Friday, March 31, 2006

Sounds like we need a turnkey system...

Home schooling is nothing if not time intensive. Depending on how obsessed you are with recreating "school at home", complete with desks and ringing bells, workbooks and recess, you may discover that you are spending all your time teaching.

This could be because you are including all the extraneous things that public schools are doing other than teaching. Or it could be that you are just crushed under the adminstrative burden of planning your courses, developing lesson plans, grading papers, and monitoring whether the little darlings are actually doing the work you have assigned instead of getting in there with them and enjoying the learning experience.

In the first instance, you could get back to basics. In the second, you probably need to consider one of the computer based solutions to homeschool burnout.

Switched On Schoolhouse is one of the options I have used in the past to alleviate some of the stress associated with home school administration. SOS is published by Alpha Omega Publications, which has been providing award-winning K-12 programs for home education and distance learning for 28 years.

Switched On Schoolhouse is a computer-based program featuring 3-D animation and cutting edge multimedia. It has been significantly improved since I used it with my children from 1999-2001. Students finish lessons by completing various questions, activities, and quizzes, all through a CD-ROM program. Most of the grading is automatic so you only have to grade subjective questions. You can your child can leave messages for one another and you may find your work cut in half with the record keeping and lesson planning features. SOS offers much flexibility so that you can customize learning to fit students’ educational needs. Students are guided through the lessons at their own pace, giving them the chance to master concepts before moving on to more challenging lessons.

There are approximately 130 lessons per subject. Five core subjects — Bible, Language Arts, Math, History & Geography, and Science — are available for grades 3-12. A number of electives are also available such as Health, Spanish, and Consumer Math.

The new versions enable you to customize the program to a much greater extent than before. You have a great deal of flexibility in this program. Do you need due dates, or is a more flexible approach more appropriate? If your child has a hard time with deadlines, you may want to try the more flexible approach. You can assign lessons and projects at a pace that is appropriate for your child, so that he can experience success. Both my children became discouraged by the deadlines under the old system and felt they were unreasonable, so I am glad to see that they are now optional.

Switched On Schoolhouse is still reasonably priced, and the courses are filled with multimedia offerings that will captivate even the most reluctant learner.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What am I doing anyway?

My daughter Christina has been having a crisis of confidence in the last several months, trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

At 20, her options are not cast in stone. What she is doing now is not what she has to do forever. Who she is now is undoubtedly not who she will be later. Her turmoil has been an occasion for much reflection on my part.

You see, I have been pondering lately if I have turned out to be what I wanted to be when I grew up. Are the things I am doing the ones I always wanted to do?

What am I doing, anyway?

Well, since 1984, I have been a Christian. I can't say I always wanted to be one, but I am ever so grateful that God pursued me until I changed my mind. And without Jesus I could never have managed any of the things that came after...

Since 1985, I have been a homemaker. This is actually not one of the things I ever thought I wanted to be. I observed my mother's apparently boring life and wanted no part of it. I still struggle with the housekeeping part. But I now understand that what I saw as boring was actually stability and security. And so, the wife-and-mother part has brought me more fulfillment than any of the other things I have done, or probably ever will do.

Since 1989, I have been a homeschooling mom. I would never have been able to have time to do that had I not had the luxury of being a homemaker. If I didn't feel strongly that I have a mandate from God to keep them home, well...let's just say that homeschooling has to be a conviction- not just one of many acceptable choices - if you expect to be able to go the distance. Gutless wonders need not apply.

My grandmother used to have three things that defined her life. She would say proudly, "I'm an Indian, a Catholic, and a Democrat!" I guess at the end of the day I would have to say, "I'm a Christian, a homeschooling mom, and ..."

An internet marketer.

Say what?

Internet marketing is one of the main things I keep going back to when I think about who I am and what I do. Just ask anyone who knows me. But lately I have been giving a lot of thought to whether these three things are compatible. Can one successfully mix homeschooling and operating an internet home business? Yes, I have been doing it since 1999. But the key word is SUCCESSFULLY. Have I successfully home schooled and maintained my internet business? More importantly, have I honored God in the process?

Is it even possible?

This blog will record my journey toward answering these questions.

Do you have a life?

My daughter is a hard working kid.

Just 20, she is wrapping up a photography degree and has just gotten her own apartment. I am very proud of her!

But to do this, she is working 50-60 hours a week. First she works at Dunkin Donuts from 6-9 AM (yep, AM - better her than me)weekdays, and sometimes Saturday. Then she goes to her REAL job from 9:30 to 5:30. As if that weren't enough, she then treks to night classes several nights a week until 10PM or later. After all that, it's a miracle if she has time to eat, or spend time with friends, do homework, and whatever else young people do these days.

I commend her for her initiative and perseverance. But what kind of life is that?

I make more money than she does sitting at my computer for a few hours a day. While I am answering email, talking with friends around the world on VOIP, playing online games, checking the status of orders, or catching up on the news, I am getting paid for reading advertisements, participating in focus groups, and networking with other internet marketers.

55-60 hours? Been there, done that, outgrew the t-shirt. No, thanks--I'd rather have a life.

If you are reading this, you are on your way to discovering the secret of online success. Visit eProsperity Guide to check out some of the things I am doing. Then you can have a life, too!

Excuse me, my coffee and croissants are ready. See you later - I am going in the pool with a good book.