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!

I Feel Like a Smooth, Old Mountain Now

As a homeschool mom, I feel solid like a smooth, old mountain now. I do not feel as I did when I was newer to homeschooling. Then, I felt an excitement from the newness and the riskiness of it all. I was rebelling against society’s “normal.” Now, I plug away, doing much of the same day after day, week after week and year after year. I feel the compounding of years of experience and learning. I feel like my older children have a strong, good foundation from many years of steady work on my part, my husband’s part, and their parts. I feel a love and partnership with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost.

I do not feel anxious or worried that my children will not turn out fine. I feel a smooth, soft joy and a love for them which I feel will help me accept whatever life they choose and whatever they become. I do not worry about test scores. They will be taking the ACT and GED tests, but I plan to be pleased with them even if they possibly take a long time to pass the GED and get a score on the ACT which would get them into our local Weber State University. They are great people. They are prepared enough for life for their ages. I am pleased and happy.

Early Literacy in Homeschool

Here is my video on YouTube about teaching little kids to read and write with the Montessori Method and with Preschool Prep Co. mini books. Enjoy!

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Early Literacy in Homeschool

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Better Learning Happens in Homeschooling and Other Settings by Avoiding Lecture-Style Teaching

This is so good! Please read it if you ever teach anything to anyone! Please especially read it if you are a homeschool mom!

Don’t Lecture Me! Is a brand new blog post essay by Alfie Kohn. It addresses high school, college and university lecture style teaching. It could very much be applied to teaching in church classes, teaching in Family Home Evening, teaching homeschool at all levels, including and especially homeschooling high school. It could even include homeschooling university or college if that is what you want to do. 
Lecture style teaching is what much of my elementary, junior high, high school and university education consisted of, but it was not what worked best for me. I remembe well the lessons of the teachers and professors when they used other means, such as hands on learning, forcing us to discover answers to difficult questions via our own investgations, group preparation for presentations, and class dicussions.

I do think it is funny that he says that using a power point presentation proves the uselessness of the lecturer. I remember going to listen to speeches or going to classes wherein the lecturer said not to worry about copying the slides because a handout would be given to us with all the slides of the power point included. That makes me just want them to write a book I can read in my pajamas late at night or early in the morning, or in the afternoon when I am trying to catch my breath again after a stressful few hours. Really, more of these people should be writing books. Why are people afraid of writing books 📚 but not afraid of creating a power point presentation? I would rather write a book. I do not know how to make a power point presentation. I guess each person has a preference.

Parenting, Homeschooling and Lectures

When I lecture my kids, whether about socializing, the gospel, housework, gardening, getting along with each other, math, history, art, grammar, science or behavior,  I see them not caring.

Sometimes I get after them like it is their fault they are bored 😷 sick. I say something similar to, “Should I stop ✋🏼 then? I feel like you are not listening.” Their replies are programmed and in unison because of past lectures they have heard from me. They say something like, “No, Don’t stop! We are listening!”
Sadly, I go on, as if I think their reply means that they will learn now because they will now listen to my lecture with renewed enthusiasm. It is so silly. I am so glad Alfie Kohn wrote this. It really makes me think about the way I parent and teach homeschool to my unfortunate child-students. I feel like he wrote it just for the benefit of my poor children so that they can have better lessons taught by their homeschool mom and by their mom!

Here’s to a goal and to hope for more future effort on my part, given to being a more effective (non-lecturing teacher so that my kids can learn better! Go, me! I can lead discussions! I can ask questions which make the kids figure things out on their own! I can teach hands-on lessons!

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college classes, smaller classroom sizes in college, lecture style university teaching, university lectures, discussion, power point presentations, constructivism, housework, homeschooling, grammar, history, math, gospel, gardening, writing a book, children, listening, goal, hope, better homeschool mom

Homeschool Pie Chart Percentages

I have decided upon a different approach to educating my kids than most people have. I want to focus better on more important things. I made a new pie chart for homeschool priorities. Here it is:

I. The Gospel, Family History, the Scriptures, Prayer, Service, Love & Kindness, Emotional and Social education 25%

II. Life Skills, Health and Preparedness for the Future 25%

III. Language Arts, Handwriting, Keyboarding & Computers, Library & Research 25%

IV. Other Academic Subjects

     A. The Arts

          1. Art

          2. Music

          3. Theater

          4. Dance

     B. Social Studies

          1. Liberty in the U.S.

          2. Politics, Civics

          3. U.S. History & Geography

          4. Utah History & Geography

          5. World History & Geography

          6. Life School Geography

     C. Math

          1. Basics math for everyday life for kids

          2. Basics general math for skill level for kids

          3. Algebra

          4. Geometry

          5. Trigonometry

          6. Budgeting, Accounting and Finance

          7. Pre-calculus

          8. Calculus

     D. Science

          1. Cooking & Chemistry

          2. Gardening, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Biology

          3. Aerospace Camp & Physics

          4. Life School Science

           5. God’s Design For Science

           6. Science and God

            7. Science from life and field trips for science

     E. Other Languages, etc.

          1. American Sign Language

          2. Morse Code & Short Hand

          3. Spanish

          4. Portuguese

      F. ACT Prep

           1. ACT English Prep

           2. ACT Reading Prep

           3. ACT Science Prep

           4. ACT Math Prep

Tidal Wave Learning and Improvement

I have decided that this is my “style” of homeschooling. In a facebook group about a year ago, someone said they did tidal wave homeschooling for their kids. She described it as unschooling for days at a time. Then, sometimes for a few days in a row, she would teach them “school at home style” academics. I was so excited that there was someone who had invented a name for what I do.

I do not think we really need label, or do I? Maybe I have a need for it. People ask me all the time what style I use to homeschool. It is so hard to explain it to people and for others to understand. My husband does not “get it,” because last night he said that unschooling is basically just “when you don’t do anything, then.” No. He has no clue that we do a lot of unschooling and has no clue that ltting kids learn waht they want to and love to learn, is termed “unschooling,” although he does support it and love it. But for him, for our kids, for me, for homeschooling families who want a wuick answer and for other peopel who just want a quick answer, having a group which follows a similar style and having a name for ourselves (a label), would help immensely.

This morning, after a year of searching, I finally found another woman who has blogged about what she terms, “tidal learning,” which is what I have decided I do  too. I really want to connect with her and any others who feel that this is their style, too. She started writing about this long before I started to homeschool. I do not know whether she is the reason the other woman on facebook mentioned it. She has about 10 posts about this style. She is an author, so I’d really like to talk with her about writing a book with me about the way she homeschools, the way I homeschool and the way other tidalwave learning and improvement moms, or tidal learning moms, homeschool.

She mentioned in her blog that she does not think labels are necessary. I agree. She also said sometimes, she wants to fit in somewhere and have a group. Well, that was implied by how she worded it, anyway. I also agree. We need a group of us who are not quite unschoolers but love unschooling, and not quite regular homeschooling full-time with lesson plans made by mom, but love that, also.

I agree with her that unschooling is great and we mostly DO that, BUT I also feel there are things that, if just left to discover things on their own, my kids would never know about. I feel it necessary to my happiness and theirs, to make lesson plans, teach and give assignments. My kid actually get to missing and longing for, a formal teaching session by me and some formal assignments. I get to longing for it after a little while, too. This makes me, Melissa Wiley and anyone else who does it this way, very different from those who do other styles. I use less Charlotte Mason than she does, but I do have the styles I like. Unschooling is about 70 percent of my “eclectic” mix.

I do need to write more about it and not be afraid to write here about what we do here.  I have been to now, very reserved about it. I get anger from unschoolers and, frankly, I shy away from talking about what we do here because of that. 

Oompa Loompas Chapter 16, with Math

My kids have been doing math this morning as I have read to them. Surprisingly, it helps them get it done faster, and I do not know why. It is some kind of brain thing. I think it is because they are using both sides of the brain at the same time. Maybe you could try it. It has been amazing. Of course, I did have to keep saying, “Keep doing your math.”

L.D.S. Homeschool Curriculum Web Site List

First, check out my Curricula here: L.D.S. Homeschool Products at my Teachers Pay Teachers store

Next, I have tried to make a fairly comprehensive list of LDS Homeschool Curricula. This is for teaching of Doctrines and Scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and for academics from the LDS perspective.

I have compiled this list so that you will now have the same trouble I had in finding great LDS Homeschooling Curricula and Resources. I am really excited about this. I hope this helps a lot of new and experienced homeschool parents in getting what they need in order to teach homsechool with an LDS perspective.

I am using Life School, Discover the Scriptures and Finch Family Games a lot in my homeschool, but some of these others look worth trying, too. My advice is to try samples of each and see what works best for your family! I warn you against buying a full curriculum without sampling it. I also advise searching for reviews and asking around before outting money into any of this!

Happy Discovering, and please tell others about this resource! Thanks!

About LDS Homeschooling:

Notes About Michelle Stone’s ‘Celestial Education’ DVD (available on YouTube and Vimeo)

These Teach Homeschool Academics with LDS Gospel Lessons:

Brite Music K-2 Plus Values and Safety Education
Keystone Ed by Tresta Neil

LIFE School K-8

Latter-Day Learning

Textbook Publishers (Kimber, Skousen)


Jenny Phillips Curriculum (k-3; 4-6 in the works; appears to be LA only)

Kindred Learning

Discover the Scriptures

Courageous Beings

Polar Star Studies

Building Heroes Academy (k-6)

Learning To Read Using the Book of Mormon

Mormon Little Books

The House

My LDS Preschool

Love to Learn by LDS former Homeschool Mom and now Grandma Curricula kits, homeschool supplies, and guidebooks

Resources for Teaching Academics from an LDS perspective:

Simplified scriptures for early readers (1st or 2nd graders)
Timelines, etc.

Book of Mormon Sight Words Flashcards
Living History Books

Teaching Self-Government

iPlates

Milestones Academy

Hold 2 the Rod

Moorhouse Academy Curriculum Blog
Resources for teaching One week sample here

Devotionals, Coloring Pages, Scripture Printables for posting & Copywork Pages

Science and Religion, LDS perspective book by David Barker

LDS doctrine to very young kids:

Faith in God Activity Booklets for Boys and Girls made by a homeschool mom
Brick of Mormon

Finch Family Games

Hatch Patch

In His Image (ages 5-7)

L.D.S. Notebooking Booklets (free downloads)
Book of Mormon

Early / Easy Readers

Learning to Read Using the Book of Mormon

Learn to Read Using the Book of Mormon Reader

The Friend Magazine

LDS-Notebooking TPT Store

Resources for Teaching Youth the Scriptures and Doctrine:

2016 LDS.org Curricula
Book of Mormon Study Guide

The Golden Plates Comic Book

For the Strength of Youth

Church Youth Theme for 2015

Preach My Gospel lessons

Academic Curriculum Created by LDS People:

Confessions of a Homeschool Mom

Melissa Cloud’s TPT store


Krista Wallden’s TPT store

Melonheadz TPT store

Confessions of a Homeschooler
Grade-Level Packages

Joy School (Preschool)

Other Resources

A Thomas Jefferson Education

The Helpful Garden (free Montessori Printables)

Facebook group for Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who Homeschool

Note: If YOU have a curriculum or resource that would fit into any of these lists, and want yours included here, I would be happy to add it. Please send me a message! Thanks!


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LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb page

Lisa C. Jackson’s Judgy and Preachy version of LDS Living Article

Based on LDS Living Article: “7 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them”

10 mistakes LDS parents make and how to avoid them: Preparing Your Kids to Serve Missions.”
1) Sending them to a public or charter school. 

2) Trying to Control your kids and make them do what you want them to do.

3) Forcing them to go to church, read their scriptures, do church activities, etcetera.

4) Using body language and facial expressions like the ones this woman in the photo Facebook Shows with the Link to the LDS Living Article: 

  
5) Expecting your child to learn the gospel by concept and memorization in church, instead of by daily life and by your example.

6) Not putting love first in your relationship with your child. Putting love and the relationship last.

7) Avoiding family home evening and, if married, weekly dates with your spouse to keep the family strong.

8) Not giving your child what he or she needs in the relationship with you, when it is needed.

9) Not listening and caring about your child’s desires and decisions, therefore killing your child’s ability to make them on his or her own.

10) Telling your kid how it is and to face it, rather than letting your kid grow up naturally and gradually, helping choose his or her life, learn about life on his or her own, etcetera.

LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb group

Spelling Workout Teaches a Lot and is Fun for Kids!

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.