Homeschooling: Break? Year Round? First Day of Homeschool? Q & A

I did not want you to be left confused. I feel like explaining things that are difficult for some people to understand. I decided to do this in the form of a Q &A, but ask and answer the question myself. The questions people have asked of me.

Q: Do you take a summer break, or do you homeschool year-round?

A: Niether and Both. We do relaxed homeschooling and tidal wave homeschooling, a form of education which means that we are like the tide coming in and going out.

We try to do as best we can to get to where I consider to be “at grade level” in each subject for each child. We do not ever stop working on this, but we are also not always concernd about this.

We have ebbs and flows. Sometimes, with much effort, we learn a whole bunch and progress a lot in a period of time (this sometimes looks like an accelerated school for the gifted or early college, and sometimes looks like a 1900 one-room schoolhouse). At other times, we are more like unschoolers. Sometimes, we have a day that looks like montessori school. Sometimes, we have a field trip day. When people visit or we visit others, we have a day completely dedicated to only socializing. When we visited Grandma Preece or when Uncle Steven came over, we dropped all of our concerns and cares, and just visited. The kids learn plenty by visiting and socializing with others.

Q: Homeschoolers do not have to start school when the public schools begin. Isn’t that right?

A: This has a long answer, too. We do not have to, but because of classes we signed up for, we do.

We enroll in some classes not led by me but by teachers my husband and I chose or hired. One of these is free and it is The Church Seminary Program. (Oh, did you catch that? I almost used the acronym). Early Morning Seminary this year begins the same day public school begins in my area. This means that although we do not really care when homeschool begins or ends, I can choose a day when I can say something officially begins. It is the day Seminary begins.

The hired teachers and has also chosen certain dates to begin their classes, vacation days and end dates. Likewise, many homeschool parents join “co-ops,” which are groups of homeschoolers who get together and do learning together. These co-ops have a set schedule. A co-op has a start date, vacation dates and end dates, too.

I would not want to have the first day of homeschool for the kids which have teachers who’ve given them start-dates, and not have this for the younger 4. After all, the younger 4 are so looking forward to “doing homeschool” officially again. Their siblings are officially starting and so are their neighborhood friends and cousins.

This would be when I to the part called “get the kids ready for the first day of school (by clothes shopping at the back to school clothing sales) as a mom” and the part where I do “put in full-time hours of preparation of the homeschool room, planning and getting ready for homeschool to officially begin on August 27, like a paid public school teacher,” at the same time. (The second part includes getting in on back to school curriculum and supplies sales).

Speed Tour of my Recently Cleaned and Re-Organized Homeschool Room

Of course, many teacher moms do this. They get their own gets ready and sent off, and they also go to the school all day for a couple weeks to get their public school classroom ready.

This “Photographer Mom” is prepared to do “First Day of Homeschool 2018” photos next week!

It’s just a little different. I do not get paid and I do not have to get someone to tend the kids while I go off to work. They are here and I am here, which means I do the prep work and they wish I wouldn’t because it means I am not giving them the attention they would like. It is hard on the kids here, as they are eager to “officially start school” again, and frustrated that their mom is working on prepping and pretty much just letting them “fend for themselves” (except the littlest, who at least gets fed by mom and gets a lot of attention because he demands it).

I hope this helps everyone to understand my world so that they are not confused. There are so many different ways to homeschool. Sometimes, there are jokes or memes on the internet that give one impression, and the people who do not know that all homeschools are different get so upset when things are not the way a youtube video says they are.

This one is a funny one by “It’s a Southern Thing.”

Tell me, are the others exaggerated? Yeah. So do you think the homeschool mom one is? Think about it. I am a homeschool mom and I still laughed at it. I was not upset by the inaccuracy. I know it’s all exaggerated and it is a joke. It’s very funny. If you like it, subscribe, because all of their videos are just as humorous!

For the record, homeschool moms and kids do get dressed in day clothing because they are very busy. We get dressed for the same reasons that you get dressed during the summer. Also, homeschool moms usually put together or join in on a “Not Back to School” park day or party on the first day of local public school. We all know when school starts, including those who do unschooling! We all look forward to getting the museums and parks back to uncrowded. We love it when school starts and are very aware!

I am most like the photographer mom, by the way. I am very sentimental, an artist and a graphic designer, after all! So, yeah, homeschool moms are all different, too, and we have personalities that are all different from the personalities of other homeschool moms. We love our variety and differences!

Homeschooling is the Road Less Travelled By. How has our choice to homeschool our children “made all the difference?”

My child showed me a video about choices called “Leave the Party.” It is from an LDS General Conference Talk by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson called, “Be Valiant in Courage, Strength and Activity.” He talked about a choice made by a young man at a party in Japan. Then he said that the choices each of us make now will make a difference in what happens in our life, in who we become. Every choice helps to shape our lives. It is so true. I pondered it, and thought about our choice to homeschool our children years ago.

It also reminded me of this poem many of us love by Robert Frost called, “The Road Not Taken.” I have it in a book which has the poems illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings. I really love these 3 lines the most:

“…. long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

     These lines are touching to me. I like to put it into my life and my soul. “Long I stood” in 2011, pondering, studying, consulting and deciding. Long I stood then, next to my husband, in 2011 and 2012, he travelling beside me on the path. Should we homeschool? And (in January 2012, we) looked down as far as (we) could, to where (the path of homeschooling) bent in the undergrowth (at that time, that point was, until the next school year started. We just wanted to try it for the rest of that academic year, and be ready to put the kids back in school in August of 2012).


Now to go over these famous lines:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

     For sure, Homeschooling is the Road Less Travelled By. How has our choice to homeschool our children “made all the difference?”


  • Homeschooling helped our children to be happier, get along better with each other, and has brought more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into our home.
  • Homeschooling has helped others, who have followed us down this path, they seeing that someone they knew was tredding on that path.
  • Homeschooling has given me a more thorough education, as I get to review and teach the things my children must learn. I learn (or review) things along with them and prove my basic education, giving me a stronger foundational education.
  • Homeschooling has led me to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and what is going on in politics in my county, state and country. I had been involved in politics and in learning about the U.S. Constitution, but not as much as I am involved in it now.
  • Homeschooling has led me to meet people whom I never would have met had I not started down its path. These people have helped to shape my life.
  • Homeschooling has helped me to become closer to Heavenly Father because it is so tough and I cannot do it without His help. I have learned and relearned that lesson.
  • Homeschooling has helped me to learn more about the Old Testament because in Life School and in Discover the Old Testament, we have been studying the Old Testament.
  • Homeschooling has made me happier, personally an has improved my health.
  • Homeschooling forces me to improve, as I have children whom I have taught, constantly encouraging me to be a better example to them.
  • Homeschooling helps me know my children on a deeper level. Because I spend more time with them than I would if I sent them to public school, I know more about them. (They also know more about me than they would the other way).
  • Homeschooling has influenced my childrens’ lives immensely, as, for one, they are exposed to completely different learning than they would be were they sent to school. I am not only talking about academic learning, but social learning, also. 
  • Homeschooling gave me and my children more chances to know more about my Grandma Preece and my Uncle Steven, who have now passed into post-mortality. Much of the time we spent with them was during what would have been otherwise, time with them away at school.
  • I have had more time during the days, day after day, to teach my children life skills which they should not have to wait for adulthood and free daytime hours, to learn.
  • I believe my children are closer to Havenly Father and love the Bible and Book of Mormon more than they would otherwise.
  • I truly believe that the choices my children make are better choices than they would have been had they been sent to school all these years.


“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Our 2016-17 Reasons For Homeschooling 

Our reasons change every year. I wanted to put down our new reasons for this academic year, from all of us combined.

Reasons for the Kids

1

I homeschool now and it’s fun. (My siblings) went to public school and they did not like it. (Sibling) said it is like a prison and my public-schooled friends say it is like a prison. We have co-ops and I get to play with my friends. We get to have potluck breakfasts and I get to play with my cousins because they are homeschooled. I don’t really know–I just like homeschooling. I like to learn about the human body and math and cursive. I really like math. I like fractions, times, division, plus and subtraction. I like all of them. I like learning spelling. I like the Old Testament.

2

There won’t be bullies there so they won’t hit me. If my siblings bully me or hit me, I can find a room to lock me in. In school the bully might sit … near you. But its better in homeschool, you can sit wherever you want, not where the teacher wants you to sit. Your mom will know which grade you are in. (I like learning) how to write, learning how to trace, learning how to sound out the words. Favorite things to learn about: Gravity, science, building (I have tools). 

3

(I like learning) how to read and playing with the blue sand.* I like the blue sand because it’s very soft. Learning DVDs. 

*The blue sand is for learning montessori stylel how to write letters and numbers, while at the same time repeating the short vowel or most-used consonant sound of the letter.

My Reasons for Continuing to Homeschool

  • I love teaching my own children. It feels like a new and fun hobby. I love that it gets to be me and not someone else. I love that my kids come to me with questions and trust me with their educations. I love seeing their eyes light up when they learn.
  • We have a big library which is expanding every year. We are loaded with DVD curricula, games, books, textbooks, workbooks and supplies of all kinds. We even have a homeschool room now, which I love having!  I did do it without one for a few years, but it is nice to have one. We still learn and do assignments all over the house, but it is nice to have a place to put things in to keep life organized.
  • I love that my kids just get to live life with freedom. They do not have to sit in an assigned seat, sit still, be quiet and only speak when they raise their hand and are called upon. They not have to line up for lunch and march through the halls to lunch. They do not have to line up to leave the house. They do not have to ask permission to use the potty or get a healthy snack or drink. 
  • I love that when other kids are in school, my kids learn from repair prossionals, real estate professionals, lanscape professionals, servers at restaurants, fast food workers, store clerks, grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, museum guides, visual artists of the community, people in care centers, poeple giving service in the community, wildlife rehabilitators, actors, musicians and more. I am far from being their only teacher.
  • I love that my kids can learn to do home repair, yard work, cooking, meal planning, shopping, housecleaning, decluttering, building, landscaping, tree olanting, composting, gardening and many more life skills, during the day and in the evening.
  • I love that we can talk about our religious beliefs unhindered my social expectations. We can talk about God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, the Bible, the Book of Mormon and our Prophets and Apostles, all day long. We do not have to teach every religion equally. We d not have to equally exclude all religions. 
  • I love that when there is a problem understanding a concept being taught that we can turn to God in prayer, trust Him, have faith in Him, and ask Him for help. I love that He always does help!
  • I know Heavenly Father told me to homeschool and told my husband to trust me to nurture and educate our children.
  • I know homeschooling works. Even though it seems impossible, with God, it is possible.
  • I love being with my kids, spending time with them and getting to know them. I love that they get more time with me and with my husband. I love that they get more time with each other and get to be together all day on most days.
  • I love that I know them and can figure out the best ways each of my kids learn. I get to know them more each week. Their interests are always changing and I feel like I always can be there to watch them change and grow. I get to teach them the ways each of them learn best.
  • I have the freedom and the responsibility to hire others to teach my children. I choose their teachers myself. 
  • I get to be the one that teaches my children about social things like learning, religious values and the ten commandments, service, kindness, respect for people of all ages no matter their age, respect for poeple of all religions and cultures and races, reading, exercise, research, making friends, determination, being honest, hard work, etiquette, standing up for themselves, being assertive and being polite. They do not learn it from kids their ages in a public school. 
  • I do not have to wait for quarterly parent, student, teacher conference to find out how my child is doing or wait for the end of semester or end of level test because I know what they are understanding and learning every day. If I want to have a more formal assessment or testing for them, thye are free online and available, or available for a small price.  can assess them myself sometimes, too, with my own verbal quizzing.
  • I can be creative with how and what I have them learn. I can also be spontaneous. I can change the way we do things at anytime.  can come up with a new system or routine at will. I do not need approval from a bureaucracy.
  • My kids are taught about our founding fathers, liberty, the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, government, civics and world history with books, field trips and curricula I choose. Their curricula is carefully selected and edited for truth to be taught. My kids d see socialist indoctrination, but because I point things out to them and they have been taught the truts, they can spot indoctrination even when I am not there, and tell me about it.
  • I know what is on the tests I give my kids. I know before the test and after the test, what the content of the test is.

What The True Sacrifice is, in Homeschooling

I am going to get very raw and real with all 3 of you out there. Homeschooling hurts. This is the truth.

I have to say that I have so much anger and hurt inside me because society at large, LDS ward members, neighbors, strangers and most family give me unfriendship, unacceptance, disdain, hatred and unsupport for all the hard work, determination, diligence and intelligence I put into homeschooling. I noticed it at the concert last night. My nephew and my sister get all of this support and love that I do not get and will never get. It is so unfair.

I know we are not supposed to covet, but I covet the support, friendship, love and social acceptance my sister and my nephew get that we will never get.  I think all I would have to do is enroll my kids in public school and all of the praise, adoration, support, comeraderie, acceptance and love would roll right in.

Last night during the concert, I just prayed and prayed for help with this. 
If you are a homeschool mom, do you ever feel this?

Weber State University General Associates Degree Using Many CLEP & DSST Exams

Weber WSU General Associates with CLEP and DSST Exams (Download entire document for free here)

Weber WSU General Associates with CLEP and DSST Exams_Page_1

Page 1 of the Document: Weber State University Associates Degree Guide for Homeschoolers 9th-12th Grades (Early College for Homeschoolers in Northern Utah)

Utah Homeschool Affidavit SB39 with School Notifications Requests

Below is a Utah Legal Homeschooling Affidavit for you to fill out. You will need to look up secretary and school names, and school addresses, for the school district and for the school(s) your child or children currently attend or would attend next (if moving up from elementary to junior high or from junior high to high school). You will need to put down all of the names of your kids whom you will be educating yourself.

This is a legal notification to let your child’s school, the school district and state of Utah know that you will be educating your own children. Should you choose to enroll in a school district program of any kind, such as free speech therapy or Head Start, your child will need to be enrolled in the district for you to do that. When they ask you to fill out all the forms and give them immunization records, you are officially registering your child in a school district program. I believe this may nullify the whole official homeschool thing, but I am not sure of that at all (you go ahead and ask if you need to). Should you choose to enroll your child in an online or charter school after sending an affidavit in, that will nullify the affidavit for that child, so you would need to fill this out again to legally homeschool after enrolling in one of those (which, officially, is a Utah school). If you move to a new county/ school district (not a new home), you need to fill it out again for the new county/ school district.

You do not need to tell the district your child’s age, birthdate or grade level. The new SB 39 (signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert on April 1, 2014) says should you enroll your child in a Utah school again, you get to decide whether to have your child assessed by the school. You also get to decide which grade level your child will be placed into. (The schools used to have the power to just assess and decide for you. They no longer have that power.)

When you are finished filling the form out without signing it, get your legal photo identification (such as a drivers’  license) and take the form to a notary public. Some libraries, banks, postal services and the like, will have them available to the public. One time, we used the library (which only has a notary public when that employee is working there). Another time, we went to Wells Fargo Bank, which seems to always have one whenever the bank is open. You will explain to the notary that you need a notary. They will invite you to sit down and sign it in front of them. They will ask to see your identification. They will have a ledger to fill out. (I signed the ledger because I had not signed the document in front of the notary and she needed to see me sign it.) The notary will sign and will stamp your affidavit with a notary public seal. The purpose of this is so that someone else cannot take your child out of public school on your behalf, pretending they are you.

After this, you can either take in or mail in your affidavit to your school district office. I think taking it in is better because then you can ask and make sure to get your certificate of exemption before leaving the district offices. (You may never get one if you mail it in.)

SB39 does not require that you teach certain prescribed subjects or a certain number of days in a year. You, the parents or guardians, and your child get to decide how your child is educated and in what. (Before SB 39 became the law, homeschool affidavits said that you had to teach math, language arts, social studies, science, health, and so forth. It also said you had to teach 180 full school days in a year.)

You may be wondering why Utah allows this. Before this law was passed, many of us called in or wrote in to our school board. Some homeschool moms even showed up at school board meetings and spoke up about homeschooling, how great it is, how well-educated our kids are, with valid statistics. I wrote them and the governor E-mails. In my E-mails, I had video footage of my five-year-old doing Montessori pink reading with 3-D objects, in front of our Christmas tree. I hope that helped!

Many school teachers spoke up against the law, saying this would give the homeschooling parents or guardians zero responsibilities and give the state of Utah many uneducated kids. They testified that they had students coming into the classrooms after having homeschooled, and said that they were behind. I do not believe they presented numbers or statistics.

I believe that because so many homeschool moms stood up and defended homeschooling and convinced the school board members and governor that what we do is statistically better than what the public schools do; That our kids attend college in just as great (or greater) numbers; That there are an overwhelming number of parents who educate their children very well in homeschooling; That this pushed them to vote for the Senate Bill by Aaron Osmond in 2014. It was a big success!

News stories on television started popping up soon after that. For a short time, some public school teachers and community members were angry that the homeschoolers could legally do this. Most of the citizens had never known that homeschooling was legal, so even knowing that was new to them. I am sure many who homeschool now are doing so even though in 2014 when the news stories showed up on their televisions and on Facebook, they were very upset that homeschooling people had received more liberties.

affidavit utah

Utah Legal Homeschool Affidavit SB 39 2014


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Related Blog Posts and Links:

Utah SB 39 Full Text

Utah Home Educators Association

Home School Legal Defense Association: Homeschooling in Utah

Considering Homeschool?

Homeschool Early College / Concurrent Enrollment at Weber State University

Teaching my Adorable Child to Read

Utah Relaxed Homeschool High School 9th Grade Battle Plan

“Homeschooling Middle School: Academics & Socialization”

LDS Home Educators Association (Joyce Kinmont)

 

 

 

A Grandparent’s Guide to Homeschooled Grandkids: What to Maybe Expect or Maybe Not Expect

Grandparents, I am sure you may have expectations and lack of them, about your homeschooled grandkids. Sometimes, you may be wrong. Herer is a guide to help you.

Some homeschool families keep track of grade levels. Some do not. All families will know what age their child is. I do keep track of what grade my children are in. 

Do not assume that your homeschooled grandkids will get grades. Some locations require grading. Some do not. Some parents believe in it. Some do not. I, for one, do not give my kids grades. The homeschool teacher will for sure know what the child knows, how well the child knows it, what the child is learning and how the child is improving. 

Your homeschooled grandchildren may take tests and they may not. This is the decision of the homeschool parents. I know many homeschoolers who give their kids tests. I do not. If there is a test, we treat it just like a worksheet here in our home. If my kids complete a math worksheet quickly and correctly, I know they understand it. If I give them some concept for a whole week and they always do it quickly and correctly without asking for help, I know they have masterd the concept. A test is not necessary because I see what their level of understanding is, every time they do an assignment.

Your homeschooled grandkids may earn awards in homeschool or at local group homeschooling events, but the greatest likelihood is that the homeschooled grandkids will not get awards. This does not mean your grandchild is not amazing in some way. Your homeschooled grandchild will not get a ribbon for perfect attendance, an accredited diploma or a Grade Point Average. This child will get chances to show exceptionalism, uniqueness, gifts, talents and improvements. Please notice.

Please, I beg you, PLEASE do not say, “It is too bad you cannot go out and make friends!” Please do NOT assume that because your grandkids do not go to public school, that they do not have friends. Pleas do not intimate that they never get out of the house. I assure you they have friends. I promise you that they also “get out” of the house more than public schooled kids “get out” of the school classroom.

Please stop thinking that your homeschooled grandkids never take showers, get dressed or wake up early. My kids are usually awake by 7 a.m., without an alarm clock. They simply have the desire to wake up because life is so good. Now, when we happen to stay up until 10 p.m. or later, they do sleep in until 8 or 9. This is indeed a benefit to homeschooling.

I have also heard said that homeschooled kids do not learn responsibility, are not prepared to “get a real job” are rarely challenged and do not learn to work for what they get. These are all is very far from true. 

Please do not think that your homeschooled grandkids do not learn about other cultures or people with other religious beliefs because they are not in public school. Even if they are learning a religious curriculum, they meet other homeschool families from different belief systems, cultures and backgrounds. The main difference is, they actually get to go into the houses of the other cultures and eat of the food from the other cultures right in the homes of the people of other cultures. They do not learn these things only from seeing someone of another race their same age sitting beaide them in a school classroom.

Do not think that in homeschool, your grandkids will be learning the same things or learning things in the same order, as do other kids. My kids, for example, have to date learned about a great many things that public schooled kids will not learn until they become adults, graduate, and go out into “the real world,” because my kids are already living in “the real world.” When my kids turn 3 or 4 or 5, they do not leave “the real world” to go into a public school environment. They stay in “the real world” with me, their mom, as their guide. My kids do not know many things that kids their age who are in public school DO know, either. That is fine, because they will eventually learn it. They may learn it when they are children, or may learn it later, when they become adults.

Please do not think that we homeschool moms lock our kids up in a tower like the witch did to Rapunzel in the Disney movie “Tangled.” This is far from true. In fact, my kids and I think it is quite hilarious when someone tells us about the cultural assembly or field trip that my child missed out on because he or she is not in public school. We think it is funny because of all the cultural events and field trips that my kids get. I assure you that your homeschooled grandkids get more of these than public schooled kids.