It’s working, really working

I am amazed at how hard the decision was to home school and how easy it is to just do it. It seemed like such a monumental task to homeschool 3 children. What if it didn’t work? Well, David and I made the decision that it was going to work. No giving up! So far though there are frustrating moments, 3 weeks in it’s working, really working. I see the routine, the kids get it. They are motivated to get up early and finish their work so they have time for things they really enjoy.  Lauren spends the late afternoon on her favorites, art and reading. Payton spends his time with reading and stop motion filming, and Vaughn enjoys making things with Legos, and other creative activities. All the while, my online work schedule fits in, I am able to answer any questions they have, email a teacher if need be, or just make them a snack. It feels good to sit back and see it’s working. The kids haven’t once said they wanted to go back to regular school.  There have been challenges, but usually it requires calling a teacher, they are readily available. They also will wait for their “live lesson” if they have questions on a particular subject. It may just require walking away from the computer and taking a break. The latter happens often with my 8th grader. When he expresses frustration it is time to take a break, and it works. I have to say that Connections Academy is the right choice for my kids. They need the online lessons and the flexibility. They need a structured schedule and teacher interaction. I’m not sure this would work if we didn’t have those options. Switching to my work, I love what I do. I am 1 of 2 assistant administrators (Rebecca started the group) on a great Facebook page that helps Furniture Flippers (link in bio) get the best picture, staging and pricing for their work. The success stories are always my favorite! The people who post how the group has helped their business. Don’t get me wrong, with 18k members we get a few mean responses but overall it is positive. I had a particular piece of furniture that has been sitting in my booth since June, the picture I posted originally was taken before I really focused on staging. I brought it home this weekend to take better pictures utilizing the skills I have learned. I posted the before and after here.  Also, the Mid-Century Modern dresser is an example of staging as well. Along with moving the Homeschool room, we moved bedrooms around. I will post that later this week.


Before Correct Staging


Mid Century Modern Dresser



After Correct Staging


The routine

I haven’t blogged since last Thursday,  so I will catch up today. Friday,  the kids were ahead on their assignments,  they were able to take the day off, although Lauren came home after a morning of volunteer work and decided to do about an hour of school.  Payton worked with his father all day.  He’s a tile installer in the making 😊.  I’ve always thought about the way things were growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. If you grew up around that time computers were not in every home. Cellular phones were in cars and we weren’t so “connected”.  I thought about that Friday while my youngest continually mentioned how boring his day would be without his siblings and nothing to do. I remember as a child saying those words and then immediately,  I was given a chore to do.  That made boredom go away quickly. However,  we are living in such a fast paced world today I realized with Vaughn he needed attention,  one on one time.  I know I don’t give the kids enough one on one time.  So that is on my ” to do list”. At that point,  we decided to find some type of science project or art project to work on together.  We took a trip to Hobby Lobby to find a new sketch book.  However,  another project caught Vaughn’s attention,  a Venus Flytrap kit.  The kids asked a couple of years ago for Venus Flytrap’s and I told them “no”.  This time it was different,  he is older,  and with homeschool,  these are the things we do. We find our own projects together.  As soon as we arrived home he unpacked the kit  and put it together.  They take 1-3 months to grow.  He is showing great patience at this point 5 days into the project. Fast forward to Monday,  the kids started assessments this week so they have a heavier load.  I can see less and less frustration,  and they are really settling into a routine. We shall see how the rest of the week pans out.  I failed to mention,  all weekend I worked on painting and how- to- videos. You will see my latest piece in the pictures


The light at the end of the tunnel

I can see it! We are getting the hang of this thing. Today everything was smooth. My two Middle schoolers had 5-6 hours of work. My elementary guy finished his work early so we found Art, Reading and some Home Ec ( this helped me). The grades are looking good! Although, they are mostly Quiz type grades, I see the kids trying really hard. You see, to be accepted after 30 days into a foreign language class or even an Art club or Filming Club, they have to be on time with assignments and have  a C or above. That is the focus for all 3 kids. They all want to take Spanish desperatly. My oldest last year had a semester of Spanish and absolutely loved it! I want them to learn so I can stand over their shoulder and benefit too!  Today I had time to paint, I added one of my finished pieces in the pictures. I worked 2-5  online and it was a blast! It is so fun helping other artist on FFFP (link in profile) to figure how to sell their pieces and actually get paid what they are worth. We had some great successes today.  When you love what you do, it makes work not feel like work. Tomorrow, the kids have a short day because if all their hard work  this week. They have plans to enjoy most of the day, while I have plans to catch up on what I need to finish. As you can tell from these pictures the dogs are worn out. 

I see it already

Day #3 I quickly came to the conclusion today, that my idea of completing everything on my list for the day while the kids are working on Homeschool, is not going to happen. I have to scale back. Another thing I see already, the kids are getting into a groove, the frustration is subsiding. As I mentioned before, the required hours are 27.5 a week or 5.5 a day in Ohio. Payton (13) worked for 6.2 hours online and Lauren worked 5.2 hours online and had additional activities for 1.5 hours. It seems the required hours are not an issue in Middle School. On the other hand, Vaughn (9) worked only 1.75 hours online and 1.5 hours on tasks. He even completed some work for tomorrow.  Now, it is my challenge to fill in his time with other educational activities. I see the kids feeling accomplished as they grasp how things work. They are very happy with their teachers and they have said the teachers don’t  seem as stressed in this environment. On another note:  Today, my plan was to paint a cabinet for a client, do a how-to-video on a special paint technique (news about why I’m doing the videos coming September 16…. so exciting☺) and I accomplished nada!  I even fell asleep on the couch as dinner was in the oven. The alarm on the oven was my wake up call. Now that the kids are getting into a groove, it’s my turn. I’m hoping to complete my work tomorrow. Back to the teachers, the one-on-one between Teachers and Student in this particular enviornment is amazing. Payton had an issue with Math, called his math teacher and he worked through it with him over the phone. Then Payton was confused about his American History assignment, he left a message for his teacher and she called right back and guided him through the issue. The live lessons have been comical for my middle schoolers, as the kids are able to chat and often the chat is unrelated to school, some students have gotten in trouble for things they say. Interestingly, my daughter found out that her Math teacher uses Pokemon Go as a learning application, I can’t imagine the Chaos that would create in a traditional school setting. I did not take many pictures today. My plan for this blog is to post each day this week and then only a couple of times next week.

Day #2 – The meltdowns

Day 2 was very different from day one. To give a little background so this makes more sense, I have a 13 year old son, 11 year old daughter, and a 9 year old son. After yesterday, it seemed that the kids would have less time in front of the computer. That all changed today!  Again, the kids were at their computers at 7:30-8 ish, their computers had updates that needed to be completed, so, that took sometime. As we looked at their schedules for the day I quickly realized that my 9 year old would have my attention for most of the morning. The elementary schedule requires the learning coach to be more engaged than in the Middle school schedule. He isn’t much of a writer and the assignment required a memoir. He immediately laid his head down on the table and became frustrated. I talked to him and explained the assignment, however, he was still upset. Finally, I told him that I think he is going to be awesome at writing about a time in his life and that out of all the family, he would probably be the best at it.. well he perked up and started writing right away. As soon as he was on track, I hear a ” I can’t do this” from the other room, my 13 year old was frustrated. We made a quick call to the Science teacher and that was resolved quickly.  My daughter tends to be the one who handles everything on her own, so next, when she showed signs of frustration I knew she needed help. The typical home school week is supposed to be 29 hours or 5.5 hours a day. I thought we would need time fillers. Well, she worked from 7:30-2 straight. Usually she reads an hour or two in the evening. She is worn out today. Hopefully, the schedule is lighter tomorrow. Everyone was finished by 2, which worked perfectly with my schedule as I handle the FFFP Facebook page from 2-5 today. I have a link in my profile if you wonder what FFFP is all about. I have some pictures I took throughout the day. The kids like to move around instead of being stuck in one place. Lauren decided white board serves us better as an “Art of the day post” board 

First Day of Homeschool

  I thought it would be chaos. 3 children, Homeschooling for the first time. We selected Ohio Connections Academy because the structure is very close to a brick and mortar school. The kids do ” Live Lessons” at least one per subject per week, sometimes more, especially Math. They have a schedule of work daily and most are online. I have access as a “Learning Coach”. I’m able to approve the work they complete  without modifying it (I found out today that it automatically goes to the teacher, this is just for me, if I need to be a whistle blower and say they didn’t complete the work they claim they did). We woke up early in expectation of a flurry of activity. 7:30 a.m. came quickly. We found out right away that the Teachers were still loading assignments and calendar activity. There were a few technical challenges, a disabled mouse being a major challenge for Vaughn (9 years old). We quickly realized the school and tech support open at 9 a.m.  The kids were anxious to get started so we muddled through the activites online they could complete. There was a bit of frustration, I’m juggling a new online part-time job related to Staging furniture properly, to sell up cycled pieces. Giving suggestions on the best possible picture to show off the artist work. I love love love it. However, with it being a worldwide page, people across the pond were patiently waiting for help. I have to say despite it all, it was a great day. We ended school with a trip to our favorite Centerville library. The kids stayed fairly calm, a few frustrating moments. I realized that so far, homeschool is very relaxed, because, you are in a non-stressful environment and the distractions are minimized. It’s amazing, the time it saves. This evening the kids checked their schedules in preparation for tomorrow. So no surprises first thing in the morning. I have hopes to clean and paint tomorrow. Oh how I miss a paint brush in my hand. Its been over a week! The picture above is the craft room. I haven’t painted all the desks yet, so Vaughn and Lauren worked here today. It worked perfect. I want to give them 2 spaces to use. That way they are in an optimal learning enviornment.