Category Archives: Homeschooling

Teacher Appreciation

I FEEL appreciated!!

I FEEL appreciated!!

Today was the last day of our co-op classes. The highly anticipated student government elections went fantastic!! I’ll post pictures tomorrow. David’s campaign was successful and he won the position of Treasurer for next year.

Congratulations, David!!!!

It was an emotional day at co-op as one of my closest friends is facing the transition of her youngest to private high school next year. SOB! We have homeschooled together for many years and I have LOVED sharing this journey with her. This was her last day at co-op. I’m pretty much in denial over what it will be like next year without her there at co-op.

In the meantime some of the students from my class spoiled me with little Teacher Appreciation Gifts! Tim was wiped out from a long day and bad allergies, so I offered to post a picture of my special treats for the Project 365 Blog.

Does that mean he writes tomorrow or I write again? Hmmmm. We’ll see.

Project 365 – Day 107

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Student Government Campaigns

If you managed to brave the mess in my garage – climbing over empty boxes and stacks of curriculum, dodging toys and Christmas decorations – you might stumble (literally, sorry) on my high school yearbook. To say that I was an extra-curricular activity junkie is painfully accurate – president of the French Club, secretary of National Honor Society, involved in Students Against Drunk Driving and the anti-smoking drama club, editor on the literary magazine, student government rep, blah, blah, blah. Looking back, it’s a wonder I did any actual school work.

High School Prom - quick picture with Dad

High School Prom – quick picture with Dad

So, I guess it’s not totally surprising that life would circle back to throw me into a Student Government class. This time it’s with our homeschool co-op, and I get to teach, guide and encourage the next generation of leaders. It is an honor and a privilege. We study, brainstorm, learn, and do a LOT of laughing. I should pretty much pay them for letting me teach.

The culmination of our government class is rapidly approaching. Very exciting! The elections are next week. We’ve got 8 students running for the different positions. The campaign process has been so interesting to watch. Oftentimes I feel we have a very precise, orderly, well laid out plan we’re following, and at other times I feel like we are just making it up as we go. Which might just be the story of my life!

I thought it would be helpful (ie, this blog serves as my memory and journal) to highlight the steps we’ve followed thus far (feel free to steal or share any of our ideas):

1) Nomination Forms – the first step was completing the necessary paperwork
Instructions, Student Support & Teacher Recommendation

2) Posters – each candidate was required to do 1 poster the first week and up to 2 additional posters as the campaign progressed.

David used Publisher, changed the custom paper size to fit a poster, and printed the pages in a tiled manner. So this poster printed on eight pages, which we trimmed and taped together.

Shhhh- don't tell.  I'm definitely voting for David!

Shhhh- don’t tell. I’m definitely voting for David!

Other students hand painted/drew their posters. Some printed out their slogans and glued them onto poster board in block form. The creativity, design, and format of the posters was left up to the candidates. And I can’t lie, they turned out great!

3) Campaign Videos – each nominee had to make a 30 to 45 second long video.

I was most concerned about this aspect of our campaign, but today’s teens are tech-savvy and the kids were undaunted by the assignment. In class we watched a sample I found online, discussed what they needed to include in their video, and set the rest of the parameters.

Here’s a look at David’s video on YouTube

We showed the 8 campaign videos at the beginning of lunch today at co-op. Creative, unique, some funny, others serious, all of them utilized music in their production. Basically the videos were fantastic! The other students cheered, laughed and applauded for the candidates. It was a great display of student spirit!

4) Meet the Candidates – a lunch time Meet & Greet time with all the nominees.

We hung all of the campaign posters on the wall directly behind some tables, swathed in patriotic bunting. Most of the kids had a giveaway, treat or sticker of some kind. There were individually wrapped Smarties, golden chocolate coins, and even homemade baklava. Several of the candidates used printable labels to make campaign sticker “buttons.” And one girl designed a small “dollar bill” with her face and name on it. Love the creativity!! “Just mint to be the Treasurer!” it said, and she stapled on a green candy mint to give away.

The students were required to meet at least 5 people they didn’t know (shaking hands and introducing themselves). All of the candidates took it seriously and spent most of the lunch period talking to people.

5) Speeches – next week we will do short, live speeches during the opening of co-op.

The candidates are required to share three things:
a. Why they want to run
b. Why we should vote for them
c. What they are going to do for the co-op

6) Election – we will run our elections next week over the lunch period (more on that to follow)

Can you "earn" a vote with some Jelly Beans or Skittles?

Can you “earn” a vote with some Jelly Beans or Skittles?

It’s been a growing experience for the class, the candidates, and the rest of co-op. I can’t wait to see how the elections turn out. Stay tuned!

Project 365 – Day 100 (Wow – the 100th Blog Post of 2015!!!!)

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Give that Boy a Job

Tim and Daniel have been working on an employment letter for a possible job. We got word that the new Chick-Fil-A coming to our town was getting ready to hire employees. Not only that, but the hiring manager contacted homeschool groups in the community specifically looking to find interested homeschoolers. Interesting. Of course, I’m biased and think homeschoolers are certainly hard workers, creative, and trust-worthy. Not only that, but they also often have flexible schedules.

This is one of my very favorite homeschooling girls in the whole wide world!

This is one of my very favorite homeschooling girls in the whole wide world!

After a few rewrites, Daniel sent an email to the hiring manager. He heard back from him immediately and set up an appointment for today, Monday morning. How exciting! We helped Daniel pick out a snazzy tie, gathered around him to pray for a favorable impression and good interview, and sent him off (breakfast in hand).

Mom, a picture now?  I'm trying to take my oatmeal and go.  :)

Mom, a picture now? I’m trying to take my oatmeal and go. :)

After a little while Daniel came back home. Before he came inside David said, “He got the job!” Tim quickly told him, “No, he won’t hear back for several days. Don’t pressure him.”

Meanwhile Daniel came through the door with a goofy grin on his face. “I got the job!” he said.

We looked at each other. “Haha, funny Dan. So when will they get back to you?”

“Um no,” he laughed, “really, I got the job already.”

“What??!!” Cheers erupted from the family.

Sarah said, “I thought that was your I’m Just Joking face.” Ha.

The interview went well. They hired Daniel. The store opens the day after his 18th birthday next month, and he starts training in a week. Such excitement!!

The official employee folder!

The official employee folder!

Thank you to all of those who heard my Facebook request to pray for Daniel this morning. Thank you to cousin Samuel for sharing your experience and impression of working at Chick-Fil-A in Virginia. Thank you to Tim for helping Daniel draft an interview letter and go through interview questions.

Bring on the chicken sandwiches!!

Project 365 – Day 89

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Student Campaign

Things are progressing in my Leadership Class at our homeschool co-op. We’ve been studying Proverbs, styles of governance and the power of influence. The students each selected a leader and wrote essays profiling their chosen subject. Today I returned the edited papers for final revisions. We even had a little lesson on using and formatting with Word. They did a great job on their work – some of the kids had never completed this type of assignment before.

The next thing we are working on is our campaigns for Student Government. The kids who were interested in running filled out a four step nomination process including:

1) Teacher Recommendation
2) Student Body Support Signatures
3) Nomination Form
4) Paragraph declaring intent & qualifications

This guy looks trustworthy - vote for him!

This guy looks trustworthy – vote for him!

We’ll develop election platforms, film mini commercials, give speeches, mingle with the co-op kids and culminate in elections in April. Exciting to watch the students grow as leaders and compete for positions.

Stay tuned!

Project 365 – Day 79

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Solving for X

A math problem from IXL today:

-2x =6
x = -3

We are constantly working on math in this household. Determined to learn from our challenges (and victories) in homeschooling over the years, Tim and I have made several changes in our approach to math. No longer content to let the kids direct the pace where they could be easily distracted by other subjects, or fall behind as Mom/teacher gets busy with life, we added two distinct things.

Loading the bow takes precision.

Loading the bow takes precision.

First of all, we (okay mainly Tim) require the kids to complete an IXL math skills daily. We’ve had a family membership to IXL since Feb 2012. Tim bribes rewards the kids for finishing an entire grade level of IXL (to 100% completion) with a hundred bucks. Admittedly that doesn’t work out to be very much per hour when you think that Sarah alone has done 40,000 math problems and spent 618 hours (not including the time when the computer “timed out” and stopped recording) working on math since we started.

Sometimes you gotta put your feet up.

Sometimes you gotta put your feet up.

In addition to daily IXL work, we also decided to have the kids do math with The Potter’s School, an online academy. Normally the classes are offered only one day a week, but understanding that math needs additional practice and teaching, TPS offers a two-day a week option. David and Sarah are both taking their math courses with TPS twice a week. I still work with them on homework, additional teaching (as needed), and study/prep/review for exams, but the primary teaching and the maintained deadlines/assignments/schedule are put in place by the TPS teachers.

Hit the mark!

Hit the mark!

I strongly believe that homeschooling with grace and confidence is an ongoing challenge. It requires constant work and a humble heart that is willing to ask for help, try new things, admit when a curriculum or course of study isn’t working and to rejoice when new discoveries are made.

Project 365 – Day 26

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