The Eleventh Article of Faith and What it Does Mean and Does Not Mean for LDS Homeschool Mothers in Regard to the Education of their Children

Elder Renlund’s Religious Freedom Symposium Speech in Brazil, 2017
Elder Renlund just gave this speech in Brazil at the Religious Freedom Symposium. I know there are many members of my church who are going to interpret the meaning of his words differently. I wanted to present my beliefs about what it does and does not mean for LDS Homeschool moms in regard to the education of their children.

In my opinion, Elder Renlund is saying that we need to know that religious freedom and “allowing all men to worship how when or what they may,” (11th Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is good for all people and all society everywhere around the world, to have as law and to have in their hearts as individuals.

These are things he did not say and did not mean by his speech:

  • He did not say that this means we must teach our children equally about all religions and their beliefs from when they are small children and then allow them to choose a religion after having exposed them equally to each and every other religion out there.
  • He did not say that we must allow educators of our children to teach our children whichever beliefs the teacher wants to teach to our children.
  • He did not say that we must associate equally by giving equally of our time with non-believers (people not of our own faith) and with believers (those of our own faith).

This is what I believe about LDS Homeschool moms need to do and do not need to do to uphold religious freedom while taking advantage of religious freedomfor their own family at the same time:

  • You can be, but you do not have to be, in a homeschool co-op that is for homeschool families of all faiths. You are not hiding your light under a bushel if you choose to only be part of groups which are for the education of your children, which include LDS perspectives, instruction and references and which are taught by a teacher who is LDS.
  • You can teach your children about respecting the religious beliefs of others by not saying bad things about any other religion, by pointing out the differences in our faith and the faith of others in a repectful manner.
  • You can talk to the homeschool moms who have different religious beliefs in front of your children, about her religious beliefs, in a kind manner, being a good listener and showing the greatest of respect for her and her beliefs.
  • You do need to go to large homeschooling community group events such as picnics, field day and field trips, which are for homeschooling people of sundry faiths. You do not need to attend all of them, but attending some is good for you and your family and for those in your community.
  • You do not have to feel okay with the idea of your children being taught homeschool lessons about any subject, by a homeschool mom or by anyone, who is of another faith.
  • Elemetary aged kids are very vulnerable to believing everything they hear from adults, even when they are not their parents and expecially if there is the appearance that their mom endorses the teachings because she set up the teaching opportunity. Junior High children can handle being taught by teachers of another faith a little more than small children. High School kids can handle it even more. However, as for me and my house, I have decided to no longer allow people of other faiths to teach any homeschool class or lesson to my children of any age, unless I feel confident that it is a public and community situation which does not allow religious beliefs to enter into the discussion.
  • Humanism is Taught in Accredited Schools all over the World. It is a Religion.

The Difference: Never in a Public or Charter School

2 of my kids went to public school for few years and 2 have never been to public school, nor to a charter school. I wanted to write about how I honestly feel about this.

I am so glad 2 of mine have never been to elementary school. My 2 older ones learned things I cannot unteach them. One of my kids feels constant pressure and constantly compares herself to others. She feels pressure to “stay at the top” and to be doing exactly what her top performing oublic schooled peers are doing! My son who public schooled still talks about killing at the drop of a hat, which he learned at public school recess. He also unlearned empathy and kindness. They both learned things like: learning is drudgery, mom’s job is to clean up (like the custodian’s job is to clean up), if someone is crying, ignore them and do your work, kids who are normal do not like their siblings, people must play with kids their own age, and much more, that I have been working on unteaching them.

My daughter who never went to public school has been doing very well in learning and I would say she learned so much more and is so much more advanced than her older siblings were at her age. It is amazing how much farther ahead some can get if not sent to school to get behind. 

Do not take a kid who could learn Items A through J that you want then to learn in homeschool and send them to public school so that they can learn A through d that you want thej to learn and A through J that you do NOT want then to learn and some that you may never be able to unteach them!

As for junior high and high school, my two oldest are now in baseball and softball. They said their teammates use swearwords like crazy and it bothers them really bad. My daughter is also bothered by how immodestly her teammates dress for softball games. I told them ai am so sorry and tood them, that is the way it is in Junior High and High School. 

I think today, I will have a talk with her about doing something bood and brave–asking her teammates not to use those words in her presence. I have done that in my life, and it has worked. People will respect people if you ask them to boldly.

Some people want their kids to have the social experiences that come with public school. I think without those social experiences, my kids will be fine. They have the positive social experiences I think kids need from other kids growing up, without all the negative social experiences I had growing up. 

My girls and I recently went to a homeschooled mothers and daughters retreat and learned a lot of really great, positive and uplifting things in a very social setting. My sons and I are going to go to the same, but with boys and their moms. It is great that the social experiences they have are positive and healthy, and chosen by me. I do not get to handpick which boye and which moms will come to this upcoming event, but the fact that I will be there and lots of moms will be there, helps! 

My eldest daughter just got to go to her first boy/girl dance and she is 7th grade age. It was part of a weekend of learning and socialization with peers. The kids were homeschooled and of our religion (LDS) and they learned how to be queenly or how to be chivalrous. They learned table manners at a special dinner in semi-formal attire. They played games which teach moral and leadership lessons. They had classes and listed to speakers. It was like an LDS Youth Conference, only there were just 18 kids there (plus 20 more who just cane to the dance) and they were all homeschoolers. My daughter laughed, learned and really enjoyed herself. She said the boys were not shy and were great at conversationalism. She said, “they were not how you said they’d be.” She seemed to have had a great experience. She is full of wonder and excitement. She danced with 10 boys. Her experience was very different from my first 7th grade dance.

My first 7th grade dance found me in shock. The music had lyrics that were awful and made the Holy Ghost leave. They music was so loud! There was not much lighting, so it was really dark. It was extremely crowded and I remember feeling a great fear and nervousness. I remember praying it would be over soon. Boys were not asking girls to dance and girls were huddled in groups. Everyone was pretending to have fun, even though I bet most felt as nervous as I did. I had friends who “set me up” with boys who were short like me, because that is what you gotta have in common–height. I know they meant well, but from that I learned that even some of my friends only saw me as “our friend who is short.” My companion dancers and I were so afraid and hardly talked to one another. We did not have much in common. We did not have similar interests. We did have fear of school dances in common! 

Mormon/ Latter-Day Saint vs. Secular Percentages of Influence in Our Homeschool

  
I was fiddling with percentages of:

1) all-inclusive, wordly, teachers not exclusively LDS, secular, fitting in with the homeschool community, etc.

compared to percentage of:

2) exclusive, Godly, teachers exclusively LDS active members, gospel-based, standing out from the rest of the homeschool community.
I wish to figure out what percentages I want of each for my family’s homeschool.

Examples of #1:

Secular Homeschool Co-Op Group

Secular math

Secular fiction reading

Secular non-fiction reading

Homeschool all-inclusive social event

Shopping at a store

Local Natural History Museum

Local Art Museum or Gallery

Local play

Dance class

Gymnastics class

Swimming lessons

City Easter Egg Hunt

Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD’s

Any Secular Movies or DVD’s

LDS teachers when not allowed to teach with LDS influences, principles or doctrine

Friendship time with non-LDS people
Examples of #2:

L.I.F.E. School LDS curriculum

Discover the Scriptures Curriculum

Reading the Scriptures, church magazines, listening to conference

Attending church or church activities

Going to an LDS family activity

LDS teachers when allowed to teach LDS principles and doctrine

Friendship time with LDS people

Activities or social events including LDS people exclusively

LDS-exclusive learning Co-Op groups

Family History research, reunions, dinners, etc.

Family Home Evening

General Conference
If I take everything I do in our homeschool, figure what amount of hours per year we spend on each, and then figure percentages, then:

What would the percentages be if I used these 2 categories only?

How do I want it to be for my family?

I have not done the math, but just looking casually here, I am guessing that less than 25% of what we do is in #2. I  want that influence to be higher. I would rather it be 50/50 or maybe with the LDS influencers being at 75%.

LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb page

No Slave to a Style or Method

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

The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

We were asked in an Eclectic Homeschooling facebook group about our current (not year-round average, just current) mix.

I have been changing the numbers around and this is my guess, including the “homeschooling hours” Mon.-Fri. between 9 am and 4 pm only.

This is how we learn at our house, in order from the most to the least

Mom:

breastfeeding
cleaning up Vomit and getting more pedialyte
keeping kids dressed and fed
responding to kids and their needs
Teaching and correcting academic work
helping with Hope Haven Events, and preparing presentation and booth for Winter Homeschool Conference
Reading aloud to kids

Kids:

Playing with other siblings
Reading books/ magazines/ news of choice from our home library & internet
Legos and other toys
Self-Directed Learning
Fighting, discussing, negotiating and learning to get along
Playing with the Baby and teaching him to walk
Childcare
Learning about and Discussing our religion (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
Learning about and Discussing Current Events and Politics
Housecleaning
Personal Grooming, Health & Nutrition
Early Childhoold Education
Life Skills
L.I.F.E. School Curriculum
math via Utah’s former core curriculum (before common core) via worksheets, iPad math and Constance Kamii math
iPad and YouTube learning by taking turns
Discover the Old Testament
God’s Design for Science
Serving each other, and others
Art and Art History (my own curriculum)

I love that homeschooling is so auto-flex. What we need more and what works best, always naturally becomes what we do more of. What we need least naturally falls off of the bottom and just becomes a memory when it no longer serves us.