Our Homeschool

Big Sister reading to some of her younger siblings

Our reasons for homeschooling:

1. Heavenly Father told us through the Holy Ghost, that homeschool is His educational plan for OUR family. We do our best to follow the Spirit, and educate our children in the way the Lord has inspired us to. His opinion of how we do things is the only one that matters!

2. My husband and I have a parental stewardship over what our kids learn, and whether we send them to strangers to be taught or teach them ourselves, *WE* are still accountable for what they learn. We do not agree with or like what is being taught in public schools today, and we do not want our children indoctrinated with the philosophies of "Babylon."

3. Our kids have special missions to fulfill in this life, and they need a true leadership education which cannot be attained on the "conveyor belt." My husband and I can create a unique curriculum for each child and their needs.

4. We want our family to be the most important social structure in their lives, and we want them to really know and love each other. Instead of being apart from their parents and from each other all day long, they can nurture family relationships by spending time together.

5. We want our children to learn the life and spiritual skills they will need to be independent, capable, faithful adults and parents someday. The schools cannot teach them these things, nor is it the school's responsibility to do so. In my opinion, these skills are more important to my children's lives than academics ever will be, and so my priorities as a parent-mentor are different than what the school's priorities would be.

"The home is the cradle of virtue, the place where character is formed and habits are established." 
~LDS President Gordon B. Hinkley

"Lessons" by Helen Allingham

Our Schedule
To read more about how I schedule my days, see THIS post.

Our Homeschool Journey

Our homeschool journey began as many do: with fear and lots of prayers! Luckily, during those first difficult years we found some great resources that helped with advice and products, and so we bumbled along doing workbooks, making curriculum wish lists, and following the structure found in public school.

After three years of trying to replicate the public school experience in my home, I BURNED OUT.

I went to the Lord in prayer, and immediately received a renewing confirmation that homeschooling was still the path for our family. But I also knew it was time for something to change because my attempts to re-create school at home were not working for our family!

I decided to attend two homeschool conventions in my area (we lived in Utah at the time): The Utah Home Educator's Association (UHEA) Convention and the Latter-Day Saint Home Educator's Association (LDSHEA) Convention. Both of these conventions were encouraging and had some helpful tips, but I will never forget the moment that stood out among all the rest.

Oliver DeMille and his pregnant wife, Rachel spoke together about children being sent to earth with divine missions to perform, and proclaimed that mothers and fathers were those whom God called to prepare and train these children. A warmth rose up inside of me and the still, small voice pierced my heart with the words "THIS one talk is the reason you are here today, and this is the answer to your heartfelt prayers."

I knew it was the voice of the Holy Ghost letting me know the Lord's will for our family. The DeMilles have now written several books about homeschooling, and have championed the historic way to train leaders. They call it "Thomas Jefferson Education" (TJEd), and we have been doing our best to instill this kind of education in our home ever since.

To understand more about what TJEd is-- and what it is NOT-- I refer you to a post I wrote on the subject at the Latter-day Homeschooling blog here.

There other books I've read on the subject of homeschooling. But then there are those I return to again and again to uplift, inspire, and remind me why I homeschool, and how to approach our family's education.

Here, in order, is my list of favorites, complete with a favorite quote or two from each one.:

1) A Thomas Jefferson Education and Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille
"Wherever a student sits to study... leadership education is based on several powerful traditions: student-driven learning, great teachers, mentors, classics, and hard work."
"The fundamental difference between leadership education and the other types of learning, is that the leadership curriculum is individualized."
2) Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens by Oliver DeMille and Shanon Brooks
"This is what great education is! Know what the greatest leaders of history knew and what today's greatest leaders know-- from the same place they got it: the greatest classics. Classics have the very best and worst and most influential ideas, thoughts, people, creations, documents and events of all humanity-- that's why they are 'the classics.' Add to these the great religious works of the world, and the most important works from your own belief system, and you have the basics of a truly great education."
3) The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore
"When we as parents push potty-training, we get wet beds. ...We can't force a rose to bloom before its time or we get a stunted or distorted flower. The blossoming has to be God-directed from within the rose (the child) so that 'patience may have its perfect work.'"
"Children need time to grow like flowers, chickens, kittens, puppies, and foals. Who of you would prick a tadpole to make him hop before he had legs? ...So let's not bother with flash cards at six months or math at two or formal reading lessons at three, or even four, five, six, or seven. You may elevate your ego, but you will likely pay a large price in  creativity and normal development of your young."
4) Dumbing Us Down and The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto
"Over the years I have come to see that whatever I thought I was doing as a teacher, most of what I actually was doing was teaching an invisible curriculum that reinforced the myths of the school institution and those of an economy based on caste. ...What I do that is right is simple to understand: I get out of kids' way, I give them space and time and respect."
"The homeschooling movement has quietly grown to a size where one and half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents; last month the education press reported the amazing news that, in their ability to think, children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers."
5) The Joyful Homeschooler by Mary Hood
"I'm a mother. I am not a teacher who stands at the front of a classroom. My husband is not the principal of a school. He is a husband and father and the head of our little household. I'm convinced that God never called any of us to set up miniature institutions for our children. He wants us to go back to His original plan for the family, and be the best parents we can be. That is totally sufficient."
I would LOVE to answer any questions you may have about homeschooling or TJEd or mothering and teaching a large family. Please feel free to e-mail me at libermama at gmail dot com.

Love, Mama Rachel