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.

Homeschool Academics as a Prevention Method

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

My definition of “Homeschool Academics” is: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standard Examiner (Ogden): Utah Online Charter School

I just read an article written by the Standard Examiner about this online school, Utah Connections Academy. My two sisters were part of this school. I will summarize their experiences myself. This will be from my perspective, and from what they told me. I will call them Sister A and Sister B, to protect their names and privacy.

Sister A had been thinking about homeschooling for years, but did not know where to begin. She did not want to make lesson plans. She wanted all lesson plans to be written and prepared for her already. Sister B had felt that through many talks from General Conference, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Holy Ghost was whispering to her, that she needed to homeschool her kids. Sister A found out about Utah Connections Academy and told Sister B all about it. Both joined their kids up.

Sister A received her box of materials for the school year and set up her homeschool room. She took our parents and me on a tour of her homeschool room, and was very excited to begin on the homeschool journey. Sister B registered later, so she received her supplies later.

We went out to eat together and mostly, I listened to them talk about this school. They were very excited that not only did they not have to worry about lesson plans. They also did not have to worry about socialization, because field trips were aplenty, paid for, and fun, for the academy.

They discussed how to log in, doing their first online reviews of lessons, and participating in virtual class sessions with the virtual teachers. Even though it had been only a week, they also discussed being behind and needing to catch up.

Three days into it, Sister B sent her kids back to public school. Ater two weeks of trying trying it, not feeling that catching up was ever going to happen, feeling overwhelmed, and knowing there was a better way, Sister A quit and became a full-on, no-Charter-School, homeschool mom.

What happened?

The school was asking the moms to teach each kid a different lesson for each subject each day, count and track hours for every subject, and teach a certain number of hours per subject per day. It was impossible. The school was not allowing them to do what homeschools have to do to survive.

Homeschool is a different beast, than public or charter school. In homeschool, the homeschool mom must teach one lesson to all her kids at the same time, and let the older kids do more work. She cannot teach “school at home” in a formal schedule, and track a certain impossible number of hours per day on each “subject.” Homeschooling requires that mom teach without tracking hours or subjects. Homeschooling is a lot more relaxing, and has to be, for the mama and the kids to survive.

All this change from public school? How can they learn, then? Learn they do. Please read my other blog posts about homeschooling, by using “search” to find out more about what interests you, or click on a subject link on the right side of the page. Thanks!

Homeschool Transcript Using High School Graduation Requirements of Utah

Requirements Grades 9-12: 24 credits total (21.5 required, non-elective, 2.5 electives)

Fine Arts
3.0 credits. Choices: dance, theater, visual arts, film, music, Choir, piano, dance

Social Studies
3.5 credits. Choices: U.S. History, Government & Constitution, Geography, 1/2 year World Civilizations

Math
3.0 credits. Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, ACT math, pre-Calculus, Calculus, statistics, accounting

Science
3.0 credits. Earth science, Life science, Physical science, Chemistry

Physical Education
3.0 credits. Team Sport/Athletic Participation (Basketball, softball, dance, gymnastics, archery, track, swimteam, martial arts team, dance)

English Language Arts
4.0 credits.

Technology
2 credits. Choices: Word Processing & typing, graphic design, family and consumer sciences

 

Make Your Own High School Transcript

Name of Student
Name of your homeschool
Phone number and address
Year long courses: Child Care, Child Development, Pre-School Teaching, Political Science
Semester courses:
Include Dual enrollement, early college, community college, co-op, honors, A.P., C.P., name of test
Grades: List semester grades and end of year totals
GPA
Credits, list per semester and cumulative
Letter Grades
SAT scores &/ or ACT scores
Parent name annd signature
Date

leadership
Jobs
extracurricular activities
Awards
One page max, to describe each course

How to get into Early College at Weber State University as a homeschooler.

Sources: wikihow.com, “the Brainy Bunch”, books by Lee Binz, books by Cafi Cohen

On “De-schooling” and Me

My friend posted a link on a local homeschool group board. It has really made me think, a lot. Here is the link. It is an article by Leo Babauta. You’ll have to read it, before you’ll understand my blog post today.

http://unschoolery.com/de-schooling

It includes 8 bullet points for beliefs we carry with us, given us by our society and culture. These are:
“Kids should get up early and start learning as soon as possible.
“Students should learn reading, writing, science, math, history, etc.
“Students should be learning at the same pace as others their age.
“They need to learn certain things by the end of high school.
“They need to focus hard and really study and be tested to make sure they’re really learning.
“We need to force them to learn because otherwise they’ll just watch TV and play video games.
“They need to go to college.
“We know what’s best for them.”
I will modify them to what my current beliefs are. They are:

1) Kids can learn without the kind of “focus” school requires, though they will have an even greater focus, when learning things they want to learn. When they are focused in this way, internally motivated, they learn at an exponential rate. I do believe that when in this mode, the “really study” is there, but it is not forced. It is the child’s choice. There are academic subjects that the children will not “really study,” but will learn more slowly, with their own learning style. but they will not remember it well because they simply do not care. I do not believe in “testing.” I do notice, though, when my child wants to understand, but is frustrated. I do notice when their eyes light up, hear them say, “Oh, I get it,” and see that they can do it quickly with little effort. This is how a homeschool mom knows whether their child “really understands it.” It does not, however, necessarily mean they will retain that knowledge. If they don’t use the skills in real life, they will lose them. This has happened to me, with many things my school teachers think I “learned” by “proving it” with a “test.”

2) Kids should get up before noon and we should do the personal, family and homeschool routine, before bedtime. The daily routine includes personal health and grooming, household chores, the learning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, my reading aloud to them and reading to themselves. It also includes 2 additional weekly academic subjects of the day (chosen by me). If they do not do these aforementioned, then every day, at least during the same calendar week, I will push them to “catch up” before they can have “just for fun” (not for learning) technology time, or play with friends.

3) I think my children need to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to have good values and character traits. I think they should love books and enjoy their parents reading to them. I think they should do their part in and learn how to clean the house, cook, and care for their family members. I think they should learn to spell well. I think they should have a regular habit of, and enjoy, reading on their own. I think they need to learn math in order that they might avoid debt and so that, with the entrepreneurial hearts they have, they’ll be able to do well in their future businesses. I think they need to learn science, as it is a part of us everywhere. I think that they need to learn to write and to draw, because knowing how to do these will be essential in their lives and will help them a lot. I think they need to know about their world (geography) and about what has happened in the world in the past (history). I think they need to understand freedom and how to keep it.

4) I would like my kids to have the desire to constantly learn and to progress. I do not believe that others their age learn at “the same pace.” I think all people learn at different paces, depending on their abilities and intrinsic interest levels in each area. I do enjoy instructing my kids and giving them the opportunity, should they want it, to learn all of the things that were required of kids at their “grade level” in public school in Utah from 2003 to 2011 (before the Common Core).

5) I want my kids to learn certain things by the time they reach adulthood. I do not have the same goals that the school system has, but I do have goals for them. I hope they will gradually improve themselves so that by the time they are adults, they will know:
a) To have lifetime habits that will help them keep themselves as healthy and well-groomed as possible
b) To be kind, considerate, good listeners, Christlike, wise, thoughtful, polite, honest, true, chaste, virtuous and to have wonderful manners.
c) To have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ
d) To be able to see and understand boundaries in relationships and decision-making; To be able to “stand up” for themselves and their own beliefs and decisions
e) To be “responsible” for their own actions and decisions: To know they are accountable for their own decisions and actions; To understand that there will be natural consequences for their actions and decisions in life.
f) To be hard workers. To be determined. To set their own pace and their own goals. To learn from failure rather than give up because of it.
g) To have been given the “opportunity” (meaning, as stated above, that I “offer it” continuously until age 18, but if they choose not to learn it, that is fine. At least they were given the chance) to be instructed in, all of the things that were required of kids at each “grade level,” in Utah, before Common Core.

h) To be enabled to make and reach their own personal goals as they are on each given day and moment.

6) I believe I need to offer the learning aforementioned, each academic or calendar year, so that if it is that child’s desire (which desire some of my kids have), then they will be at least as instructed as their public-schooled peers. I have promised this to these children, and I must deliver on that promise. I know I will have kids “just goofing off” (with non-instructional stuff) some days, even when I am “offering” instruction. Some days, they will have the eagerness to learn that cannot be held back. On these days, I must give them those opportunities to learn, as well as I am able.

7) I do not believe people need to go to college. I do have the desire to offer them that chance, should they desire it. If that child desires to be ready to enter college by a certain time, I will do my best to give them that opportunity which they desire.

8) I do not think I am “better than” any of my kids, and therefore, do not think “I know what is best for them” in every aspect of life. However, I know I have gained much wisdom and experience in this life which can help my kids have happy lives. I will impart my wisdom when they ask for it. I will offer it but will not force it upon them.