Homeschool Academics as a Prevention Method

I apoligize for those who may have come to this post thinking it is praise for Academics in homeschool. That is not what this post is about. This is about the positive things that your homeschool could have which academics can possibly prevent from happening.

My definition of “Homeschool Academics” is: 

Formal teaching by the homeschool mom or homeschool teacher (if in a co-op) usually by subject, such as math, science, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, speech, geography, history, careers, p.e., health, art, music, theater, dance and library sciences. These are usually learned one subject at a time at a certain “grade level.” They are usually taught either by specific planned curricula, usually via books, workbooks, assigned projects and so forth. Much of it is also memorization, copying and reciting. Sometimes there are field trips and videos. Sometimes even hands-on things are done to aid with the learning. Some or all of it could be fun and made just right for the learning style of the child. There is usually an assignment, project or quiz given to the child to do to aid with and show the learning. This “work” that is completed which has evidence is many times useless to anyone except for possibly as scrapbooking material for evidence in portfolios to show that this “work” has been done. More than 90 percent of this fodder is, or should be, recycled because otherwise it would overrun the house, giving nobody a place to sit, sleep or eat. About 10 percent of it is wonderful, beautiful and unique. Usually the homeschool academics are so rough on the kids that they need a formal recess, a formal lunchbreak, a formal starting and stopping time, formal days of the week when “homeschool” is done and formal summer, spring, fall and winter breaks, just like they would have in school. 

Most homeschool families, at least the ones I know of, started out nearly 90 percent of the time using the “homeschool academics” methods. Most homeschool families I know about don’t keep doing it more than a year. This is for those in their first year who have maybe “just getting started seeing the big picture of what homeschooling can be.”

My definition of “just getting started seeing the big picture of what homeschooling can be” is:

You have just begun to realize that using the “formal school structure, curriculum, schedules and methods” is not required, that nobody is going to check up on you and shut down your little homeschool and that your kids learn more watching television and playing than they do from your “homeschool academics” lessons. (Perhaps this is frustrating to you). You have possibly also noted that having your own children raise their hands to ask you whether they can use the bathroom is pretty silly. (That one is a chapter from our own starting out story). There is a very slight possibility that by now you have also had conversations with some seasoned homeschoolers. These people who have homeschooled for a few years and have stopped using so many of the “homeschool academics” methods. Possibly, you have even met a mother who told you, “We unschool.” I am sure you asked her what that was, so I will not tell you in this post. (If you have not met such a person, you will, or you can google it).

Now I will move on to what homeschool academics will likely prevent, with a story.

A couple weeks ago, we were thrown a new learning curveball. It was very unexpected and unplanned. We were out in the back yard peeling polyetheline tape off of cardboard boxes so that we could use those as weed barriers to start our “Back  to Eden  Garden.” Suddenly we heard very loud wings flapping with fervor. A large raptor was chasing a dove. The raptor had knocked the dove out of the tree first. It was so surprising that we all screamed loudly, scaring the raptor away. Then we had a limping, flightless dove hopping around the yard with cowardice, looking so afraid that we  tried  to feed it. Then we started to worry about the CAT. Oh, dear. Poor helpless bird. We did not want this lovely bird killed by a cat.

We made a couple phone calls and then we had a very scary mission: to pick the bird up with a towel and put him in a box, then take him in to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. (My sister-in-law did this with our little bit of help. Our hero!) Little did we know, that was just the beginning. We went to a volunteer training meeting and today, my son and I were in volunteer training there for 3 hours. We learned as much as I learned in one whole week in a class in college. I cannot even put it all into words, and that was just in three hours’ time. We plan to continue and next week my daughter will be in training, too. They will learn more than any school kid could possibly be learning at the same time sitting in school.

Now let me say something about this. If we had been inside doing academics and not outside ripping tape off from cardboard boxes, this opportunity for EXTREME LEARNING opportunity never would have presented itself. We would still not even know that this place exists. By the way, they told us that the bird who chased the bird out of the tree was a Cooper’s Hawk and that the dove is a Eurasian Collard Dove. The dove is now being treated by being fed from a tube. He has a popping sound when he breathes which indicates he has internal injuries. His wings work fine but he is too injured internally to be able to fly. 

Once a week as part of our learning, we will go in and volunteer there. This will be a great opportunity for my kids to learn service, hard work, introducation to veterinary science, biology and medical care for injured wild animals (mostly birds). I think even the “academic homeschooling” moms would love to have their kids doing things like this for learning, but I do not think they will find such opportunities in their communities until they slow down the academics and start working their way into the adventurous side which is called “unschooling.”

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. 

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


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 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!


LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb page

Today’s Agenda

These are my plans. We’ll see how it goes. Having a plan does not mean this is exactly what we will do. It means these are my goals for today.

1- sleep in, breakfast–catch up on rest after all the canning (whew)

2- get ready for the day (showers, etc.)

3- have life school/ discover the old testament lesson

4- housecleaning and lunch

5- complete life school /discover the old testament assignments

6- Speech & Debate homework

Update: We did do 1-5! Yay

Making “Learning and Improvement” Photos For 2015-16 Academic Year

In pondering the beginning of a new academic year for our family, my daughter and I created signs to photograph each child for the beginning of the year like so many moms do when sending thier kids to school. You will not see them here because I do not post photos, ages or names of my kids here. Here is a photo of the backdrop! 


The Cost to Homeschool a Large Family

If I were to consider not by average, but by year for my kids preschool through 12th grade, how much more or less we spend on homeschooling than what we would have spent and saved were our kids public or charter schooled, here is the breakdown. I used an online charter school, but I have counted as if I did not get reimbursed, so you can see what the cost would have been, had I paid for all of it myself.

2012-13, 3 students: I saved $1,100

2013-14, 4 students: $100

2014-15, 5 students: $1,400

After adding up costs, it added up to $1,000 per year per child. I was surprised at the cost. Then I subtracted things I would have paid for even were they in public school. After that, I started subtracting what I had saved by homeschooling. All the savings surprised me even more, as I had not previously considered those.

All this includes extra costs of housecleaning and extra costs of lunches beyond what they would be if we had them in public school. It includes homeschool retreats, homeschool group events costs, classes and lessons (including sports and lessons that most people put their kids in). I enrolled my kids in, conferences, field trips, annual family memberships to learning places, printer paper, printer, printer ink, school supplies, games and dvd’s, apps, computer, iPad, office supplies, art and craft supples, music supplies, gardening supplies and books.

This not account for loss of income I could have had coming in from my graphic design business had I not been busy with this. It does not include lessons and sports we would have still had our kids in had we not homeschooled. This does not account for family events, memberships and family field trips for learning we would have gone on even if they were in public school. I have subtracted the costs of school supplies, books and fees we would have paid were we a public schooling family, and books, supplies and DVD’s we’d have purchased even if in public school.

I encourage you to figure out how much you spend per month on all of your kids on:

  • Trendy fashion clothing and accessories you would not need if they were in homeschool
  • Toys your kids heard about at school that you had to buy them because they heard about them
  • Backpacks, binders, locker accessories, school fees and supplies you would not have to buy were they in homeschool
  • Therapy sessions and doctor visit costs that you would not have were your family homeschooling
  • Day care, extra meal expense and extra clothing you must buy for the wife to have paid work
  • What you spend on class treats, PTA donations, donations to the school, fundraisers for/ related to the school
  • School supplies you have to buy not just at the beginning of the year, but monthly (posterboard for a presentation, printer ink, note cards, supplies for making a model, science project supplies, photocopies at libraries, DVD’s or books required to rent or buy for school, sewing supplies required for school, gardening supplies, etc.
  • Gas/ Petroleum/ fuel/ electricity, to run your vehicles, to take your kids to and from school and school events

LDS Homeschoolers Are “In the World But Not Of The World.”

I just got a lecture about my kids disobeying LDS church leaders, who say we must public school so that we can be “in the world, but not of the world.” This person said that the person giving the General Conference talk said that we must be part of the public education system to be “living in this world.”

Joyce Kinmont says the church believes in parental choice on the matter

YouTube Video Joyce Kinmont LDS Church policy on homeschool or public school

Mormon Momma’s answer is a good one. Click here to read it!

L.D.S. Homeschool Northern Utah fb page

Homeschooling Socialization Data and Explanations

Here are a series of great articles I agree with.

Facts about homeschool vs. public school socialization

Data With Percentages from Many studies about homeschooling vs. Public schooling and Social skills

How Homeschoolers make friends

How Do Homeschooled Kids Meet Other Kids of a Similar Age?

Teenage Homeschooling Social Life!

Sibling Homeschool Socialization Advice

Are Homeschooled Kids Annoying Because They are Just Not Like Other Kids?

Is a Teacher More Important Than a Parent for a School-Aged Child? The government wants you to think so!

Homeschool: Not Falling Behind

Will your kids “fall behind” if you do not follow a strict schedule in homeschool?

     My dentist asked me a question he thought I could just nod “yes” to while I could not reply. He said, “I would not be able to do that, because I would not be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule, and you have to stick to a schedule, or they’d fall behind, right?”

     I thought it was interesting what he thought of as a given. He thought it a given that if we as homeschool moms are not able to stick to a strict, public school like schedule in our homeschool, that everyone learning here, would “fall behind” for sure.

     I have home educated my kids for 3.5 years and, having met over 300 homeschool moms, and have never known of a homeschool family, not using public charter school programs, who follows a strict schedule. In fact, from talking to the ones I have met, most, I see, do more unschooling style than school-at-home style. Yet, even then, official affidavit (legal) homeschooling vs. public schooling statistics show that homeschoolers who take tests do better on the tests than public schoolers, if you figure averages for both sides.

Homeschool Domination
Created by:

   In short, no schedule is necessary for success in home educating a child. I do not follow a schedule. I do like making schedules on my iPad. Doing it serves the purpose of helping me see how much time I actually have in each month and week. It helps me to block out proper amounts of time for teaching what I wish to teach, because, with time, I have learned how long things take. After doing it, I do not obey it. I just use ut ti put into my brain, what I have time to teach this week and this month, realistically. This way, I can focus on my goals and on where my kids need to improve, knowing that we cannot fit the impossible into our day.

     For example, this summer I am focusing on each child’s greatest weakness or needs in our homeschool. I am sure most public schooling moms do the same. Perhaps they see that their child needs to read more, so they focus on reading. Perhaps they see that their child is just rude and disobedient, so they will focus on the behavior issues and relationship this summer. Maybe the child wishes he or she had more time for science, so the focus will be science field trips this summer. I do this in our homeschool. 

     Even then, I do not follow a schedule. I do not say, “8:00 Learning Item 1, 9:00 Learning Item 2.” How do I do it, with no specific time or schedule? Whenever I feel like it, I work on this with this child. Whenever I feel like it, I work on that, with the next child. There are some days we just relax. Some days, we do a lot of housework. Most days currently, in the evenings, we are almost constantly at a ball game. You can say for sure one of our focuses now is sports. It is just time for that now. One of the things we do a lot of now is gardening and yard work. I bet a lot of people do a lot of that now.

     Do we even get to enjoy summer? Yup! The difference is, we also get to really enjoy the fall, the winter and the spring, while publilc schooling families only have one season to really enjoy life. It makes me sad seeing people having to stuff every happiness and joy into 3 months in one season of the year. 

     This is what I mean. In the fall when the public schoolers are sitting in a classroom for the majority of the day, my kids still get to go enjoy the outdoors a lot during the day, and not just in short bursts at a recess time. This is when the weather is cooler. It is just right outside. The fall leaves get to be enjoyed more. In this past winter, we spent a lot of time working in the garden in January and February. We had no snow stick on the ground until about April. It was a crazy year. We got to enjoy this bonus season which was a little like fall and a little like spring, more hours of the day. It was nice to have it.

    I hope thinking that you are not a disciplined, schedule-driven person, would not keep you from home educating your kids! Please, try it! ADD and ADHD moms can do it, too!

Homeschool Book Report Questions


Homeschool Fiction Book Report

What is the title of the book?

Who wrote this book?

Who illustrated the book?

What is the 1st copyright date on the book?

What company published the book?

How many pages are in the book?

How many chapters are in the book?

What is the book about?

What inspiration or thoughts came to you while reading or thinking about the book?

Name something mentioned in the book that may be symbolic:

What mentioned in the book is similar to some part of your life now?

Write 4 lines from a poem, or something that could be made into a poem, which is the book.

What is a political, moral or social lesson the author may be sending to readers?

Put down a favorite quote from the book:

Describe the main character.

Describe the goals of the main character at the beginning.

What was the main character’s biggest challenge and how was it overcome?

Who or what did the main character have to go up against?

Who or what were on the side of the main character from the beginning?

How did the main character change, from the beginning to the end of the book?