Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I took my son in to get his ears checked after he had complained that he couldn't hear very well. After telling me that children don't mention when they can't hear, they just start turning the TV up louder and things like that, the doctor asked me what his teacher thought of the situation. I informed him that this child had mentioned it and he was homeschooled so I was his teacher. His response was why? I told him because I wanted to. After he asked why again I said because I thought the public schools were not a good learning environment. He said, "Well yes, but we encourage it so that your children will learn to socialize so that they will learn street smarts."

There were so many things wrong with that statement I don't know where to begin. First of all that he thought that it even mattered what his "we" think. He was meeting my child for the first time and yet he thought he knew enough about him to set his whole course of childhood. Next that he could admit that the schools were not good learning environments and just dismiss it out of hand. And then the whole socialization thing, which we all know is a very weak argument. Children learn to make friends based on age and popularity, which are not very worthy requirements as far as friendship is concerned. And far as street smarts, I can only assume he means things like how to deal with bullies, name calling, being picked last, how to defend oneself, get in someones face, make fun of people and the like. No thanks I'll take the other kind of socialization.

The problem is that most people have forgotten that there is another kind. Let me describe it to you. We go to co-op on Fridays, it is at a Bible Church which is on about 20 acres, so there is lots of room for the kids who are not in classes to play. Aubrey takes an art class and Kamron plays outside with other children that range in age from 2 to 13, a game of knights is going on. Kamron has brought along his wooden sword and sheild and is at the center of the battle. There is a big hill and a large rock and the kids are defending the rock and some take prisoners up to the rock. As the little ones go up an older boy leans down and takes their hands so they won't fall. The sword play gets more energetic and Kamron's wooden sword gets broken. He is obviously distressed. One of the older boys comes over and tells him that he has wood working equipment at home and will make him another sword and bring it next week-even though he was not involved in breaking it. The children break up into different groups some to play hacky sack and others to run races. The younger children who want to play hacky sack are given a try, the older children smile at their attempts but don't tell them to go away. Aubrey and another girl come out of the art class they help the teacher carry supplies and are busy talking with her. Brennen is running around me pretending to be a wolf and the other mothers all smile at him which only encourages his antics.

In this type of socialization there is acceptance and encouragement for everyone. The children only see each other for a couple hours once a week so the family bonds are still stronger then the friendship ones. Adults are always present to nip anything inappropriate in the bud and this keeps the activities pleasent. There is no age segregation in fact many of the kids play with the adults just as enthusiastically as the children. Many of the parents climb the big rock or go down the slide and seem to geniunely enjoy being with their children.

I'll take this kind of socialization over lessons in street smarts any day.

Don't Feel Qualified to Teach History?

Some homeschooling mothers don't feel qualified to teach various subjects, and some use this as an excuse to send their kids to public school. So let's look at this as it relates to history. Are the public school teachers better qualified?

Well, the short answer is, not likely. They may be licensed to teach history, but are not required to take classes in the topics they teach. For instance a 7th grade US history teacher may fulfill licensing requirements by taking social studies classes, or women and minority in history classes, but do not need to actually take any US history courses. But surely these teachers who teach US history study it on their own. Maybe some, maybe not. For instance when bogus US history material made its way into the public school curriculum stating, that Muslims came to America in 889 and then intermarried with natives, none of the 1200 teachers in 155 cities questioned it. Or when teachers went to a Muslim education conference lesson plans were quickly created with multiple errors, such as the Koran includes the Old and New Testament. Of course when these poor student are tested on the material they would flunk if they did answer "correctly."

Textbook writers have an agenda. They can present facts or even falsified statements in such a sequence that lead children to believe whatever they have set them up to believe. Students in government controlled schools no longer take logic and so they do not even have the tools to question these arguments or understand the fallacies presented. The textbooks are full or errors, this is not news to most people. But why? Well the textbooks are a jumble of political correctness and special interest group agendas-they are not books about what actually happened in our history. Of the 533 errors found by the Texas texbook reviewers 351 were admitted to be errors and the other 30% were "misunderstood." The misunderstood facts were not fixed. So tell me if a text is misunderstood by an adult how is your 8 year old going to come to the correct meaning. Do we care? Perhaps it is just okay with most people that their children are going to grow up with a completely inacurrate understanding of what happened in our past. They will go on to form their opinions and cast their votes based on what they have been taught. If the premise is wrong and you build upon it then the conclusion will ultimately be wrong, children do not understand this, but their parents should.

So what do I suggest? Teach your own children history yourself. Preview materials, use primary sources and stay far away from any texts approved by the government schools. You are just as qualified to teach history as someone who has a license and probably more so, because you care about your children and you are not limited in what you can use to teach.

For more information see and

Friday, March 10, 2006

Pressure to Remove all References to Mom and Dad From Classrooms

'Mom,' 'dad' to be axed from school textbooks?March 9, 2006

A traditional-values organization in California is warning the state's residents that a bill pending in the Legislature, if approved, could remove all references to gender in public schools - threatening even references to "mom" or "dad" in textbooks. If the bill, SB 1437, were to become law, warns the Capitol ResourceInstitute, "it could potentially require gender-neutral bathrooms in our schools and all references to 'husband' and 'wife' or 'mom and dad' removed from school textbooks as the norm." Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Sheila Kuehl - a lesbian actress best known forplaying Zelda in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" in the '60s - the legislationwould add "gender" (actual or perceived) and "sexual orientation" to the law thatprohibits California public schools from having textbooks, teaching materials, instruction or"school-sponsored activities" that reflect adversely upon people based on characteristics likerace, creed and handicap. States Capitol Resource Institute on its website: "The reason this is such an outrageous bill is because it is the most extreme effort thus far to transform ourpublic schools into institutions that disregard all notions of the traditional family unit. SB1437 seeks to eliminate all 'stereotypes' of the traditional family so that young childrenare brainwashed into believing that families with moms and dads are irrelevant. To read entire article: <>

Another demonstration of special interests groups trying to use the schools to educate the kids into the viewpoints they want future voters to have.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Aubrey's Water Color Pencil Sketches

I originally did not get Aubrey a nature journal, but when she saw Kamron's she wanted one too. The Four O' Clock sprouts are her second entry. I am glad for all of the encouragement I have gotten to get quality art supplies. We got a set of primsacolor watercoler pencils, they are fabulous. After we drew in our nature journals we had an art lesson and learned more about how to make the pencils blend using the paint brushes. You can kind of see Aubrey's rose in this picture, she really did a fabulous job. Kamron will even use these-he is usually not very willing to color or write or any art, Aubrey draws daily and absolutely loves it.

Kamron's Nature Notebook

Here is Kamron with his nature notebook. We are growing a variety of seeds for our garden and Kamron drew the sweet pea sprouts. He still dictates the writing parts to me. This is his first plant entry, everything else has been rocks which both kids love. I had intended to study stars, but we got a rock identification kit and the kids have been fascinated, so we gave up on stars and have been doing rock experiments. Both kids can identify 8 to 12 rocks, and so can I! I love homeschooling, I get to close all of those gaps in my own education.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Blessings of Our Physical Bodies

Before my mother died she had a vision where she saw what Heaven was like. She saw that there was much work to be done in teaching the gospel to those who had not had the chance to have it while they lived on the earth. My mother has an outgoing spirit and was always excited to do God's work, so I know she is busy in Heaven serving. But I can't help but think of all of the physical service she gave on earth. She could make almost anything, she sewed many of our clothes and presents. She knitted, crochetted, painted, drew, worked with cross stitch, plastic canvas and many other things. I'm not sure a day ever went by when she did not work on something with her hands. As busy and happy as she is now I bet she misses her body. It was not perfect, she was often sick, she was overweight and in the end it took her from us. But I bet she misses all of things she could do with those hands, all of the skills they had learned in her fifty years. She always took such good care of them, putting lotion on them in the evenings, sharing dolops of it with her children. Those fingers that had almost no fingerprints-when she was getting certified for foster parenting they couldn't get any prints from her fingers for a long time and through several visits. I bet she misses them.

People complain about their bodies wanting to be thinner, have a shorter nose, be taller or whatever. They are constantly comparing themselves to others, never catching a glimpse of what a miracle our bodies are. Think of how hard it was to learn to type, play the piano or crochet at first, but as your fingers built memories of what to do it got easier and easier. They don't usually work perfectly, but they allow us to do so many things. God knew we needed them to have all of the experiences He wanted for us, and what a blessing they are! Who was it that said, "if there was nothing else my thumb would convince me that there is a God"?

I will miss my body when I no longer have it, that is why I will try to appreciate it today and everyday. I thank God for the plan of Salvation and that we will someday be reunited with our perfect bodies, not to be separated ever again. I truly appreciate all of the hand skills which I am able to develop and I thank God for the hands which I have been blessed with.

My Best Educational Tip-Tapes

When my oldest son was 2 I started putting on scripture story tapes at nap and bedtime. By the time he was 3 he could recite many of the stories word for word. We later added "Scripture Scouts" and "The All About's"-all are must have CD's for the LDS family, I can not tell you how many gospel principles my children have learned from these. The kids also listen to much of their school books on CD.

Aubrey,5, has "Just So Stories," "Winnie the Pooh," "Pooh Corner," AA Milne Poems all read by Charles Karault (Kamron once whispered to me, "Mom I realy like Winnie the Pooh, but don't tell my cousins." You will also find that these are quite suitable for children up to about 8, if they haven't been raised on TV. I also enjoy them.) She also enjoys the "Standin' Tall" series by Janeen Brady (I picked the whole thing up at a library sale for $2!) We also have a CD set called "50 Famous Fairy Tales," these are the real fairy tales and not watered down versions. Also the Tales of Peter Cottontail have inspired forts to be built in the 'dear old briar patch.' The Uncle Wiggily stories have a comfortable predicatable patterns that help the children learn basic story telling with beginning, middle, end,- introduction, problem, resolution.

Kamron who is 7, has not been raised on much TV, so his attention span tends to be longer than most kids his age. He loves "The Story of The World," series which is actually a history text on CD, but he just devours it. He also loves almost everything read by Jim Weiss. How many 7 year olds climb into bed excitedly with, "Oh good, I love Shakespeare." We also have everything for AO year 2 that Alcazar Audio offers, He also listens to "Pilgrim's Progress."

The best thing about tapes and CD's is that they are a very valuable source of education that does not take my time. Gospel understanding has been increased, history has been learned, musical instruments can now easily be identified by sound, spanish songs have been learned, imagination has been sparked, great literature has been made apart of our lives and vocabulary has been increased by the audio gold mind. I can't recommend making tape time a part of your children's routine highly enough.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Flour Sack Towels

What is a flour sack dish towel? Flour used to come in cloth bags of varying sizes 10, 25, and 50 pounds being the most common. The cloth of these sacks had to be very sturdy and with a very fine weave. It also had beautiful prints to attract the attention of buyers. After the bag was emptied the lady of the house would often take the seam apart and then boil the cloth to soften, shrink and clean it. She would then hem the sides. Then she had a cheap new dish towel or lap apron. Today the sturdy material can be found as ready made dish towels. You can see them here

As a girl I didn't know anything about these towels, but my mom had several that were all white. We would use them to dry dishes, but the thing I remember most about them was that whenever she would bake bread and set the dough to rise in the huge silver mixing bowl she would use one of these towels to cover the bowel. I bought a few of these towels with their delicate patterns a little while ago and I love using them. They are bigger and prettier to look at than many kitchen towels. It is one of those things that helps me to "embrace the work." And it is another connection to my mother and her love for her family.

After my third child was born I also figured I had a large enough family for a large silver bowl. This is known around her as the popcorn bowl. I also use it to make up large batches of things and to raise dough. I find the more connections I make to my tools the more I enjoy the work I do at home.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Poetry Reading

As a child I can remember complaining to my mother about poetry. She pointed out a book on her shelf next to her bed and said that was her favorite poetry book. I remember looking at the book, it had a lot of pages with illustrations of babies growing in a mothers womb, and I remember not understanding the words, which didn't suprise me as I was pretty sure people didn't really understand poetry. It didn't change my dislike for the subject.

Later when I was homeschooled, during my last two years of high school, my mom suggested that I do a poetry unit. I read about poems, followed formulas and illustrated my own poetry book. I began a little and mostly depressing poetry book of my own. I wrote free verse and sent a couple off to be published. I got a letter back saying they had accepted one for publication, the one my mother said was very good and I was rather proud of myself. The book was $40 if you wanted to see your work in print with all of the other selections. We couldn't afford $40 for a book so did not get it. My dad said that they published everyones poems that are sent in just so they can make money on selling them the book. I was crushed to think they hadn't chosen it on its merit, so I never wrote poetry anymore. I had never had interest in reading poetry, so it was written off as a lost subject.

As I began homeschooling I read what Charlotte Mason said about poetry. I figured that I should give my kids the chance to hear it even if I didn't like it. We started with "When We Were Very Young" by AA Milne. I really fumbled it in my reading, trying to read it a sing-song way which didn't work and then trying it just like any other read aloud and that didn't work either. Then we got a tape, the "Tales of Winnie the Pooh" by AA Milne read by Charles Karault and it had both of his collection of poems. I was fascinated, that poetry was fabulous. Then I read it again to my children and this time I got it. I was so excited. I love reading AA Milne's poem now. I can't recommend them highly enough.

We branched out to "A Child's Garden of Verse," by Robert Louis Stevenson, and "Sing Song," by Christina Rossetti. The former is great and the latter is a bit sad, in a way it is a gentle introduction to death. We have explored many emotions with these books. We have also read parts of a few children's anthologies and are now reading Walter de la Mare. Do I always get it? No. But sometimes I do, and that is worth the effort.

So how do we do this? It is very simple, I read them one poem every morning at breakfast. Sometimes we talk about it, sometimes we don't.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Stay at Home Daughter

In some of the general Christian circles there is a movement towards keeping daughters home and not sending them away to college. There are many reasons for this and I see many possible benifits to it. I am not sure it would be the best thing for every daughter, but a child should no more go to college just because everyone else is doing it than anything else. It ought to be a matter of prayer.

The women of the LDS church are asked to gain as much education as possible, but does this have to mean a college degree. What if a daughter were to stay home and learn from her mother instead, learn to keep a home, sew, cook, care for children, garden? What if she were to spend her time reading books on these subjects, learning educational theory, child development, the use of herbs and whole foods to increase health? What if she learned business principles and started a home based business?

For the future stay at home wife and mother wouldn't the above skills and knowledge benefit her far more than a degree in anything. I see great benefit in learning these skills before the children come and not waiting until they are here to stay home and figure it out.

Would she not be a great benifit to those around her? There are many young mothers without family near and a young woman who could come over from time to time and offer constructive and imaginative activities for the little children would be a great service indeed. She would be available to go and oversee the running of a relatives' house who has just had a baby or who is sick. This would give her experience, endear her to her family and truly help them. There are elderly people who would be pleased with a visit that a stay at home daughter could give. There is church service to be given. Wouldn't this be better than the often gossipy activities that many young adults are involved in? Good and Christlike habits could be developed.

I hear the questions already, but how will she meet someone to marry? What if something should happen to her spouse how would she support the family without a degree? Shouldn't she get out and experience life before she is tied down by the home?

My answers would be that if one prays and follows the promptings that follow God will provide a worthy husband. There are student wards, institute, friends of the family, friends of friends. Believe it or not women used to get married before they all started going off to college. After one gets married, what if something should happen to her husband? Lets consider this. How relevant is a degree that is ten, fifteen or twenty years old with no work experience? It isn't very. I think that having experience with running ones own homebased business would be much more benificial, because not only can it help if something should happen it can also help the family when the husband is working and with the wife and mother still staying at home. Also the wife would come into the marriage with no student debt, which is a great benifit to the young family. Also gaining knowledge and experience in homemaking which she is much more likely to do is of greater benifit than the skills and knowledge that she very likely will not be using.

As far as experiencing life, yes she should-real life. Life where people help people, where she can observe how other families are run. Not life that exists in a bubble of all single approximately the same aged people all living away from their families. This type of life tends to be puncuated by the pursuit of fun; the parties, the dances, the trips to Europe, shopping, eating out, movies. How many of these things are really beneficial to preparing for ones callings in life? How many set up bad habits of spending money needlessly, of setting up unrest when one needs to stay home, of setting up an addiction to eating out and seeking entertainment?

I do not think that every girl should choose this option, but perhaps they should think about it and pray about it. It is one that certainly those around them should see value in. I think we would be better for it if many of the girls did stay home and continue their education there.