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).

The STEM Craze: What it Does to Our Kids

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I am no psychologist, but anyone can think about things. This is what I think. I think STEM is a bad idea. I think it does something really bad to our kids.

     First, it harms the kids who are good at and who love, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math by making them less unique. How can they stand out from the kids who are really amazing at other things if the children meant to be artists are now choosing STEM (because of the push)? How can the kids who would naturally have gone into STEM fields anyway, feel as unique and special as they would have in the past, when there was no STEM push for all children?

     Second, it harms all the kids who would naturally chose to focus on other fields of study. I know your argument would be that there is extra education in STEM but that does not mean kids cannot get extra education in other areas. I agree. That is so true. My kids are homeschooled, so I know that they can find the other things they need. What I am worried about is that this focus on STEM makes the children who would naturally love other things, feel that their other things are not worthy, not as good, valueless, unimportant, frivolous and so forth. That is simply not true, but it is exactly what this STEM focus is telling our kids (and their parents and teachers).

     I wanted to say something about why the STEM focus is happening. The reason for it is talked about in John Taylor Gatto’s book, “The Underground History of American Education.” He did not talk about STEM because it did not exist then, but he did talk about a focus on technology, science and math. He said the purpose was for those to replace Christian beliefs. See, the evil elite have always had Christian beliefs in the way. Children are always being taught by their parents and then go to school with their Christian beliefs. It upsets the evil elite that they have not been able to find a way to eradicate and completely erase the Christian beliefs from children! 

     One issue they have with this is that we, the people, still want the dollar bill to say, “In God We Trust” and we still believe that we get our rights not from the government, but from God. It also causes a problem for them which is that we know we must answer to Jesus Christ at judgement day (not to a government)! It was much easier in ancient Egypt for the Pharaohs, because the people believed the Pharaoh was a God! We do not believe that the U.S. President is a God. This creates a big problem for them, that we are more likely to say that we will answer to God and not to the government.

     They are hoping  that this STEM push will have the teachers feeling pressed to teach STEM more and better (they have classes for and raises for, teachers who study STEM to teach it better). Teachers are already not allowed to mention God or Jesus in schools or even after school to their students. They are hoping that the STEM scholarships offered will make kids nearing graduation to focus more on STEM and less on God. They want the parents, who need help from the scholarship money, too, to encourage their children to focus on STEM. They want us to break the commandment that says, “Thou Shalt Have No Other God Before Me,” with the STEM focus and many other focuses, too. They just want to come between you and God and between your children and God.

     There is another reason, too. History is so important. We can learn from the past about freedom and types of government. They do not want us to care about this. History is not in STEM and is not on the ACT test. The College Board does not really care how well you score in history enough to put it on that test. If you think not very hard, though, you will see two reasons why they do not want us to focus on history. See, for one, if we trust the history books then we could easily say that the Bible is a history book and contradicts the science “facts” they have for us. They do not want us to consider the Bible to be true by any means. I am teaching my daughter CLEP Western Civilization I. The CLEP tests are also authored by the College Board. Western Civilization I makes sure not to include in history anything from the bible, so I have been researching and adding history from the bible into the margins. I also have been teaching my kids the Old Testament for a few years.

     I am reading in 2 Kings for my personal daily study. One thing that stands out is that God chooses the kings and the prophet tells the kings what to do. If the kings do not obey, God punishes the kings. It repeats like a broken record and has been doing so since 1 Kings. I think God repeats this over and over because He wants us to know this is the way it has always been and is the way it will always be. He wants us to know that there are no exceptions to this rule. What would this do to the Western Civilizations I history the evil elite want us to learn? It would teach our kids to obey God. That is the opposite of what they want our kids to learn. They want our kids to learn a history that does not include God, as if He is not a part of what happened in the past at all. This would make the children believe He will also have no part in the future. The evil elite cannot have this. It will make them less powerful. They want more respect and power, not less.

      The Second reason they do not want you to know or care as much about history is because if you believe it and know about it, you may be willing to rebel against then the way that people did in history. We may expect things from government. We may think of government representatives as our employees and not as our rulers. This would not be good for the evil elite. People have to learn less history for the evil elite to have their way. People must not know about the 1100 charter, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Bill of Rights. They must not know that one form of government is a “Constitutional Republic.” (This is not taught in schools. Ask a public schooled kid and he or she will tell you that our form of government is a DEMOCRACY, not a constitutional republic).

     Another important area is the arts. We have photographers, sculptors, fashion designers, playwrites, actors, stage crew, set designers, dancers, musicians, songwriters, composers, singers, choreographers, visual artists, designers, architects who work mainly from the creative side, writers of fiction, philosophers, inventors, dreamers and more. These can thwart the plans of any government. I know what Picasso’s “Guernica” painting is about and I would not normally care about a tiny piece of the history of Spain. Without that painting, nobody today would know about nor care about what the country’s ruler chose to do which killed many of his own innocent people in a tiny town. Artists can say amazing things with their art. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a play and a book. It had much influence on many people. The other areas of the arts have just as much power and pull. They make people think about things in a whole new light. They are the great teachers the evil elite wish to “snuff out” by telling them that these fields of study or these passions are not valuable as a contribution to society. How do they do this? They only have to focus everything on STEM so that children get the message loud and clear. We may think it is not the message. Oh, it is. The kids are getting the message. If you don’t believe me, ask a kid who is in public school. Ask then what a visual art piece can do that a scientific theory cannot do. My guess is, they will not know. My guess is, they will say that the art piece cannot DO anything–It just sits there. This, our nation is doing to children that belong to YOU and others around you.

     I am a visual artist, so I was in a facebook group for visual art teachers. I saw much about the way visual art teachers are treated in schools. In secondary schools, some art teachers are given a custodial closet in which to store their art supplies for their classes. Some are given a section in a restroom, which means sometimes the supplies are missing when they are needed. This messes up the lesson plans, which they must make either in their office, which is the same location where they store supplies, or in their own home. However, funding for STEM teachers is very high. What does this do? It limits the ability of the art teachers in school to do well at teaching their subject. I did not hear from teachers or the other arts, but I am sure their plight is about the same. Not only does this discourage teachers, but it shows the students that this career of “art teacher” is as lowly as can be. There will be no respect from the students for a teacher whose office is a space next to the potty.

     What of the althletes? How much focus is being taken away from P.E.? About the same. Though I know little about it, I have heard that this is happening and id does not surprise me at all. First, we had President Bush pushing no child left behind (did that focus on P.E., or even give P.E. the time of day? No. Nope, nope). The next things have been common core and ESEA or ESSA. Those push testing link crazy. The pressure is not only on the kids, but on the teachers, the principles, the district and the states. This takes away from the focus on excercise. In a local district her, Ogden district, a little bit back, they took 2 of 3 recess times away from the kids in the public schools, so that the kids could stay inside and study more, or do more practice testing for the tests, which are many. Why? The results of the tests decide which schools and teachers get the most money. It’s all about money.

     Michelle Obama’s focus on nutrition and excercise cannot combat this obsession with money. What you don’t likely know is this. The Feds created a dependency on free money for schools. Then President Obama took the money away in 2008 and said, now this same money you have just gotten for nothing every year since 1965, you will only get if you do what I say. This gives him more power. Do not tell me he does not know what he is doing. He does and he is doing it as a puppet in the hands of his evil elite masters.

     One of the many latest (year 2016) of these “now do this,” commands is that every public school and public charter school shich receives money from the Federal Government must have restrooms, locker rooms, showers and the like, which are either unisex, or are labeled so that none of the 100 sexes that there officially are now, could possibly be offended. Then they must let anyone shower with anyone because that is politically correct. I advised here on my blog for my state to just do without the funding, but alas, not enough people read my post. The state of Utah decided to comply, so unisex restrooms are everywhere. “Unisex” seems to me to mean “belonging to the one and only sex,” as in, “we agree that restroom is for the one sex, which everyone is.” This is the belief of the people who worship satan. Satan wishes us to believe that there are no distictions. He wishes us to see that there is no difference in us. We are all just “people” and all people are the same. I wrote an earlier article about an abortion doctor, an OBGYN in Salt Lake City, who always refers to the pregnant as “pregnant people” instead of what from her point of view, is a very offensive “pregnant women.” This LGBTQ agenda is all about destroying the family. 

     The Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion media focus now is on women being the same as men, in that men cannot have their careers disrupted by pregnancy and neither should women. Men can be promiscuous and have no pregnancy happen in their bodies. They want women to demand equality with the men in this way. Their solution is abortion. Their aim is to de-value the family. It has been since the mid 1800s. There can be no mothers. There can be no fathers. We all must be “humans” and the government must “breed us” according to their needs and desires. This way of thinking is pure evil but is fluorishing today, everywhere.

     There is now a bill in congress which has much clout, which says that in order that there be equality, our law should not say that men at age 18 must sign up for the military draft. It should instead say that all persons aged 18 must sign up for the military draft. ‘Don’t worry,’ they will say, ‘Women will not have to stay home and care for children. Women will not have to worry about pregnancy. There is always abortion. The state can always care for the children. No problem.’

Screen Time in Our Homeschool

Screen time in this house:

We have to take turns on the iPad and it is a large family

There are only educational apps and Netnanny for the internet

The internet via Netnanny is heavily guarded by many witnesses unafraid to tattle on a sibling

I assign which apps I want them to use (yesterday, my daughter was assigned “CLEP Western CIvilization I” app. Another was told “History, Geography or Science.” Another was told, “Math.”)

Sometimes they grumble about all this but they will be o.k.

There is no Wii or “non-educational” television until after dad gets home. Those are homeschool hours.

There are only certain situations in which I will let them watch educational shows, sometimes on DVD and somtimes on t.v. They have to ask permission.

Many times if they watch t.v. or a DVD, it is a DVD I bought which features a math, science, creative writing or history teacher lecturing. Oh, yeah!

Here is an article about screen time addiction that I find very sad. I know because I was addicted so much to facebook that I quit it cold turkey in February becuase of my screen addiction! Screen Addiction is Like Drug Addiction, Raises Dopamine Levels Lots!

I thought you would like this very exciting video made with an iPad app about the Book of Mormon.

Unschooling Style Math

     My kids are doubling not by multiplication but by addition. It is what they do for fun. Do they know about calculators? Yeah, but calculators don’t allow this many numerals on a screen anyway. Do they know that someone else has probably already done all this doubling? Maybe not, but if they thought about it, they would probably think it is probable. They do not care. This is something they are crazy over. They love doing it.

     Do they know that multiplying may be faster? Beats me. This is creative, Constance Kamii math. She would say, let them at it and let them figure things out their own way.

     So what does the homeschool mom think? She thinks, “Oh, YEAAAAAHHHH!” I think it is awesome. I bask in it like the emperor penguins bask in the sunlight after a long, cold, windy winter.

     They are on day sixty of doubling the mini m&m’s you’d have to eat if you doubled the number daily. For 60, they have a figure of 1,146,582,183,045,318,976. I do not know if that is accurate, but that is what they have.

Teaching Math in Homeschool

Math with other homeschool moms is a touchy thing. Some believe in taching it. Some do not. I believe in teaching it. For others who also do, here is a safe environment in which to discuss nothing but teaching math in your homeschool! Yay!

Please join this Facebook group Teaching Math in Homeschool

Homeschooling Middle School

Teaching older kids is not easy, but not hard, either. We made it. We did it. Here is a bit about what our year was like. 

  

 ^^Our Homeschool Room is now a Prep Room, because we use field trips, group activities, the whole house, and clipboards to do work on (instead of a desk, in our homeschool.

Our Year by Seasonal Quarters

Quarter 1: Fall of 2014

   We started our L.I.F.E. School Curriculum again in about mid-August. It is a comprehensive curriculum which helps me to feel confident they are learning what they need to for each level. It does not include math, though, so we had math lessons which I had to find. I like to do this, though, so it was not a big deal. 2nd Semester, I discovered that Holt Mathematics for Middle School and Scott Foresman Mathematics, were great. Textbooks are shunned by a lot of homeschool moms, but this one loves them. My child loves them, too.

     We “opened up” with out local traditional “Not Back to School Party.” This included about 50 people. It was small compared to 2013, which had at least 300 people. It was outdoors at a park. We had food and a curriculum and clothing swap. It was good to see our friends, the same friends we’d had before we moved. I think moving from one city to the next is harder on people when they do not homeschool. We did have to go to seeing our old neighbors less, which was tough, but at least our homeschool friends are still in the same county group get-togethers. It makes for a feeling of continuous belonging my kids would not have had were they in public school.

     Heavenly Father gave me a good feeling about it, so we did one semester of once a week with a local Christian Homeschooling Co-op group. It was great for me and the kids and helped us get to know others, learn a variety of subjects in fun ways and learn a lot of wonderful things. At the semester’s end, I planned on the next semester, too. Over Christmas break, I felt Heavenly Father was trying to tell me not to be in it for the next semester. I prayed a lot about it. I felt like He did not want me to participate for the 2nd Semester. I felt bad to tell the leader that I had decided not to participate after January.

     Back to August. I had a stressful conflict and medical issues with breastfeeding. My homeschooled kids got to stay with relatives and do homeschool there. I have a relative who homeschools, which was very nice at this stressful time. I cannot tell you how much I hate the system which pushes women away from breastfeeding. Although they thought it was too late to get him to like breastfeeding again, we are now breastfeeding most of the time and only using formula occasionally when I step out sometimes. Most of the time when I am gone for a long time, I pump milk while I am gone. Because of this stressful forced learning of pumping full time, I am quite good at pumping now, so that it is really not such a biggie to me. This is a blessing. I am glad my kids get to see me breastfeeding and pumping all day long, since they are not in school, so that they will know about it. This is extremely important real world knowledge all kids (boys and girls) should have.

     We continued to try to sell our house. This was a stressful time for us. There was a lot going on. It was at this time that we were really close to being able to buy a new house and sell our old one. We still had to sell, though, so there were lots of showings. This meant that a huge part of our childrens’ learning was learning to pack up things we did not need at the time, clean and home stage the house for showings, with 20 minutes to 3 hours of notice each time. My kids got extra good at cleaning and home staging fast. They also got to learn from different professionals who help with the real estatebuy and sell process. My child said at one time that being a real estate appraiser when an adult would be great. They got to watch and ask questions of the electrician, the furnace installation professional, the real estate agents and more. All of this would have been impossible had my kids been in public school. 

     We sold our old house and we had our offer accepted on the new one. We closed on both and finished packing. We moved to our new house with all the help we could get from everyone, including the kids. We unpacked and set up the house. We met our new neighbors. Even these things, my kids learned a lot from. It is hard to tell people how much learning can take place when their kids are home instead of at school. People really cannot experience it without actually taking their kids out of school. I know a lot of people think summer is like this, but it is not the same as year-round.

     Simultaneous to moving into our new house came the passing of my Uncle, whom I loved and the kids loved very much. We had been blessed in that, as a homeschool family, they had been home for each of his visits, and were here for his last visit to us. It was on a weekday during the day, so for sure, they’d have been at school, were they in public school. They got to say hi and goodbye to him more in their lives than they would have gotten to do had they been in school. This blessing is priceless! We were blessed to be able to experience our grief together  instead of having to be separated by school. I was able to talk to my kids about heaven, forever families and the resurrection, during many hours of each day. My kids got to see other relatives come visit  and got to hear them talk about our Uncle, during school hours.

     I was in charge of much of his money and this involved learning to get along with relatives who were angry with me some of the time because of misunderstandings. I dealt with learning legal matters like a non-legal trust and what to do about that. I learned how to peacefully speak to people even when I felt passionate inside, so that there was not drama. This was a very difficult time for me, as I was forced do so many really hard things at once. Learning to calmly deal with stressful family affairs was good for my 7th grader to learn by watching me and listening to me. She got to see and hear more because she was home and not in school.

     We went on LOTS of learning field trips as a family on my husband’s days off. I used to do field trips without him, but now I prefer his presence. He also prefers to be there when they have these exciting learning field trips. We went to almost everything on the SL Connect Pass. We had a TG Point Pass as well, adn used it a lot, too.


Quarter 2: Winter of 2014-15

     During the winter, we continued to fix up, u-pack, de-junk and put the house together. I got to be a presenter at a homeschool conference at the local University. My child got to attend, too, and see and hang out with her friends.

     I don’t know whether or not you know about this. In the homeschool world, there is really no Christmas break. There was one from the Co-Op. That was it. Other than that, there is none because year round, we just do formal-feeling school when we feel like it and rest when we feel like it. When we feel like being Christmassy, we do that. When we feel like some academics are in order, we do that. We do not care. We were feeling Christmassy by December 1st, so we started celebrating then. Then we did academics. Then we celebrated again. We were doing academics on Christmas eve, Chritmas and the day after because we did not need a break. My kids don’t get burnt out. They love to learn. Why stop them when they enjoy it?! We also had a homeschool Christmas Party.

     Every month starting in January, we had a homeschool get-together for LDS Homeschool families at my house. We talked about an LDS Gospel topic and shared things about it with each other. We had snacks. The kids played with each other and the moms talked. It was priceless every time. 

     January came and there was no snow still. It was warm out, too, so we hoed and shoveled the weeds up many a day, during the day, while other kids were in school. The kids learned plenty about nature in our backyard. They also played a lot of catch and tag. They also rode their bikes. Some other homeschoolers came a lot and played in the backyard with my kids. They got to see lots of birds, because we have lots of them. We continued our SL Connect pass field trips and also using our TG Point Family Pass. Those were great in January, because it was like spring and fall combined this year.

     We had a homeschool valentine party at a play park (because it was like springtime). I bought decorations and valentines for them to use.  Some of my kids got to go. We had to have some stay home with me, sick. It was sad. Oh, well. My child did get to go! I am glad that a friend gave them a ride to and from the party. After the party, my friend and I had a good talk.

     My child got to come with me to a preparedness conference and learned a lot. It was great to be there together. It was at the University locally, so she got to “get to know” the campus, which I think is good for kids.


Quarter 3: Spring of 2015

      We continued in the spring to put our new house and yard together. It involved a lot of planting and lanscaping work. The kids learned a lot in helping with all this. We continued to work on L.I.F.E. School, math, monthly get-togethers and gardening. We worked on church items, as well. Then we had swimming lessons and then baseball. We had some great homeachooling get-togethers with the local homeschool community. The kids do get lots of chances to have fun and make friends.

     My child got to got to a homeschool youth conference. They learned standards, cooperation, etiquette and got to have a dance with lots of kids. I am glad my child is old enough to attend homsechool youth events now. There are many of them available, planned by local homeschool moms, and they are great. We went to some homeschool mother and child retreats, too. 

Quarter 4: Summer of 2015

     During the summer, we have worked on putting together the house, preparing for emergencies and gardening. We have worked on math, spelling and reading. The kids have also learned lots in science and social studies, just by living life. We are nearly “finished” de-junking the house (for now) and we look forward to the eighth grade year.

Although this makes it seem like we did not do any academics and barely any socialing, real life is much better. My child got plenty of social time and has a lot of friends. Some are close friends. Others are kids she just knows as acquaintances. L.I.F.E. School teaches a whole lot. You can read about it in one of my other posts.

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.!