay over $1,000 for a high school diploma that doesn't cover near the diversity of subjects she has and can cover if we go it on our own (as our state law permits us to do).

We are 100% committed to any of our kids who want to pursue college or trade school to do so without taking student loans or going into debt, so cost has to be kept in mind. We had discussed her doing a high school diploma course online but when I saw the list of subject courses (all which can be easily covered by us without the program) we decided against paying for a program for high school, since we can easily issue our own high school diploma.

She's also got a job in mind that provides training, benefits and a great pension and so that would be a nice plan also, if that's something she wants to pursue, and she can do so as early as 18 and be out there in that career, so that's also something she is kicking around.

Friday, August 26, 2016

August 2016 - getting Debt Free - affording things

Hello fellow homeschoolers out there in the world.
I Hope this finds you all doing quite wonderfully.

The kids are now almost 15, almost 13, almost 10 and 7.

Bry and I made a huge commitment this year beginning in May 2016 to follow Dave Ramsey's plan to get us debt free. We really want to be able to cash flow any of the kids through college if we are able... though we realize that may not be realistic as Skylar will be 15 soon and we have quite a bit of debt to work through.. but we are giving it our all to make it happen. I'm keeping myself accountable to being debt free at this blog just for that purpose alone: We will be Debt Free 
We have found a pretty cool option for an online accredited high school for Skylar if she wants to do that. As of yet she doesn't. And we are okay with that. We also found a sister online college related to the homeschool which is a good option if she wants to pursue that. We shall see what the future holds for her plans in that regard.

Decklin had a huge awesome milestone... it's been happening step by step over the years... but he has learned to read without us using any "learn to read programs" so that was super awesome to see. Sometimes I found I would second guess not using learn to read programs with he and Ember, so this was a real boost maybe when I needed it. Sandra Dodd talks about reading a lot on her website. And I was truly relieved that I let his mind work the way it did and let him learn at his own pace. What helped him with this... Video games... You Tube Videos... Websearches... Talk to text on his IPad... Siri....Books... Game guides... Game walk throughs... Friends... Us...

Happy Homeschooling.

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 update

A lot has happened in our lives since I last posted. I sort of fell out of keeping the blog so set it to private. But figured in case any old homeschool friends were interested I would make it public again.

Just super quick...  we are still homeschooling... still unschooling actually, though I will be honest and say I've had curriculum temptations haha. But I've found that my older girls especially tend to help me re-focus when the temptation to make a purchase comes over me.
The kids are now 14, 12, 9, and 7.
We just celebrated a year in our new home on May 12, 2016. Last year we purchased a newly constructed DR Horton Home and we really just feel like we found a great house and a great neighborhood with great neighbors to call home.
We had rented a small, make that small for our family size, home (1100 square feet) for 2 years to save up to purchase our home. Our kids all shared the master suite in order to make it workable. And we were determined to be able to get back to home ownership again.
Bry has now been serving on the police department for 17 years. We thank God everyday in this anti police environment that he makes it home each night. He may be making a move to working off the streets very soon. This comes with a significant jump in pay but that's not the motivation. The motivation is really that he has served a lot of time on the streets of our city and it's time to dip his toe in another area of police work.
I'm also working... I was offered an amazing part time job (4 hours a week) and it's been a true blessing. The pay is wonderful, and I really enjoy the job. I've been working since August 2015. I take notes on board meetings, type up the minutes, contact political candidates, schedule and organize political endorsement interviews and things of that nature. I get to work with a great bunch of folks on our board and just really enjoy my role with them. I will confess that it felt like God really dropped an amazing opportunity into my lap to use this job to get us debt free. (Which is something we really re-committed to doing).
My brother was married in June of last year and the kids had a great time meeting extended family they hadn't gotten to see otherwise.  My husband lost his mother and his brother very closely to one another... and that was a super sad time of course.

The kids have grown a lot. I uploaded some pics in the side bar and will add a few here also.

Skylar is 14 so we officially have been homeschooling a teenager. Was hard to imagine getting to this point just because when we started she was just two years old. But wow! Does time fly or what. As I mentioned, we are still unschooling and for Skylar how that looks right now is: Instagram, Music, Photo editing, Attending Concerts (with her Dad), Watching YouTube, Reading - Right now she is really into Greek Mythology. Watching Supernatural with her Dad from the beginning all the way through (she and I are already on season 11 I think it is). I know some Christian parents would take issue with this show... but in our house it's sparked some great conversations especially relating to the character of God and how God, Angels and Demons, etc. are portrayed in the show. It's funny that sometimes she has to remind either myself or Bry that the show is just fiction. She got Invisalign this year which has been a journey in itself... man talk about some serious pain and suffering. She's on tray 4 of 22 and it's better but the first tray was awful she said.
Skyar's maturity and attitude about pretty much all things amazes me she's just very mature and patient about so many things. Probably a great thing in this house of crazies for sure! Haha

Summer is 12 and this year was the first year she really was excited to dive into some books. They were Harry Potter that Skylar had requested for Christmas. She watched the movies first and then felt like she wanted to read the books. She did some coloring in the Harry Potter Coloring book, this year she has really gotten into music so she listens to music a lot, she's a huge fan of Dan and Phil (some youtubers) and Bry is taking her and Skylar to see them next month.  Summer is so helpful around here and so generous as well. Skylar is generous with giving the little kids candy and Summer is generous with her time. Though she is gravitating toward wanting more time to herself she is always willing to let Ember and Decklin hang in her room and color or play their ipads while she has her music on. She also pitches in often to help with breakfast and lunch making for the younger kids. She's pretty active on her several instagram accounts, has made some nice friendships that way also. She seems to like the flexibility that online friendships offer and she's met some nice kids around the globe that way too.

Decklin is 9 and this year he's been learning a ton about a ton, specifically from Youtube. He's also made some great friends in our new neighborhood, one boy we found that lives here is also homeschooled and another of his neighborhood friends attends public school. He has a pretty active social life seeing those friends and other long time homeschool friends.  Bry takes him to hit golf balls weekly. And he loves playing video games on Xbox live, with in person friends and family and solo. I have to admit he is great with money from those video games. And also he is reading quite a bit from those games and from texting on his Ipad as well. He and his one friend text a lot back and fourth, the audio text feature on the idevices is great for kids for sure. Also has lots of great apps on the ipad that he plays. Right now he and Ember are super into a game called Geometry dash.

Ember is 7 and funny enough I'm surprised by how this kid loves workbooks and writing. She will write letters and numbers on anything. You can often find her with notebooks spread before her filling them up. Explode the code workbooks are super fun for her. And for a couple days she and Decklin were using math flash cards to test each other on math skills. She thought that was super fun. She also loves board games and playing Xbox Kinect, Exo Zombies and Minecraft as well. This kid can hang pretty touch with the zombie fighting games. Her coordination amazes me. I can't even walk and shoot and here she is helping revive team mates, upgrading her weapons fighting off zombies all at once haha. She plays with Kinetic sand, her easy bake oven and some other food making sets that she heard about on You Tube. She's a huge fan of the Vat19 video demos on there.
Ember is always doing something to keep busy, usually with the TV for background noise while she does other things... playing hide and seek with the puppy, board games, writing, coloring, playdough, ipad games or really a bunch of other stuff.

We watch Fear of the Walking Dead and Walking Dead together as a family always brings up some good discussions for us. Lately we have been watching Naked and Afraid together also.
Last night the older girls and I had a Grease movie marathon of sorts. My whole point was to show them how great I thought the first one was compared to the others (Grease 2 and Grease live). And even though they wouldn't say they were fans of the original Grease... they felt it was hordes better than the others... as if there was any doubt (hahaha). I on the other hand loved Grease so much as a teen that my friends and I knew it word for word. Haha... fun times.
Here are some pics of the family.

Happy Homeschooling and be blessed. 

Skylar (14), Summer (12) and Bryon

Me, Ember (6) and Decklin (9)

The bunch of us with my brother and his wife Heather.

My parents and Bry and I. 

Alice (black dog) and Ivy (newest addition) a year old here.