How To Homeschool: Our First Week Experience

 

Our decision to homeschool did not receive the warmest of reception by all of our closest friends. Our immediate family (parents) supported or choice, while others scoffed at thought of us becoming teachers, with no formal teaching degree. Even when we showed them the curriculum and explained the steps, we were met with ignoring responses or just the good old “oh, okay.”. I guess it’s better to say nothing if you can’t say anything nice. Essentially we celebrated this special decision with ourselves.

Did it make us a little conscious of our decision? Yes.
Do we regret it? Not one bit.

 

Coincidentally, a video from the motivational speaker Prince Ea found it’s way on to my feed shortly after we had gotten all the paperwork finalized. It beautifully put in to words how we felt about traditional schooling, you can watch it here. The thing is, in addition to wanting to explore more together as a family, we were not satisfied with the stress that traditional school comes with, which you can read more about in my previous post Why We’ve Decided to Homeschool Our Kid(s). There’s clearly an issue if the second leading cause of death with children ages 10-14 is suicide.

As for his social needs, we are connecting with other homeschooling and world schooling families as well as his extra-curricular activities.

Now for how we got started with homeschooling/Worldschooling. We are currently in the state of California, so we had to follow California law and file the correct paperwork to declare Brian officially enrolled in a homeschooling program. There are a couple ways to do this, but we decided to go with a private school that handles the administrative work and follows up on the legalities but allows us too choose our own curriculum and schedule. It cost us a total of $400 to enroll into the private umbrella school.

The curriculum we use is Time4Learning.  While it isn’t perfect, we are very satisfied with the curriculum and it’s pacing (self-paced). We are also able to adjust the lesson planner. We supplement extra science with a third grade level textbook that we found online. For Language Arts we also supplement personally picked poems to critically assess together, this week it was Langston Hughes’ I, Too, America. If there are ever things we feel we need to work more on, we can just pause on the computer and use notebooks, a whiteboard, etc. to further dissect a subject.

Time management. My husband and I agreed that 4.5 hours a day/4 days a week is what would work best. We try to start anywhere from 8am-10am. We break up “school time” in 1-hour to 1-hour and a half increments. We’ve found the best way to go about this is to set a block of 5-6 hours aside to commit to his schoolwork. So we don’t have specific times or blocks for each subject (ie: at 2pm-3pm we will work on social studies) we just get what we have to get done. If we notice his focus is off we step away from the work take 10-15 minutes to shake it out and jump back in.

 

I keep a log of his daily work which and add very detailed notes. I specify what was taught/learned for each subject area. If we feel he needs more work in an area we spend the first 15 minutes during that subject time revisiting until we feel it’s mastered, if it’s a broad subject or a subject that will take time we note how much time was spent on it for that day and continue on with no “due date”. The great part is that we can move on when we feel it’s mastered, and if we get behind it’s okay because it’s all self-paced.

As mentioned above we are keeping it at 4 days a week, Monday-Thursday, However, because of labor day we concluded our week today, Friday. We rounded the week off with a nature walk field trip on the backside of Runyon. We plan to do 2-3 physical activity/nature walk/field trips more often. Next week, we will start implementing more of the arts into our curriculum and integrate it with social studies and language arts. I won’t be doing weekly updates but perhaps every month or few I’ll update everyone on our experiences thus far.

Catalina Island: The Go To LA Getaway

It seems these days that Angeleno’s escape LA with a quick 2-hour commute to Palm Springs or a 45-minute flight to Vegas. There’s one quick LA Getaway that often goes overlooked until now…

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…okay well not the actual Catalina Wine Mixer, but Catalina Island.

I visited a couple years ago with my husband and our oldest son, Brian. This time I wanted to grab content for my company (Schoolyard Marketing–which we’ll talk more about later) and brought along Actress Camille Hyde, Actor Brandon Larracuente, and Girl Boss Jazmin Garcia. We made a day trip out of it and were lucky enough to experience some awesome moments. I’ll have a vlog up ONCE I figure out why FCPX things are running from my computer hard drive and not the external (this week). But here’s a rundown of the awesome day trip!

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 7.48.01 PMWe were able to commute to and from the island courtesy of IEX Helicopters. The quick 15-minute Helicopter ride offered gorgeous views of the California Coastline as well as the Pacific Ocean. No, we did not see any dolphins (or whales). I swear dolphins don’t love me even though they are my fave. I have yet to ever see them in the wild (don’t judge my ignorant SeaWorld visit at 13—I didn’t know any better then). The pilots were extremely friendly and we also found out that Kobe flies with the company…cause why commute any other way when you’re that ballin? lol. After landing (which you’ll see on MY CHANNEL soon, so subscribe now 😉) We took a taxi/shuttle thing to the “downtown” area. It was a literal 5- minute ride that hugged Avalon’s coastline for the 4 of us, it was $13-14. We had an hour or so of open time and decided to grab drinks. Got to chat, get to know everyone a little better.

 

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From there we took another cab to check in for Parasailing, courtesy of Parasail Catalina. It was actually my first time parasailing. I really wanted to see dolphins…but no. It was such an awesome experience, being up in the sky with one of my best friend’s Camille Hyde made the experience so much sweeter. Nothing like being over the vastness of the ocean while floating up in the sky.  The crew was so friendly and kind.

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We then picked up a golf cart from Catalina Island Golf Cart Rentals and headed over to Descanso beach for a late lunch.  We were able to drive along the coastline among some gorgeous palm trees and of course the crystal blue water. We ate a couple appetizers as pictured to the right, entrees, and of course ordered some drinks! I believe Camille had a Salad, I opted for wings as an entree, Jazmin had a burger, and Brandon had a buffalo chicken sandwich. All were delicious but the dish that stuck out most to me was the pokè bowl that we had as an appetizer. For the drinks we I had a Jalepeño margarita and Jazmin and Brandon had something called “The Destroyer”.

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After getting some content on the beach we ran for our golf cart to make it in time for our flight back to the mainland. [Sidenote: It’s really crazy how Catalina is almost untapped to our generation (millennials) when there’s so much more to do than places like Palm Springs or any other day trips in SoCal] Anyway, in the golf cart we pulled up to a taxi driver and asked him to meet us at the golf cart rental place, and he actually tailed us. haha. We didn’t want to possibly miss our flight so we made sure that we got in and out as quickly as possible. Luckily we got to the heliport with some time to spare. Overall, Catalina is a great place to head out to for a day or weekend trip. If you ever need a break from LA, I think Catalina is LA’s best not-so-secret secret. It has everything us millennials want from beautiful views, instagrammable areas, fun activities, and a beach you can actually drink on! The people living on the island are super kind, as are the business owners that we partnered with. I definitely will be taking more day and weekend trips over and highly recommend it as a must see to my readers/friends/etc.

Stay tuned to my channel for more!