Monday, May 16, 2011

Encouraging Moms of Many

I got a question about how to homeschool with many children. While I wrote a post here about it I thought I'd add a few things.

Everything has a season. We all know this. We know that when we are pregnant and the oldest children are still just becoming helpful everything is not going to be as smooth as we like. But some times this does not help when we are in the midst of it all, because we really want it to be smooth! When we find ourselves here I think we need to do two things, smooth out what we can and redefine smooth.

To make things smoother we need to go back to the management side of things. Set a calm schedule with extra time in it-delete some things from the schedule. Add those things in which are really important. Switch over to learning modes which allow the kids to learn independently most of the time. Train the most important aspects of behavior. Set up realistic chores systems and basic meal plans. Purge belongings in each room. And set up realistic help when possible. All of these are topics in their own right and perhaps I will get to them soon.

The second area is one I keep having to remind my husband and myself of-when we have a houseful of little ones the expectations can't be as high as they would otherwise be. It is okay if the house is not spotless and our son does not finish his logic program. It is okay to eat hot dogs for dinner. It is okay if all the little girls don't have bows in their hair and the boys are wearing mismatched socks. Of course these things aren't preferred but there are seasons and sometimes whole lives lived in less than ideal conditions and joy is still present, the gospel lived and service and love is still given. We have to realize that what makes life smooth and that what creates peace and joy and passes the greatest things possible on to our children is not always having every detail perfect, it is instead in our attitudes and the general atmospheres that we give off.

I'm not perfect at any of this, my kids aren't perfect, but we are growing and we do find delight in the process. Creating home centered families is worth the work and the less than ideal situations we find ourselves in.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Online Classes

For work I have been comparing online classes and I thought I'd share for anyone interested in this type of schooling for their kids. These prices are not all accurate for those not in our charter school, but for they give a good starting place.
k-8 grade (working on 9-12 grade license) $175 per course per semester
Each course includes
a. Online access for 10 months
b. Standard materials and printed Student Pages and Teacher Pages when
c. OLS—Online Learning System
4-12 grade $130 for all courses, minus foreign language per year
$85 for one course
Parent grades against answer document. Parent grades essay answers with less guidance.
Tutorials, text reading, quizzes, assessments. Can get teacher grading for $200 more per course and the teacher will do all of the grading for that course.
k-5 grade $25 per month for full access
Offer complete online curriculum in Language Arts, Math K-8, Art, Science & Social Studies. Automated portfolio, teachers guides & answer keys. Parent does grading. Email and phone support with system. (in Fort Lauderdale, FL)
$360 per year for full year license.
Has a-g tracks (University bound students)
Parent uses rubrics and answer guides to grade
Must purchase required course materials separately-much lower price than on website-description here
6-12 grades About $126 per one semester course
Some a-g courses. Graded by teacher, online real time discussions in some parts. Some finals given by ES.
6-12 grades. $150 or more per semester course.
Online teacher, graded by teacher.
9-12 grades $100 to $150 per recorded class or $200 to $250 per live class.
Williamsburg Academy, Scholar Phase classes, classical book discussion method. School gives assignments and kids study independently then get together for virtual video based classes and to turn in assignments. Graded by teacher.
6-12 grades. Between $220 and $290 per semester class.
Teacher evaluates and grade student work.
2-12 grades. $625 per full year of unlimited courses for first student $525 for additional students.
Can use audio component for courses to be read to students. Videos to enhance lessons. Pulls from other websites when they are appropriate to the content being studied. Parents given answer keys to grade student work.
Free. Trying to get more info on this. Looks promising.

Subject specific
2-12 grade. $99 per course.
Subject specific writing classes. Graded and coached by teacher.
3-12 grades. $75 for first month. $95 for 3 months after.
This is one on one coaching by published writers in various aspects of writing, including SAT prep and other writing tests.
2-12 grades. $25 per year.
State specific test prep, CASHEE prep material. Quizzes, reviews. Automatic grading by computer. This vendor also has reading comprehension material using graphic novels etc. for an additional fee.
3 years to 7 years. $50 for 6 months, $65 for a year.
This is a guided interactive phonics program with plenty of review built in. The kids work through learning paths to build their skills. My son loves this. Evaluated by program.
6-12th grade. $427 per year for complete language arts class.
Students are given instruction and assignments with a due date a week later. The assignments are graded by the teacher and new assignments are given.
k-12th grade science classes.
You get a membership for $6 then buy science kits according to subject then watch videos of a teacher walking through the kit and explaining it.
3-12 grades. $40 for 1 full year.
This is an online math program that assesses students and only teaches them what they don’t already know. It reteaches until areas are mastered. It has a drill component where students can unlock games. Students can move up or down a grade level very easily. Computer does all the grading.
3-10 grades. $60 for 1 full year
Online video based lessons. Students use a study guide, watch a video, practice, review and take an assessment that is graded by the computer. Focus on comprehension. Not full years course in the younger graders.

3-10 grade $99 per year. K-3 grade Brainpopjr $125 per year.
Fun animated videos on almost many areas, including science and history. Students can then take quizzes on the videos.
k-12 grade videos on all subject areas. $265 per year.
Thousands and thousands of videos. Has some series that can make up full instruction for a class. Some lesson plans to go with them. Also library of articles and pictures. Multiple ways of searching to find videos.
k-12 grade videos in all subject areas.$100 per year.
8000 videos including A&E, history channel etc. Also audio clips of speeches. Multiple ways of searching.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Being Busy

Melissa means honey bee, did you know that? Honey bees are busy workers in a state of constant activity. I have been well named. I have been in a state of constant activity since I went back to school five years ago, telling myself when I was done it would slow down. Then I got a job. After I learned the ropes I'm sure it will be less busy. Then I got a house. When the house is finally organized I will be less busy, I said. So I took the spring break week off and didn't do work-work, mostly. I organized my house. It is almost there, really it is. So when school is out for the year and I have the final report cards in I will be less, no, no!
I want to live the life I've always wanted right now, starting today, not in three weeks. So today I was not too busy to make and have milk and cookies with my kids. I was not too busy to have family home evening and sing all four verses to the hymn my four-year-old chose. I was not too busy to begin a 1000 piece puzzle with my son. And I was not too busy to read "Anne of Green Gables," to six children and listen to their delighted cries as they met Anne and listened to her talk most of the eight miles to her new home. I was not too busy and it felt great-and I still have an hour and a half until midnight to get my work reports done=).