Tuesday, January 29, 2013

virtual school

Ive had a bunch of friends curious as to how virtual school is going, and curious as to how it works and what not. So, I thought I'd do my best to give you some insight.
Seriously, This isn't even all of it.
First and foremost, I love it. I love the program that we use. The curriculum we are using is through k-12. You can find their site here.  He is still in the public school system, But everything is done at home. {Unless we choose to participate in group get togethers and field trips.}
They sent us a HUGE curriculum package. Seriously there has got to be $500-$1000 worth of stuff. All the student workbooks, And all the teachers books, math cubes, science supplies, 3d shapes, TONS of books, dvds, cds, You name it. And yep, The county pays for all of it! Cost to us... Free!
He has to be logged on for a total of I think 20 hours per week, But between me and you, it only takes maybe an hour to get through the material per day, and then they have pre-set time amounts you can just log in. {Does that make sense? Like a math lesson should have taken 30 minutes, but blake got through it in 10, But you can still log the 30?} any how, So that isn't an issue as far as it being time consuming. I fought with him longer than that to get his homework done after he was at school for 7 hours.

I love that he can work at his pace and it is catered to his strengths and weaknesses. For example, The kid can do third and fourth grade math, No seriously, the kid is off the charts smart in math, bar graphs, division, multiplication, But he struggles with fine motor skills. {He's also dyslexic.} So we can tailor the curriculum to harder math curriculum, that is better suited for his needs than that of a class of 28 kids, and focus more on how to correctly form his letters, also taking more time for that than most children would need. Something that in an average classroom setting we wouldn't be able to do. As much as the teachers love these kids, There is just no way that with the number of students that they are being given is it possible to individually tailor lessons to one kid.

I love having him home still. I know that the time will come and that he will eventually go to regular school. I love that we have individual time together and that I am the one teaching him and enjoying his successes.

I love that there are so many more learning options for him. For example, He has music theory incorporated into his lesson plans, {His teacher writes up lesson plans for the week and tells me what pages to do with him, and if we don't like it, we can skip it! How awesome is that?} And also Spanish. Most schools have done away with the music programs and it crushes me inside to know that something that I learned a love and passion for as a 2nd grader in Mrs. Vonderheids music class, That most children won't have the opportunity to be introduced to that.
There are also tons of other "Electives" that you can choose from.
This is what a typical weeks lesson plan looks like.

So yes, He still has a teacher that writes our lesson plans, But we are on a conference call at least once a week, And she has learning check up sessions with him {Its like a test over all the subject matter that we have covered that week, that is all done online, at least for us}And we are constantly discussing his learning needs. These virtual school teachers are seriously incredible. 
I could not even begin to describe all of the different programs and opportunities that this supplies him with. And I love that it leaves me time {Instead of him being gone for 7 hours a day} To teach him the other important things. Chores, cooking, baking, music, scriptures, manners, Etc. Things that I think are important for him to know.
So, If you are on the fence, Or wondering if you have time, The answer is yes. It's not hard. I think you should absolutely give it an in depth look and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks that their child could benefit from tailored individual lesson plans, or who thinks that the schools are not meeting their child's individual needs, Or hey, If gas is too expensive and you don't want to drive your kid to China, Like me. That was the original reason we started, That and I was nervous about the environment that public school is, Even kindergarteners have potty mouths. But now, after starting it, Just now am I realizing and learning all of the numerous benefits that virtual school offers. It's not nearly as scary as jumping straight into home school, and he is still in the public school system, So if we do send him back, I know he wont be behind. I'm actually scared that with this, If he does go back he will be so far ahead in certain areas that he'd be bored. But that's a bridge we will cross when we get there... He's only in kindergarten.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


So here goes.
I haven't written in a while for several reason.

~ The move has been hard on me emotionally. {I'm finally getting over that} And I really do love it.

~I'm busy. Blake is doing virtual school, And I am keeping LaLa home for VPK as well.

~This is a big house and it takes a lot of time to clean. By myself. I don't have help anymore. Seriously, that is the first thing on the list...hire a new cleaning lady. But it has to wait a little while. Until I can get the budget situated. {More on that later}
Although, I did have the kids start putting their own laundry away, and it was life changing... seriously. Made my life much easier. And I felt like I was doing them good making them work.
{Holy Handouts}

~I am overwhelmed. Well, No, Not anymore I'm not. I'm actually in a good place... Today. That may change next week. Or heck, even tomorrow. But I have been. For example.... It all came crashing down Wednesday. Wednesday was a horrible day. And I sat and cried {literally} to my Heavenly Father begging him to help me understand how one person was supposed to do everything that is expected of me. And you want to know the answer I got... Well, Kyrsten, sitting here isn't accomplishing any of it. So put your big girl panties on and deal with it. So I did. {I'll admit, I was wallowing in self pity}  {No, It was really a bad day. And it was my fault. I overdrew our checking account by $800 that day, because I was just careless and irresponsible and wasn't paying close enough attention to a single transaction, you'd think with one that big I would have. But no. And then literally hours later, I got a Voicemail from JEA saying our power was being shut off at 6pm if I didn't pay it by 5 pm. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I paid that bill. But long long long story short I didn't pay $40 of it {Because I didn't know the amount because JEA isn't mailing my bills to the right address} So anyways, long story longer, we transferred some money from savings to checking {Thank heavens we have savings}  I wasted $70 in over draft fee, so that was awesome. The whole point of that story is that I am totally off my groove. I am so crazy about budget and finances normally but since we moved, I haven't even attempted to stick to a real "budget." Ive just been buying what we have needed. Big mistake. I am just overwhelmed and running behind and budgeting takes time and that's something I haven't had a lot of lately. 

~Instead of blogging, I have been reading. I was having a really hard time being released from teaching Sunday school. I missed it. So I started reading more diligently. It was about 6 weeks before I got a calling in this new ward. That was hard on me too. Now I am in Young Womens. I'll be honest. Brutally honest. It wasn't where I wanted to be. I wanted to teach the scriptures. More. The new curriculum is fantastic. And I do get to teach the scriptures, but not as often as I'd like. I'll only teach once or twice a month. Which is good, But Its been hard. I know how Alma felt. {Alma 29:1-10} The Gospel of Jesus Christ burns in my soul. And I want to teach it. I want others to love it like I do and to know the happiness and peace that comes from it. I want others to know of the plan of salvation and our Savior. I want them to know. I don't want them to think they know... I want them to KNOW. And I want to teach them how to know, how to learn. I want to be an instrument in the Lords hands to help others feel the spirit. I want to teach these kids that the people in the Bible and Book of Mormon are real people. I want them to know the promises that the Lord has so mercifully given to us if we will consecrate our lives to Him.
I know that I can do that in Young Womens too, And I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be with them. It just means that instead of giving lessons, I have to focus more on being an example. Living the Gospel and showing them that I love it, Without saying that in a lesson.
So, I have dedicated myself to learning and loving the scriptures and first obtaining His word {D&C 11:21}, So that when the opportunities do come to teach and testify I will be ready. So, Right now I am studying the new testament again, And have made my goal for this year to read the Book of Mormon once a month. So that's another reason that I haven't had time to write. In order to get through it at that pace, I am going to have to read whenever I get the chance. And to be honest, I need it. I need to feast upon the Word. Not just have an appetizer.
 Captain Moroni wrote "by the maintenance of the sacred word of God to which we owe ALL our happiness." {Alma 44:5} How cool is that? ALL their happiness. So I can gather from that that if I want to be happy, I can find it in the scriptures.
 I can't do anything without Christ. But I also know that I can do ALL things through Christ. {Philippians 4:13} Even if all those things are laundry, dishes, cleaning bathrooms, and taking care of kiddos.
~I have projects. There is a lot of painting and reupholstering and hanging and all that kind of stuff that goes along with a new house. As long as I can remember, my grandma always had a cedar chest at the end of her bed. I asked her if I could have it. So she brought it down this last time she was here. And I have had the privilege of giving it a little facelift. It's a beaut. My niece is getting baptized in February and so I am putting sleeves on her dress, and making her a scripture case too. Not to mention a few skirts and dresses for my girls and myself.

Okay, So now you're kind of caught up. Long story short, I've been in a funk, and I'm busy. But I'm back in the blogging saddle. {As soon as I go get a new computer chair, We don't have one right now so it kills my back to sit at the computer, But I'm on it...it's on the list...the very long list of things to do and buy.}

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Today was a wonderful day. My beautiful little Lala turned 5, Blake learned to ride his bike without training wheels, Lala is not far behind him, {maybe tomorrow she'll have it down} and my rug came. I'm living the dream my friends. As my best friend would say, these are the good ol' days. Yes, yes they are. These are the days I'm going to cherish. Simple, ordinary, happy joyful days with this sweet family of ours. This house is slowly becoming our home, but today it especially seemed "homey." I saw our families gathered around laughing and playing and as I looked around and it finally felt like it was not just our house, but it was our home. I don't do well with change, even when it's change that I want and plan.... So this has been a bit rough for me emotionally, but I have slowly started to wrap my head around it and get to a new normal. I know this is the best place for our family to be, and I absolutely love it, there's just some little pieces and conveniences of our old life that I miss. But this move has fulfilled so many of my dreams, and has allowed me so much more time with my sweet family and the simpler, more family and Gospel centered life I have always wanted. Today was one of the good old days that Michael and I will look back on and cherish and hold tight in our hearts.