Homeschooling in Florida

My journey


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Homeschool STEM Science Technology Engineering and Math – Stemsims and Pitsco

I went to the FPEA homeschool convention last week and found two booths with the STEM projects/curriculum.

STEMSIMS

The first was Stemsims.com it is an interactive website with simulations. I thought it was really great, so did my husband and kids.  It’s is for grades 4-12, but probably best for middle school. My 3rd grader enjoyed working with it with an adult and my 12th grader absolutely loves it. Check it out, I’ve never seen anything like it before and they have a 7 day free trial. The yearly charge is only $69, which is a great price.

From their website:

    • Over 100 interactive simulations of laboratory experiments and engineering design projects that draw grade 4-12 students into virtual worlds that promote inquiry.
    • STEM Sims place students in scenario-based, contextual learning environments where they use virtual tools to deeply explore STEM topics that matter.
    • It’s not just the simulations. You get lessons, methods, video walkthroughs and more. All designed to support a robust, minds-on STEM curriculum.
    • Research-based and classroom-tested, STEM Sims enable students and teachers to experience leading-edge, next-generation STEM topics in the context of real-world applications.
    • STEM Sims are available on a subscription basis for students at school and at home. Nothing to download or maintain.
    • STEM Sims are aligned with national (NGSS) and state (e.g., Florida) standards. For further information on specific state standards, contact STEMsims@STEMsims.com.

PITSCO

The other booth that I thought was interesting, but didn’t get a lot of time to look was PITSCO.
  This is more of a hands on STEM and Robotics program, rather than an online interactive. When I walked by the booth they handed out sample bags for the kids to create different things with the contents, my elementary daughter really loved it. You should check out the site, there is a lot to see and look at. Products are groups by grade, K-12. They have curriculum and activities for all ages.Check out this site for : Middle school engineering activites
  The web has many more sites for homeschoolers interested in Stem, also check your local library. I know our Nova Library in Davie, Florida has afterschool Stem activities as well.
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Good Study techniques – Study like a genius

The following notes were taken from a lecture “Study like a genius”  by Woody Robertson

 

  •   Studies have shown the best breakfast before learning (or taking a test) is a high protein breakfast – nuts, smoothies, etc
  • NO Caffeine! He said it was a drug ( I wanted to hide under my chair after I heard that)
  • Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep each night.  Some of history’s famous inventors and genius’ would take a short nap in the day and when they woke up (20 min) all their thoughts had sorted out and they could understand what they couldn’t before. So, if you child is drained , take a break.
  • Cardio in the morning gets the oxygen in your brain moving
  • drink water
  • use your hands as your read, you will read faster, you will have more concentration and your eyes won’t roam – which they do when your reading – you just haven’t realized it yet. You hands blocks other words and helps you keep focus
  • Always find a a quiet place – no music
  • consider learning speed reading and memorization skills. I tested myself, I read 310wpm and when I used my hand to follow along, it increased to 410wpm – pretty cool.  Drill: find something you’ve already read, reread it 2x and then another 2x and the 4th time read it normal. Take in as much info as possible. According to the speaker, if you do this drill for 3 weeks, for 16 min, 2x a day -am and pm – you will see an increased change in ability to take in more information.  I’m not convinced, but I’d love to speed read.  Maybe I’ll try it. The fastest reader today can read 50,000wpm- that’s crazy. I want to do that.
  • More tips on speed reading:  1st skim entire book, 1 page per second and run thumb down page to get an idea of what is in book. 2nd scan chapter to read 3rd – read at your pace with your hand. 4th keep your speed, if you don’t understand something, you’ll mark it with a quick pencil mark but keep going. 5th give yourself 20 minute segments of learning, take a 3-5 min change of scenery break and keep on. 6th remember! use your memory skills – what did I just read? have a mental picure -fpg file, picture and glue it in your brain – make a rhyming list to help you memorize or a story plot to help you memorize.

 

Check out the FREE audio downloads from college plus  I thought their resources were great and full of good information. Check it out , I liked the bachelors degree by 18, it gives you a lot to think about.


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Homeschool Freebies: Free Lesson downloads/ ebooks and more -History Homeschool sites and videos

Below are a few free deals I’ve seen this week and good sites to visit for more freebies. 2 expire at the end of this month- June 30, 2014

 

 

Great Deals

***ends 6-30-14  19gifts.com – 19 gifts from homeschool vendors  for $19 plus a 3 month membership to schoolhouseteachers.com***

Home School Classified Ads

Kindle edition 12 books Anne of Green Gables for $ .99

 

check out these sites for more freebies and giveaways: 

 

 

 

 


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Freezer Cooking – Quick Meals for busy Moms: 7- 14 (or more) freezer meals ready

I like to prepare the meats for meals and freeze – not the entire meal.  It’s easy to make the side dishes or noodles, so this makes it easy and stress free. The cook and freeze process usually takes about 3-4 hours of my time – or seems that way….If you decide to start, start small because sometimes preparing too much (with kids running around) can be too much. I’d start with the ground meat recipes first and next time add more – chicken and turkey.

My Cooking Plan

This recipe would prepare you for 5-9 meals (or up to 13 meals if you decide to cook chicken and turkey(or a crockpot meal) also): 2 spaghetti and meatball dinners, 2 ziti meals, taco night, meatloaf, and burgers for a family of 4-5. (If you have extra meat, you can also make meat for shepherds pie, chili and picadillo – see below sauce for picadillo and recipe for chili).  There are more recipes below if you want to try to go big- If you do, get a frozen turkey breast and enough chicken breast for 3 meals.  I  like to freeze  my foods with some kind of sauce or marinade to keep them from drying out.

Ground Meat: 

I buy about $30 worth of ground beef or one large package at Costco for $25.00 ( you will need more if you want to prepare chili, picadillo and meat for shepherds pie)

Ingredients:

Ground beef, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg, seasonings, salt, taco dry flavoring, Pam, 5 cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce (or any other kind you like) and any other ingredients you prefer in you meat. These extras are optional. MIX it up!
You will also need tin foil and freezer bags .

Tools: Pan for meatballs, pan for meatloaf, skillet to brown taco meat, spatula, colander to drain grease off of meat. Sharpie pen to label

Extra ingredients you will need later for meals

spaghetti noodles, ziti noodles, mozzarella cheese to melt on top of ziti, taco shells and all the fixings, rice, peas, mash potatoes, side dishes for meatloaf (baked potato and green beans), green, red, yellow, orange peppers, garlic, onions, sofrito sauce, Fettuccine, alfredo sauce, optional: olives, raisins, bay leaf, cubed potatoes for picadillo meat extras. If you are making chili- fat free wraps and sour cream, 4+cans of diced tomatoes, pinto beans, kidney beans- red, chili seasoning, oregano, garlic, onion (see link to ww recipe below)

 

Directions:

Turn oven on to 350

Meatballs/Ziti :, begin shaping meatballs – I usually make 13 per family night. I suggest making enough for 4 meals- 2 spaghetti nights and the other two sets can be broken up to make a delicious ziti dish. After making 52 meatballs – hopefully on one tray – doesn’t matter if they touch, pour a little tomato sauce over meatballs so they don’t dry out.

Meatloaf: Shape meat for meatloaf in a small bread pan, sometimes I only make half because we don’t eat an entire meatloaf. you can make a full pan and split it in half for two meals – freeze separately. Cook time and temperature is same as meatballs above – cover pan with tin foil.

Burgers: Set aside enough meat for tacos and if any meat is left over, shape into burgers and put into oven with the meats above. I like to put a little tomato sauce on each one, it keeps it from drying out. Always cover with tin foil.

Instructions:  Cover pan with tin foil and cook all for about 45 minutes. Sometimes Ill cook the last 5-10 minutes without the tin foil.  Cut open a meatball to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. Let fully cool and put in a freezer bag – pour sauce over meatballs, seal , date and freeze. You should have 5-6 freezer bags of food.

To cook meal after freezing: for the meatballs, I put them in a pan with sauce and warm up while I cook spaghetti noodles. For Ziti, I warm up as I cook ziti noodles and cut meatballs up into smaller pieces. I mix the meat and ziti, pour tomato sauce over dish, cover with mozarella chese and put in over at 350 until cheese is melted. Serve with garlic bread. For Meatloaf, you can take out day before and that in fridge or take out that night, pour sauce over meatloaf , cover with tin foil and warm in oven.

Tacos : Heat skillet – optional brown onions and peppers before hand for more taste- brown meat for tacos, when cooked, put in taco seasoning with water, let cool . Put in freezer bag and label.

All in all you should end with 5- 7 dinners prepped. I try, for my family of 5, to try to keep each meal under $10.


Shepherds Pie and Picadillo:
  If you have extra meat,  you can make meat with gravy for shepherds pie (brown meat on skillet – mix with gravy and freeze)- serve over mashed potatoes and peas also spanish picadillo – brown meat and put mix ( put in blender – meat sauce, sofrito, peppers, onion, garlic) pour this mix over cooked meat and freeze ( some people like to add cubed cooked potatoes, raisins, olives and bay leaf to picadillo also – serve over rice with a side of black beans.

Chili – I always try to make this if I have enough meat. My kids love it and so does my husband. It’s the Weight Watchers Chili Recipe : meat, diced tomatoes, pinto beans ( we also add red kidney beans), oregano, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic, onion, peppers. I try to make about 4 servings, freeze 3 bags and serve chili the night I cook. We either eat it heated in a bowl or put in a fat free wrap with sour cream. Delish!

Ready to add more ???

Make (Crockpot) Turkey: Get up early and start the crock pot while you prep for your freezer cooking. I like to put in a small turkey breast with stock, gravy, cut potatoes, carrots – check online for recipe you like. The turkey can be cut in two usually for two separate meals.

BBQ chicken, Parmesan chicken, chicken fettuccine : Throw a chicken breast in the oven with the meats as well. Cover 4 with bbq sauce, another with parmesan and spices  and another 4 with peppers and orange juice. You can also cut them before cooking into cubes and use for dishes- salad, fettuccine, sandwiches, chicken salad, etc. You can make chicken Parmesan or chicken fettuccine. Delicious!

Extra Ideas:  I get a large bag of Peppers and another one of Onions. Cut in small pieces – chop or slice and put in freezer bags. They can be quickly added to any meal and it’s a great help. If your children don’t like peppers, onions and garlic, I have found putting them in a blender with meat sauce is delicious. Your children wont notice it at all.

I hope this helps. It makes life and dinner planning easy and stress free.

 

More Ideas for freezing”

  1. shredded carrots
  2. chopped cooked chicken breast – don’t overbake
  3. brown beef with onions
  4. brown beef with tomatoes and seasoning
  5. baking mixes for muffins or breads – dry mix
  6. pancake mix, roll mix
  7. cookie dough – in logs or small rolls
  8. pbj sandwiches
  9. meat and cheese sandwiches but no mayo
  10. apples – peel and put a little lemon on it  and freeze
  11. label everything!
  12. cream cheese and sour cream potatoes
  13. go to pinterest crock pot freezer cooking for ideas
  14. check out allrecipe.com and moneysavingmom.com
  15. use airtight containers or freezer bags from dollar store (use straw to take out air)
  16. plan you week’s menu

 

 

 

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Home school high school: preparing for college (Florida) Clep, Dual Enrollment, scholarships, common app, preparing transcripts

Many of the sites listed below were given at the FPEA conference during lectures ( and additional research) about preparing for college. Topics covered:  Common App, AP, Scholarships, Course Requirements, Testing, 4 year planning, transcripts, etc.

Talent searches mentioned: (start in middle school or younger)

More Info and sites to review:

Florida Graduation Requirements 4 options listed

Bright Futures Scholarship:

  • Bright Futures for Home School Students: is for Florida students entering Florida colleges. There are 3 levels of bright futures; Academic FAS, Medallion FMS and the Gold seal vocational. Required : 4 maths, 4 years of English,3 years of Science with lab- Chemistry, Anatomy, Biology, Marine Biology, Physics. American History, Gov and Eco, Social Studies and 2 credits of a foreign language. 1/2 year of health,1/2 PE aka HOPE.
  • ACT/SAT Scores for bright futures= 1200+/29+ . For FMS it is 11701+/26+ and for homeschool students (?) its 1220+/27+.  Homelife academy.com shared this information. They help homeschoolers prepare for college and offer a service to keep transcripts and offer high school diplomas. Make sure you write course numbers down for the high school courses you take, they said this will be a big help when you begin your transcripts.  Check out their site and recommended courses if you plan on attending a 4 yr university :College bound students chart B. Volunteer hours needed for B.F. – 100 hours for FAS, 75 hours for Medallion and 30 hours for Gold seal.
  • Bright futures scholarship awards FAS- 4 year university -$103 per hour per semester=$1200 (FMS pays $77) 2 year college – $63/ phps (FMS pays $48) Fla. Public College – $71/ sem. hour ($63 to get AA) Tech center – $52 ($38 fms)
  • http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/ssfad/bf/homepac.htm
      • A parent-generated transcript will not be accepted for Bright Futures evaluation.  Bright Futures accepts only sealed, official transcripts from the following sources:
          • Florida public high school,
          • Florida Virtual School,
          • Dual-enrollment coursework from a Florida state (community) college or university, FDOE-registered private high school.
    • In order to submit transcripts, a Florida private school must be registered with the FDOE School Choice Office. Registration confirmation will be required for a minimum of the last academic year indicated on the transcript.  To confirm that a school met the registration requirement, you may contact the School Choice Office by e-mail atSchoolChoice@fldoe.org or call toll-free 1-800-447-1636.

Start preparing now: Make a 4 year plan, visit campuses, write a novel, do something different in your summer time like independent studies – put everything in your portfolio. Consider: how rigorous are your studies? learn to take tests (more test = higher scores), community service, extra curricular activities, part time job, look into congressional award

  1. In 9th grade start your 4 year plan, community service, leadership skills. list of preparations for 9th grade from Westminster Academy
  2. In 10th grade begin taking SAT tests. Lowest scores don’t count and its a good way to prepare for testing.  The ending scores will be the highest score on both parts of test. The best morning breakfast before a test is a high protein breakfast. It’s recommended to take SAT prep courses in summer. list of preparations for 10th grade
  3. In 11th grade, try to get into dual enrollment. Make sure to keep your grades up and start your testing. Start visiting colleges.PSAT : list of preparations for 11th grade from Westminster Academy
  4. In 12th grade fill out your FAFSA form form

 

DUAL ENROLLMENT:

http://www.collegeplus.org/prep/ebook/thankyou

At Broward College

Dual Enrollment classes at Bryan College- about $300 per class

Early College at Chattanoogastate.edu

 

CLEP TESTINGClep advising – from what I heard, a lot of AP high school courses could prepare you to clep out of college classes. For example, the Apologia Biology, an AP biology course, is similar to the college course (Saxon math also). After you finish course you sign up for a clep test on college biology (prepare!) and when passed, you now have a college credit for the course and you don’t need to take it. I heard pros and cons on this.  According to what I heard, If you have too many classes clepped or completed through dual enrollment, it may get in the way with being approved for scholarships. If you have too many credits you won’t be considered a freshman, but will be considered a transfer student. This can nullify scholarships fyi – not all colleges accept clep exams. Clep yahoo group with info. Another site with more information : Getcollegecredit.com  and Clep prep

 

Scholarships:

 

Transcripts

AP courses – 3 ways to take AP courses: online (see APHomeschoolers.com) , with a teacher or high school. $45 AP test  from College board website  to receive college credit with a score of 3+. Register for exams
S
ome schools accept AP courses as credit. 34 ecams are offered, they are 3 hour long, high scores are considered for scholarships, exams offered only once a year in May http://www.APHomeschoolers.com

 

Other Ideas mentioned: some students benefit from taking one subject at a time and finishing course in 3 months.  For instance, math and writing would always be a daily constant but you would do science every day for 3 months (map it out on calendar to finish on time) and then start history when science ends. I heard this worked good for a lot of students – keeping focus on one subject all the time instead of skipping around and trying to remember what you did yesterday.

Degree by 18-  Home school students are receiving a 4 year degree by senior year. It seems it can be done cheaper than regular college.  Thomas Edison State College was the main college discussed. According to what I heard, they take almost every clep test so a student can enter with almost 1-2 years already finished. More information : College Plus. There are pros and cons to this, I wasn’t sold on this for some reason. I  need to look into it further.

Online Florida College Options

Overwhelmed? Get help through (paid) services such as: Homelifeacademy or The Home Scholar
Increase SAT scores with College Prep Genius and Prepping for college

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Elementary Science – US Parks – Yellowstone National 3rd grade home school

The link below from awesome science is a Good Learning resource for kids. The  cost $1.99,  but I saw it  on TV, channel NRB called “The Awesome Science Series”.
http://vimeo.com/ondemand/awesomescience

Extra resources : (ecosystem, animals, geysers, volcanoes and more)

Learn about Geysers:

Volcano under Yellowstone – Supervolcano

 

Yellowstone for kids – check out the match the antler to the animal game

http://www.nps.gov/yell/forkids/index.htm

Become a Ranger: http://www.nps.gov/yell/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

 

 

Printable Map of US – National Yellowstone park is in three state, have student color the 3 states

http://pdf.mrprintables.com/mrprintable-ma02-america-states-grey.pdf
or
http://www.mrprintables.com/printable-map-of-the-united-states.html

 

If you have a brainpop account, they have a short video about energy source and a small part
includes geysers – http://www.brainpopjr.com/science/energy/energysources/

 

More Information:

https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geosc10/l12_p3.html

khanacademy


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Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robertson

 

 

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:13-18

 

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