Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just Gotta Share!

I am interrupting my next blog post to share this AWESOME video with you. You simply have to check it out!!! :-)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No Teenagers Allowed!

I admit that I am a very opinionated person. Lately I have done a lot of pondering, reading, praying, and thinking about one subject in particular, and I feel that I should share it here on my blog.

The thought is this:

I don't allow teenagers to live in my home.

That's it!

How, you are wondering, do my children who are age 13 and up still reside in our home?

The answer is, they live happy lives, complete with privileges and outside activities, as long as they don't act like obnoxious "teenagers." And, lucky for them AND me, very few teenagers ever show up around here. ;-D

So what is the definition of a teenager? Well, first I'll give you MY definition, and then I'll ask my three older kids (ages 16, 14, and 13) what THEIR definitions are and put their responses in my next blog post.

Teenagers do these things:
  1. Display a bad attitude.
  2. Are glued to their cell phones.
  3. Text others when with someone in person.
  4. Constantly obsess about members of the opposite sex.
  5. Do not follow the principles clearly laid out in the "For the Strength of Youth" booklet.
  6. Treat younger siblings with contempt.
  7. Tear their family members down.
  8. Avoid family activities.
  9. Complain about chores, family activities, parental decisions, church duties,... (Fill in the blank here!)
  10. Use phrases like "This is stupid," and "I'm BORED."
  11. Care more about what their FRIENDS think, than what their parents and family thinks.

When I teach my weekly Shakespeare class to youth ages 12 and up, my number one rule is "No Teenagers Allowed!"

My class often looks at me, puzzled. I explain that I have no desire to teach "teenagers." That "teenagers" are not teachable, and are no fun to be with!

Then I let them know that I LOVE teaching Young Adults. Young Adults are more enjoyable to be around because they're respectful, they're kind, they're WAAAY more fun to be around than silly teenagers who like to roll their eyes, text on their phones, want to talk only about boys/girls, and refuse to participate and try new things.

Young Adults do these things:
  1. They are excited about life!
  2. They genuinely care about others.
  3. They are content to just be friends and wait until they're older and more mature to start obsessing about members of the opposite sex. They don't pair off until they're ready to seek out a marriage partner.
  4. They are courageous and are not afraid to try new things-- even if it's something potentially "embarrassing".
  5. They are not afraid to stand up for what's RIGHT and follow the principles in the "For the Strength of Youth" booklet, even when a crowd of teenagers is pressuring them to "be like everyone else."
  6. They like to have good, clean fun with other Young Adults.
  7. They honor their parents, and show kindness to their siblings.
  8. They like spending time with their families.
  9. They ask their parents for advice, and respect their opinions.
  10. They help around the house, and honorably fulfill their duties at home and at church.
  11. They can TOTALLY be trusted!

Young Adults are AWESOME!!! :-)

Can you see why I'm not interested in having any teenagers around here? ;-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

LDS Homeschoolers

We who are LDS and homeschool, are quite a minority in both the homeschooling world, and among our church congregations, but I feel that our numbers are growing. And there's a new website that seems to support this idea. It's called "Latter-day Homeschooling," at . I'm excited to see how this site can help support and grow the LDS homeschooling community.

Check it out! :-)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Our Homeschooling Life

Partially because I was inspired by this post by Pioneer Woman, and partially because we are often asked by complete strangers as well as family members about how and why we homeschool, I thought I'd share how things work in our home, complete with pictures and bold-faced opinions galore. ;-D

The first question we always get asked, is "What made you decide to homeschool?". First of all, neither my husband nor I were unfamiliar with the idea of homeschooling. In fact, my husband had even been homeschooled for a semester when he was growing up. He loved it, and since he had a bad experience with being public schooled, he was all for keeping our kids at home. As for me, I had an amazing aunt who homeschooled my cousins, and another older cousin who was also homeschooling her kids. I have always really admired and looked up to these two ladies, and I liked the results I was seeing in their homeschooled children.

Then, when our oldest daughter was born, we talked about the idea of homeschooling her, but it seemed like something for the distant future. A little later, as she developed the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome, I started to think about homeschooling more seriously. In a nutshell, children with this mild form of Autism have brains with severely UNDER-developed areas that are meant for social skills and understanding. They're not stupid, they're not "retarded," they just simply cannot understand nor adapt to social situations. I knew in my heart that forcing this little girl into daily social pressure would make her absolutely wilt. I simply could not see myself ever doing it.

In the meantime, we had three more children, and since they were turning out to be normal, social little people I started praying about whether I should send them to school, while I kept their older sister home. The answer startled and yet comforted me.

"No. Your children need to be at home with you."

Now it was official-- we were homeschoolers for the long haul!

Of course, every once in a while when things get frustrating, I get back on my knees to "double check." So far, the answer hasn't changed. And now, ten years later, we are seeing the happy results of our efforts in our home. Of course, our kids are FAR from perfect! But we are really enjoying the great people they're becoming.

So, is there a method to our madness? Those who come to our home and see our daily lives may or may not think so, but we have found what works for us, and we feel good about it! :-)

Thomas Jefferson Education: This is the foundation of our educational philosophies, and the reason we homeschool the way we do. In a nutshell:
  • Each of our children receive one-on-one mentoring from my husband and I in subjects that interest them.
  • My husband and I MUST set the example of studying. If we don't, then our kids won't want to study and learn, either. So study time for mom and dad is a HIGH priority! We want to "Inspire, not Require" academically. (But family chores and jobs ARE required of everyone!)
  • The curriculum used is Classics-- and there are "classics" (works worth experiencing again and again) in EVERY area of study.
  • We do not institute formal academic training until they are at least twelve years old. Before that age, they join in the "Kidschool" learning time, but we do our best to make it fun and relaxed. We do not require them to do assignments, nor do we expect them to be at a certain "level" at a certain age. We teach, we support, we encourage, and they learn at their own pace.
  • Our older students, twelve and older, naturally-- without pressure or pushing-- enter their "Scholar Phase", where they choose to study between 8 to 10 hours a day in subjects that they choose with their mentors (Mom and Dad). Some enter this phase later than others, and there is no pressure or expectation on when they decide to become scholars.
  • Reading classic literature aloud as a family, is also a very important part of our learning.
  • For more detailed information on the "Thomas Jefferson Education" philosophy, see the "Introduction to TJEd" segment of this website:

The Four Year Plan: This is how I keep my mentoring ideas and our resources where we want them to be. The above book happens to be "Year One" of "The Four Year Plan" created by Ken and Teri Ebert. You can find their books and other products HERE.

Basically, we are on a Four Year rotation of the different subjects we plan to study in the areas of Gospel Study, History, and Science. Of course, reading, writing, and math happen all the time, so they're not included in the rotation.

Of course, we have adjusted their ideas to fit with our family's own needs and goals, but I have enjoyed using their books as a guide in helping me create our customized plan.

Here's what we're studying this year in our "Kidschool" (We're on Year Three):
  • Gospel - Book of Mormon
  • History- Geography
  • Science - Earth Science & Astronomy
Our Gospel study coordinates with the LDS Seminary program, so that our seminary students won't be pulled in too many directions in their scripture study. And while I know that Geography is not really "History," I feel it's important, and found that studying the world's geography will help later in our subsequent history study.

Next year, we'll be studying:
  • Gospel - Doctrine and Covenants/Church History
  • History- United States
  • Science - Physics

Here's a few pictures of our homeschool cork board that helps remind me and the kids about what we're studying.

Our Family Rules(Based on President Gordon B. Hinkley's "Nine Be's".)

History and Science

Gospel Study and Monthly Article of Faith
(We use the Article of Faith for Penmanship practice.)

The Month, Day, and Year

Our Current Family "Read-Aloud" Book
(As you can see, we're currently reading "To Kill a Mockingbird".)

One of these days, I'll post some links and descriptions of the other websites and resources we use. But since this post is long enough, I'll wish you all a good night. And if you have other questions, please leave a comment! :-)

One last thing: I know that God cares about ALL our children, and has a hand in our raising of them. I know that none of us should take our family's educational decisions lightly, and whether it's in the Lord's plans for us to homeschool, or to send kids to public, private, or charter schools, He will help us and support us all the way. We only need to ASK Him.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Post-Move Update

First of all, I need to acknowledge and share what a beautiful day we had at Dierdre's baptism in Idaho, just before we moved. I love the peaceful look on her face in the photo above. She didn't get baptized until she was good and ready, and I am so pleased with her decision! She's gotten so big! (We love you, Di-di!!!)

And I'm a happy woman back in the land of the sunshine! Thanks to the help of wonderful friends, we found a house that works great for us, right across the street from our church building. (YES!)

We are enjoying the very friendly, highly-efficient ward. In fact, this last Sunday I spoke in Sacrament meeting, Russell got sustained as First Counselor in the Sunday School Presidency, I was sustained as a new Activity Day leader, Brennan was sustained and set apart as the Teacher's Quorum President, and Lliam got called in the Deacon's Quorum Presidency. *whew!*

We do miss our wonderful families and all the great people in the Grant 1st Ward and in the homeschool community, but we are also very happy to be back HOME.

The weekend of our move, we attended the 3rd Annual Southwest Forum. (Our favorite homeschooling event!) I got to teach a Youth class and an Adult breakout session, and really enjoyed seeing so many of our beloved homeschool friends again. Kudos to my friend Cheri Beals for her awesome work again as Forum Chair!!! (And none of my pictures worked! *sniff!*)

And then earlier this week, the kids and I drove over to to attend Homeschool Day on the lawn of the state Capitol. It was very nice to see and hear our governor giving homeschool and freedom of school choice the support and acknowledgement it deserves! :-)

Other happenings in random order:
  • Avalon has become a climber. Mother-heart-attacks occur multiple times daily as a result.
  • Morganne and Brennan are taking a Constitution class for homeschooled teens, and are experiencing lots of eye-opening facts about our country and the document that governs it.
  • Bonny is begging to get enrolled again in ballet. (As you can see, she's a natural!) I'm attempting to find a classical ballet studio we can afford.

Gavin (his eyeball, anyway...)


  • Gavin, Dierdre and Ronan are spending all the time they can jumping on the trampoline, climbing the orange and grapefruit trees, and slurping down fresh oranges.

(Grayse, the Serious)

(MacKenna, the Ham)
  • MacKenna and Grayse are (not) trying to stay out of trouble, and are prettier than ever.

  • Brennan has begun formal piano lessons and is accelerating nicely. He's also writing more songs with our guitar, and is attempting to play the ukulele, as well.
  • Lliam has discovered Orson Scott Card and is devouring "Ender's Game." He's also racing to finish the last book in the Percy Jackson series. Oh, and he's writing a book, too.

  • Getting back to harp lessons is something Morganne is really looking forward to. Lucky for me and her dad, she's not that interested in driving or dating, as of yet. :-D (See what I have to worry about?!)
And that's the latest from our family! I promise to do better about updating my blog, so that we can let all our family and friends in the North know what's going on with us down here in the land of the Sunshine! :-)