Classroom Set-Up: Back to Relaxed Mormon Homeschool

It is that time of year again. School teachers and Homeschool moms are very busy right now. It is time to plan for the upcoming academic year of 2017-18. It will be another new and exciting academic year for all of us. It is a very exciting time of year. It is a time to start fresh and look forward to newness and think of how things will be different this year. There is always a hope that each year will be better, easier. There is a great aspiration to have a better set-up which will make finding things easier, which will make us able to do things we do repeatedly and often, more efficiently, and which will make everyone feel in the mood to enjoy togetherness, make friends (or become closer as a family), learn and do school work.


I am well aware that public school and charter school teachers are getting ready as well as homeschool moms like me. My parents were public school teachers until they retired, and I know they were starting to prepare for the new academic year at this time. In my local school district, the first teacher contract day is in a week and a day. Generally, my mom and dad worked at least 3-4 days not on their contract, before the school year began. It is likely that this coming Monday, many Weber County School District teachers will show up at their school, unlock their classroom which has rested from teacher eyes all summer, and will sigh, stare at the walls and cabinets and wonder where they will start in setting up their classrooms.


I remember all those years helping my mom and dad set up. Even for me, as a child and as an adult, it was exciting. I loved making sure all the new pencils were sharpened, and that every desk had a name label, a spelling book, a math book, a science book, a language arts book and a social studies book, along with a new pencil, a new ruler and a new box of pencils. Now I am a homeschool mom teaching my large family of children preschool through tenth this year. I have purchased many school supplies. I have yet to purchase more needed supplies, but for the most part, I have the supplies. We have one table in the homsechool room, so I do not set books there or put name labels on for the kids. I put books and supplies in the homeschool cabinets, lined up and organized nicely, ready for what we will be studying this year.


I have switched out the science focus. Although I hired out for science, I have science books in the homeschool room for when I say that today, I want them to pick a non-fiction science, geography or history book and read it, or when, for language arts, I want them to use non-fiction books to do a research report.


When my public school teacher parents were getting ready for the new year, there was much de-junking and organizing. There wasn’t recycling. They only had garbage cans, but much went into the trash. My homeschool room has to be newly de-junked and papers filed and put away or recycled. I have one full box of school papers my mom gave me and one full blue bin of papers I put in the bin from all the years of homeschooling combined. I have to go through them. Don Aslett called it “the paper tiger” in his book about de-cluttering the office. A homeschool room is very much like an office, but we do have a separate room for the office.  It is needed for my homeschool file cabinet, homeschool workbooks I photocopy, my computer and pur 4-in-1 machine which photocopies, scans and prints. 


I am also making plans for creating more for other teachers to use in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. All of you who are reading this and who have created any tool for a teacher to use (public school teachers, charter school teachers and homeschool teachers) may wish to open a Teachers Pay Teachers store and sell the tools they have made. You can sign up here. It is free to start, (although you will make more money per item if you have a paid annual plan).


Teachers pay teachers referral link

Kayse Morris: Teachers Pay Teachers, for beginners (How to make it look good so it will 

Just make what you need for your own family or classroom 

Suggested Blogposts:

Whole House Home Ed Organization

Homeschool Dailies
LDS Homeschooling
Transgenderism and Homosexuality in Utah Schools Starting with 2017-18
Humanism is a Religion

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Interconnected Family Health

Lately I have learned that everything I need to do for my personal health, affects our homeschool. I focused on my health. Today I came to the conclusion that my husband’s and my childrens’ health contributes to the success of our homeschool, too. I also decided that all of us can influence everyone else’s health. I observed that each aspect of health also affects every other aspect of health. 

Important are Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social and Financial Health. Each aspect of Health is intertwined with each other aspect of Health. Each family member’s health is interconnected with the health of each individual in our family. The things each individual does, contributes to or takes away from the good health of the family’s whole health.

I came up with a plan to make task lists daily for each family member which will help us all improve our personal healths, our interpersonal healthiness and our overall family health. It has been working well so far today.

For me, this blog post is great for my mental health today. This will contribute to the mental health of the family, as well. I am so excited for this personal mothering breakthrough. It is for me a great discovery!

I hope it will benefit your family to ponder this!

Springtime And Being Very Busy!

I have been so busy gardening, organizing, de-junking and cleaning the house, that I have not made a blog post in a while. This past weekend, my husband and son finished building our Shelf Reliance shelves and we loaded them up with food storage cans. I am excited about that. Lately, we have been working  lot on that. 

On Saturday, before LDS General Conference, I worked hard putting the math in its own binder. It is a red binder, so it stands out from all the white ones I have for other reasons. I went through the math checklists and evaluated, knowing full well what the kids know and don’t, where each one is in math. Then I made lesson plans. I made plans for 6 homeschool days. 

“Pirate,” by my son:

  

Right now, at 7:30 a.m., my daughter is teaching my younger boys. She uses my math checklist for the math. I love the help. One son is telling her emphatically, “I already know my numbers!” He had been stubborn, but he just now passed off an item on the math checklist without any help at all. This is big for him! I am happy. My older daughter and my older son are now enthusiastically and with dancing, teaching them. My daughter just asked me, “Mom, what does fluently mean?” We have decided the one is fluent at a certain concept. Well, it will not be long before he can do even more difficult things fluently. I am so excited.

This is something most people who homeschool understand and most who don’t, don’t: The older kids teach their siblings happily. It’s awesome! It frees me up to focus on being the leader. I am not the leader and the one who does it all. I am just the leader. I give direction and my kids help it happen. They want homeschool to work. They want mom to be happy. They enjoy teaching because it is fun. 

When it comes to teaching siblings to ride bikes, play baseball, work in the garden, cook, clean, make lunch, etcetera, they are all great! I love this about homeschooling. Sometimes, younger ones even help older ones, because maybe that is their favorite subject, or one of their favorites, so they are beyond their years in ability because they have learned so much in a certain area. For example, my son loves science. He teaches his siblings all sorts of things because he “gets it.” I am usually surprised at what he knows. It’s amazing. He has the ability to explain science concepts by jumping up and down and acting them out. It’s fun to watch him. 

My daughter is still in her pajamas but is now looking over the Montessori list of skills and asking me whether this one has learned that yet. I am so grateful for her help in keeping on top of that. I used to have to do it all myself, which after a while, meant I never got to it. It is nice to have someone who gets to it on my behalf. She will be an awesome mom someday. She will be an awesome homeschool mom someday! Whe wants to be an early childhood educator, so all of this fascinates her. It is one of the things she lives for!

My son is reading “Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. He told me that he has 2 bookmarks. He does not like going for so long with these characters before getting back to what those ones are doing. He would rather just go one chapter with these, one chapter with those, instead of 3 chapters, then 3 chapters. Fine with me! He invents stories, too, so I would not be surprised if we get an author here! He is also still in pajamas. Oh, well. I am hoping he gets dressed by 9 a.m.!

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

Work At Home Homeschool Mom Rambles

Facebook Group: Work-For-Money, Homeschool & Family Balance

I have finally decided that it is better for me as a homeschool mom, this year, not to TRY to make money, but to take it if it comes. I could sell thrivelife foods and food storage stuff, usborne or doterra. I have my own graphic design business and a client wants a logo, and to meet this week. I have to call him sometime this week. 

Maybr today I will call him around 3 pm-ish, after homeschool academics are accomplished.

I am also trying to make a homeschool math curriculum that will allow people to teach all kids at once, olders and youngers, with the same main topic, but different specifics (like all learn multiplication, but the 7th grader does pre-algebra multiplication and the kindergartener learns 2 times 1; or all learn geometry, but the 2nd grader oearns what makes a trapezoid and what a parallelogram is, while the 5th grader learns about tangrams).

I recently found the book “Hands Free Mama” and I have decided not to try at making money, but just to take it if it comes. This book talks about how this is my life, now, And I mustn’t tell myself that later, I will live my life as I want it. I must live in the now. I do not know when my kids will lose me. Nobody knows what the future holds. We must not act as if we have all the time in the world. Now our kids are supposed to have our time. Later, we will have lost this time that we have right now. I am trying to become more of a hands free mom (with my time freed up to spend it with loved ones on a daily basis).

This means, I do not make any effort at any of the endeavors. However, if someone says, I want to order an usborne book, I will send them to my web site. If someone wants a thrive product, I let them order it (I have no web site, as they are $10 a month). If someone wants doterra, I send them to my website.

If someone wants graphic design, I will meet with them. I have set prices. If someone wants to pay less than my set prices, I no longer let myself consider it, even if it is a worthy, good cause. I just say, I am too busy homeschooling and I cannot do that. If someone is willing to pay my price, I will do the work for them. There are so many people who call themselves graphic designers nowadays, and people have even told me about getting a logo for five bucks. Those people will not have my time. They have no clue how much different my education, experience and knowledge is and they do not care. I will not entertain the thought of even considering, doing an ounce of work for them. They do not know or appreciate the value of me. Those who do, I am happy to drop everything for and work very hard for. I love being appreciated!

The math curriculum is something I work on anyway, because I want it for my family. I am creating it for my family. Later, a benefit will be that I will get to sell it. The only challenge there is to inhibit myself from giving it away for free. I have to say to myself, “NO. THEY CAN WAIT until it is ready to sell!”

I blog like crazy, but do not make money blogging. I do not know how to do that. I would like to have my blog bring in money, but it does not. I do get excited, though. I got to above 900 views with around 700 unique visitors the other day and was so pleased. If ai only knew how to make it so, this could bring in some cash!



So, there you have it, if you were wondering what it is like to be a money-earning work-at-home Homeschool mom! If you have any more that you were wondering about regarding this topic, just comment your question!

New Homeschool Routine For January 2015!

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Jeff said, “They only get 10 minutes of one on one time per day?” I said, “That is not all of the one on one time they get in a day. When they need help with Life School workbook, math, or discover the scriptures, they get one on one, but that is usually 2 minutes for this one, then 2 for that one, when they say, ‘I need help’ or when I check their work.”

Lest any forget, they get a ratio of 6 kids to one teacher (mom) all day long. That’s better than 25 kids to one teacher! When they have a question, it gets answered. Everyone’s every question gets answered almost every time. When they need help with their work, they wait in line behind one or two siblings for a couple minutes per sibling, then they get their one on one attention and help.

That is not even to mention that my 2nd grader can get help from my 5th grader or from my 7th grader if I am momentarily busy. My 5th grade son can get help from his 7th grade sister. Sometimes, my 7th grader can get help from my 5th grader (especially in Science, but, sometimes, he remembers some math things better than she does, and he reminds her). My kindergarten sin can learn how to read from 3 older siblings, when they read aloud to him. My 7th grade daughter makes teaching preschool and kindergarten one of her free time hobbies, which is wonderful and very helpful! She even uses the standards I have written up and in a book for each individual child, and asks me about teaching methods. I love that she is so willing to help in that way!

In case you are wondering, Life School teaches all subjects except dance and math, I believe. DTS is Discover the Scriptures,

I am excited for this, so I hope this works!

Peace out!

Our Summer Routine

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This is our summer poster chart, which we use as our routine. The rounded squares are pointed out whenever the kids ask for a privilege. The rectangle ones ar pointed out when the kids have done the rounded square items before that rectangle, to remind them what privileges they have earned.
The rectangles are not required. They are optional. Sometimes my kids just do their rounded square items, and go for a privilege in the bottom right rectangle. Lately, they have been earning free time and more open privileges, early in the day, or at least by 2 p.m.

Some days, like today, the kids do not ask for privileges, so they just play and mess up the house all day. Days like this usually get on my nerves, especially if the house is so messy that we cannot find a clean dish to use or a clean spot on the counter on which to prepare a meal. Today, I am too sleepy and worried about increasing my baby’s weight, to be able to throw any mental, emotional or physical energy at the housekeeping issues.

I am grateful for weekends when we are free to clean, which, of late, are few and far between. I am glad that my husband gets them to work when he is here. I am glad that my husband and I can get lots done on weekends.
This chart is working quite well. I do not know why, but it is.