Friday, October 10, 2008

Q&A about

I would just like to say how much it has meant to me to know that my post about homeschool and has actually helped some of you. This means a lot to me because I have struggled so much with what I should do with my kids in school. I understand how hard it is. I am truly thankful to help any of you to find something that really gets your kids excited about learning!!! So here are some questions and comments from my last post that I wanted to respond to today. If you have more questions or comments please feel free to leave them and I will do my best to get answering them. :0) Angel

Q- This sounds wonderful.

Sami's education has lots of holes in it. She knows a some of the K stuff, part of the first grade material, and a little of the second grade requirements. 

Do you think that it would work for her?

A- I absolutely think it would work for sweet little Sami and lots of kiddos like her who were adopted later in their childhood. The wonderful thing about this program is how flexible it can be. You can use it as an entire curriculum or even as a tutorial program. MANY schools use this as a major part of their curriculum. It was originally created for that purpose and later adapted for homeschooling. 

You can flip through the lessons on each grade level and see what YOU think your child needs to work on that day. After they work on the activities and take the test in that area it will give them a check mark if it's been completed and a star on the concept if it has been fully mastered. This has helped Zoe so much to know what she still needs to work on and feel proud of what she has CONQUERED!! ;0) I think we would all be doing great if teachers could just assign lessons on as homework... Wouldn't that be nice? Or at least if they made it optional- you can do the paper lessons or this instead for those who prefer it.

Q- I checked it out a little bit, and brought Perryn over to see what she thought about it...she asks me DAILY to get on and play the games...I think we will start the free trial soon. I also noticed that we may need to do our prek 2 or 3 weeks and take a week off. Perryn was so excited about school when we started in Sept, but then she got grumpy, took last week off for potty training Teagan and she's excited about it again this week. Thanks for the heads up..oh we LOVE starfall too!!
Hugs and love. Elizabeth

A- That is GREAT!!! I am so excited for you. I hope she loves it as much as my girls love it. I agree with you completely. One of the wonderful things about homeschool is getting to map it around what works best for you. Today I could tell we all needed some down time so I declared a no school Friday except a math test for Zoe. Then all three girls will be banished to the back yard to play on this GORGEOUS fall day. Now tomorrow is Saturday but we might have some school time since we will be home and working on finances and stuff. We are all night owl so many times my girls decide they want to do some school in the evenings. :0) We can make it whatever works best for all of us so school continues to be fun. 

Q- Wow! I am so encouraged. It is 90% likely that I will be homeschooling Mimi Cate...... I am relieved to know that you did not step into it easily, either. I will definitely look into this. Mimi Cate is not where she needs to be to enter kindergarten next year......

The issue that concerns me is that she and I need to have a break from one another, a respite. We both do better when we have time apart. So, homeschooling seems to remove that break that we so desperately need.

A- OH GIRL!!! I am right there with you. I was SOOOO not confident in this. Yeah, a spiritual temper tantrum could have described my behavior. LOL! They have pre-k on! I guess you could start trying that and see how it works.

The issue of needing a break was a huge concern for me too. What mom isn't looking forward to finally getting a little me time when those kids FINALLY go off to school???? I know especially in a stressful time that can be SOOO important. So it's a major choice. I know some moms that hire a babysitter to come to their house a couple of times a week while they get away and decompress. 

Russ and I don't do that right now but we have worked out a system. During his busy season it was much harder but now we are getting it going again. He works some long days at work and a couple of short days. On the short days I have the option to meet him in town at around 4:30. We swap cars and he takes the kids. Then I have the rest of the night OFF! Last night was one of my nights off. I went to a movie ALL BY MYSELF and then met a friend for dinner and coffee. I came back feeling like a real person. Hee hee... There is something about doing things I can't do with the kids easily that makes me feel very sane and calm. Maybe that is weird- I don't know. Works for me. Some nights I will just hide in my room for a couple of hours and read or watch "Fringe" or "House." I will probably also take off for a few hours this weekend just to get out- either by myself or with one of the girls for special mommy time. 

OK this is way beyond your comment but it's just in my head... LOL!

Russ has also taken over meal cooking and groceries for awhile as I am getting used to 3 kids- 2 homeschooled. YES! He is my hero. He also takes time to himself. He has these really crazy nerd meetings with these big time speakers he likes to go to now. They discuss stuff like the issues in Pakistan and the global economy and all kinds of fascinating-yet way over my head- topics. I admit it, I am a nerd too and love to hear about it when he gets home. I just like the cliff noted he gives me. LOL! So he does that and then takes off a few hours on the weekend to pick up groceries and usually spend a lot of time sitting around reading the braniac books at Barnes and Noble. 

As you can see our ideas of what is RELAXING can be very different. LOL! I think it is so important to remember that homeschooling is a family decision and requires some different planning for everyone to get what they need. At first I was putting it on myself that I had to now have 3 kids, homeschool 2, do pre-school activities with 1, clean the house, get the kids to all their activities, buy all the food, cook all the food, do all the laundry, etc...etc...etc... Russ finally caught on to my insanity and being the marvelous man he is- set me straight. I am now seeing that we can all get what we need and make homeschooling work. At this point the benefits are far outweighing the difficulties. I am hoping that sticks!!!

I hope you can figure out what will work best for you and cutie pie Mimi Cate!

Q- Darlene.... left an awesome comment.....

A- THANK YOU for sharing your heart. It means the world to me to know that God was able to speak to your heart through my silly little homeschool post. Sometimes I feel literally compelled to write certain things and I have no clue why. That whole post just spilled onto the page and I was thinking, "Why in the WORLD did I need to write my whole life story??" LOL! ;0) Still I knew I was supposed to push publish with all my guts hanging out. Sometimes I really have no idea how many people are struggling with the same fears and concerns- feeling ALL ALONE like I do.... Why do we do that to ourselves? I guess for me it's fear of what people will think about me. That's the honest truth. There are people who will judge me for what I believe or how I do things. 

Still, it seems that when we can talk about the "grey" issues we are facing in our hearts and lives WITHOUT judging people who may need to make another decision within that "grey" area we find we are not alone at all. Thanks for sharing your heart. Hugs!

Q- Thanks Angel for this great post. I might have to give it another try, this time with my middle daughter. She is struggling in spelling and reading and this sounds like it just might be the answer. I think I need to check around the site more and see what it is all about. I love homeschooling and the freedom we have to do what works for each child. I never thought I would homeschool, I mean never!! But I know this is what God has called me to do, for as long as He wants. I know this will also be great for when Adanech comes home. She is trying to learn English and Amharic right now, so I already expect some learning difficulties at first.

A- Hey girl! I thought you might be interested in this great website my friend sent me recently. It is for spelling   It seems really cool. I am sure we will eventually use this quite a bit. Right now I am not focusing in on too much spelling but I know I will once we get a little more caught up. You can put in whatever words you want to put in and it will do all kinds of great activities with those words to help them learn to spell them!!! How fun! You could use words that go along with whatever you are learning or reading at the time. 

The language arts part of has been good for Zoe in the comprehension arena. I don't think we have been at it nearly long enough for me to really judge it yet but I think the reading lessons are very good. They have to read the lesson by themselves. Then the lesson is read to them while they follow along. Then they are asked questions throughout the story about each section. If they get it wrong it is reviewed. I feel like I have my own little tutor for $20 a month!!!

I really think this could be a great alternative for Adanech. That girl is so sweet!! Of course I had very limited time with her but in the time I spent with her she reminded me A LOT of Zoe's personality. Basically, I ADORE her. LOL! ;0) So I wouldn't be surprised if they have some of the same needs and strengths. 

Q- Dawn and Tessa's sweet comments

A- THANKS!!!!!!!!!!! :0)

Q- God REALLY does work in mysterious ways. I tell you, you are an ANGEL, Angel!!! I have been meaning to ask you about homeschooling for some time now. When I first saw your 'short' post about time4learning, I found it very intriguing and had questions - but now your post answered many questions I had. The biggest question was what brought you to a decision to homeschool. 

NOW, I have questions about your Bible Studies. I recently began an adult Bible Study (and am LOVING it beyond belief as well as learning lots) but I am very curious what you do with your children for their Bible Studies (especially for me considering I am learning myself)? How much time do you take per day/week, etc?

What I really want is to get you one on one to have a chat candidly about so many things....

You are an inspiration!

A- Awww Tara! Don't make me CRY! :0) You are so sweet!

I have recently found something that I am LOVING for bible studies with my cuties. I have struggled with this one as well. This is the first time I found something that I really LOVE doing with them. Here is the website

Every day there is a new children's devotional that is themed around a different scripture. Every morning at breakfast we pull up the website on my laptop. Then we push play. It does the same little praise song each morning. Then it reads the scripture for the day. Then they tell wonderful little children's stories that are real life "parables" based on that scripture. 

After we listen we talk about the story and what it means to them. Then I read the scripture again and we talk about what it means. 

This has been wonderful for us. I have seen my big girls really learning and growing through this!! I have even been getting a lot out of it. It has helped me have tools to teach them things like WHY it is important to obey and why we should not grow weary in doing the right thing. Ummmm yeah- SIGN ME UP!

It takes no advanced prep or thought on my part. BIG PLUS for this busy momma. It gets us all thinking and starting our day with God. It's fun and the whole thing takes us about 20 minutes. The audio lesson is only about 8 minutes long I think and it's FREE.

So there is that!! I hope you all love it as much as we do. I seriously need to send those people a donation. They are doing a really awesome thing there.

Q-I have been reading your blog for some time. We adopted a 7 year old(just turned 11) from Ukraine 3.5 years ago. I have homeschooled my 2 biological kids for 13 years including our new daughter Anya. Since she spoke only Russian and had no schooling prior to coming home she needed her own space and time for learning too. I started her out with the PreK basics and now she is at a 4th grade level. She was doing an online charter school for 2nd grade which used childu(AKA time4learning). She flourished, she is a very visual learner. She recites commercials all the time, just the other day at the store she picked up a Swiffer and said, "Once you 've tried Swiffer you'll never go back to your old mop again." Anyway when 3rd grade came around with the charter school the pace picked up way too much for her she was getting very frustrated and not able to comprehend things that well. I decided to just do bookwork with her at her pace. I looked into Chilu and doing it on our own, but it was $69.00 / month and decided it was too much. I was so excited when I read your post and checked out time4learning and realized it was the same program she flourished on 2 years ago for only $19.95. She is all signed up and very excited to get started. Thanks for enlightening us!! I am so glad she will be able to use this again! Susan

A- OH WOW!!!!!!!!!! I am SOOOO excited that this helped you. When I started the search I kept seeing childu pop up and I was really confused at first. FINALLY I figured out the difference and I am so glad I did! What a blessing that has made this available for all of us. I could not be more thrilled for her and for you! I hope she loves it again. 

She sounds so stinking cute. I love that about the swiffer commercial. How funny! Oh, you tell her I love my swiffer and could NEVER go back to my old mop. ;0)


Melissa said...

Thanks for all the links and information! We aren't homeschooling yet, but when our son starts kindergarten next year, we're certainly considering it, and it's good to have other options. And thanks for the little devotional link. We're definitely going to start doing this after breakfast each day.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to all you have adopted older children. Ours joined us at age 7. We went to an adoption workshop. The professionals there told us it can take 5-6 years or so for academic language acquisition and catch up. We home school. I get very frustrated even with home schoolers as well who say "she is fine...she speaks well". Even though they teach and home school they do not understand the special academic challenges. I am getting better at not being frustrated, comparing, or trying so hard to catch up too quickly and just get myself and her frustrated.When people ask her what grade she is in she sometimes still looks at me. Mostly she has learned my response and we say "all of them" :o) Or, we say K-3. Socially, like Zoe, many of our girls didn't get to play but worked. Maturity wise ours fits in with kids her age well but cannot always do the writing or things involved so appears younger. That's where we just work something out as needed. (ie at church recently she has a long verse to remember that is too much for her-we choppped some and she is just doing a shorter version for her small group leader).For reading we have found this phonics program helpful. "Phonicsworks". It is sytematic and has letter tiles, etc if timeforlearning is not a fit this might work. It is found at can just buy it without buying the whole curriculum.
Thanks Angel for your sharing your experience.

johne said...

Angel - I founded and ran across your blog as I looked at who was saying what about us.

You and your blog are amazing.

Long ago (I don't want to say much about about how long ago), I spent a little over two years in Cameroon in West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Your pictures and reactions take me back.

Keep up the great work. Be looking for some contributions from us. I'm delighted to help.

Meridith said...

I just found this and thought you might like it, too.