Homeschool Day Boxes and How They Work!

August 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

I tried this day boxes system, based on the system called, “work boxes,” which I did not like, as I am an Alfie Kohn fan, and it worked well. It works well as long as I have time to get the day boxes ready that morning early, or the night before.


I found that the kids like new and different things in there. They despise having very similar things, day after day. I found that even a toddler has to have things, because he wants to be like the others and have something made for him to do, so he can work, too. He did get bored fast, so I must have always had very boring things in there for him. I tried to get something from each subject we were doing that day. I also put the book they are currently reading for fun, in there.


I also put the ruler, the scissors, the glue stick, the markers, the pencil and the paper they needed for that day’s stuff, in their box. This makes it so nobody has to go look for something they need, giving them about a 100% chance of getting distracted and not coming back for quite some time!


They really liked them and they made my job much easier during the homeschool day! One thing I did not like was that the boxes took up so much space on the table that it does not give them much space to work. I solved that by getting out a card table, but then they fought over which table they wanted to sit at. Oh, my! That’s the way kids are!



Spelling Workout Teaches a Lot and is Fun for Kids!

March 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

Spelling Workout is great. We don’t use it all the time because we have Discover the Scriptures and Life School. We also have life, which is how we mostly learn to spell (making lists, writing letters, etc.).

Of all the workbooks out there for spelling, this is the best, in my opinion. Every lesson has a non-fiction or fiction reading piece which is very interesting, at the very beginning. They see the words used in context first. Then they practice writing the words, have some learning games and do grammar and vocabulary activities, too. 

After every 5 lessons, there is a unit review lesson to remind them of the words from the past 5 lessons. My kids love Spelling Workout and think it is fun. 



6 Year Old Spring Fever in My Primary Class!

March 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today is a very warm Spring day here. Because of that, I think that at church, my primary kids were (hyper?) VERY ENERGETIC AND LOUD when we went to class. Instead of telling them to stop being irreveverent, I thought about how they must feel. They have to sit still and be reverent all through Sacrament meeting. Then all through Primary opening excercises, they get some singing and movement, but still must mostly be quiet and sit still. They are only 6 year olds, so this has to be hard on them. God built them for play!

We said a prayer and I asked them to follow me quietly. We went outside. I hope they do not think we will every week, because I like variety. I told them to run to the fence and back. Then, while they played and roled around on the lawn around me, we discussed their lives. Two of them went to the lego exhibit. I feel bad. We have not gone yet. 

Then I asked them to please be reverent for the lesson and we went inside. The lesson was about baptism. They were reverent. At the end, I let them play on the chalkboard when they were done coloring. 

I usually do an indoor game at the beginning (a quiet version of a game which is usually not quiet). We do games at the beginning every week. Today there was no game but we went outside, colored, and played on the chalkboard.

I hope that with the way I teach, they learn to love coming to church. I don’t want them to just come for the fun, but I also do want kids to be kids. I don’t blame them for being hyper at age 6. They were given energy from a loving Heavenly Father. 

I do want them to learn to be reverent in the church house, and to learn the gospel in my class. However, I think that since they are public schooled, they are told to stay in their seats snd to sit still and to be quiet, all week long. I also want them to be friends with the others in the ward. If they are always told, like at school, not to talk to each other, then how can they become friends?

One week we played “fruit basket,” and I said no laughing, screaming or shouting because we are in the church house on a Sunday and people are learning ghe gospel. I told them to be reverent while playing it. You wouldn’t think they’d be able to, but they had no trouble with it at all! 

Another week, we played “Mother, May I?” and that game usually is a quiet one anyway. 

Plenty of times we act out the stories in the manual. When there is a story about, say, this little boy goes to that boy’s house to play, the kids get to act it out instead of just a boring reading or re-telling. We acted out Joseph Smith’s childhood daily life activities, like doing his chores, etcetera. The kids had a blast with that.

“The Myth of the Spoiled Child,” and Societal Guilt Pressure

March 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

We have been going from strategy to strategy in parenting. Finally yesterday, my husband and I went out and talked about ONLY THAT. We decided to be better at going with what we know works consistently toward influencing permanently the heart and soul of our child, which is Unconditional Parenting. 

Other strategies like punishing and rewarding only last so long. Then no matter what, the parents have to come up with one new system after another. The problem is that the other systems are about having CONTROL over the child. They are not about helping the child to understand the deep-rooted reasons for kindness or learning to read. Instead they are about power and subordination. They are not about respect, but about children deserving or being, less than adults (which is all about power and subordination). 

Reading John Taylor Gatto’s “The Underground History of Education” at the same time and having recently also, read much of “Fabian Freeway,” I see things which cannot be ignored or unmentioned. Fabians are Socialists who decided to take down our Constitutional Republic slowly over time and without anyone noticing. Soon factories replaced entrepeneurism, apprenticeship, the cottage industry and trade-learning at a young age. The argument, then, was that children should not be working in factories and the option to be in the home was not the alternative given. Instead, the alternative presented and which took hold, was to put the children in public schools and to train them with corporal punishment (physical punishment) and embarrassment in front of peers, as a means of teaching them to become subordinates. This was all part of the Socialist doctrines the Fabians loved. 

Today I decided to pick up and read “The Myth of the Spoiled Child,” by Alfie Kohn, the author of “Unconditional Parenting.”

“The Myth of the Spoiled Child” is helping me so much. Years ago, I read many of Alfie’s books. I was very convinced that he was right. However, over the years, it has been very difficult to live that life with my kids because of:

1) the method I was raised with by my parents, getting into my brain.

2) the methods of others around me seeming to work better at helping kids become good people

3) the arguments and protests of others wearing down my resolve

There is so much pressure put on parents by THEIR parents, to CONTROL their kids. I cannot find an end to the desire of all of us to “get them to behave.” The freedom comes when they become adults, because when they are adults, then of a sudden, regardless of their behavior, they “deserve RESPECT” just because of their age. Alfie argues that were people to teach their kids that every human deserves respect, and then actually give the same respect to children that adults get, that would be good. Treating people with respect because they have earned that respect would also make sense. Sadly, though, it is more like this: The adults deserve respect just because they are adults, and kids must do what adults say no matter what.

Let’s look at this just from a criminal’s perspective, or, as my kids would say, the way a “bad person” would see things. Pretend you are the bad person, And want to do harm to a child. Do you like this “Adults deserve respect” and this “kids must do what adults say no matter what (no reason needed)”? Mmmm. Yummy, eh? Great philosophy, from the perspective of the evil-at-heart! From the perspective of the abusive parent? Also grand.

When you look at it that way, you must be thinking, “No! I teach my child to respect all people, and only when that respect is deserved?” If you do feel that way, then you will be happy to know that the book, “The Myth of The Spoiled Child,” is all about just that, so pick up a copy and read it.

This book is wonderful at helping me to understand why others see things differently. Knowing why helps me to be able to see things from the perspectives of people like my relatives, and then be able to, knowing why they feel this way, help them understand and be able to be compassionate and understanding of their view at the same time.

One thing he said is that largely, a nostalgic desire for the past because of a feeling things change too fast, is what many suffer from. Another is guilt. Parents may be made to feel guilty if their child is loud in a quiet room, even if nobody is criticising them. This is how I am. Because of my upbringing and the pressure from others, I worry what others will think of me as a parent if I do not do something to try to CONTROL my child.

I must add that just having read this book a bit, does not mean I am now perfect at this method, nor at parenting at all. It is a long process of learning, experience, repentence, more learning, improvement, etcetera. I have no clue what I am doing, as a matter of fact. 

Make a Personalized, Well-Rounded Preparedness Plan

March 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

There are so many things to do to prepare. ayou are not even close. How are you going to get there? How can you afford it? How can you glean the time for all of it? It is just too much. Will all these thoughts hinder you from even taking the simplest first step?

My daughter made a simple outline: water, food, shelter. I love it but wanted something more specific and step-by-step, including more aspects, such as financial and spiritual preparedness.

I have had these questions and have come up with a great solution for everyone! Make your own personalized, well-rounded Step by Step Table and Outline plan. Include in each step, these: 

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

I have a plan like this personalized for me and my family. I am excited about how personalized it is. It would not even work for you because it is just exactly for me and my family! It protects my emotional and mental side, making it impossible to feel overwhelmed when learning about what may happen, when it may happen and what we will need for all of that.

Having a plan for the order in which I will work on things really helps. Before the personalized plan, I would read and learn about all these things and oh, how eqch preparedness item jumped out at me. NO, THIS ONE IS MOST IMPORTANT. BUT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THAT ONE! I could not do it all and I knew it, leaving me feeling frustrated and upset, worried and unable to sleep.

At The Whole Person Preparedness Conference in Northern Utah Saturday, there were so many vendors and so many items for sale. There was so much information, too, that it was impossible to take it all in. I am so glad that I knew my plan in my head. I was able to focus and say to myself that yes, that there is important, but not the step I am working on now. I was able to shut put and ignore all of it except the step I am already working on now. 

I have made an outline. Each step has goals for:

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

Here is my personalized step One, including each of the categories above:

I.A. A very personal financial one I will not share

I.B. Get habit of nightly prayer with my husband

I.C. Teach my 6 year old to read

I.D. Teach my kids gardening, nutrition and essential oil basics

I.E. Closeness to parents and siblings; Closeness to my husband and kids. Organize family monthly get-togethers.

I.F. Organize, label, and find on the internet (then print) instructions for garden seeds. Put some in emergency backpack for future (labeled and with instructions). Get popsicle sticks and write labels on them for garden planting now and for emergency backpack.

Most people right now in the prepper universe are only focusing on temporal preparedness, so it is likely they would only have I.F. above, on their list. I do not fault them, as I have been doing the same. However, my new goals which I have made through prayer and pondering in the middle of the night while everyone is sleeping, are written on a table which has lines for each step on the left:






and divisions for each category listed along the top of the table:

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

So, when I put it in outline form, it will be like this:

Lisa Jackson Family Well-Rounded Preparedness Step by Step Plan

I. Step One set

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

II. Step 2 set

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

III. Step 3 set

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

IV. Step 4 set

A. financial, B. spiritual, C. knowledge, D. skills, E. emotional & social, F. temporal

Each letter and category builds upon the one before it. For example, after the pray with my husband nightly step (B. spiritual) is, in Step II.A. Make a habit of reading the Book of Mormon daily. This way, in each category, my family and I are gradually progressing. 

I am very excited about this plan because it includes all aspects of my life and my responsibilites as a wife and a homeschool mom. It will prepare me and my family in all of these ways. It makes things much less overwhelming to me mentally. It is personalized.

I have to admit, first, I did make a temporal only one. I wrote and re-wrote about 10 times, a step by step plan until I felt done and lie it was perfect and did not need any more tweaks. Perhaps I will create a blog post a out just that one. I used it to do all of the “F. Temporal” pieces of each step in my outline. Having it ready made the well-rounded outline easier to make, because when I got to “F,” I just looked at my chart and plopped it in.

As you see, the “F. Temporal” has to do with seeds for gardening. This is indeed seasonal and for the time I am in.  It is mid-March. I would have a different temporal goal first were it June or November!

I encourage you to make a similar personalized plan. Only you know yourself and your immediated family personally enough to do this, so do not use my plan. I just shared it as an example. Now go to it! Make a personalized, well-rounded preparedness plan using the above outline. It will be fun!

Homeschool: History Books for Kids to Explore (Child-Led Learning)

March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

I have not too often encountered questions on how to teach history. However, now and then I do. I love History and my kids do, too. There are a plethora of boring, biased and inaccurate ones. There are many without the right perspectives, or with perspectives which are too narrow and one-sided.

I have enjoyed buying history books which are more well-rounded, entertaining for kids and adults so we will enjoy them, and here, I will help you find them. If you are into child-led learning, you will love these as I have loved them. They do not come in a box all together. You have to order them one by one. That is what is for! Since we homeschool, we do amazon prime. It is worth it! We pay a yearly fee and then do not have to worry about a lot of the shipping. Some of the shipping, we still have to pay (to third party sellers).

I went onto wikipedia and (yes, time-consuming, but, later, saves time) I make a list of what I wanted my kids to learn each school year. I cannot afford to buy books on everything. Amazon wish lists are for waiting, and having what you want, on the ready for when money comes. We budget an amount each pay period for education expenses. Every 2 weeks, we can spend a certain amount. It is not a lot bit not too little, either. You can decide on something like this, too.

When I am in the mood, I search up books on rach topic I want covered. I click on “look inside” and look through it. I read the description of each and readnthe reviews. I choose the book that looks the most information-packed, accurate, well-rounded, informative and entertaining for kids (not in that priority order).

Here is one example of a really great children’s book about hostory! It’s great! It was written by someone who is passionate about this topic and was illustrated with the same passion! Johann Gutenberg and the Gutenberg Press

I have told a few people about this method of mine and they have said they do not have time to go through all that, to search up thr best books. I don’t get it, because it is so much fun. Hopefully, this post will give you relief and lighten that (sarcastic) BURDEN of sifting through books. 

 You Choose Interactive History Books Series

These books are amazing! They are historical fiction and historical fact mixed. They are written in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style with real facts mixed in (you can tell by the way it is designed what is fact and what is fiction). It is a great way to see history from multiple perspectives and put yourself into that time period. My kids and I read all of the paths anyway, because we want to.

Ride Like The Wind: A Tale of the Pony Express

This one has an amazing way of telling about what it was like for pony express riders. It shows what the time period is like. The text is so well-written, I feel like I am reading one big, long, poem. I can feel the gorgeous sunsets and can taste the cowboy meals. I can feel the heat of the cowboy fire. I can feel the wind, cold and heat on my face as I ride. When I read it to my kids, we are all pony express riders, cap

No Slave to a Style or Method

March 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

I am in Unschooling groups, eclectic groups, montessori groups, LDS homeschooling groups, TJED groups and regular homeschooling groups on facebook. We do not fit into any style. I decided a few months ago that pretending we fit into a box “we do this style,” was just fruitless. We do what works each day, what I feel like we will do that day, and on some days, what Heavenly afather directs. Ideally, every day would be “we do as Heavenly Father directs,” but in reality, I am not perfect and I just do my best every day. Some days, my best means I took a shower and the kids are alive.

I did purchase the L.I.F.E. School LDS Homeschooling Curriculum

I love it. I won’t say we do it every day, but usually whenever we do anything formal for aademics, we include it. It is what keeps me sane. I used to have to make lesson plans for all those subjects, but now I don’t have to and I know that it is included. I don’t have to worry over what to teach, as everything is right there (every subject is included except dance and math). My kids even have a lot of past workbook material to catch up on in LIFE School, so some days, when I di not have time, ability or desire to teach a formal lesson, I just say, “Do 6 pages of Life School,” and they know that means, from past lessons which I have taught, that they have yet to do work for. It takes them anywhere from one hour to never getting it done, to do that, depending on whether they try or not.

We still use Spelling Workout sometimes, too, because my kids need extra TLC in that area. We also use God’s Design For Science as it fits in with our Science in Life School, as a supplement, because it’s the most awesome Science program ever!!! It is not LDS, but Christian, and I add in LDS stuff because I am the teacher!

For more LDS and Scripture learning, we also use Discover the Old Testament, because that is where we are on the timeline of history in LIFE School, is Old Testament and Ancient Book of Mormon Times, for which we use Discover the Book of Mormon. One uses grades 1-3. The others use grades 4-7. They finished 1-3 in a different homeschool year.

Then there is the math, of course, which is also the best math ever because I am re-inventing the wheel. I have seen homeschool moms say of facebook, things similar to, “Why Reinvent the Wheel?” Well, in my case, because I do not like the wheel that is there. It is broken, so I am fixing it so that it works. The math used in public schools is the math used in homeschool, in most cases. I have heard of lots of homeschool math programs which just do not work for homeschool moms, unless they have just one, or very few, kids. I have 6, though, so it needed to be re-thought. It is a lot of work, but I do not follow a math program. Instead, I am creating a Homeschool math program which is a one room schoolhouse approach like LIFE School, which lets me teach math to all the kids together, and when it is fully ready, we will have math lessons as a family (instead of 5 separate math lessons for 5 separate kids old enough for them).

It is not fully ready yet. It is in the works. I do some of it, but mostly, I still have to teach each child a separate math lesson (which I think is so time-consuming)!

In addition to all that, we go when my husband is off work, on field trips to museums and kids learning places. I think it is easier on me not to try to do it without my husband’s help. We also are in a bunch of facebook groups and now and then, we do things with the others in the homeschool community locally. We used to do this more often, and have even tried the Co-Op thing. The Co-Op thing has not been in the mix of late, but I am trying to start my own LDS Co-Op lately, and we will see. Right now, I just plan a get-together once a month. That is all I can do now.

Here is a related post you will want to check out, too. The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

Freedom, Fairness, HSLDA and Homeschool Tax Credits

March 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Should we be desiring the benefit of not having to pay taxes for public education, if we home educate? What is FAIR to all? Should we let some who need the money, have the option? 

I feel extremely strongly against the whole idea. Below, you will see why. This has been considered in Utah for a couple years now. Here is an article about the same consideration in Idaho. 

Jennifer Wennergren of Utah shared this on facebook:

“I think the sentence: 
“Even fine men and women who were philosophically opposed to the registration and testing of home educators were surprisingly willing to tolerate such interference as soon as we held our hands out to collect tax dollars.”  should give us all- supporters and non-supporters- pause.” 
She is quoting from this link:
I also wanted to note these pieces from the same link.

“We are sometimes asked why should those who don’t want the tax assistance keep those who want or need the credit from taking that benefit? The answer lies in the fact that the “accountability” imposed when a few home educators accept this tax credit will be imposed on all homeschooling families….We should not expect them to draw a careful distinction between families who accept the tax credit and those who do not. All will be lumped together once a tax credit is authorized….Is it fair to burden the many families who treasure their freedoms above the tax benefit just because a few other families want or even need the tax relief? (No)…We have worked far too hard and for far too long to secure our tremendous liberties to sacrifice them for a tax credit.”

Later, it says, “It will also open the door to the state beginning to compile a master list of the names of all children in the state who are taught at home, a compilation that we have opposed for many years.”

“ICHE, CHOIS, and HSLDA are united in their opposition to any tax credit bill which does not clearly exclude homeschoolers. A generation of homeschoolers have thrived under the freedoms which have been so painstakingly protected.”


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