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?

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.

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?

We Just Refinanced for Less Total Interest On Our Home Mortgage! 

Listening to and watching Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey live from Rachel’s Youtube channel was amazing and got me emotionally excited again, but there is something else I am emotionally excited about financially, too.

Today we signed papers to refinance our mortgage in order to be paying a 1% lower interest rate and in order to take 8 years off of our mortgage loan! 8 years. There were no fees except the cost of the escrow account and we will be getting roughly $1,500 to 2,000 back from different sources. (We will put it into our emergency fund). That really rocks big time! 

When we bought this, our second house, we had some equity from our other house which we sold. That was nice. It helped. We were at just 11 years left on that mortgage before buying this, our second home. Then, sadly, with a newer, bigger home, we were at a 30 year mortgage AGAIN. That was upsetting. Now we are down to a 20 year mortgage. Yay! It feels good to have less time left to be paying interest!

Dave Ramsey recommends not buying a home at all until you have 3 to 6 months liquid expenses in savings for emergencies and all your debts paid off. We did not do that. He also recommends not getting more than a 15 year mortgage loan. I want really bad to get down to a 15 year from a 20 RIGHT NOW, but we have been working at it and doing the best we can.

We aren’t big spenders. This Christmas, for the first time, we may possibly be able to spend more than last year’s $600 on Christmas for our whole extended family, our friends, our neighbors and our little immediate family. Most people would think that is not very much for a family as large as ours (and I will not tell you of its size because I do not trust the internet). Last year that is what we spent and it has been getting bigger every year. That means it was smaller the year before that and smaller the year before that one! When we were newlyweds, I had $5 that I could spend on my husband. I got him a mug with candy in it. It was all we could afford! Our second year, I had a canvas. I made him a painting of Portugal, where he served his LDS Mission.

We just went on our first ever traveling (not stay-cation) family vacation to a place 3 hours away, on a one night stay. It was a two day and one night fairly local vacation. Some people have told us that because we are not taking our kids on family vacations yearly, we are not building memories with them. That does make me sad, but I am also happy for the following: We have not had big fights over money. I am a mom who does not earn any money. This does not cause our family any stress. We are able to afford the expenses of homeschooling. We have a very nice house in a very nice area. We are living within our means. 

I know money does not create happiness, but I believe that doing our best to live within our means and be financially as smart as we can does bring us happiness!

If you are not acquainted with Dave Ramsey or Rachel Cruze, please check them out. They are amazing. They teach me many new things. They are also very good at motivating millions of people, including me! Go get some motivation!