Welcome to LJSkool! I’m Jackie. Pleased to meet you.
LJSkool was created to document all the places and things my boys and I have done and seen in the world around us. It isn’t just about learning at home, our way, but about living life with ADHD.
My mission is to help moms who bring their kids home from public school know that your child can learn and you can be their best teacher. I want to encourage you as so many encouraged me in my walk.
The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more. — Charlie Munger
What I Write About
- My goal is to have checklists for every subject and topic your child should learn by high school. It does not have to learned in any order. I want to share all the websites, videos, and books that I used to teach my boys. Granted, there are a lot of great things out there but not everything interested my boys. Why wade through Google if you can ask a trusted friend? I’m here for you.
- I write about ADHD, being the mother of boys with it as well as having it myself. There are treatments that have worked for us, some not so much, organization tips, and uplifting humor that has gotten us through it all.
- I love to cook and will share the recipes that work for us and our diet. When you work from home, and you educate your kids, you’re going to need recipes that aren’t time consuming or eat your food budget.
My name is Jacqueline but I’ve gone by Jacquie. After starting work at JPMorgan Chase I just wanted to fit and changed it to plain old Jackie.
Unless it’s a check! In which case, it is Jacqueline M. Masek. Oh, you pronounce that MAY-sick. It’s Czech. My writing name is Jackie Ryan Masek because I’m not the only one, so I use my maiden name, too. Yes, Ryan is Irish. But I’m also Hungarian, Polish, English, German, and Italian. Actually I’m more Hungarian as I have that on both sides.
That’s another thing my husband and I have in common, we both had Hungarian grandmothers who meant the world to us.
I’m a recovering Irish Roman Catholic who took a walk through a huge baptismal pool in Southern California church in front of thousands of people two years ago. I’ve always loved the Lord but somehow really needed that bath at that point in my life. It felt like the icing on the cake of a life trying to grab a hold of Jesus’ hand.
Secondly, I am Mrs. Masek. I met my husband, aka “RestaurantMan“, Scott, at Denny’s. I was the restaurant manager and he was the unruly guest. A mutual friend introduced us. As soon as we shook hands every cell in my body stood up and said, “Hello, Sailor!” Lightening flashed, the lights flickered, and I’m pretty sure even angels sang. We’ve been inseparable since.
Our first child
Logan was born two years later. I knew the instant his soul entered my body. Logan hasn’t stopped pinging and ponging since.
Logan means “quiet meadow” in Gaelic. I tell him he is more like the Boston airport and that Wolverine character put together.
I took all the right vitamins before conceiving, ate all the right foods during pregnancy. I even gave up caffeine for two years. My hope was to grow the best baby possible. He is a pretty awesome kid but we sensed from the beginning he was not your typical child.
- He was very colicky.
- He wouldn’t latch on. When he did, he suck me dry in less than 5 minutes. Then want more.
- He wouldn’t lay still. Once he learned how to roll he went everywhere faster than the Road Runner.
- He wouldn’t sleep through the night.
- He was kicked out of 3 pre-schools. Four if you count the time one of them closed a location to move to a larger location, and didn’t invite us.
- We tried an at-home babysitter. That lasted for one week. Well, three days. Actually, two full days and one morning.
- He has always drawn on every single surface and with every imaginable tool, and still does.
- He now does most of the graphics on the site.
- God willing, he will graduate in 2015. Pray for me.
Our second child
Jordan was a complete surprise. We had tried for three years but nothing ever took. Then one Thanksgiving night God decided to hear our prayers and grant our wish. From the beginning he was the happiest little guy.
- He took to nursing like a duck takes to water.
- Everyone at the daycare loved him.
- Except when he gets sick, which is rare. When he does it goes from 0-100 mph in under 20.
- The mother of the founder of Panera Bread Company named him.
How I Became a SAHM
I got a call from the daycare right before I went into a very important meeting at work one day to come get him. His fever had spiked to 110 and he needed a doctor stat. I looked at my boss, handed him my notes, and told him my babies come first.
That was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I had worked hard for that position. I had a great reputation for getting things done, on time, on budget, and delivering more than expected.
My babies come first. Besides, I can’t give them back. But I could give the job back.
For a year I tried to teach Logan at home. That was a learning curve for all of us. Scott was used to coming and going as he pleased because of his irregular schedule. If the restaurant was open, he had to be there including nights, weekends, holidays. We went from a double income and the high life to one income and a lot of needs.
We sent Logan off to the best public school system in Ohio for kindergarten. The second day the principal called to tell me he wasn’t staying in the room and he bit a kid. I had enough and made an appointment with the best pediatric clinical psychologist in the city.
That was the beginning of a new journey for him and me, and Scott. We learned about something called ADHD.
We learned all three of us have it.
Logan was prescribed Adderall and finished kindergarten.
First grade is another matter. I was thrown even more into the abyss known as the public school system. There are monsters there. The one bright light, Mrs. Russell, really bent over backwards to accommodate Logan’s needs. She was the best teacher.
It was the other kids parents who were the problem. They didn’t want their kid playing with a child who was always getting into trouble. This was taking a real toll on Logan’s self-esteem. A kid who once loved to read was becoming a kid who did not want to look at a book. I remembered my days at school and still hate them to this day.
That was not going to happen to my baby.
How We Became a Homeschool Family
After a lot of research, and cajoling, I convinced Scott that we had to try this homeschool thing. Just give me one year to get him caught up and then we will put him back in.
We kind of forgot to put him back.
We had so much fun exploring all the museums and the zoos and the aquariums and the mall and the grocery store and…
When it came time to think about how to educate J, that’s what we call him at home, I discovered that he had reached all the kindergarten goals and most of the first grade standards for our school district. Our little monkey, because he was always climbing over stuff, had sucked up all the tutoring I was giving his big brother!
Life as a homeschooling family has not been easy. Life with ADHD in the house hasn’t been a cake walk.
Through it all we have found what makes us tick, what works, what does not, and a love of God that knows no bounds.
How We Learn At Home
So this is the story of our adventures. We don’t like to learn the conventional way. We do use some books but rarely have we totally stuck to a boxed curriculum. We love videos and interactive online games that teach and entertain. If there is a museum or an art exhibit we have to go check it out.
That’s what you’ll find here at LJSkool.
L is for Logan, J is for Jordan, and Skool is because we learn differently but still get the job done.
I do not have all the answers on the best way to educate your kids at home. I learn something new about ADHD every day. I do know that I am excellent at finding the best of the Internet that is free. You do not have to spend a ton of money to learn. Save that for a wonderful trip to Disney.
If you come along with us on this crazy awesome journey I promise we will keep you entertained, maybe even a little enlightened, and most certainly will be your go-to resource for learning outside of the box.
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We have Pinterest boards for all things educational on as well as Minecraft stuff, holiday crafts, DIY projects, and more.
Our YouTube channel has our own original content and selected groups of educational videos that we like.