Home School Year in Review….2014-2015

Well, what do you know, the school year is over! Unlike last year, I didn’t have time to write a monthly update on what was going on in our homeschool adventure. Between leaving the status of being an at home mom and author, I rejoined the working ranks and took a part-time job at the beginning of summer. In the process, I started writing the next novel in The Butterfly Memoirs series as well as a short story. Then the school year started and it was nothing but working, writing, and trying to stay on top of the kids. Needless to say, life was hectic, I was tired and well, we decided that with kids being the ages of 13, 14, and 17, it was time for them to take control of their school experience.

After all, if they were still in a brick and mortar school, would I be sitting there holding their hands every day, making sure they did their homework or stayed awake in class?

Nope.

They were told that this year was going to be on them…what they got out of this year’s school experience would be all about the amount of work they put in…or avoided.

So where did that leave us?

What’s the best way to explain it…hmm…

Frustrated, annoyed, aggravated, disappointed…and that wasn’t all about the kids work ethics!

middle school 2

Middle School Madness…

The 2014/15 school year was the first time my middle school kids completed the entire program, from the first day of school until the last. Last year, we came in after Christmas Break and they had a learning curve to get in and learn the new system of instruction. In the end, they finished strong and we were happy.

This year….well…let’s just say the homeschool experience was a new learning process for them and for us parents.

First, there were changes in the way they received their daily work assignments. Last year, teachers sent out weekly calendars with an outline of what they needed to accomplish each day in each subject in order to stay on track. This year, they sent calendars out for each subject for the month. This was both good….and bad. It was good because it gave the kids a chance to work at their own pace. If they completed the week’s classes, they could jump ahead and keep working. The negative: my kids found it a bit overwhelming, meaning that instead of staying on task, they jumped around to the easier stuff and avoided the hard stuff, or decided to focus on one subject only, then got behind and the next thing you know it was a new month, new calendar…repeat. Then there was the influx of books that kept coming and coming and coming….and I swear never got used.

 

highschoolSenior Blues…

This year, my oldest daughter decided to complete her final year of high school in the Ga. Cyber Academy. Her 11th grade year of high school, even though she had been attending a magnet high school for art, was stressful. If it wasn’t teachers who were conducting classes that were so frustrated with some of the students that they took out their irritation on those who wanted to learn, then it was school lock downs, pat downs by officers, a weapon brought to school, and being forced to stay in their classrooms due to a bomb threat. Not to mention issues with some of the other students.

Finishing her education in a homeschool environment should be a piece of cake, right????

Sigh…

Well, for starters, she was unable to start her class work on the first day of school because from the get go, she was given 11th grade classes, even though she was a senior. After tracking a counselor down and some investigation, it was determined that someone else’s transcript was entered under her ID # which is what gave her the 11th grade curriculum. By the time this error was found, corrected, and the new class load uploaded, nearly three weeks had gone by and she was already behind. Because the high school curriculum is set up differently than the middle school, it took a minute to realize the way she was supposed to keep up with her classwork, practice test, regular test, and miscellaneous assignments. Not to mention learning that some of her work was being done on platforms outside of the OLS, and as a new student, she wasn’t aware of this, until her grades were failing.

And then there was a bit of slacking…

Needless to say, by the time we got down to the final weeks of school, she was hustling like a mad woman to bring up her grades, for which she did for all but one: Pre-Calculus, which meant she would have to take the 12th grade all over again.

To our surprise, her math teacher reached out and said that Seniors with failing grades were being given seven days to get access to the class they were failing in hopes that they would take the time to bring their grade up to passing. My daughter, having learned the error of procrastination during the year, was all over this opportunity. Six days of lack of sleep, working all day and into the night up until the last possible second proved to be worthwhile. SHE IS GRADUATING!!!!!! Hallelujah!

To this I have to say a major life lesson about putting off what needs to be done today, proper time management, and realizing that you can’t get time back, was learned. I hope it’s a lesson that stays with her through life!

While the Ga. Cyber Academy holds a formal graduation, complete with cap and gown, she has opted to receive her diploma in the mail and to celebrate her hard work with family and friends. Either way, we are very proud!

imagesTechnical Glitches and other Electronic Woes…

Computers, computers, computers…

While they are wonderful for convenience, they can be a pain in the $%^!

Is it anyone else or just my family, but is seemed like every computer virus known to man kept hitting our computers! At first it seemed as though it was the kids logging into websites or downloading programs instead of doing school work. But, once one of my students got on to her father’s computer, the main hub for the house, and most protected from viruses, it became evident that the problem itself was coming from links through the K12 platform. We had everything from random ‘commercials’ popping up when they clicked a link to go to an OLS class, to the OLS window changing from K12 to some other website for coupons and god knows what else! Computers started freezing, Blackboard stopped working, OLS would just freeze up completely and well, that of course did not help with staying on task. Unfortunately my work schedule didn’t make it easy to get in touch with anyone regarding these issues and we started doing a computer swap around the house or the kids would come us public computers at the library while I worke. Somehow we found a way to make it work, but it was not without headaches!

Now that school is officially over, I’m turning the computer we have back in and requesting another one for next year! Hopefully we won’t have these issues in the fall.

homeschool-houseIn a nutshell….

Am I disappointed with the K12 program this year? Honestly….no. I still prefer knowing my kids are at home where I left them versus worrying about what they are being faced with on a daily bases at school. Bullies, bad teachers, bad food, public safety issues, gangs…

One of my co-workers son is attending the school where my daughter would have completed her senior year. He called his mom at work to say that they were being evacuated due to a bomb threat and told to not stand in the parking lot, but to march half a mile away to a gas station before being re-directed to the Performing Arts building across the street where they sat in the performance hall until the end of the day. All the while, all I could do is be thankful of the decision we made to homeschool.

Lessons Learned…

What this year has taught us as parents is this: Just because they are at home, it does not make us accountable for everything they do or don’t do. Just like when they were in regular school, their education is what THEY make of it! As long as we make sure they have internet, access/completion of all mandatory testing or any other mandatory requirements, be they online or at a public venue, and we make sure their hours are adding up and attendance entered daily, there’s nothing else we can do. This is an opportunity for our kids to get the best of their education that they can get. It is also instilling work values and lessons that they will need to be successful as adults. Namely, you get in what you put in, and sometimes, you make life harder on yourself when you don’t do the work.

Another lesson we learned this year as parents is that just because they are homeschooled, it does not mean they have to be up at 8 and finished by 4. As long as they put in 4-6 hours a day of productive school work, and go back to watch the recorded videos from the live classes, as well as watching each tutorial video in the class before doing the test and not skipping the written work, they will and can be successful!

So for the 2015-2016 school year we say, BRING IT ON!!!!

*Pray for me people, just pray…lol!

 

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3 thoughts on “Home School Year in Review….2014-2015

  1. Okay. So this is my final stop for you today.

    Your family is receiving a standing ovation from me for the homeschooling decision. My son at 38 still mentions having to read a book and write book reports for a month during the summer. In the early 90s Dr. Ben Carson was the bomb, so of course his book was required reading. Shiver! Didn’t know he’d morph into a fool in his old age. I was too busy back then for homeschooling, but we didn’t have that option, but I did try to stay involved.

    I’ve tutored young kids for years and loved the experience. Last year I started working with an eight year old via Skype and iPads who was in danger of failing. He is Dominican and lives in NYC. His aunt is a friend of the family and said he was missing so much school because of nonsense suspensions for acting out. Imagine an eight year old captivated by anything WWE Wrestling and a 70 year old communicating. Well, the wonders of cyber learning. I started watching and researching enough about his favorite wrestlers and to have discussions. He started watching some of my selected Kahn Academy videos and was finally motivated enough to venture into other areas. The discovery that even in fourth grade he was struggling to learn the multiplication table was a real challenge. I finally tested him on simple addition and subtraction and found the reason.

    To date, we’re in limbo. His grades were improving and bad behavior had ceased. Had finally conquered multiplication. Mother’s only involvement was purchasing action figures and replica championship belts. Did she not allow a nine year old to share his iPad with friends and didn’t it turn up missing? The iPad had been a gift from an uncle when he purchased a new one. So now she’ll call so we can talk, but no actual school work. Of course, she thinks he’s made enough progress.

    So again I send my congrats to your daughter and applaud you for your involvement and hanging in there. Children of color must be self-reliant and prepared to compete, as there seems to be so many political anti-forces out there. Good luck to you and your family. Well, back to another RNIC article. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with your readers.

    • I applaud you for reaching out to help a young one! Yeah, its been a bit of a challenge this year, but like I stated in my post, we’ve learned a lot. Next year will be better because they have no choice! And as my daughter has said, this year has taught her a lot about the importance of managing her time and her ability to work hard can lead to the results she’s looking for.

  2. Pingback: Back to School with the GCA 2015-2016! August 10th-14th | M. J. Kane Media

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