Sep 23, 2008

Trina's Intro

I feel so honored to join you all! I thought I would give you the detailed version of our lives. So many wonderful topics have been discussed already so I thought I would touch on many of those as I share our homeschool story.

We have been homeschooling our children for a total of 7 years. We homeschooled in the beginning and then they attended a great public school for several years. After several years in public school, we felt God calling us to homeschool again. This year, I am homeschooling the older three and our 5 year old is in Kindergarten at the same public school. Alexis is 14 (9th grade and 11th grade Algebra 2)). Zachary is 13 (9th grade and 11th grade Algebra 2). Joel B. is 10 (5th grade and 6th grade math). Alaina is 5 (Kindergarten Public school). Hudson is 2 ½ and Benjamin is 1 ½.
I’m sure you are wondering why Alaina is the only one not homeschooling. I really wanted to teach her this year but Joel, my wise husband thought it would be best that she go especially since we just arrived home with a new baby. Our other children attended the same school and Kindergarten is so fun at this school. She is having a blast with her new friends. She’s such a bright little girl that loves learning. They are using the same curriculum we used with the older ones, Sing, Spell, Read and Write. Alaina knows the songs and will be reading very soon. When she comes home, we talk about what she did that day and thankfully she gives me ALL the details. But next year, I really do want her home with us as we all miss her.

Joel and I have been married 18 years. His full time job is wonderful for our family. He sets his own hours which works nicely in a homeschool family. I could not take on such a task without his help. He is better than I am at grocery shopping. He can do laundry and he makes the best apple pie. Our older kids are of babysitting age and can stay with the little ones while we go out for a quick lunch date….sometimes.

I am a Premier Designs Jeweler of 8 years as a “hobby.” I started Premier as a way to meet friends and I loved wearing the jewelry. After just a few months of the business, we decided to adopt. Premier has been a blessing to our family as it has paid for our first two adoptions. Since our third adoption was so fast, I guess I’m still fundraising. :) Having a home business gives us the flexibility we need to set my own hours and work around the kids’ schedule. Premier also has given our children the benefit of learning how to run a business. Alexis can enter orders and helps me with organizing my jewelry. The boys and Alaina help with folders and putting labels on the back of my catalogs. It has been a great learning experience for them.

Each child has housework. As I mentioned in a previous post, I use a dry erase board and list their names and the chores they are required to do. Believe me, some days they just don’t want to help around the house but most days, almost all their chores are done. I couldn’t homeschool without their help. Zachary does the dishes. Joel B. folds the laundry. Alexis vacuums and sweeps. Alaina is supposed to pick up after herself and hang up her many clothes that she changes each day. Our house is never perfect but they are learning and that is what is important. Each of them happily helps with the little ones which is a wonderful help. We feel it’s important to teach them early on, how to keep a house running. Homeschooling is more than school books. It’s Life Skills. :)

Our evenings are totally full! The boys are on travel soccer teams. Between the two of them, Joel is at the soccer field 6 days a week with the boys. Alexis is on competition dance teams and dances 8 hours a week. Alaina has a one hour dance class and Alexis is the teacher’s assistant in the class. On Wednesdays, I lead a dance worship ministry team with the youth….and Alexis dances on the team. We travel locally sharing the gospel through dance and drama. Most days, Joel drops Alexis off at her dance school and then takes the boys to their practices so I don’t have to leave the house. It works out great. . The baby boys travel along with us and the exposure is great for them. They are happy to spend time with dad at the soccer field or with mom at the dance school.

As you can tell, our evenings are crazy! We couldn’t do all that we do if the kids were in public or private school. The beauty of homeschool is the flexibility. Many days, Joel will come home at lunch time and we have a family meal together. Homeschool has given us more time to be together and take family vacations in the middle of the year.
We have tried several different approaches and curriculum to homeschooling through the years. Finally, we feel we have found something that works for us. We use the Bob Jones Distance Learning program. They offer programs on DVD, satellite or computer soft ware. The DVDs work best for us. The program includes all the DVDs for the year, all the school books for the year, and all the lesson plans for the year. The cost for the program is between $800 to $1000 for everything for the whole year. If you click on the link above, you can see samples of the DVDs of any subject or grade.

What I love the most about this program is the Teacher Tips (for the older grades) and Mom’s Minutes (for the younger grades). At the beginning of each lesson, the Mom’s Minutes on DVDs tells me exactly what I’m supposed to do for the day. It’s also in writing so all I have do is look at the list and/or watch the Mom’s Minutes and help them get their supplies ready. I love watching the DVDs with them as they are so interesting. For example, if they are studying about Volcanoes, they might show a 5 minute “National Geographic type” movie on Volcanoes. In other words, they use different media to make it interesting. I’m nearby after they finish the DVD lesson and help them with their assignments if needed.

Every lesson includes a quick Bible lesson which I love. The program also includes Bible curriculum. Actually, I've been doing the Bible lesson with Joel B as my daily Bible Study. It's been fun looking up scripture and discovering areas on a map together.

The DVDs are designed to be a “help” to the mom and not replace her. I really enjoy using this program as it keeps me accountable to stay on task. We can finish the program or cut back wherever we want. It’s totally flexible.

Zachary skipped a grade and started doing school with Alexis a few years ago. They are now doing Algebra 2 (an 11th grade subject). They enjoy the BJU Distance Learning math especially. This has allowed them to go at their own pace. We have been doing math at our house for 3 straight years…even through the summer so this is how we managed to get to this point. Our plan is to start college math classes locally when they have completed the entire BJU math.

Homeschooling has been a blessing to our family in so many ways. We are not perfect but feel so blessed to be doing what we feel God has called us to do. We have a lot to learn and we pray often for direction in taking care of our children. I’m so excited about this group and the many ideas. Thanks, Rebecca for getting us started and I'm looking forward to learning from all of you!!


Rebecca said...

Wow, what a great intro Trina!! Your family is beautiful... love those kiddos' sweet faces!! You're the first person I've "met" who uses the distance learning dvd's and I am glad to know that you like them. I am considering that as an option for our family at some point.

Amazing how well you are juggling all of your children's many activities, your home business, homeschooling and household responsibilities!! You give me hope, girlfriend!!! :)

So excited to have you as a contributor.

Andrea said...

THRILLED you are here!

Your family is beautiful and your intro was PERFECT.
Feel like I've known ya for years. :)


Tisra said...

Welcome to the group! Wow- I feel like you've got soooo much to say already. Write, write, write! :-)

mom to three, waiting on referral of our 4th

Kelly said...

Hello Trina! Oh my goodness I am tired just reading your intro. Welcome to our group!! Your family is just darling! And I love worship too - I lead sometimes in our church Sunday school too - great way to "workout" ha ha ha. Thanks for the curric. info love to hear more about that! Again welcome we are so glad you joined us!!!