Friday, July 22, 2016

I'm Married to a Cop

I'm Married to a Cop

He wasn't a cop when I met him, but I knew that was what he wanted to do. He had my full support in applying. He had my support when he went through the grueling police academy. I was there for him in spirit when he was fighting with the “Red Man” suit, running up the fireman's tower, being shot with a taser, and getting sprayed with pepper spray.

I supported him through his first few years, when he was involved in a shooting where the suspect opened fire on police. I got the call late that night. He had not shot or been shot. He was okay. That incident gave me a peak at the future. Will I always be worried about him when he vests up and walks out the door? What will our children feel when they are old enough to know the danger he is in? I made a decision then, that I would continue to support him in the work he loved. I would push aside the fear and be happy that he was able to make a difference in the community. I would let my kids see the pride I had in the choice their father had made in a career.

I supported him through the first decade of his career. He hadn't had a raise in five years and the city was finding more ways to cut the officers pay. They went on furlows. They took away raises and clothing allowances. It was hard during those furlow years, but we managed. He looked into moving out of the city, to a city that paid their officers well. In the end, he decided that he would stick it out, things would get better, it's only money, and he loved this city.

I supported him through the following years. He went into a special department, now he was working with the mentally ill. This brought a whole new group of concerns and threats. This time he had people trying to find out where he lived, suing him and his colleagues, receiving death threats, and stalking him. I was fearful for myself and my kids. I was fearful for my husband. As a family we try to always remember to watch out for cars that follow us too long, lock the doors every time you come in even if you are only coming in for a few minutes, we don't allow the kids to stray too far. The conversations we have had to have with our children have been hard. Explaining why we have to be so careful and why they shouldn't worry about daddy every time he leaves, were very difficult.

I support him now. All across America I am reading about police brutality and police shootings. I tell my children, there are bad apples in every bunch. There are teachers that abuse their position, clergy that abuse others, and politicians that are corrupt. I have never seen groups of people harassing teachers as they enter the schools, I haven't ever read about a politician being refused service at a restaurant, nor have I seen reports of snipers picking off groups of clergy as they enter their churches. It seems that the name calling, refusal of service, and sniper rifles are reserved for police.

My husband, a cop, is also a father. He is a great father. He also spends enormous amounts of his personal time and money to visit kids in hospitals. He is generous. He loves being able to help people find the resources they need to live a better life. He has a job he loves. If you have a job, you know that not every person in your position does the job the same, but that everyone has to follow company policy. If only, this group of people with hatred in their hearts, would see cops for the person they are. If you don't like the laws in place, work to change them. Leave my husband and his colleagues alone to do their job. You don't want to be a cop, I don't want to be one either, but there is a need for them. I am so proud to have a husband that is willing to do a thankless job that few want to do, so that I can feel safe to visit a park, or take a walk, or shop. Thank you to all of the cops out there, that like my husband, love your community despite not getting that love returned.
Michele Dial
Tucson, Arizona

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Transitioning into Independence

As a mom your kids rely on you for everything. As a homeschool mom there is even more on top of your "Mom pile" of work. Not only do you get them fed and ready for the day, but you also school them, you are the major source of their moral upbringing, and your attitude directly influences them for the bulk of their days. 

Beginning homeschooling with little ones, we manage everything. The clothes they wear, the books they read, the food they eat, their sleep patterns (if they sleep), and what they learn. As they get older and start to flex their wings, we have to step back. If they don't learn to stand on their own they will never walk, right? Fast forward a few more years and you are still a mom that schedules their lessons and activities, reminds them about due dates for co-op, and other outside obligations. When do you stop doing all of that for them? How do you stop yourself from coming in and saving the day?

My son is now in 7th grade and we are moving toward independence. I know it will be a long road, but I am hopeful that by the end of 7th grade, he will be scheduling completely independent of me. Home subjects and co-op classes may still require that he meet with me for lectures or clarification, but I won't be hand holding him through things. 

The first step on this road is scheduling. I have always organized all of our work into days and told the kids their assignments as we go. I have tried to post this on the board and let them pick through the day. I have created Evernote notes with their assignments in checklist form. I have written out all of their assignments in a planner for them. The point is, previously, I have done all of the scheduling. 

Last week I wrote out all of my son's assignments in a planner. I organized the lessons by day and he highlighted them as he finished. 

Last week.

I did this for this week also. Yesterday, was not a very successful day for him. He decided to sleep in and then take a huge "break" between lessons. He didn't finish his work until 7:45 pm. His dad did not let him go to scouts because he wasn't finished. That was his consequence. Hopefully, he learned from that. 

This week.

For next week he is getting a list of all of his assignments with due dates. He has two due dates. The first, is for co-op stuff he has to finish before class. The second, is for regular work I require. I will help him with this if he asks me. I am definitely going to check that all of the co-op work is scheduled before class, but the rest will be up to him. 

Due Date: 
Tuesday, October 13

Sunday, October 18

Week 14
Complete Ch. 6.3 Test
Review all Ch. 6 notes
Write about Gallium's compounds formed
Write about Gallium's fun or interesting facts
Review flashcards
Organize your paragraphs into an outline
Write your rough draft in Writewell. Print to edit.

Area of 2D flipbook 1 & 2 & 3 & 4
Lesson 27 (Do: 1,4,5,9,11,13,14,19,27)

Write your rough draft in Writewell. Print to edit.
Write your final
Read Ch. 21-28
Pick your topic
Write your topic sentence and questions
Read rest of Colonial Times
Research your questions (use notecards)
Write your outline

Unit 5, Lesson 2
Look at Van Gogh's art (pick a favorite and add it to your Evernote with the title)

2 - Practice Duolingo
Review Worksheets
2 - Watch videos 6-9
2 - Estar cards

Holes to @pg 120

I am interested to see if he schedules himself all of the work for individual classes together on one day or spreads each subject out. Who wants to do four math lessons in one day? I don't know, maybe he will. I can pretty much guarantee that will only happen once, if it happens at all. 

How are you helping your kids to schedule themselves? How is it working?

Happy Homeschooling

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Not Your Ordinary Book Report!

The book reports of my youth seem outdated and boring to me now. With all the technology out there and alternative education methods, it seemed to me that I should be offering my kids a different approach to book reports.
Gratis billede: B√łger

Reviewing books is a great way to reinforce learning and comprehension. It doesn't have to be a bore though. I presented my son with this list at the beginning of the year. He can choose any he likes for his report, but he can only do them once. Otherwise, I am sure to get a stack of t-shirt designs! Here is my list of 21 Book Report Options that allow a great amount of customization.

25 Book Report Options
1. Design a t-shirt. This should include the book title, author, and perhaps a sentence or repeated phrase.

2. Design a costume for a character. If you are especially crafty you could design and sew it, but designing on paper and explaining why it's appropriate will do.

3. Create a picture book. Draw an illustration complete with caption for each chapter of the book. Don't forget to provide a cover and then staple or bind it together.

4. Write a letter to a character. What would you say to a character?

5. Write the author. Got a question or two about the book that didn't get answered? Want to praise the author for a job well done? Put it down in a letter. Extra points for actually sending it!

6. The book has ended. What happens next? Write a short story.

7. Assemble a diorama. Got a favorite scene from the book? Now's your chance to recreate it.

8. Write an Amazon listing. Take a look at how Amazon lists books (don't look for your book). Write a listing to market this book. Look for your book after you have written your listing and compare the two.

9. Book vs. Movie. Compare and contrast.

10. Make a video review.

11. Resume or Facebook profile for a character. How would the character describe him/herself?

12. Good ole' book report.

13. Write interview questions and the responses for a character.

14. Make a movie trailer.

15. Create a collage for the book or a character.

16. Write an alternate ending and why you prefer it.

17. Make a stop-motion animation of your favorite scene.

18. Create a comic book strip of your favorite scene or a summary of the book.

19. Write a poem, song, or riddle about the book.

20. Award Ceremony. Create a list of awards for each of the characters in the book. Explain why they deserve the award.

21. Bookshelf. What is on a particular character's bookshelf? What books are there, CD's, pictures, or knick knacks? Draw it out or make a collage with pictures.

22. Past, Present, and Future. Create a past, summarize the present, and predict a future for a character.

23. Commercial. Make a television commercial for the book.

24. Design a poster or new book cover. What if the book were being made into a movie? What might the poster look like?

25. It's Your Birthday! Make a list of characters and the birthday presents you would give them. Don't forget to include your reasoning behind the gifts.

Do you have any ideas for alternatives to book reports?

Happy Homeschooling

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Free Discovery Education for the Summer!

I just signed up through Homeschool Buyers Co-op for a free summer of Discovery Education. It seems that the Co-op has deals on Dicovery Ed frequently, so I thought I would give it a try. This may be a valuable resource for our own co-op this year.

Happy Homeschooling

Friday, July 10, 2015

Curriculum Plan 2015 - 2016

The kids after they decided February was a good time to try out the pool.

We are going into our 8th year of homeschooling! I find it very hard to believe that I have a 5th and 7th grader. I have a middle schooler now. Wow. Never thought we would still be homeschooling this many years (although I hoped I would).

This year some fabulous ladies in our homeschool group have put together a co-op. This will definitely be a learning experience, but we are all excited about this new opportunity for group learning. It will be once a week, with the kids working on "homework" at home. I will be leading two classes and one club, so you can look forward to posts this year about Zoology/Human Body, American History, and Drama.

I added "Group Lessons" to our day this year. It's the catch all for everything I want to cover, but seems to be pushed aside due to time. We will do this first thing and then the kids will spread out to finish independently.

Extra Curriculars
PE/Park day - once a week
Boy Scouts - once a week
Yearbook Club (my girl) - a few times in the year
Drama Club - twice a month
Relaxation and Focusing Class - at co-op each week. They both want to try this.
Violin (my girl) - self study
Piano (my boy) - self study
4H Archery (both) - twice a month
4H Bread (both) - once a month
4H Robotics (my boy) - once a month
4H Cake Decorating (both) - short session. My daughter said, "if it involves frosting, I'm there."

Group Lessons
I am using Logic Countdown and Logic Liftoff (2 lessons a week) and Brain Teaser workbooks (2 pages a week).

Mastering Vocabulary will take us two years to get through. It is for grades 5 and up. We are covering about one Unit a week.

Reading Aloud
The kids will take turns reading aloud. Our books this year will be: Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood (the kids really liked this one), Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge, McGuffey's Eclectic Reader Volume 3, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Gift of the Magi, Night Before Christmas, and Legends Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Wright Mabie. I will add more if needed.

Tuesday Math
Tuesdays we have PE/Park day and 4H activities planned. The kids are usually tired and not really able to sit down to a full math lesson. This year on Tuesdays we will use The Everything Kids Math Puzzles Book and Singapore Math Challenge Grade 5+. We will work through the books together. After the group math, the kids are then to complete 30 minutes of Khan Academy in their respective grade levels. They like to compete for points!

5th Grade

My Pokemon princess

Along with poems from various authors, she will also be reading a few books. The list is: A World of Fairy Tales by Andrew Lang, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brian, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon, Peter Pan by James M. Barrie, and Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter.

The kids are going to be participating in the co-op Classic Books Club. They will be reading The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale, Redwall by Brian Jacques, and others.

Saxon 6/5

Language Arts
KISS - I really like the looks of this program. We are using the 6th grade level.

We are starting out the year with reading The Care and Keeping of You each day. She is then working on a lapbook about plants and another about weather. After that she will have Zoology (there will be two Zoology units on my blog. I didn't really like the first one and decided to make another one that has more of everything) and then Human Body in co-op. If we have any days to fill, she can do free study.

She is reading the Introductions and Conclusions in Human Odyssey Volume 2. This is just as a review. She is going to be taking Story of the World, Volume 3 in co-op. It has a great lapbook to go with it, that she will be adding to a notebook with a timeline.

We are working our way through ancient art with the help of Cave Paintings to Picasso and various library books. The kids are just reading and looking. They can paint in the style they are learning about if they wish. When co-op starts, they will begin Artistic Pursuits, Middle Grades Book 1. They have a wonderful art teacher that will be continuing from last year.

This will not start until co-op. The leaders will be using various materials. The kids will be using a Spanish/English dictionary and First Thousand Words in Spanish. This book is a little basic for the age my kids are, but they really wanted it. I think because it looked easy, but there is a lot jammed into those pages.

7th Grade

My young man 

Along with poems from various authors, he will also be reading a few books. The list is: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Classics for Young Readers, The Call of the Wild by Jack London, The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

The kids are going to be participating in the co-op Classic Books Club. They will be reading The Bully Book, Redwall, and others.

Language Arts
KISS grammar program

Saxon Algebra 1/2 
Khan Academy as supplement

Before co-op starts, he is reading through The Boy's Body Book and completing lapbooks on Introduction to Chemistry and the Periodic Table. For co-op, he will be working through's Middle School Physical Science textbook.

He is also reading through the Human Odyssey volumes. In co-op this year, he will be covering the first five books in the A History of Us series by Joy Hakim for American History 1.

Art and Spanish
Same as 5th grader.

Happy Homeschooling

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Homeschool Teacher Gifts?

So, here is my question, why don't homeschool teachers get end of the year gifts?

I asked my husband this question this morning. His response was that, "raising the children should be gift enough." Haha. I love my kids, but come on. My main thought is not so much the gift, but in the act.

An end of the year "gift" could be a card or a hug along with a heartfelt thank you. I know that homeschooling is a choice we as parents make, but kids get plenty out of it too. Homeschool parents put in a ton of time and energy to make it possible for the kids to stay home. They also make many sacrifices like having less (or no) personal time or less family income.

I would just like to encourage spouses of homeschooling parents to take their kids aside and help them to appreciate what has been done for them the whole year. Also, a present wouldn't be out of line.

Happy Homeschooling!

If my husband reads this and needs inspiration, here is a list of my demands, err ideas.

Monday, February 9, 2015

France and England at War

France and England at War
(Story of the World, Volume 2, Chapter 26)

1. Listen to the audio book selection or read Story of the World text.
2. Write in your notebook.

Happy Homeschooling!