Thursday, September 17, 2020

Here's how we homeschool...

From day one, I've always wanted to homeschool my children... Something about sending them off into an institution, where they are treated like cattle getting stamped at the entrance, never sat well with me...

When my oldest was younger, she was obsessed with the idea of school. She used to play it everyday and learning was her fun. We would sit for hours and do workbooks, instead of play... She just couldn't get enough. So, when it came time for preschool, I thought I'd just continue with our same home routine as we had being doing all along. But, she wanted to attend an actual building. Which broke my heart - however, we honored her wishes and she started her mark in the traditional education system

And, my second child just followed suit... I won't bore you with the details of what brought my daughter to finally be homeschooled - It's a long story - You could search all that in my old blog posts and watch the actual video rants leading up to her being pulled from school on my Instagram stories (they are saved in my highlights under, school rants)... Spoiler: My daughter was pulled from traditional school the beginning of her 4th grade year (last school year) due to some unrealistic, borderline corporal punishment rules that were instilled.

But, during the years they attended traditional school, I continued my distaste for the education system through my writings and Instagram rants - it was therapeutic for me and I felt like I was able to hold people accountable for the way they treated children. Deep down, I was hoping it would be an eye opener for some teachers and policy holders... Fun Fact: It wasn't.

Then, the virus hit and everyone was scattered all over the place and left to figure out their next move, which wasn't a move anyone was familiar with... During that time, it was more survival, than education.

Fast forward to this year, where (like most families) I was left trying to figure out what to do with my son... My daughter was already going to be home, that was a given. But, my son thrived in school. He loved it. He enjoyed being around all the kids and being part of the classroom... However, I just couldn't send him into this new, unrecognizable environment. I felt for us, it would just add unnecessary stress.

So, we went the same route as my daughter - our district's cyber program... And, both of my children absolutely love it and are doing so well with it... 

On Instagram, I get asked a lot about how we homeschool... Well, here's the low-down... We chose our district's cyber program because, it follows the same curriculum that their classmates are doing in school (although, not so much now, during the pandemic hybrid style). The reason for this is, my daughter talks about going to back to school eventually. She wants to attend high school and this program will allow her to slide back in flawlessly, without mismatch credits or any hiccups during the transition. On this cyber program, they could even attend every one of their specials in person. So, they get assigned a homeroom and they follow that homeroom's schedule - they could attend art, music, gym, STEM/health, and library in person, throughout the day, if they wanted. They could attend the in-person assemblys and any fun event they are having at the school... My daughter loved this because, she has been attending school in that district since preschool, so all her friends are there - technically, the cyber kids are still students in the district. So, last year, she loved the idea of only being dropped off for 40 minutes a day, to see her friends and do group activities, then being immediately picked right back up to go home.

Although, this year is completely different due to hybrid, so they can't attended any in-person specials. But, they're on the Google Classroom list and they are still able to participate with their videos and interactive events.

The reason I fell in love with this set up as a parent is, as a type A personality, I was always so nervous about traditional homeschool and where they would fall on the achievement side - like, would I keep them on track? What if I picked the wrong curriculum? What if they aren't learning enough? Essentially, things like that... Basically, I know that I need to be "deschooled." And, I know the homeschoolers who are reading this, are having an aneurysm - I'm sorry... But, I didn't want to go through that process, if my children were going to eventually end up back into the district anyways...

Our Homeschool Classroom


So, this program was the best of both worlds. It's just a preloaded online curriculum that is 100% parental involvement. There isn't a teacher - Hence, I'm the teacher. And, everything my children need to do, to stay on track, is all loaded in sequential order.

A typical day is... We wake up late, eat breakfast, then I sit down with my son and we do his work first, then I sit down with my daughter and do her work (because hers takes longer).  We start out everyday with a "read aloud book," which right now, is our Fall/Halloween stories. We cuddle on the couch and I read them them the story - It's a nice transition into school... I break up our classes into only 4 days out of the 5 days... We get 1 full weeks worth of assignments completed in 1 day - instead of breaking up every subject and doing a little each day... This way, they have 4 subjects and 4 days of online materials - which range from 1-3 hours a day. On that 5th day (which is usually a Thursday), we do child led learning. That means, they pick what they want to learn - It has nothing to do with the cyber program... We have workbooks they work on. We do chalk board writing prompts, they play Adventure Academy, Prodigy, we do science and social studies, watch documentaries - things like that... Or, that's our day to go on adventures, on trips, meet up with friends, etc...

My daughter with her online program
My son doing his offline materials
Reading additional materials on her social studies subject
Learning about maps

Our days look very similar to a traditional homeschooler. And, we are not considered cyber because, it's not set up like a cyber school - There are no teachers, no virtual lessons, no live groups, nothing... It's more or less like a homeschooler, who uses book curriculum, however, ours is online.

I hope this answers some of your questions that you all asked... And, if you're just stumbling upon this, I hope this resonates with you and helped you in some way... Just know, these are unprecedented times and what might work this year, might not work next year - Hang in there! You're doing great and you're making the best decision for your family... 

Be sure to check out my Instagram account - Click Here to follow all my daily posts... And, here are some random photos of our offline curriculum materials and some school room decor (My children are 2nd and 5th grade) -->









Thank you for stopping by <3

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Technology isn't so bad... Here's why...


Being a tween in today's world is so much different, than being a tween in the late 1980s/early 1990s - back when I was a tween... You read and hear all about so many families who are anti-technology, have screen limits, or are screen free because, they're trying to mimic a lifestyle similar to their childhood - and of course, they have the right to do whatever they want with their own children - But, I think they're missing the main difference between our childhood and today's childhood...

Freedom...

When we were kids, we ate breakfast, hopped on a bike or walked to our friend's house. We then spent the entire day with them, pretty much doing nothing. Of course, some days were more productive than others, like a game of backyard baseball or teams of hide and go seek. But, 90% of the time, we sat on my porch and just talked or sat in my bedroom and listened to Alanis Morissette on the highest volume...

In today's world, kids can't just hop on a bike and go outside for hours without parental supervision. And, they can't just go to a friend's house and spend the entire day because, today's families are over scheduled - and someone has to go somewhere, at some point.

Kids can't ride their bikes throughout the town because one, it's not safe and two, someone would call the cops or file a report that kids are unsupervised.

You don't find groups of tweens and teens playing baseball in an open field or basketball courts filled - without parental supervision... Because, you can't. And, parents are too busy to sit there for hours - and besides, what early teen wants their parents lurking in the background?

So, what does that leave today's kids with? Technology.

It leaves them playing Roblox and Fortnite for hours, to emulate social interaction with friends... It leaves them talking for hours on video chat... And, their faces glued to phones, while texting...

They're trying to create a childhood of social interactions, but with the only tools they have... Sure, it looks completely different than we did it. However, this is a completely different time.

So, instead of viewing these tools as "brain eaters." Maybe we should start looking at them as their childhood of socialization. Because, not every minute of childhood, needs to be productive. And, there really isn't a difference between kids today sitting on video chat and talking about life or us sitting on a porch swing, talking about life in the early 90s...

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

My internal turmoil, with going back to school...


I've fought with this internal turmoil that boiled up inside me.... I struggled with what would be the best decision for us... And, in the process, I've lost a lot of sleepless nights...

Because, the truth is, what is the correct thing to do when you're in the middle of a pandemic and your state is reopening in-person schools, in only just a few short weeks?

My daughter is already homeschooled, so that was easy. However, my son was in traditional school (by his choice) and wanted to continue... But, after reading countless news articles, opinion pieces, and watching the numbers continue to rise, I decided that for my own sanity, both of my children would be home with me this school year...

Because, in reality, what will the idea of school even look like now, anyways?

Will there even be a glimpse of years past?

Even with the best of situations, it'll still be unrecognizable - elementary kids will not be allowed to eat in a group lunch room, no recess, no games, no assemblys, 6ft apart from your best friend, one way hallways with children slowly walking through with donned masks... And, the obvious, hundreds of kids and adults in one building, all interacting with each other...

Teachers are going to be frazzled because of fear.. Fear of trying to keep themselves safe and their students safe...

And, like I've said in previous post, not all children are resilient and this new layout could be very traumatizing to them...

So, if I really sat down to think about it, I feel like I was holding onto a concept, that no longer exists.

Probably like others, I also felt like keeping him home (when he wasn't ready) was doing him an injustice - because, he flourished in the traditional school environment. But, one thing I know from my daughter is, being taught at home is never the short end of the straw - in fact, it's pretty vibrant. And, with schools throwing curriculums together and fumbling with Google classroom, at least I know there will be a solid curriculum in place...

And besides, there really isn't a baseline for education this year. And, EVERYONE is in the same boat.

So, I've settled in with my decision and now I'm really excited to begin 2020/2021 school year - on our terms. 
...Hopefully, sleeping will resume..

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Attachment parenting through the tween years...


So many times you hear about this crazy relationship that unfolds between a tween/teen daughter and her mother. You hear about the squabbles, sassiness, and banters. You hear about the door slams and the I hate yous...

Society mentally prepared you for this...


But, society doesn't prepare you for the parents who didn't raise their children in fear. Who didn't punish their children for every little wrongdoings. The parents who sat down with their children and guided them through tough situations with love and connection...

If they did prepare you for the latter, you wouldn't be shocked when your tween still snuggles with you and tells you how much they love you. Or, when your daughter runs out of her room to you because, she cannot wait to tell you all about her favorite YouTuber -Or, what her and her friends spent the last 2 hours talking about...

She wouldn't hesitate to come to you, to discuss difficult/new things.

It's strange because, society almost makes it normal to have these tussles and tifs - so many bloggers make quips and jokes about that daily - It's somehow normalized for daughter's and mother's to dislike each other for a chunk of their years. But abnormal, when children have a healthy relationship with their parents, instead.

I have to say, I was prepared for the norm, but thankfully, what I have is so much different. What I have, goes against anything I was ever taught.

And, I've never been so glad to be wrong.

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

What the media isn't showing... Is all the love.

If you sat and listened to the news all day long, or even for five minutes, you'd think this world is filled with horrible people. When in fact, this world is really a beautiful place that houses the majority of good people -with a few stragglers here and there that could easily get voted off the island.

This world is filled with supportive and caring humans, who don't see color, race, or religion. People, who go out of their way to help a person down at any cost. Mainly, we are people, who see people... read that again...

But, the media isn't capturing any of that during this time... They're not showing all the cops who are hugging it out with the protesters or dropping to their knees, instead of using rubber bullets and tear gas. Or, the protesters who banded together to protect a police officer who was torn away from the others. They're not capturing the solidarity from all the other countries, who are standing in unison and protesting with us. They're also not capturing the protesters who are stopping the looters and turning them over to the police.

They're not capturing the pleas and cries, the pleases and thank yous, or the kneeling and praying... 

They're only capturing the buildings that are burning. The protesters who are attacking police officers. The police officers who are attacking protesters. The looters. The vandals... And so on, and so forth.

Because, that's not what the media does... The media is a corporation that fuels fires and creatives narratives.

And we can't fall for it.

There isn't an abundance of hate in this world. But, there is a lack of love and respect. We can no longer go about living our lives unconcerned about the impact we have on the world and on others. We need to realize, that when we make others suffer, we indeed suffer ourselves as well. We are all connected... We are all humans...

And it starts small. It starts with the parents who are raising the next generation... Because hate is learned, it's not something we're born with. 

Children are sponges and absorb everything they see around them... Mamas, they're watching you bitch and complain about the delivery driver not arriving fast enough. They're watching, as you yell at the customer service worker, because something didn't work out as you would have liked. They're watching you, as you belittle the waiter/waitress because, you're food wasn't as quick as McDonalds. They're watching your road rage. They're watching you fight with strangers on the internet. They're watching your disrespect for authority. Most of all, they're watching your disrespect for humanity...

See all the good in the world, see the beauty and be the change you wish to see. Be the light that guides others out of the darkness... Heal the world, and heal yourself.

Live with a purpose... 

And, let's love one another <3



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Sunday, May 10, 2020

The transformation of Motherhood...

Almost 10 years ago, my life was about to change... I never once believed it for a second. Seriously, how could one tiny human change everything about your existence, anyways?

I went into parenthood at almost 30 years old and set in my ways. I figured this new baby would just nonchalantly fit into my life and I could carry on, as things were...

But, as you could tell, that didn't happen... Not one bit.

In fact, I delve into a world that was the complete opposite of everything I was ever exposed to. Once my baby was born, I knew she deserved more, than what I pictured in my head... Every child does.

She deserved a mother who didn't think about her own needs and a mother who sacrificed everything to make sure she was first.

All of the sudden, there was this baby that didn't care that I never slept or sat up at night and watched her sleep, just to make sure she was breathing... She didn't care that I didn't see friends anymore or that I didn't shower for 4 days...

All she cared about, was her need for me.

My motherhood journey didn't start after giving birth, it started when I transformed. It started when I realized the secret to motherhood is quite simply, lead with love and support. Also, just be actively present and focus on the positive moments, while sweeping the hard ones under the rug.

Don't stay in the negative space and assume that when children do something wrong, it's intentional or a manipulative dig at you.

And, you can NEVER spoil a child with too much love and security...

My children have built me from the ground up -I didn't have a purpose before them... And, every day that I get to be their mom, is such a privilege and gift. My goal is to honor them everyday, by being the best version of myself. And, allow them to become the person they were meant to be, not something I created in my head.

So, on this mother's day, I celebrate the transformation of motherhood and my children's gift to me, of being the perfect versions of themselves.

Happy Mother's Day...


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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A grateful day, during quarantine...

Week 6 is tough... It's the toughest week yet - Probably because, the first few weeks were left with such uncertainty and fear took the forefront... But now, it's fatigue...

Pure fatigue.

Fatigue of doing nothing, but nothing is exhausting when you're used to always doing something... And, I've also noticed that because we're secluded, we easily forget the world is going on outside of us. We forget because, our source of the outside world is through the news and the internet - which is drawing fear and causing so much unnecessary mental anguish. And, 6 weeks of the news and internet is intense. 

Also, our weather has been horrid. The sun barely shines and the temperatures love to hover at a brisk 40 degrees - with rain, 6 out of the 7 days. Which doesn't help the isolation, at all. It doesn't help the feeling of being trapped, when you can't even get outside to breathe.

But today, it reached the high 50s - with sunshine.

The universe gave us an olive branch... And we gladly accepted.

I couldn't even believe my eyes, when I noticed something bright peering through my curtains. Was it someone reflecting a mirror against my window, signaling for help? Has the apocalypse finally begun??? Honestly, the sun was at the bottom of my guesses.

So, breakfast was eaten quickly and school was placed on the back burner - let's face it, this was a monumental occasion that should be celebrated. And, school can be done at any time... Plus, learning occurs all around us. It doesn't have to be a structured, sit down style, in order for a person to become educated.

So, we fled our home, like the bell rung at the end of the day of school...

Because, quarantine is rough without sunshine.

We skipped down our street and headed towards our favorite quiet spot. I carried a plastic bag, so we could gather sticks, flowers, rocks, bark, etc - anything we could use, to craft with later. My son had his new kid go pro camera to vlog the excursion. And, my daughter had her phone, where she documented all the steps we traveled.

We walked slowly, taking notice of the way the new buds on the tips of the trees looked against the blue sky. How the bluebells and dandelions pop against the fallen leaves... My daughter started her philosophical conversations that would continue, until my son chimed in with a beautiful flower he just picked -We stopped to clear a drain from debris, so the water passed freely - they both sat and admired the clarity the water made, after it was free.

We were almost there...

I placed myself in a field, with my back against the leafless tree. My children were doing cartwheels and running relay races around the big concrete loop. My son stopping to vlog about the experience and film some cool things on the ground. And, my daughter occasionally stepping off to the side to answer a video chat, but quickly exiting the conversation, so she could run with her brother. Both, continually talking to me about the world around them... 

I could sit forever and feed their inquisitive brains.



After my bag was full and our bellies emptied, we headed home for lunch. But, the urge to continue on with the day pierced our souls.

We needed more.

I thought back to my newly 16 year old self, when I would hop in my car, throw on a newly made cassette tape, pick up some friends, and we would cruise around town, listening to our favorite songs and sing at a god awful volume - while the windows were down.

And, that's just what we did...

However, instead of the cassette tape, I blasted the Bluetooth and my daughter controlled the songs from her phone. But nonetheless, we drove for almost 3 hours and let the wind blow through our hair and the sun cascade off our bodies and sung all the songs, as loudly as we could...

There is something so therapeutic about that and it seriously doesn't get enough credit.

And just like that, our souls were recharged...

Outside of the obvious mental stress that has been brought upon our lives from this virus, I could do this forever. I could ignore the world around me and just spend my days like today (with sunshine)... Just doing cartwheels in an open field, listening to my daughter try to dissect the world around her, and listen to my son find the beauty in everything.

So, when the outside world seems chaotic and scary, my inside world is secure and stable. And, during a pandemic, I'm so grateful for my life, the simplicity of it all, and the ability to enjoy it...

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay sane...

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