IT’S 4 A.M. AND I’M AWAKE CUTTING UP FLASHCARDS!

It’s 4 a.m. and I’m awake cutting up flashcards! Preparing for 3rd grade, homeschool is about to take on a whole new form and I am ready for it. This year will be more fun, I’m convincing myself. This year I will be a better teacher, now that I got the hang of it. This year I am going to prepare and get all of the paperwork done earlier. I will lay a foundation that will not be broken because NOW I know exactly what needs to be done. Hahaahahah

Truth is my daughter will come in, take the reins and guide her own education and let me know everything she needs. While prep is good, I have also learned to be flexible. Just because Tuesday went exactly as I planned, Wednesday was totally off course but on that beautiful Wednesday, we had fun and we both learned a lot!

Children are resilient and flourish in their own environment! With their own tribe, on their own time. Life is a lot different for them when they can receive a hug after a ruff assignment. They also can feel when those around them lead with love! So, as you’re planning your homeschool year, remember to schedule in the love!

Good luck, parents. It’s a dirty job but we are the best ones to do it!

ADVICE FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG ATHLETES

UPDATE: 7/29/2019, 11:11 PM EST – To contact B2G Sports, reach out via Instagram: @official_b2gsports

I was sitting down talking to one of my lifelong friends, Ron Allen who trains student athletes and I thought about you, my readers and how a lot of you are raising young athletes yourself. Below are a few tips he shared with me.

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  1. Go to every game if you can, even if their team sucks.
  2. Stay relentlessly positive with your child when it comes to their sport and teach them to do the same.
  3. Let the coach do their job. They have to worry about every player on the team.
  4. Encourage your child to compete with themselves so they can be the best version of who they are.
  5. Allow your child to choose the sport he/she loves but encourage them to try multiple sports.
  6. To be a winner, athletes have to want it more than who’s coaching them and who’s raising them. Keep them in successful environments and surrounded by peers who are driven and pray it rubs off.
  7. Exercise patience and focus on the long game with your child when it comes to their development.
  8. Unless they ask you, wait a day or two before you tell your child what they did wrong after a loss or a bad game. Their emotions are already fragile enough.
  9. Most kids don’t have the drive their parents expect of them. Be ok with that if yours doesn’t. There are so many other areas where we as parents pressure are kids to be better. Let them have sports on their own speed.
  10. As soon as possible, seek out professional trainers or camps to work with your child instead of yourself. This will allow you to maintain a healthy parent / kid relationship.

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HOW TO CO-PARENT

So many emotions are stirred up when someone decides to leave a relationship. The hardest thing for some of us to do is to accept the fact that things will never be what they once were, but while the universe has changed your focus can’t. Once we become parents our life is no longer fully ours. It’s about creating a healthy environment for our children to flourish.

The most important thing you can do is to set a business-like tone. Remove emotions and replace it with what’s rational. Collectively, the first conversation you need to have should be about the intention to have a compassionate and supportive co-parenting relationship. Believe it or not, the person that was once your “everything” does not have to suddenly become the enemy. Remember the big picture and that’s your child’s mental health. If you can’t be great together as a unit, then you’re going to commit to be the best co-parents you can be.

One of the biggest issues is people fail to create an extended family plan. It’s bound to happen that someone will start dating again maybe even marry. Often, it happens too soon for one of the parties involved. Energy transfers… this is where checking emotions is important because children shouldn’t have to carry either parents’ feelings or burden. They have enough going on within themselves when their parents break up. It’s important to agree on the roles extended family members will play and the access they’ll be granted while your child is in each other’s charge.

Keep the lines of communication open. Never use your kid as a messenger. It is not their responsibility to become the go between both parents. This makes a child feel stuck in the middle. I guarantee you not only will they drop the ball at times and completely forget information they were supposed to share but things will get lost in translation.

Communication about co-parenting is extremely vital for your child’s healthy development. You don’t have to remain quiet if something about your ex’s co-parenting is troubling you. Just remember to approach everything with love and respect. Watch your tone and your approach. No finger pointing or “you-keep-doing-this kind” of talk. The best approach when communicating is to make your child the focal point: “I see the kids doing this-and-that after they return home from their visit. Any ideas of what we can do?” Notice there’s not one “you” word in there. No accusatory tone or finger-pointing either.

Don’t hear but listen…listen to understand, not to respond. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for that moment. Leave your own feelings and emotions out of what they are trying to communicate to you. I know it’s hard but it is beneficial to all parties involved.

Showing restraint is vital. Train yourself not to overreact to your ex. This is especially important in front of your children. Realize that communicating with one another is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s entire childhood, if not longer. Teach yourself to be numb to those buttons he or she is trying to push, and over time your ex will be forced to communicate in a more effective manner.

Last but not least, always be considerate. Share those milestones with the other parent, let them know about school events, big projects and accomplishments. It’s not about whether they are there daily or not, it’s about celebrating and encouraging your child.

The picture in an artist mind is not often what’s translated on canvas, but it doesn’t make it less beautiful. Happy co-parenting!

DID YOU KNOW 70% OF ALL CEOs WERE INVOLVED IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AS A YOUTH?

When I was pregnant, I read that children involved in extracurricular activities are more likely to go to college. Right then I knew I would encourage my daughter to find something that held her attention and she loved doing! She takes swimming lessons and Tae Kwon Do. Swimming was not her choice but it’s an essential life skill I feel strongly about her learning. Taw Kwon Do was all her choice. It was important to me that she picked her own path not lived in the shadow of her parents. We are thrilled she has picked Tae Kwon Do!

Benefits of Taekwondo

  • Ability to defend yourself
  • It’s a social activity
  • Goal setting & discipline
  • Increasing your self-esteem
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Bettering your focus
  • Increase your flexibly
  • Making you happier and a better person
  • Strengthening your muscles
  • Relieving stress
  • Learn respect for authority and life
  • It’s good for your brain. New research has found that practicing martial arts is good for your brain. The benefits are not just physical, but mental also.
  • Learning the ability to fail – Part of the instant gratification problem is that it has created a generation that is afraid to fail.  Students in Taekwondo will fail at some time.  They may get kicked in the head gear by a sparring partner, drop a weapon, lose at a tournament, or not pass a belt testing.  Allowing children to fail in a safe environment lets them see that failure is not an end, but the beginning of a great story. My daughter knows that “No” isn’t definite. Often it means not right now!

Martial Arts teach students to set “SMART” goals.

    • Specific – set an exact goal
    • Motivating – set a goal that motivates you
    • Achievable – set a goal that you can accomplish
    • Relative – set a goal that means something to you
    • Trackable – have a timetable and ability to judge success.

I understand extracurricular activities can be expensive and a lot of people live on a budget but if you check places like your local YMCA, they often have programs that will assist with funding.

FOCUS ON THE CHILDREN

June is graduation month and while we should focus our attention on the accomplishments of those that worked hard to achieve their goals, I am sad to hear some of the stories from blended families.

I had conversations with different friends. In one situation, the birth mother was pissed that the stepmother told the parent, “We are here celebrating our son.” (She’s been in the boy’s life for 10 years.) A stepfather was pissed that the absent sperm donor was invited to graduation because he had never been there before.

Note to parents, it’s not your day period. You’re there to celebrate the accomplishments of your child! The mental health and happiness of your child is more important than adult feelings. Celebrate this new chapter for your baby and put those adult feelings aside. You made a choice to join this blended family. The children are stuck in the middle. Raising mentally healthy young people is what it is all about. I wish more parents knew how to at least pretend to be mature for the greater good of their children.

(Some of y’all need family therapy NO SHADE.)

Bravo to the parents who have figured it out! Once you become parents, life is about them.

MY DAUGHTER’S NEW FAVORITE SCHOOL SUBJECT

My daughter’s favorite school subject has become social studies, thanks to the amazing layout of these books. It’s big for my daughter to see her own likeness in books and they have done a great job at representation of all. My Story takes children on an amazing colorful adventure through all the continents and the waters. I tend to teach a more secular curriculum but MASTERBOOKS is bible based. It makes a few references per chapter but not in a way that’s overbearing so I don’t mind it. I want her to be educated on all religions so it’s a nice intro to understanding conversation pieces that will be made through her life by Christians.

My Story and the World Around Me is a lower elementary social studies course that introduces students to history, politics, sociology, economics, and geography, while providing an understanding of God’s world and the cultures of the countries. Level 1 begins with children in their homes, helping them to think about their lives from their immediate families and beyond, as well as learning about local governments. Equivalent to a first-grade level.

Life is an adventure. Why not spend the school year with your children traveling the world?!

My Story 1 & 2.

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My referral code

https://www.masterbooks.com/r/V3bEoJlk/

THINGS WHITE PEOPLE DO THAT WE DON’T THINK ABOUT!

O.k. why is it that when kids graduate from junior high school, we (Black people) reward them with a shiny new stereo instead of something that has to do with what he accomplished? Something that might make their future brighter. I grew up in a place called Westlake Village, the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. I definitely noticed a big difference in the way I was raised, and the way my fellow classmates were raised. See, I was one of the only African American children in my school. At most, there were 5 African Americans at my school at one time, but it only lasted a year. I have always been very observant, so I noticed that my friends were getting bank accounts, stocks in their father’s company, mutual funds and bonds, even inheritance. I also remember saying to myself, “That sucks all they got was a piece of paper.” If my mom had handed me a piece of paper saying when I turned 18, I would have a certain amount of money I would have been pissed. I would not have understood that she was doing me a favor, because that was not the way I was taught. But now I realize what those other people were doing is investing in their children’s future. As an adult I understand, because no one had anything to invest in my future and because my mother did what she was taught. Needless to say, I did not grow up rich. By the way, just for the record I’m still playing that stereo!! So, thanks mom I can’t complain.

It is very important to teach your children healthy money habits. This is a lesson that should start at least by the second half of elementary school. Don’t just hand them money, see, easy come, easy go. If they earn it, and they are taught they have to work for money. Not only are you teaching them an important life lesson of responsibility but you are also teaching them how to appreciate what they get, and the harder they work the bigger the reward. I understand parents want to give their children what they never had, but when you hand them things too easily, they don’t learn the value. Take them to the bank. Teach them how to withdraw money and make deposits. Also, how to put money away in a savings account, and to invest. Help them to put a percentage of their money in a savings every month, then twice a year invest 50 dollars. Teach them to read their bank statements and watch their money grow. Believe it or not, get them interested in their money and they will value what they have more and what you do for them more. It is important to understand the value of money.

SAVING FOR COLLEGE

This day and age, we know it is important for our children to go to college, so why do we wait until their junior year of high school and wonder where we are going to get the money from to send them to school.  From day one you need to start saving, even if you don’t have the money, it’s your duty as a parent. Think of all the change you find in your pockets at the end of the day, or in the bottom of your purse. As soon as your baby is born, start setting aside money. Start a savings account for your child. Open a mutual fund, pick a conservative (maybe a C share) and watch the interest grow. Holidays, birthdays, maybe every payday invest 10 dollars in your child’s future. Even just save the interest from your accounts at the end of the year and invest that into the mutual fund. Or your tax returns, invest them, watch them grow and you will give your child such a head start. Even the cost for community colleges is going up. If you start now, it won’t be such an overwhelming thing when it is time for them to go.

Some financial terms you need to know:

Investment – the total of cash and asset invested in a business enterprise. Investment is the use of saving to produce future income.

Mutual fund – a financial organization that pools the money of its members to invest it in a variety of securities. The fund doesn’t have a fixed amount of capital stock but sells additional shares to investors as they demand.

Life insurance – a system in which a person pays a small sum of money on a regular basis to have a large sum paid to family upon death. You can cash it in after a certain amount of time.  It can just be in place of a savings account, that way you don’t have quick access to the money so you can’t pull it out when you see those shoes you need.

Property – the equity in a home can also be used. Equity is the amount that a property is worth beyond what is owed on it.

 

College is one of the biggest things you will ever have to save for. Here are 3 things you can do before your child’s fifth birthday.

First is to set a goal

Financial planners are always preaching the importance of setting a goal first. There are benefits to doing this: it will be easier to maintain the savings discipline if you know what you’re shooting for, and you’ll know early on if you and your partner have different ideas about paying for college. Here are some issues you should sort out:

-How much of the bill are we willing to pay? Should parent pay the entire college education or perhaps you feel your child will only truly value an education if they have to pay a chunk of it themselves.

-Will you pay for private school? Some parents pay college cost up to the level of tuition and room and board at the local State U. If your child has his heart set on a pricey private school, you might have him to make up the difference.

– Will you pay for graduate school? Medical or law school can double or triple college expenses.

Crunch The Numbers

Now that you agree on what you’re willing to pay for, you’ll need to figure out how much it will cost. Some evening fire up the computer and run the numbers. There are several college calculators that will guide you through the process. Try a few different scenarios: public school vs. private school, having more children (if it’s part of your plan) If you plan to fund four years at a public university, you’ll need to save about $200 a month– equivalent to a $2,000 IRA each year plus an extra $50 a month. If you plan to foot the whole bill at a private college (on average $21,000 a year today) you’ll need to put aside about $500 a month.

If those numbers seem out of reach, don’t give up. Delaying will only make it worse. Waiting just four years will increase your monthly savings amount by 50 percent, and if you don’t start until your child is in eighth grade, you’ll have to save three times as much.

On the other hand, there’s no rule that you have to save the entire amount before your child can set foot in a university. Most parents pay for college through a patchwork-quilt approach: some savings, some current income, student loans, a home equity line of credit and summer saving. Figure out a monthly amount you can work into your budget and move on to the next step.

Start Saving

The smart saver ruler is to accumulate money in the most efficient place and then pull it out in the most efficient way. Usually this means taking advantage of tax breaks that will help your money grow more quickly. Your 401(k) plan at work is a great place to save, but chances are you’ll need every penny of that for your own retirement. A terrific runner-up is the Roth IRA.

If you and your spouse make less than $150,000 and you file joint tax returns you can each fund a $2,000 Roth IRA each year. You don’t get a tax break when you invest, but you can pull out your $2,000 contribution whenever you wish, tax-free. If you use the earnings for college costs, you pay regular taxes with no penalty. If you are older than 59 ½ when your child is in college, you can pull out the earnings tax-free as well. Plus, Roth IRAs are not currently counted for figuring financial aid under the federal rules. If you save $4,000 a year and earn 9% per year, you’ll have $56,000 tax free in 14 years plus $48,000 in earnings (about $32,000 after taxes).

When you invest in a Roth IRA, you choose where your money goes. Shop for a growth oriented no-load stock mutual fund. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index will spread your investment over the whole U.S. stock market. The minimum investment is $1,000 for an IRA. The T. Rowe Price family of mutual funds will let you get started in a Roth IRA for as little as $50 a month if you have the money taken out of your bank account. The Equity Index fund is a great choice.

 

There are also a few other alternatives:

State-Sponsored College Savings (529) Plans

-Advantages: Tax-deferred asset growth. Contributions allowed up to about $100,000 a year. Some states allow residents to deduct contributions from state taxes. When withdrawn to pay for higher education, gains are taxed at the lower child’s rate (some state levy no state taxes on gains).

-Disadvantage: plan administrators, not you, decide investment strategy. Investments may not be aggressive enough for risk-tolerant investors who think they can earn more than enough to balance the tax advantage.

Prepaid Tuition Plans

-Advantage: Pay current tuition rates for an education far in the future. No worry about investment returns.

-Disadvantages: Full tuition is only covered if your child decides to go to an in-state college. Prepaid plans replace financial aid, so they may not be a good deal for a child who will qualify for substantial aid. If your child decides on a private college– or none at all– the plan will pay according to how much your investment have earned

Grandparent “Plan”

This is not a tax-advantage college saving plan in the strict sense, but it can be a neat trick. Grandparents with money to spare can pay tuition bills directly to a college without incurring a gift tax. Funds owned by grandparents do not show up on the family financial aid application, so this is one legitimate way to “hide” assets.

SHE GOT HER 1ST TROPHY AND IT’S 1ST PLACE

2 months ago, my daughter went to her instructor and asked could she be in the tournament. She overheard the older kids talking about it. He looked up at me not knowing how to respond. I smiled at him. He had a long talk with her about how she would have to learn a form and perform it in front of judges. He asked her if she was committed to doing it. That day I signed her up by her request and she was then taught a form. She practiced every day for 2 months. Her Master, the other instructors and her two favorite junior teachers also were big helps to her these 2 months prior to the tournament making sure she knew exactly what she needed to do and prepare.

The day came and we woke up early in the morning to head to some rec center downtown. When we arrived 2 of her instructors were outside greeting people and giving them directions to the registration desk. She walked up like a big girl and handed them her slip. After being signed in, we walked inside and got a front row seat on the bleachers right behind the ring she was going to be in. This was my first tournament I had ever been to, but it reminded me very much of the original Karate Kid. (I haven’t seen the remake but it’s on my to do list with my children).

We put on her uniform and she began to rehearse her form in the ring she would be preforming in, with her Jr. Instructors right there assisting her. Her whole school was there, and she was the baby. I didn’t realize so many adults took class and would be competing. Not in her division but still…I was overwhelmed. She was the most focused I had ever seen her and in her zone. She was comfortable and in her element. She wasn’t looking back at the bleachers looking for me, she was concentrating on her goal.

Tae Kwon Do is an individual sport but her whole school was there to support and encourage her and they really made sure she was ready. When they called all competitors to the floor to go over the rules she was right there listening. I was majorly impressed and thankful how her fellow schoolmates all kept an eye on her and with the group, so she didn’t get lost in between all the people there. I was proud, I knew she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

When it was time for the competition to start, 15 kids lined up in her ring. I started to feel panicked because they were all bigger than her and only one other boy was her size. It was supposed to be 5 years old and younger but NO WAY IN HELL WERE THESE KIDS 5. One boy was damn near 5 feet tall.  No, she wasn’t sparring but I was still nervous as can be. I was thankful they were white belts. I was trying my best to be calm. There was a whole conversation going on between the judges and some coaches. It took them 15 minutes to start. It felt like an hour and a half for me. My mom leaned over and said, “They are taking too long, she’s not going to be focused anymore.”  I looked at her sitting in first position perfectly posed and smiled. She was meditating. Her father and I had a conversation with her about envisioning her performance of her form in her head. We both told her if she could picture herself doing it perfectly, she would. I knew that’s what she was doing.

Finally, they started. One after one, I was starting to relax. These children were going up 2 at a time so they could copy each other. They may have been 9 years old, but they had no idea what they were doing. She was called up second to last. She marched front and center introduced herself, her style, her school name and then asked for permission to start. The judge smiled at her because none of the other competitors had done this. I was so thankful to her coaches. I knew right then she had it in the bag. She got in her zone and did her thang. The 3 judges all gave her a 9.9. score. Her Master was beaming and her whole school and parents erupted with cheers. I was so thankful and proud I couldn’t even feel myself breathing. I looked over and saw tears flowing down my mother’s face. She sat back down with such grace. She did not gloat as the other child went. I don’t even know if she understood what happened. When they called her back up with 2 other children, she stood there at attention. I couldn’t see her face just the back of her, but she was holding so still. The other children were handed their trophy’s and she was given hers last. That’s when we saw excitement as she jumped up and down. Her coach picked her up and gave her a big hug and brought her over to us so we could all take pictures. 1st PLACE! MY LITTLE BABY TOOK 1st PLACE! She held onto her trophy all the way home. I am shocked she didn’t sleep with it! I love the fact she knows her family is proud of her, but I am elated she is proud of herself.

I don’t know if I have ever been so excited in my life. April 20, 2019 will always be special day in my house. It’s the day my little ninja won her first trophy!

EVERYONE DOESN’T AGREE WITH MY CHOICE TO HOMESCHOOL & I’M OKAY WITH THAT!

Everyone doesn’t agree with my choice to homeschool and I am okay with that. I am not in a place in my life where I have to please anyone except my child.  As long as I do right by her, that’s all that matters. She is 4 years old and extremely above average. She always has been according to her pediatrician. (It’s not just a mother’s love.) She is reading at a 2nd – 3rd grade level, doing fractions, bar graphs and 3 digit adding and subtracting. The kid can tell time, count money and speak Spanish. So, I don’t feel right putting her in preschool so she can “socialize” is the right choice for her. In fact, I feel it is an injustice. Her learning will not grow in a school environment. She will be stuck in a class with a group of children saying their ABC’s. FOR WHAT TO SOCIALIZE?  Socialize is the most common thing people love to bring up, as if she is a hermit with no friends, who I don’t allow out of the house. The kid has a slew of cousins, she takes Tae Kwon Do 4 days a week and has a much better social calendar than I ever have with weekends full of play dates and birthday parties.

I understand some adults live for the weekend and their time to socialize with friends. I hate to break it to you but that’s only the working class. The employees who spend their lives making other people’s dreams come true. No offense, but I am tryna raise a C.E.O, a boss, doctor, entrepreneur or an astronaut. I want my little person to live a life that is all her design, full of possibilities and opportunity. I want her to know you can live every day of the week, not just on the weekend.

Let’s face it… it doesn’t take 8 hours in school to complete the work they assign. Most of it is fluff. I cannot send her to school where she will read the words, SLAVE AND WETBACK in her school books but NOWHERE will she read the KLAN or KKK or the fact that white people were her oppressors! I am just not comfortable with the idea of her never understanding the true history of this country until she goes off to college and takes an awakening African American Studies class that turns her head around like it did for so many of us. I will teach her who she is before the world tries to tell her who they want her to be. 

I cannot leave her education in the hands of people who look at her as a number or a check instead of a person!

If your child is average and you are okay with sending them to school to learn the same bullshit you were fed, that’s okay with me. I am not going to try to talk you out of it. If school was great for you, I pray it’s great for them. Me…myself I wasn’t challenged! School didn’t teach me shit but to read a chapter and answer the 6 questions at the end of the chapter. It taught me that even my own teachers were racist, and I was just someone they had to put up with. My saving grace was my tutor Mrs. Ruthann-Crudup Brown. That 5’2” beautiful chocolate tyrant stayed on my ass and went above and beyond what the California school system had set out for me. I’m going to let you go now because I am starting to ramble. I BASICALLY WROTE ALL THIS TO SAY EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DIFFERENT AND THAT’S OKAY.  STOP TRYNA PUT PEOPLE IN A BOX BECAUSE YOU WANT TO LIVE THE COOKIE CUTTER LIFE. It simply doesn’t work for everyone.