Category Archives: Learning

Growing Greatness: E1- Genesis

  Wouldn’t you like to take a peek inside our homeschool and journey through parent directed education?
Well now you can and I’m so excited to share our story with you!
Growing Greatness is our youtube series produced by C-SCOPE 20/20. beginning with Episode #1: Genesis.

There are more episodes to come so stay connected here and our fb page.
Until next time,
Remember to keep Growing Greatness 

Announcing: MPLC Community Group

I have had a sensational summer encouraging homeschoolers throughout the SouthEastern States during this past convention season. But, I’m not stopping there.

MPLC CoOp mtg

MPLC will support the homeschool community within the West Orlando Region through a weekly wednesday co-operative with occasional encouraging parent meetings.
But, don’t fret, if you’re not local to West Orange County we’ll also be hosting some virtual sessions. So, stay connected here and our fb page. There’s more coming to you from MunroePalms Learining Centre, including our youtube series, aptly titled “Growing Greatness.”

Until next time,
Remember to keep Growing Greatness

#5thOnThe5th: ReSet

Last month I wrote about how difficult it’s been this year  to get on a rhythmic routine.

I’m happy to announce  We are FINALLY getting there!

 We’re not THERE yet, but we are definitely closer.  Of course, it’s probably more because we sort of hit the reset button when I was knocked out with a cold. The twins were feeling a little under the weather also and decided to latch on to my sick week. Which was actually the best thing that could have happened.  Sometimes taking a break from things for a week is exactly what’s needed whether planned or unexpected.
5th grade CORE 3

5th grade CORE 3: Bible, Math, and English.

Ribbit The Exhibit

Finally made it to the botanical gardens to search for the sculptures in “Ribbit The Exhibit.”

iHop Pancake Day 2015

IHop National Pancake Day With donations benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network

Until next time, remember to keep Growing Greatness

#5thOnThe5th: The First 5 Weeks

5th on 5th seriesWe’ve made it through the first five weeks of our new school year and it’s been slow, but full.
The first day of every new school year never goes as planned and this year was no exception.

Seriously! In all the past 8 years of homeschooling I have never struggled so much at the beginning of the year.
Maybe it’s because we didn’t have  the usual  “snowball start,” as there were a few other people we studied to wrap up our Black History unit study from 4th grade.
I thought that it would have been perfect to save George Washington Carver for when we would have our family play with peanuts tournament, Martin Luther King Jr. for week of the city MLK Unity Parade, and Zora Neale Hurston for the week of the annual Zora festival in nearby Eatonville.
But, maybe it was a little too much too soon.
We survived. We made it through. Not as enthusiastically as I would prefer. But we made it. And that’s cause for celebration.
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KC set up workstations for himself, working his way through each task around the table

We celebrated our newly renovated local library reopening by packing up and camping out there for the whole day. I think it was a great experience because it forced the boys to rediscover different areas of the library since everything was restructured. We really liked the new compact shelving system. KC & KJ were disappointed the children’s and juvenile section didn’t get the upgraded shelving system, but I’m thankful the Librarians chose to avoid the possibility of any children “accidentally” squashing another child in-between shelves.
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FunSpot  +  GatorLand  =  GatorSpot

However,  I would definitely say that the ultimate highlight of this whole month was our unexpected field trip to FunSpot. We heard about the opportunity for free unlimited-rides armbands if you made it there for the ground breaking ceremony for the all-new GatorSpot attraction.
It was too HUGE to miss.


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2 boys, 2 gators

When the Gator handler realized they were twins he called for the other handler to bring over his gator because “twin boys need twin gators.”

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Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

#5thOnThe5th: The 5th Day of 5th Grade




 We’re Celebrating!  It’s the 5th day of 5th grade.

5th of 5th bike ride
With an afternoon bike ride.

If you’d like to keep in touch with how that happens this year,  5th on 5th series
I’ll be keeping this series going on the 5th of each month.

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

#WingingItWisely: education plan

Have you been wondering where our 2014 Education Plan is?    I HAVE!!
We’ve always had Group Studies together
(Scripture Memory Verses, History, Geography, Science, & Electives)
and Independent Studies separately (CORE 3: Bible, Math, & English).

So, before our most drastic #CHANGE, I had already selected and purchased all of the resources for Geography, History and Science for a few years. We were set. And I do mean set. I made wise use of the funds I collected while working a temporary seasonal job. Most of the curriculum I purchased were used and priced accordingly. I also have a couple wonderful homeschool friends with whom we share & borrow freely, despite the Many Many miles between us. (USPS knows us well) 🙂
My Point:   I would have only had some minor tweaking in the Core 3 to contend with.

However, after a VERY busy summer I finally sat down to put “plan to paper” (or screen) for education plan 2014. What I discovered was that although I surely factored in the needs of all of my students in designing our previous education plans, they mainly revolved around CJ, as my oldest. Now that he’s in public school and I don’t have any Bonus Boys to hybrid homeschool, I am left with KC and KJ. My babies.
My twinnies.  Well, I guess they’re not babies anymore.
So, I’m taking the time to relish in that thought.
Spending time to know, REALLY KNOW, my twins as individuals and what their interests are.

Winging

               Winging  It

Swinging It

               &   Swinging  It

QUESTION:  What does our education plan look like, now?
ANSWER:  I Don’t Know!!!
But, I’ll figure it out…. eventually.
For now, I’m   #WingingItWisely     

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

Who Moved My Cheese?

Yeah. I know… you read the title of this post and you’re wondering where I’m going with it. Well, Who Moved My Cheese? is the title of a book. A book I read many years ago with MrC during the first few months of our marriage. It’s a book about change. The changes you go through in life and how you respond to them. So, when I began to contemplate my feelings over the recent changes in my life, these were the words that filled my brain and most accurately expressed my thoughts:

Who Moved My Cheese?

cheese

For those of you that don’t know me in real life, and maybe those who do, the past couple years have been crazy busy, in our family life, as well as our homeschool. Many changes, adjustments with me being pushed and pulled out of my comfort zone. #CHANGE
A big part happened as more and more opportunities opened up for us to encourage other parents, especially those from within our demographic, to be more proactively involved in the education of their children. We have always felt that whatever the avenue chosen: Home School, Public School, or Private School; Every set of parents should be active advocates for their children as individual students.

From that stance, quite a few opportunities began to arise for me to assist and consult with other parents deciding how best to educate their children during the current or changing season in their lives, recommending curriculum resources, or loaning some from off my bookshelves. Which also culminated in/ended up including hybrid homeschooling 2 additional boys, along with my own 3, assisting in the delivery of core academic instruction. #CHANGE

I love homeschooling and the additional time it has given me with my sons. Helping them advance in their strengths and supporting them through their academic challenges. When asked, we have always explained our choice to home-educate as “currently the best option for their educational environment.” Well, at the beginning of 2014 it began to be more evident that that particular statement no longer rang true for CJ. MrC and I had a couple small discussions (faculty conferences) about our options. My first choice was the local private school that offered Enrichment & Elective Classes on Mondays and Core Curriculum Courses Tuesday-Thursdays with an optional Study Hall on Fridays, (We do not have time for me to list all the many many reasons why I thought this was perfect.) it was not a plausible possibility.
Reasons being: I no longer had a separate vehicle since my car died (i.e. HouseBound Homeschoolers), our budget could not accommodate the financial burden that would require, we would be attempting a 2nd Semester admission, and there was already an extensive wait-list.

Walking to the Bus Stop

Walking to the Bus Stop

Then came a quick trip away for me to assist in a family multi-state relocation. The longest time for me to be separated from my husband and sons in all our lives. #CHANGE  During that time MrC took the reigns on the day-to-day operations of MunroePalms Learning Centre. (Isn’t he just Awesome?) That opportunity freed my heart and mind from being so intensely focused on our homeschool. (Isn’t it good to rest? Even for just a little while.) So, when I returned MrC was ready to discuss enrolling CJ into our local public school and I was ready to listen and follow his lead. #CHANGE

This brought about BIG CHANGES!!

  •  There has been #CHANGE for CJ: adjusting to the much longer school day, riding on the school bus, 7 different classes in 7 different classrooms with 7 new teachers, being constantly surrounded by hundreds of other children, and the demands of additional homework to be done after that already long day at school. #CHANGE
  •   There has been #CHANGE for MrC: not having as much time to interact with CJ during the weekdays, due to his work schedule, and now having to capitalize on the weekend. #CHANGE
  •   There’s even been #CHANGE for KC & KJ: who miss CJ during the day, despite the way he would do “big brother things” to purposely get on his little brother’s nerves. #CHANGE
  •   And of course, there’s been #CHANGE for me: adjusting to being apart from my oldest son (Yes. I know it’s only a few hours a day. I did say I was adjusting.), adjusting to no longer being CJ’s main academic instructor, surprisingly mourning the books, activities, field trips and curriculum I won’t have the opportunity to teach and share with him, and also surprising was dealing with the guilt of what I should’ve/could’ve done differently with him. #Major  #CHANGE

So, how do you respond to change?
Do you freeze in denial, not moving one way or the other?   Maybe.
Do you see “the bigger picture,” quickly making the necessary adjustments?   Maybe.
Or do you “take it in stride,” because you were aware, watching, observing your surroundings?   Maybe.

I look back and see how The Lord slowly and gently prepared my heart to be more open and accepting to the multitude of #CHANGE in this season. Isn’t it amazing how The Lord will bring something back to your remembrance from long ago?

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As I wrote this post, I decided I should attempt to locate this book. After a visit to my local used bookstore, I can now reread this book and better answer the question:

Who Moved My Cheese?

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

Motherhood: Is It A Dream?

“I’m Living My Dream…..” (Allyson: Mom’s Night Out)

When I was really young if you asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up, with a big beaming dimpled smile I would reply, “When I grow up I’m going to be a very Very VEry VERy VERY famous actress.” Since I loved musicals, whether shown in the theater, the cinema, or at home on VHS, singing was naturally included. At least in my mind. I loved being in the school plays but I was never one who begged for attention or felt the need to be the absolute focus of the spotlight. Believe it or not, I was shy.image
As I continued to grow and transitioned through a big family relocation I became comfortable in a supporting role. I helped. I assisted. I supported.
After a while, women in my life found themselves pregnant, all in various ages and stages of their lives. While they were happily and nervously preparing to be single mothers; I found myself assisting, supporting, encouraging them.   I could complete a baby registry with the main essentials, set up a crib, diaper change a baby extremely quickly and accurately even while blindfolded.

I look back at those times, and know that it wasn’t just me helping them. It was me “going to school.” Me being taught. My education. Yes, even the blindfolded diaper changes during baby shower games.
It was God preparing me for the desire of my heart. My own family. Me mothering and nurturing my own children.
While even as I dreamed of being a “very Very VEry VERy VERY famous actress,” I always knew I would have an amazingly loving husband and a few children, beginning with a son. Somewhere along the line my dream shifted, adjusted, became re-prioritized.

When I gave my heart to the Lord,
He gave me a new desire for my heart.
So now, I AM living My dream.

And this heart is morimagee full than I ever imagined.  Despite certain circumstances, God has allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the process of each of my three pregnancies. He not only blessed me with my first born son, but I have birthed three amazingly handsome sons (who look just like daddy).  Don’t get me wroimageng. Motherhood is not all roses and daisies.   Motherhood is hard. Let me say that again:

 Motherhood Is Hard!   But, it’s worth all the work.
Many people know that 1st Corinthians 13 says
“Love is Patient, Love is Kind….”

But it also says “Love Bears all things, Believes all things,
Hopes all things, Endures all things. ”
Motherhood is ALL those things.
Motherhood requires ALL those things.
Being a mother requires Patience.
Being a mother requires Kindness.
Being a mother requires Bearing.
Being a mother requires Belief.
Being a mother requires Hope.
Being a mother requires Endurance.
Being a mother requires Love.

Motherhood IS Hard.   But, mothers Love Harder.

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

Testing…Testing…Testing…

At this time of year students all across the country are participating in standardized testing to demonstrate their proficiency in learning.  Although it’s not required in every state, for many of us in the homeschool community testing is a gateway we must also enter through. Sometimes, by choice because standardized testing provides answers to the question we are looking for:
         How’s my child doing?

Testing can be a stressful time for parents as well as students, so I wanted to share a few strategies that have helped us reduce the stress here at Munroe Palms.

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2 Weeks Before Testing:
We utilize the Spectrum Test Prep books for each child’s grade level. There are 2-4 subject areas (Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies)  broken down into 3 or 4 sections. After each section is a Mini-Test comprising of about 10 questions.
We spend the first part of the week going through all of the Mini-Tests throughout the book. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes for each mini-test. Once they have all been corrected, I can assess where their strengths and areas of improvements are. After that, we will go through the sections preceding the mini-test  indicating as an area of needed improvement.

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1 Week Before Testing:
Begins with Test Prep Practice Session Day. This is a good way of putting the children in the right frame of mind for testing in a classroom. None of the flexible options normally allowed during the normal homeschool day. They can not work on the couch or on their bed. They can’t lay on the floor or work in the backyard – they have to sit at the table with bottoms in the chair.

Testing Week:
This is the special time of year when they all get brand new pencils, pencil grips, and bookmarks all neatly packed into their colour coordinated pencil bags. Additionally, each child is encouraged to bring a book for waiting times, so somewhere after the new year I begin to keep an eye out for a special book for each boy to have for this week.

They are always so excited for the first day to see which book I have selected for them. Sometimes I buy new, sometimes I find it on my bookshelf, and sometimes it’s been purchased from our local used bookstore, but it’s always new to them, a selection they have not read before.

What Boys do….
“Mum tells us our room number and we go to our rooms. When everyone arrives we pray and we begin testing,” says KC.

“The two longest sections…. Reading Comprehension and Math Computation was on the second day,” reports KJ.

CJ shared, “Testing week snacks are Awesome! We get to choose things mum doesn’t usually let us buy.
Oh! And we save a Book-It coupon to have lunch at Pizza Hut, too.”

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So here it is in a nutshell:
1)  Preparation:  walk through the process with your child to give them the feel for the actual thing. Especially to practice filling in bubbles on the answer sheet.

2)  Outsource/Crowd Source:  connect with other moms and home educators for testing practice. Perhaps someone in your network can host the test prep practice like we did with two other families this year.

3)  Enthusiasm: Keep the excitement. Build a routine that your child can look forward to. Anything from additional play dates in the park or eating out during the week of testing.

Please share one of your strategies on how you prepare for testing.

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.


To Pay, or Not To Pay?

THAT is the Question:

About 4 or 5 years ago.. I was praying about this issue.
We have boys.. all boys…
Busy, Bouncy, Boisterous Boys!
Who are going to be men, husbands, fathers.
In teaching them responsibility and work ethic,
God.. led me to assign the names for each job.

We used to have their chores (job$) rotate each day…
But it got harder to track their pay.. 25 cents per job per day.
So now they rotate each week.

 The Sweeper

The Sweeper

for example:

KC:
Chef (selects breakfast; snack options, makes lunch for everyone, and helps me prepare dinner)
Recycler (empties the trash cans, replaces trash bags, takes recycling to the container outside as it accumulates in the kitchen)
KITCHEN (basic jurisdiction for the week)

KJ:
Waiter (sets and clears the table.. and also gets to TELL everyone else where they sit. Daddy says he always knows who is the waiter because they sit themselves close to him for the whole week)
ShoeShine (make sure all the shoes are not scattered around the house and are in the shoe cubbies MrC. built in the front closet)
LIVING ROOM (basic jurisdiction for the week)

CJ:
Plumber (boys + toilet = needs to be cleaned almost everyday)
Sweeper (somehow it seems these children have wholes in their mouths at every meal)
BATHROOM (basic jurisdiction for the week to make sure mummy doesn’t walk through the hallway and smell it like it’s a rest stop)

KC, The Dishwasher

The Dishwasher

plus, they alternate odd/even days for the Butler (laundry) & Dishwasher

The twins are 2 boys so they do even days.
& CJ does odd days, with occasional parental assistance 😉

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

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