Tuesday, January 9, 2018

EME2040 Blog post (Week 1 & Learning Styles Quiz results)

This semester (Spring 2018) is my LAAAAAST semester of undergrad. Finally! Finally, finally, finally...I will hold that Bachelor's degree in my sweet hands (actually, it'll hang on the wall or counter). I'm currently finishing up coursework for my Bachelor's in Social Sciences with a primary concentration in Sociology and a secondary concentration in Public Administration. That's a mouthful that basically means...a degree in Sociology and Public Administration. From there, I hope to enter UCF's English MA program and eventually be a candidate for their Ph.D. in English Rhetoric and Composition. The ultimate goal is to become a college professor teaching English and literature.

My prior experiences with technology include Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PPT, Publisher, to be exact) and online blog-building platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress. As a writer and copy editor, I work on the computer all day. Part of my job involves blogging for a few clients, so this is pretty second nature to me! I am familiar with Wordpress and see its benefits, but I also prefer the Google integration of Blogger.

I hope to learn how to better put to use technology in the classroom. While I have no intentions on teaching in the K-12 sector, I know that institutes of higher education can benefit from technology as well. For instance, this class is delivered asynchronously (100% online), which means I'd better have a clue about how to use the computer. I'm honestly not sure why FSU requires I take this class given that I've taken umpteen classes online, but it's a grad requirement so here I am! I hope to learn something new in this class...something I didn't already know. While I may not learn how to use technology, I hope to learn how to integrate it according to best practices in the realm of higher education.

As a class assignment, I was required to take a learning styles quiz, which I found very interesting. Below are the results of my quiz:

According to the information below the results, I'm definitely a visual and "sensing" learning. While I'm not sure what sensing means, it's apparently the opposite of intuitive. I can't say I'm surprised by the results; I've always referred to myself as a visual learner. I "see" things better than I "hear" them, and I definitely have a photographic memory.

All in all, a fun activity!

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Rebuttal to PopSugar's "What Homeschooling Gets Wrong About Socialization"

As luck would have it, I recently received a notification from PopSugar Moms. Most of the time, I close them out because I'm busy working or the topic doesn't interest me. This time, however, the notification caught my attention. The article was "How Homeschooling Doesn't Help With Socialization."

"Oh, LAWWWD, what is it now? Which socially awkward kid (who happened to be homeschooled) are they going to complain about?" I thought immediately. *Note that this does not mean that I've seen PopSugar complain about homeschoolers in the past or anything; I just mean I've seen that happen in the past...in other areas on the web.* As a homeschooling mom, you can imagine how I was interested in reading this.

Interestingly, the article was from a former teacher's POV. I find that interesting because teachers in public and private schools don't see the vast majority of homeschoolers...and yet, this one felt qualified to generalize them. You see, teachers don't get to see the homeschoolers for whom homeschooling is working; they only see the failures or "homeschooling dropouts," so to speak. Alas, this person felt qualified to comment on homeschoolers all over. *shrug*

As with any media-drawing topic, this one started out gently offering up statistics (that I have no idea are even true, but let's assume that they are true). And then comes the dagger.

This time, the dagger started by saying homeschooling parents do a great job raising well-rounded kids with "museum trips, volunteer efforts, opportunities to work with local businesses, and playdates with other homeschooled kids." However, the former teacher contends, this is not socialization.

It's not? How is it not socialization? 
The article continues: "Socialization requires that children consistently work with people they're not used to working with. It's about discussing things with people who have a different opinion and challenging preconceived notions."

I wonder why she feels homeschooled children don't get these opportunities when they visit museums and the like...especially when they do so in groups (which is the norm, BTW. It's actually more rare to be a lone homeschooler out on a museum trip with just your own family members.).

According to her, socialization is "...about having to do a group project with people who don't necessarily work the same way as you do, to collaborate on ideas and grow as a thinker." What makes you think homeschoolers don't ever venture outside their families to collaborate on group projects? My twins, for instance, collaborate with different peers every 2-3 weeks in their Chemistry class at our homeschooling co-op. (We go every week, but they change lab partners every 2-3 weeks.) My other two teens have to collaborate with others in their Drama class at co-op. And, in their Fitness, SAT Prep, Music Theory, and Drawing classes, they must learn to collab with others they do not see on a daily basis.

Now, the teacher in this article says true socialization needs to be with kids my kids DO see on a daily basis. I feel the need to point that out before I am accused of not reading the article closely. Nonetheless, to say that children must have this collaboration in order to be properly socialized is just wrong.

It's also wrong to assume that homeschooled children don't get the same type of collaboration opportunities as their public school counterparts. Bullying and other mean things going on are not a part of the equation, of course, and perhaps those are what homeschoolers are really getting "wrong" in our socialization efforts? If so, then I'll continue to be wrong. Dead wrong. Happily.

I don't understand why this teacher (and others) do not support homeschooling. I mean, we make it glaringly obvious that it's not necessary to become certified in order to teach children -- whether that's one's own children or children in co-op settings. But otherwise, aren't we all in this together? Are we not all persevering what we do on a daily basis for the benefit of society and in raising the next generation? Can't we at find some common ground? Why must we throw daggers at each other (because truthfully, it cuts both ways--plenty of homeschoolers have bashed teachers, too...let's just be honest).

Alas, to this teacher I would have to say you are wrong in your premises, and your premises have too much ambiguity (remember you're only seeing a small segment of homeschoolers) to be taken seriously anyway. Furthermore, your premises do not support your conclusion that homeschooled children are not properly socialized.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Post Where I Talk About Gentle Parenting....Again. :)

So, as it happens about once every 3-4 years, I found myself in a "debate" again over gentle parenting. I say this happens every 3-4 years because I've learned NOT to engage in things like that on FB. But, I let myself open my mouth this time and as usual there were the "So if your 2 y/o hits you're supposed to go give him a cookie??" responses. *eyeroll* No, that's not what gentle parenting is about.

Nonetheless, here's my response to those people. (Figured I'd just copy/paste and save my fingers some energy!)

Oh, and "HALT" mentioned below means "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired." It's an acromyn for figuring out why your child is doing what he's doing. It's simply ONE tool (of many, many, many tools) for gentle parenting.

Hi there Liz! So, a lot of what's been said since I mentioned HALT has been negative and assuming certain things. Let me clarify. HALT simply means getting to the CORE of the problem instead of just addressing the action.
Of course you address the actiton (hitting), but get to the bottom line that made him hit in the first place. If he hit "just because," I'd find that hard to believe (and I have 5 children). Generally, children hit for a reason (not counting infants who hit because they've discovered that they have arms and can flail them...).
As for "You hit, so now let's go have fun" and the other comments related - no, that's not how it works. People who feel bad *act bad* and make poor choices. The idea of a Comfort Corner/Positive Time Out has nothing to do with "rewarding" children (though it's commonly misconstrued as exactly that). Rather, it's about redirecting feelings and emotions children are experiencing. If a child is grumpy and acting poorly, let's say, we'd bring him or direct him to a comfort corner where he'd find toys, books, headphones, whatever makes him feel good again. Once the child has calmed down, we'd talk about what made him feel that way, etc.
Of course in the case of a 2-year-old, there is not really "talking it out" but redirection and HALT are the biggest factors that go into dealing with 2 y/o's in the first place. And, 2 is different from 3, which is still different from 4. I recommend reading Alfie Kohn's books titled "Your X Year Old" (example "Your Three Year Old," "Your Four Year Old," etc.)
And, for the "sinful nature" comment - We are all born with a sinful nature, yes. However, gently parenting children means assigning positive intent as well. In other words, we don't assume the worst in our children. Sure, you're thinking, "So my child hit his sister because he loves her, right, is that what you're trying to tell me?" No, that's not what I'm saying... but if he hit her, chances are he's upset and having big feelings inside that he doesn't understand. First, think HALT and address the bottom line.
Next, assign positive intent and assume that he doesn't REALLY want to hurt his sister but would instead just like the toy she has. I'd explain that he can have the toy when she's done but hitting is not the way to go about telling her. He needs to use his words to ask (I'm thinking of a 2 y/o here) and then they will share. We do NOT turn around and smack him back for hitting her!! We address the bottom line issues (plural...) at hand.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Post Where I Talk About Why We Aren't Taking a Summer Break

As summer approaches, I sit here wondering what it must be like to take a summer break. You see, we won't be taking one this year (though every year, I SWEAR that "next year" we'll take one). Instead, this year (as seems to be our pattern), we took a winter break. Actually, we took an extended winter break since I  had a baby in January (baby #5 for those who were wondering).

So, because of that, we won't be taking a long summer break. We took our break earlier and we are plugging away at school until mid-August..which is when we'll take our summer break. We'll take a two-week break at that time because our Disney passes won't be blocked out (they're blocked out for summer but who the heck wants to be traipsing around Disney when it's 104 degrees anyway?). They'll pick back up mid-August, so we'll take our summer break at that time and then we'll resume school on Labor Day. Yes, ON Labor Day, not the day after.

I write this because I've been asked by some (usually those new to homeschooling) why we don't take a summer break or if we're trying to get our kids into college early by not taking one. Not at all. The twins will graduate in June of 2019 as scheduled and the others will graduate in June of the year they're set to graduate. Now, I say all this with the full intentions of taking a summer break next year (except for Lexi who will continue in sciences because she's determined to get into super high levels of science for her career). Next year, I'm telling you, I'm going to enjoy a full summer break with those who do. But for now (and for the past 13 years), this is our life. (You don't really think we'll take a summer break next year, do you? :) We shall see!)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day 2017!! :) :)

Mother's Day was a blessing this year as always. Probably one of the sweetest parts is that I'm a mommy to 5 this year. Nonetheless, my 4 older children never cease to amaze me with how sweet they can be. ♥ Here's what I received for Mother's Day from hubs and the kids: 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Preventing the "summer slide" with over 100 things to do this summer!

If you're like me, you're going to continue with schoolbooks right on through the summer. There are two main reasons for this:
  1. We didn't meet all of our learning goals for the year and summer is a great time for playing catch up. 
  2. Learning never really stops anyway. However, we had goals and failed to meet them so we're using this slower season to catch ourselves up. 

If you're not like me and you DID meet your goals (or even if you didn't meet all of your goals but would like something less "traditional" for the summer months), check out Homeschool.com's "101 Things To Do This Summer"! This list has some of the most unique ideas I've ever seen. I don't know how the owner never runs out of ideas, but she's full of creativity! Some of my favorites include... 

6.  Lie outside at night and watch the sky for shooting stars. Find out why shooting stars aren't really stars at all. 

12. Make your own sidewalk chalk! Then make a work of art in your driveway!

13. Learn about cotton candy. There's not nearly as much sugar in cotton candy as you might think.

31. Make a nail polish masterpiece (it's really cool and very unique)!  The website carlasonheim.com offers interesting and thorough video tutorials for this and much more! The site also offers online and self-study art classes free tutorialsand  instructional books

43. Write a children's book – maybe one you can share with your siblings and friends. The Easy Writing products from EasyGrammar.com can help.  They even offer blank books.69. Make a Tic -Tac -Towel. Great fun for the pool or beach!

78. Barter your services. Want to ride a horse? Offer to clean out stalls in return for riding time. Want to take guitar lessons? Offer to mow the instructor's lawn in return for lessons. Get your parent's permission and then make sure you follow through on your end.

85. Find out how hot air balloons work. Depending on where you live, you might be able to go on one or at least watch one take off. Did you know they make quite a bit of noise? 

....and more! There are just too many to list, but I plan for us to accomplish at least these things plus several others I didn't list. I've already discussed (individually) each child's summer learning goals and have typed two copies--one for the child to keep in a visible place he or she will see it often and one for myself.

Do you know that if you made it a goal to get through just three things (each week) on the "101 Things" list, you'd still have plennnnty of fun activities to do when the new school year begins? If you want to get through the entire list, you'll need to do at least 2 things each day. Given that some of the things take longer periods of time than others, this isn't entirely impossible to do! You'll stay super busy, but you'll have FUN making memories your children will never forget. And that's always worth it. ♥ ♥


Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Journey With ACE PACEs

Image courtesy: homeschool-curriculum-savings.com
If you're like me, you're using the ACE curriculum. Also if you're like me, you had to get past the naysayers and negative reviews and find those who LOVE ACE before you felt comfortable using it. Furthermore, you had to put your hands on the PACEs themselves and look through them at various levels to see the "big picture" and how this program progresses. If this describes you, then you'll understand our journey to finding ACE PACEs about 5 years ago!

Accelerated Christian Education

When we first discovered ACE, I remember the "Why didn't we do this sooner?" feeling. Unfortunately, we left ACE for an eclectic route and some unschooling. While we enjoyed our time, I do wish I would've been as dedicated to ACE then as I am now. NOW, it would take lightning bolts from God to get me to change because now I see the disadvantages to changing programs and always being in "limbo" mode.

I also see the HUGE advantage of giving it to GOD and letting HIM lead you in your curriculum choices. I didn't even *want* to do ACE! I truly didn't want to do it.

At all.

But God (and our children, who begged to return to PACEs) had bigger plans. I remember praying, "Lord, I feel like you're telling me to go with ACE and if that's the case, you know I'm going to need a change of heart on this because I don't want to do it Lord." Boy has he answered that prayer!

He has shown me how to make ACE work for all of our children, regardless of their learning styles and individual needs. He has provided the financial means to afford the PACEs I didn't foresee being able to buy, and overall, He has given me a true sense of PEACE about ACE. More than peace, He has made me into a dyed-in-the-wool ACE user. To HIM be the glory--not me!

Below is a fantastic video put out by ACE that explains the ACE program more in-depth. It's about 26 minutes long but is well worth watching!

Regardless of your style of homeschooling or curriculum (which I never thought I'd be using again), I want to encourage you to give it to GOD. When you do, you will be less likely to change curriculum programs. Why? Because He led you to the program you chose. Mamas, that makes all the difference in the world. Make sure that you make a prayer-led decision when you choose a program. Of course, I recommend ACE for various reasons, but you have to choose the curriculum or homeschooling method that is right for your family. We have been around the block with homeschooling styles (from very structured to Charlotte Mason to Classical to unschooling) and have tried nearly every curriculum under the sun. In fact, I have a whole closet dedicated to bins for 12 different subjects or categories that are loaded with the curricula we've tried--or bought, realized it wasn't going to work for us, and just never bothered with it). In the end, we returned to ACE PACEs because it's where the Lord led us (and by "us" I do mean my husband and myself).

If you're feeling led to use ACE but are scared at all the negative reviews, don't let that get you down. Read (or re-read) that blog post and notice the commonalities amongst those who are naysayers. Then, join those of us who LOVE ACE on Facebook! We also have a Yahoo group (just go to Yahoo Groups and search for ACE PACEs Support), but it's not nearly as active as the FB group.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day! Here's the Motherload of FREEBIES from Educents!

Just when I thought they couldn't possibly offer a bigger FREEBIE bundle, Educents proved me wrong. {In a very big, very GOOD way!}

K-12th Grade Freebie Bundle!

How would you like over 750 FREE digital lessons for various content areas for K-12th? Whether you're a classroom teacher or a homeschooler, you'll find this resource invaluable! Wanna get it? Head on over to Educents and download it! But hurry! As of today, you only have 11 days left. Grab it while it's available!! :) 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Are ACE PACEs not "advanced"?

In my ACE PACEs Facebook group, someone recently said that another curriculum was more advanced than ACE. Here was my response, which I thought I'd share here for my readers.

It was recently said that CLE is more "advanced" than ACE. I don't know that I'd say CLE is more "advanced" than ACE. It moves at a faster pace but ACE is, to me, more in tune with child development. I don't want a newcomer (to ACE) thinking they're "downgrading" by going with ACE because that just isn't the case.

Take it from someone who has been with ACE for 5 years *on and off*. I emphasize that to say we've tried everything under the sun and yet we're returning to PACEs for a reason. ACE teaches the same stuff other programs teach, so I'd also advise *against* skipping ahead (what's the rush, anyway?) because soon, you'll hit a roadblock. ACE just goes slower and teaches things like we were all taught.

In other words, unlike the public schools, ACE hasn't lost sight of what Kindergarten MEANS, for example. The public schools want them doing what ACE has 2nd graders doing, which is just ridiculous. Kindergarten should be about FUN, coloring, exploring, songs, fun, fun, fun! ACE knows this and has created a fantastic Kindergarten program. No, it's not "rigorous" but should Kindergarten be that way? That's just one example.

Yes, by high school ACE is teaching the same things other programs are teaching and at the same time. The difference is that kids would've developed a much stronger foundation with ACE! Think of it like this: ACE goes a mile deep and an inch wide while other programs tend to go a mile wide and an inch deep....

So what does all of this mean? It means the ACE PACEs are far from "behind" as some people like to say. As someone who does a lot of research and who likes to look for trends, I've noticed trends in the ACE naysayers:

  • They attended an ACE school back in the 80s or 90s. ACE has definitely upgraded its program since then! 
  • If they homeschool, they only tried out a PACE or two for anywhere from a month to one year. ACE was not designed to be used like this. It wasn't designed for you to pop in and out of the program. Rather, they assume you'll stay with the program for all 12 (13 counting Kindy) years. This means that while they may not be teaching the same things in "3rd grade" that other programs teach, they DO get to it. Again, inch wide/mile deep... 
  • They are the type of homeschooler who gets wrapped up in labels like "gifted" (that's a blog post/soapbox of its own) or "advanced." ACE simply doesn't advertise itself like this. 
When you come across negative reviews of ACE, consider the source. Remember that you don't know their situation, their home life, how they're raising their children, the values they're instilling into their children, etc. If ACE lines up with your family's values and you like the PACEs, then use them. Do not be deterred by naysayers! Instead, find the people who are pro-ACE (we're on Yahoo and Facebook, by the way). Talk to those who LOVE ACE--not those who despise it! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Science Curriculum 100% FREE for just a few more days!

If you've been looking for easy-to-do unit studies that grab your child's interest, then this is for you! 

Like unit studies? Like FREEBIES? Then check out what just hatched for you this Easter! 

From now until the end of March, grab ALL of The Curiosity Files at NO CHARGE! That's a $125 value (and these really are great!) for FREE! Here's the link: The Curiosity Files

Use the code at the link and start downloading!! 

Happy Easter! :)