Classroom Set-Up: Back to Relaxed Mormon Homeschool

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


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


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


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


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


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


Teachers pay teachers referral link

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

Just make what you need for your own family or classroom 

Suggested Blogposts:

Whole House Home Ed Organization

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

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Summary & Notes from “Education 2030 Incheon Declaration & Framework for Action,” 1 of 2 posts

Lifelong learning (baby day care from birth, preschool, k-12 and adult lifelong education)

gender equality

ensure all children are in school

global citizenship

Themes (essential for peace, tolerance, human fulfilmnet and sustainable development): 

  • human rights and dignity (dignity means die with dignity, which means euthanization or starvation to death for the elderly)
  • social justice
  • inclusion (this means no religious freedom)
  • protection (by the New World Order, from activists like me who blog like this)
  • cultural diversity
  • linguistic diversity
  • ethnic diversity
  • shared responsibility (worldwide communist-fascist communitarian tyrannical Government)
  • accountability

Take money from first world countries to give to third world countries to implement this world order, improve their indoctrinating schools, etc. (Impementing Our Common Agenda, 14, 15)

Comprehensive national monitoring and evalutation throug data collected, Improve data collection ( Implementing Our Common Agenda, 18)

All children, young people and adults will become responsible global citizens and will be on the right side of change!

“We need every child in school and learning,” Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

Values:

  • Peace
  • Justice
  • Human Rights
  • Gender Equality
  • Women’s Empowerment

(Statements of the Heads of the WEF 2015 Convening Agencies)

“…Education can accelerate progress towards the achievement of all of the SDG’s…” (Sustainable Development Goals)

Children need skills necessary to live in a world which is more:

  • secure
  • sustainable
  • intedependent
  • knowledge-based
  • technology-driven

Education will have to take into account “multiple dimensions of human existnce,” in “promoting democracy and human rights and enhancing global citizenship, tolerance and civic engagement, as well as sustainable development (I.A.6).” This means places of worship, homes and group meetings will be monitored, too.

“enabling girls and women, empowering them economically…saves the lives of millins of mothers and children…essential element of efforts t reduce malnutrition.” (I.A.6)

I.A10: “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,” and “full development of the human personality and promote mutual understanding, tolerance, friendship and peace” (This cannot happen where the government is not in complete control of homes, families, education. group gatherings, the media and religion).

“Realistic intermediate benchmarks and stepping stones should be set at the national level…”and “…education content, approaches  structures and funding strategies…” (I.A.19)

“Education and training opportunities must be ensured (by) cross-sector approaches traversing education, science and technology, family, employment, industrial and economic development, migration and integration, citizenship, social welfare and public fincance policies…”

Socialization in a Different Light

IMG_2896I quite often get asked about socialization, since my kids are homeschooled. The worry of the folks is that my kids will be weird and will “Stand Out.” Please watch this video at the link below and think about what it would mean for this woman to stand out. It is hilarious and hard to believe. It is what really happens to adults here in this video. If it can happen to adults in a real-world situation, it can happen to your kids in real-life situations, too.

Where do my kids get socialization from, if not from public school? The truth be told, they are mostly taught by me and by one another (siblings). This is not a bad thing. This means that my child will be taught manners, politeness and empathy by me. They will be taught about making friends, bullies and standing up for themselves, by me. When they play with kids they socialize with, all of the homeschool moms are there. They all influence the kids. When they socialize with adults in the real world, as they often do, they are taught social behavior by those adults. Even then, most of those times, I am still there.

Many people think this is crazy and that it means I am too controlling and I am not letting my kids grow up and be mature. The truth from my perspective is, I do not think that before they are mature adults, that they are old enough to be away from me as long as kids who are in public school are away from their parents. I am still training them because they still need it. I do not think that letting go of time with kids is supposed to happen too often before certain ages. I do believe that as kids get older, they can keep the socialization they learned from me when not with me, more and better. For this reason, I allow them to be away from me more and more as they get older.

One thing that appalled me about the Weber County Early Intervention Pre-School I took my son to years ago and stayed to observe, was the following. There was a girl with muscular dystrophy and maybe also cerebral palsy, in the classroom. She cried and cried. I wanted to get up and go comfort her. I did not but I asked the teacher why nobody cared that this girl was crying. The reason, she said, was that she cries like this every time she came there. She told me, “Just ignore her.” A few minutes later, her extremely militant, very cruel physical therapist came in. This therapy was probably something the parents were happy that their daughter could have for free at this government-paid-for preschool program because of her “individualized student plan” needs. I do not think the parents knew what was going on. This physical therapist, who, quite obvious to me, had never experienced the things that this little girl was faced with, called her lazy and stupid, yelling at her, then forcing her to move. The little girl said it hurt and the therapist just kept telling her to move and stop being lazy. All of this, my son and I were supposed to “just ignore.” Everyone else was just ignoring, after all. I decided not to send my son to this place. It was a place of no empathy.

Now watch the video on this blog post (Reason #330 to Homeschool) so that you know what I am rambling about!

Public School, Homeschool and Behavior Issues

My son used to have major behavioral and psychological issues when in public school. In a week, I noticed slight changes. In a month, I noticed more changes. After 3 months, his issues had been cut to 60% what they were when he had been in public school. After one year of homeschooling, I think the behavior issues were about 40% what they had been in public school. Now it has been almost 3 years. He is older, so, granted, that could make a difference, too, BUT I think homeschooling has made a bigger difference than age. He has behavior issues still, but they are down to about 20% what they were when he was in public school.

I wonder so often, whether they would even exist, had he never been in public school, but that does not solve anything, so I shouldn’t.

I will tell you some things that I think made a difference for my son. They are important to me. I cannot guarantee they will work for you. Every family will do different things. I am sure something here could help someone, though, so here it is.

When I began, I had already read about 6 books written by amazing author Alfie Kohn, including “Unconditional Parenting” and “The Schools Our Children Deserve,” which I recommend you start with. His books are very thick because of solid references which are in the back of the books. These take up about one third of the book. I looked at the references and used them to decide which books to read next. These were also very helpful.

I love “The NDD Book,” about how your child getting enough sleep, exercise and the right nutrition, will spfor sure affect his or her behavior. My child does get more sleep out of public school, because if, for example, we happen to stay up late on a Thursday night, visiting relatives or something, the he sleeps in the next morning (Friday). When we do an exhausting field trip, project, co-op or gathering, he eats and naps. He naps whenever he needs it and I let him, because he does not do it very often, and I have talked with him about how his body will tell him when he needs it. Usually when he has a meltdown, we feed him (that helps) and then he will go lie down for a one hour nap. When he gets up again, he is cheerful, kind, helpful, obedient, etcetera.

We have discussed what works best for him, with him. He likes this. When we forget to do this for a while, things do not work as well. He also needs regular one on one love and individual attention. Before he really “got into” reading, I used to get up in the morning and, first thing, read to him sitting in a chair in his room, to help him wake up. I read for half an hour. This helped him get out of bed cheerfully. It also helped him feel loved and helped us bond. I cannot deny that it made him love books, as well.

I teach my kids via eclectic homeschooling, and one thing included in 60 to 90% of our homeschool, depending in the day, week and month, and what is going on, is letting him learn however he wants, and whatever he wants, as long as it is within our religious standards. A lot of people call this unschooling, but I prefer to just describe it, as the “un” has such negative connotations. He learns a ton this way, and the freedom of this approach takes away a lot of behavior issues.

We also use an LDS curriculum called “L.I.F.E. School.” “L.I.F.E. Stands for Life Integrated Family Education.” The kids all get the same lesson. Then they do their work, which is similar, so they can help one another, but it is different for each grade level. I love it. It makes things so much easier for me. I do not have to do as much work to out things together for my kids to learn. The gospel is woven into every lesson. It teaches art, geography, history, science, literature, poetry, theater, reading, grammar, paleography, spelling, and many types of writing. It teaches dictionary work and research, essay

The only subject not included in this curriculum is Math. I am fine with that. I work hard at math teaching, most of the time. When I do not, I have to make up for it later.

What Made Me Pull My Kids Out if Public School

I started out looking for a solution for my son. I was not as quick to help my child as many of you moms were, and even though my son for 3 years hated school, and we had to bribe, threaten, and physically force him to go, I did not question the wisdom of sending him. Homeschooling was not even located in my brain. The behavior at home was atrocious, and we started taking him to a therapist. The therapist wanted to know about his behavior at school, and whenever I asked the teachers in school, they always said he behaved fine at school. I figured it was me who was messing up my kid. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong at home, if everything was going so smoothly at school!
I prayed a lot, and was led to the book, Unconditional Parenting, by Alfie Kohn. It was a crazy philosophy from my point of view, but I tried it and it worked, so book after book of Alfie’s I read. The more Alfie I read, the more I hated what they did in school, because I started to see that my son’s behavior and learning problems were actually because of what they did in school.
The therapist advised to look into charter schools for a better fit for my son’s learning style, so I did. Like crazy. I signed onto 6 waiting lists. None of them were right, though. They all did the same wrong things I did not agree with.
I made a list of all that I was looking for in the perfect school. With time, I finally realized it did not exist. I knew I would have to teach all of my kids at home, or none of them. I knew I could not go through the stressors of both public school and homeschool worlds, simultaneously. I told my daughter, who was older than my son, and asked her to pray about it. She did. She felt happy that I was considering it, and liked the idea.
I knew that the only way to have this school I wanted, would be for me to be in charge. I started researching about how to start my own charter school. I was willing to go to all lengths to find a solution. I could see that starting a charter school was way too much work, so I prayed really, really hard about what to do, and cried a lot of tears.
The Holy Ghost reminded me of those posts from a friend, which I had seen on facebook, just scrolling past them, about her homeschooling her kids. All the details of her posts were clear in my mind, as if I had just seen them, although it had been a year.At this time, I began thinking that it was impossible and I would not be able to do it, like she had been able to. I just know I am not amazing enough to be such a supermom, as I saw homeschooling moms to be. I looked her phone number up and called her.
I asked all the same annoying questions everyone asks, about socializing, teaching all different ages at once, how I would deal with the extra housework and lunch at home, etcetera. To me, they were all brand new questions.
She had great answers. I started watching youtube videos and reading books, about homeschooling, without telling my husband. One time, he saw me reading a book about homeschooling, and asked about it incredulously. I told him I was not crazy like these people, but just curious about them. I just wanted to know about a different culture, that’s all. He was fine with that.
A couple months passed, and I told him I wanted to homeschool. By then, I had read many books. I had answers for all of his arguments against it, but that did not matter. I could not convince him. I understand, as he had not been reading all these Alfie Kohn books or researching all these charter schools. He had not been reading the homeschool books. He had not talked to my friend about how she did it.
I called my friend again. She said to pray together about homeschooling, before and after a visit to the temple. That is what we did. My husband, while in the temple, felf God was telling him that it was my job to nurture and teach the children, which meant academics, too. He said he felt he should trust me, as God wanted him to.
We started to homeschool without any preparations, the next morning. We had pencils and paper. That is what we started with, and it went well, even with just those two things.
Since then, I have discovered numerous reasons to homeschool, and I cannot even narrow down my reasons when asked why I home educate my kids, enough to form a coherent sentence for an answer!

Why One Woman Started to Homeschool

This is an amazing post about the reasons why a woman started homeschooling! It is Titled, The Uncommon Core.

http://www.spiritualsoapbox.com/p/uncommon-core_30.html

6 Easy, Gradual, “Take your Time” Steps from Fully Public Schooling to Fully Homeschooling Your Child or Children

I recently read a blog post which was about steps to start homeschooling. It would not have convinced me, when I was public schooling my own kids, because it never got anywhere close to teaching kids, or kids learning, academic things. It only covered the first steps, which got you from public schooling, to sleeping and eating well and enjoying family life. Well, that is a great start, but it would not have convinced me to do it. Inspired by that, I wanted to write up my own 6 step process, which will actually get you to the place where you are teaching academics to your kids at home!

Step 1: Observe your child’s/ your childrens’ public school classroom learning & count the learning minutes.
Go observe in your child’s public school classroom. Observe each of your kids in their classes, one child at a time, all day, for a whole day. If you have one child, this will take one day. If you have 3, it will take up 3 whole days. Arrange this in advance with your child’s/ your childrens’ teacher(s). Do this not on a special “party,” “field trip” or “assembly” day, but on a “regular” day. Do NOT arrange for yourself to be a “volunteer,” because this may mean you are out in the hall, reading, with other kids, and not observing the teaching and the learning of your own child. Arrange with the teacher for a day to observe your child in class for a whole day. Eat lunch at lunch with your child. Go watch your child at recess. Everything. Not only is this a great way to get to know your child and your child’s school program. It is also a great way to transition to being the one in charge ALL day, of this child’s education, every day. While you are observing, look at the clock. Think about what your child already knows and about how many actual minutes of the day your child is actually learning something new, that is something you want your child to learn. If your child learns for 20 minutes, that he is not good at something, that is something you do NOT want him to learn, so subtract those minutes from the learning minutes, because those are the minutes you’ll have to take to undo what he has learned. If your child learns how to ignore a child who needs compassion, subtract those minutes out, too. Empathy is a skill that is important, at least to me. If the class seems to be learning math, while your child is looking at the floor and daydreaming, don’t count those minutes. Don’t count the minutes when your child is lining up for lunch as learning minutes, unless something important (besides how to line up and not hit one another). The time it takes your child to walk to the lunchroom, should not count, either. I don’t suggest counting recess as learning minutes unless free play time in your homeschool will count as learning minutes! Write down the minutes of new, actual, positive, academic learning your child has experienced. Teacher teaching, minutes, may be 5 hours. Your child’s actual learning, minutes, may be 2 hours. It depends on your child’s learning style, how much your child already knows, how far behind your child is, and similar factors.

Step 2: Investigate Homeschool (like a spy)!
Taking this number of hours and/ or minutes, into your heart, think about the possibility of teaching this child on your own, at home, to help your child “learn” that many minutes per day, at home. First, find out the legal requirements for homeschooling. If there is a form to fill out, print it. Look it over. Then, go to the library or a book store and get some books on homeschooling, which appeal to you. Read at least 10 100 page books, please. Ponder homeschooling. At the same time, join Facebook homeschooling groups for your county and the counties surrounding you. This is a great way to see all of the social opportunities for learning with other homeschoolers, are available. Also, if you have Charter schools in your area, arrange for tours. Check them out. See how a whole bunch of different styles of learning, work. On your tours, look for ideas, but also consider that you may try this school, instead of your school. Try to find the perfect school for your child’s personality, learning style, level of learning, etcetera. If you have more than one child, try to imagine each of your kids in each school. Imagine how well each child will be learning, in each one. Try to find the perfect school for all of your kids. If you are religious, during this time, find out whether there are home education books or workbooks which teach religion to your kids, which they’d enjoy. Some include only religious teaching. Others include academics with the religion. If you are religious, pray about homeschooling and discuss your learnings and pondering, with your spouse, if you have one, or with the children’s father, if you are separated or divorced and must include him in the decision. At the same time, go to some of the homeschool parent meetings in your area (they are usually once a month). Go to some of the homeschool fun events (park day, field trip, etc.), even if it is only with your younger kids or alone. This is a great way to learn about homeschooling in your community. Ask the other homeschool parents questions. Don’t be afraid. Most are very willing to answer and be nice. Ask some of the questions to lots of different people. You’ll always get different answers. Homeschool parents all have different styles, organization, routines/ schedules, methods, kids with different needs from other parents’ kids. There will be different styles, methods and curriculums, introduced to you. Get on amazon or go to the library, and read books about different methods, styles and philosophies you hear, mentioned. On your kids’ days off, try some things with your kids, from methods you think may work. Test the waters with different stuff. If there are used curriculum sales or curriculum displays locally, go to these things. If there are homeschool conferences you can attend and afford, go to them. Learn as much as you can about homeschooling. If a homeschool mom lets you come and observe or see how her homeschool is set up or organized, go for it!

Step 3: Make a tentative plan and try school at home with your kids, on a school break.
I recommend this because so many are so worried it is not possible. Many want to try this homeschool thing over Summer Spring, Fall or Winter break. That is a great idea. Keep in mind, though, that the way your kids behave during this time is NO indication of how they would behave if you actually homeschooled, because these are kids who have been told to sit still and be quiet day after day. Their spirits have been suppressed and they have a lot of energy and rebellion to get out of their systems, because of it. If you do this over summer break, you’ll have a better idea after 2 months of freedom from school, for your child, of what your child’s behavior will be like. If they are worried about the upcoming school year, though, stress at this time, may creep in. I can’t lie. It’s true.
Teach one science lesson to all of your kids at lunch. Do the same with history and geography. Read aloud to all of your kids at once, both with picture books and novels or chapter books. Have your kids do writing all at once, together (the same/ similar) assignment, when possible. (Each child has a different ability. I have one child write 2 sentences, and an older one write 100 words.) Math and spelling are, most of the time, best, separately, for each child, at their level. Field trips can be free. If you want to have them learn about rocks by driving to a spot and looking at the rocks on a hike, do so! If you want to go to a natural history museum to learn about rocks, do so! Keep in mind, you only need to have each child, learning, as many minutes per day, as he did in school, when you observed all day! You DO NOT have to have them learning every subject, every day. Maybe you learn a different subject every day. This is all up to you. Allow yourself to be spontaneous, and take advantage of the local homeschool groups’ field trips or learning events! Also, take advantage of any free or cheap, community offered learning events. I take my kids to the University almost monthly, for a science day. We learn tons!

Step 4: If you are religious, seriously pray about it with other decision maker (if any) in your child’s life. If you and this person feel you should do it, then do it.
Do the legal stuff you have to do. Don’t fret about supplies or curriculum yet. A library card or stack of books, a pencil and a paper are great to start with. Those are all I had when I started. It worked out great, even then! Explain to the kids after you’ve started, or before you’ll start. It does not matter. By now, your kids probably know you have been thinking about it, anyway. The first month of homeschooling, you’ll probably learn very fast, what to do and what not to do. Your kids will also be adjusting a lot. My kids had to get accustomed to not having to raise their hands to ask me a question or to ask if they can go potty. My kids and I came up with plans for our schedule, together. This made them part of the process, which made it more enjoyable for them. They loved our first month of homeschooling. During this time, we discussed often, the differences between public and home school. You may run into people who are happy you homeschool, who don’t homeschool themselves, but it is a rarity. Be prepared. Just remember, it is your choice, and you are the parent. You do not need their approval. You may even have close relatives (such as the grandparents) who are against it. If you do, seek support of the other homeschoolers you know, online, on the phone or in person. They are great at helping you through this!

Step 5: Work Home Education into your Budget!
Please do not think this step is a skippable one. It is so important. Whether you budget weekly, every 2 weeks, or every month, figure an amount you can afford, into every budget. Pull it from some other category. If it is only $5 a month because you are extremely low on cash, do that. Use that $5 well! If you are more blessed in the financial arena and have $50 a month, great. Use that $50 a month wisely. Consider carefully each purchase! You may want to use it for school supplies in August, but it is February now. If that is the case, buy a few necessaries, and save the rest for the July/ August back to school sales. They are great! If you want to skip the school supplies, or you have them already, you may decide to use the money for learning field trips which cost money. If that is what you prefer to do with your money, go for it! It is good to have money, though, isn’t it?

Step 6: Change is going to be constant. That is good!
You are the one who gets to change the curriculum. You are the one who gets to see what is working, by way of schedule, routine, or what is being learned. If you change your way of teaching daily, that’s fine and normal. If you change only once a year, that’s fine, too. Do whichever works for your family, best! You will gain experience and change things with time. Enjoy the journey! You are homeschooling!