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

Advertisements

Homeschool and Opt In, Dual Enrollment, Sexuality and Homosexuality Within Marriage and Transgenderism, Utah Public Schools Fall of 2017, and teaching a Christian Perspective of this to your Child(ren)

I  believe long titles are cool. How could I possibly shorten that?

Someone just replied to a post stating that they wish it were “opt in” to what you want taught to your children rather than “opt out.” I replied that her wish has already come true. The laws in Utah already make it that way! I homeschool my kids because I decided not to opt in to anything. Some moms homeschool their kids, but can legally do something called dual enrollment. They can decide into which classes in Junior High or High School their children will enroll. They can decide in elementary school, which subjects their children can learn in the public school. The rest, they teach at home through homeschooling.

For example, if in the elementary years, I want to have my kids in homeschool, but I want them to go to elementary school for science, I can do that. The teacher can let me know on what days and at what time science is taught and I can take my child to the school just for science. In Junior High, if I wanted my child in just choir and orchestra, I could put my child in just those classes.

So, crazy amazing as it is, homeschooling is not as bad as people think. You just have to sign an affadavit that is stamped by a notary public and turn it into your school district, which says you will be responsible for the educatin of your child(ren) who are named on the affadavit.

If the parent does not want their child in public school for a class but wants someone else to teach it, they can hire a teacher or tutor. In homeschooling facebook groups, ther are abundant invitations to enroll in classes taught by others by paying a fee. They are in many countiesm so sometimes, a parent will drive their child to another county for a class. Children who are homeschooled are not limited in socialization like people think. They are exposed to many different people in diverse locations, who have diverse religions and different cultural backgrounds! The parent and the child together get to choose the teachers and classes, though!

Utah SB (Senate Bill) 196 of 2017 Session, Passed into Law by Governor Herbert
Link to copy and paste, to share: https://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0196.html

This coming fall in Utah, it will be legal for the kid to be exposed to the advocacy and teaching of and about homosexuality within marriage, and about transgenderism at any age. This will be something Equality Utah will be very willing to teach on behalf of the teachers who do not want to teach it themselves. This can be taught with any subject: health, the family curriculum, P.E., music, art, math, science, language arts or social studies. Their may be math story problems which mention homosexuality. Grammar can be taught with homosexuality and transgenderism mentioned in the sentences to be worked with.

In short, this fall, I do not recommend public school if you are against your child learning these things from others. I teach my kids about transgenderism and homosexuality. They are very aware it exists and know how to be kind to everyone. I can teach it myself. I do not need to trust the public schools, which will trust Equality Utah with it. If your child is in a public school in Utah and you feel you have no choice, pray that your child will have a Christian teacher who will teach your child about it. That is the best you can possibly get!

In Utah, I bet it will be done as it has been done in other states. Sexuality, Homosexuality within marriage and transgenderism will likely be taught in Health class and in school-wide assemblies via large films created by Equality Utah, after which Equality Utah members will have a discussion and will lead a Q and A session with the youth. They may have already been arranging these assemblies wi school princlipals over the summer months. It may be possible to find out from the school, when these assemblies will happen. Then you can either not send your child that day or you can make sure to talk to your child on that very day right afterit happens and discuss what they learned with them, from a Christian perspective.

Here is a link to the bill passed in the 2017 session and allowed into law by Governor Herbert. It passed because Equality Utah sued the Utah State Board of Education and said they would drop the suit if it passed. Utah SBof E. was convinced they could not afford the risk of letting it go to the Supreme Court (under President Trump’s very Christian Republican administration). Cowards, I say! I am very upset. I knew about and fought this bill by calling many ward members locally, on the phone. Most of them had already taken to heart Equality Utah’s propoganda about suicidal bullied transgender and homosexual kids. I say this is propoganda because they even stated themselves in the speeches given when the bill was presented in committee, that they have no proof that suicides are caused by transgenders or homosexuals being bullied. In fact, they do not even have proof that those who committed suicide were transgender or homosexual persons. They just want to use all the suicides and claim they were all homosexual or transgender people and bullied.

I think the suicides could be caused by all the pressure in the schools from testing. I think the Common Core is a big factor in suicides committed by school children. I think another factor is that mentions of God or Jesus not being allowed in pubic schools. God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost are the best suicide preventions! People need Christianity because they need a good reason to live. Knowing that they are children of God and God loves them really is a big deal!

Dealing with Dyslexia in Homeschool Reading Instruction


The first thing I did a couple of years ago was take him in for an eye exam. He needed glasses for far-sightedness, which means things are blurry when up-close. This gave him trouble with worksheets and reading. When that was figured out, his reading improved a huge step, but something was still not right. 

Having a few other children whom I had taught or helped teach to read, I knew this was not the same. He was struggling with things my other children had not struggled with. Researching online, I came to an educated guess that he is dyslexic. I also came to the conclusion that dyslexia does not make it impossible to learn to read. It just makes its instruction take more time and patience. 

Today he read about 6 pages in “Frolic and Do-Funny” and all of the other books in the photo completely.  I have been having him read to me every day for about an hour. I stop when I can tell he is getting tired of it and worn out (which is easy to tell). I am happy that he is getting faster at reading, makes mistakes less often and recognizes more words. It has been hard work but it is becoming worth it now.

I love the joy on his face now as he can enjoy the stories more readily now because he is reading faster and more smoothly. I know we still have a long way to go to get him reading as well as his siblings, but that is okay. It is now becoming a more enjoyable journey. I love sitting with him and having him read to me!

I saw many strategies for dyslexic reading instruction online. I think the best method is simply love, patience and time. It is having the child read to you every day while you love your child. It is knowing that it is okay that your child has been told that word 300 times and still does not recognize it yet. It is telling your child what the word is in a calm voice yet again because you know that dyslexia is hard and you are okay with your child taking his or her time learning that word.

Allowances for Kids

We did a compromise thing with allowances. It is half unconditional parenting and half Dave Ramsey! We love Dave Ramsey’s teachings! The 100% allowance every 2 weeks is one quarter per year of age for each child. My husband lets me decide whether each child gets 100%, 75%, 50%, 25% or nothing. I have never gone down to nothing because none of the chilldren have done that poorly.

I decide based upon honesty, obedience and kindness to family members. Because I homeschool, obedience includes doing the homeschool assignments given them. Obedience includes doing the housework asked of them during the two weeks. Some of my kids nearly always get 100%. We decided not to make a big deal of the money they are losing. I need too work on that. I have been reminding them during the two weeks, of the allowance money. This is not what we originally agreed upon.

Homeschooling: A Lighter Load for Spring

I have gone to a lighter load already. My kids now do one assigned pencil drawing (art) assignment and a chore on Friday. Other than that, Friday is an unschooling style day. During the week, my kids do (in this order) one “spelling workout” lesson (4 pgs. long, including vocabulary, grammar and one paragraph of writing), 2 pages of “handwriting without tears” workbook, one worksheet of math in a binder I created for each child (from multiple sources), a half hour of reading non-fiction science book of choice, a half hour of reading non-fiction history book of choice, a half hour of reading fiction book of choice, a chore, and a half hour to two hours of interest-based learning (depending upon age).
This gives them more choices and they love it. Their spelling, vocabulary and writing skills are great. They are learning math every day. They get to learn the history and science that peaks their interest that day. I have a huge library of non-fiction books in all subjects and levels which I picked myself (and I am very picky) for them to read. I have a huge variety of fiction books for all levels and interests for them to choose from. 

We are constantly adding to our library, which makes the kids excited to see the new books. Sometimes, with their own money (the older they are, the more they generally earn), they buy books they are interested in.

As for the “boring” and “gave too much work,” I negotiate with my kids and change things up about every couple months. Last time, I took away some spelling (they used to do 2 lessons a day) and added the reading non-fiction (because my son wanted science in, and less spelling.

I also spend about two hours a week helping my eldest and about the same, teaching kids how to read and having then read to me (for the younger ones).

40 Year Old Utah Mormon Vegan Homeschool Mom with Large Family Trying to Get to a Healthy Weight

I have a large family. I have a large family for a Utah Mormon (not just for a city-dwelling New-York City resident or Hollywood movie star, because their definitino of a large family is not mine). I am vegan. I have been pregnant and breatfeeding for what feels like half of my life. I am 40. I wake up early, not to excercise, but to take my daughter to her early morning homeschool seminary class.

I try hard to eat right. I just barely skim the surface of having a habit of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner on time. I try to eat healthy foods, but it is tough to find time to prepare something healthy when our lives are so busy.

I try to find time to exercise. I just cannot find it. O.k., so I know where it is. It is right there when my husband gets home, gives me the chance to go to the gym, and I hear my preschooler bawling at the top of his lungs about his hunger, my husband says to ignore him, and I make him something to eat, following which my husband leaves and my was-gonna-be-tending-while-I-went-to-the-gym son throws a fit, begging me to let off on the homeschool assignments for the week so that he can play on the wii. The screaming, throwing things and bawling from the torture of the immensity of the assignments is so great that I do not go to the gym. I stay home and my husband gets back and tries go help us through the rough patch. Then I make a vegan dinner for only myself and am too exhausted (and it is too late at night) to go to the gym.

This is just one day in the life of the Utah Mormon Vegan Homeschool Mom with a Large Family who is trying to lose 30 lbs. and thus reach a healthy weight. I tell you, I am sick to death of all the blog posts and youtube videos I find with women who have 2 kids and send them to school during the day, then tell me how they lost all the baby weight in 6 weeks.  am also sick of all the “you need animal protein” lies out there, written by weight-loss gurus who are not vegan!

“Thou shalt not covet” the women who lose baby weight in under a year. Seriously, the toughest commandment out there. Arghhhhh!

I seriously cannot be the only one! I hate feeling alone. I do not expect to find someone just exactly in my situation, but a bunch of groupies close to it would be nice. A support group would help immensely. There have to be vegan homeschool moms out there with large families, and who also large bellies like mine that have not gone away when the baby is a preschooler!

If you are one and have found this post, please comment. I need a support network of women who know what I am going through! Advice about exercise would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

My Homeschooling Buddy

I will start with advice  recently gave online to a homeschool mom:

[As you can see, there are no two families that homeschool the same way. Also, it is very much an “adjust as you go along” type thing. Since there are really no rules, you can do it how you want. When a woman becomes a mom for the first time, there is a huge amount of advice given, much of it coming as, “This is the right way. Never do it that way.” Sometimes you even get, metaphorically, “Never sit. Always stand,” from person A and “Never stand. Always sit,” from person B. 

[Just like a new mom cannot possibly take everyone’s advice, neither can a new homeschool mom. It is impossible, since the advice conflicts. The best path for you and yours, you will find by trying things out and seeing what works best for your family and what you like best. Once you get to this point, you stop asking for advice as much because it gets annoying. You will still ask for it now and then, but even then, sometimes you will not listen to the advice you will get because of what you will already know about your own convictions.

[This is not a downside to homeschooling. It is freedom. It is coming from a world of very few choices into a world of billions of combinations and possibilities. It can be overwhelming to take in all the freedom when you are used to institutionalization and control, so just take it one day and one step at a time. 

[Also, make sure if you are not enjoying it and loving it, thar you change it. Homeschooling is meant to be joyful and wonderful. Granted, it IS a lot of work, but please find times to relax and be happy!]

Now I will move on. This morning I had to tell my husband to just listen while I complained about all my problems. I told him to remember tne book, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” and how women just need to complain but that does not mean it is the husband’s fault or that she is asking him to solve the problem. She just has to talk and complain until she feels better. 

One of the things that came up t the surface, which had been in my subconscious mind only, was that I do not know what to do about my sister not living close by and I just need to figure out how to see her more. I miss her. Another was that  feel like I am never going to fit in, in the homeschool world. I just feel like I homeschool so differently fro everyone else. The reality is, every homeschool mom feels this way because every homeschool mom homeschools so differently from everyone else. It is this whole freedom thing and the billions of combinations and possibilities because of that freedom. Sometimes it gets on my nerves, that no homeschool mom has everything in common with me.

At this point, my busband thought he would interject some humor to bring me back to reality. He said I just wanted a clone of myself. Even though it was not related at all to that, I thought for a minute and then the Holy Ghost reminded me of sonething about what kind of a person I needed. It hit me. My husband was the homeschool friend I had been needing. 

I excitedly pointed this out to him. He was skeptical. He said he could not be, since he was gone to his employment so much, leaving me to homeschool alone. I explained how I suddenly had seen things. We have the same vision about homeschooling. We have the same beliefs about what to teach and how to teach it. We have the same number of kids, the same ages. We even have the same exact kids! Crazy, right?