Friday, June 30, 2006

Sewing by the Spirit

The morning my mother passed away I was with her in the hospital, and we talked about when she was released maybe I could go and live in their mobile home behind their house as I was expecting my third child and living in a two bedroom apartment while my husband finished school. Then I could be there with her, the children would have room to play and she could teach me to sew. As I prayed following her death I remember being angry and telling God that I still needed my mother and she was not done raising me and then I blurted out and how will I ever learn to sew. Then I heard, "I know how to sew." It was not audible, but it was real. This was followed by a feeling of warmth and peace. It was a great part of what brought acceptance for me. I knew that even if my mother was gone there was Someone who could help me through all the little things, even learning how to sew.

As I struggle to learn this skill I have taken Him at His word and when I can't get the directions to make any sense I have prayed and had things suddenly become clear or I have been prompted to look in a certain book or to call my sister. I am slowly learning to ask for help from those who know and to read about what I shuld do. Through these promptings I have found valuable resources and I am progressing. It is no false humility when I say I am still not very good at it-I have made very few things without some pretty obvious imperfections, but I am progressing. Living by the Spirit does not mean he prompts your every action, but rather that he prompts where you need it and then expects you to use what you've learned, the methods and the resources that he has led you to. I feel like it is a little bit like guiding a child, you direct them a lot at first and then start to back off more and more so that they can do it independantly. Sometimes they may not feel like they are ready to do it on their own and then they surprise themselves by doing it and they grow. We can live by the spirit even in our little day to day things that seem so insignificant. Those little insignificant things can teach us big lessons about God and ourselves, and in the mean time I will also learn to sew.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Thought

A brother in my Sunday School class last week made the comment that he sometimes feels that when he critizes a behaviour in another person there is something in him that begins to develop that behaviour. I have been thinking about that all week and think that it would apply the other way too. If one were to point out the beautiful and good behaviours of those around us, we would develop those things also.

"I love how she smiles. Isn't that sweet the way he just instictively hugs his child. That couple is always so kind to each other. She is so wise. Her lessons are so fun to be apart of."

All of these things when genuinely appreciated can help us to look for ways that we are sweet, kind, caring. And I think that every time we see a good quality in ourselves and thank God that we are capable of such goodness, even with all of our faults, that that quality gets to take a bit deeper root.

My ramblings for today=).


I do the Relief Society Newsletter in my ward and I found a quote for it this last month that I liked.

“Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity,” President Spencer W. Kimball.
Isn't that a delightful picture. The angels sitting around teaching and someone asks a question and the angel says, "Well, let's look and see what Sister_____ did in that situation. Here we go the 46th page of her fourth journal says..." I think by picturing that, it can really show how important each of our lives are and how much they may relate and touch another person. I think most people like to learn about other people and ecspecially like to find out what someone has done when faced with a similair trial that they may have. It gives us strength. That is a little what blogging is like.

Blogging is a journal that you open up for others to see and learn from, allowing them to see an example of what you have done, which may be ecspecially beneficial for someone who is trying to live a life very different from the one that they were raised in or who has few examples of the life they want around them. What we must be careful of I think are those assumptions that the person we are reading about has it all together, and are better than us. Most people don't write down their faults. I may allude to the fact that my home is hardly ever spotlessly clean, my kids do fight, my dinners rarely come off well, and I snapped at my husband last week, but it will be extremely rare, and not neccessarily because the occurances are rare. After all I don't want those things handed down, so unless they make a point or I have learned a special lesson from them I often won't share them. I share the parts of myself that are good and I hope will help readers, and even things that I hope will some day help my children which is why I always have journaled. One thing it does for me is help me focus on the positive things and then I find that I have more of them. I will be completely selfish now and tell you that I enjoy writing for me. I hope others may read and benefit, but deep down it is for me.

I think in the end that is okay, because even God told the kings of Isreal to keep a record of their doings so that they could go back read from it, remember and learn. It wasn't for sharing with others or to make a record of their history. It was to be each kings journal for himself. I am sure that kings would go back and read the journals of those before them and be benefitted by the growth, and examples-but the prupose was for the king himself who was writing it.

I offer this blog as one voice and one example, but in the end I want it to be a record that I may go back and read and be proud of where I've been and who I am.

Response to Letter to the Editor

This letter was sent to a writer for Meridian Magazine, an LDS ezine.

I wondered what you think will happen to your daughter as you home school her? I have thought about home schooling my children but the ones that I have seen home schooled turn out either socially inept or really needy. I wonder how to home school without all of the negative impact.
I see the condition of the schools today and they are nasty! I would like my children to have the comfort of being surrounded by the gospel but the support system is just not here with the home schooling. I wonder if this is a topic that you would approach. I am interested in hearing how others deal with this situation, and keep their children happy and well adjusted. (I also worry about my children being "dumb" if I cannot teach them something right. Where is the support for this?) Thank you so much. Jaime in Canada

I offer my reply below.

I think Jaime is right to be concerned about the social outcomes of homeschooling. A child who can't communicate and relate to a variety of people will not make an effective leader, employee or missionary. But I do not think it follows that the best option then is public school. After all there are socially inept kids there too, along with a lot of other stuff. The best option in my opinion is to be proactive as a parent. You have identified a concern so now you can address it. You want your child to function well socially, so what does that include? Relating to peers, relating to a variety of people regardless of age, race, religion or background. Perhaps you want them to be able to speak effectively and persuasively and not be intimidated by others. If these are the things that you are looking for in a socially well adjust person then as a homeschooling parent you can provide the oppurtunities for your child to develop them.

For instance your child may take classes in the community, privately or at the local college. For awhile my parents let all of the teenagers in our family, and there were up to four at a time, have a party once a month at our house. They could supervise and meet our friends while making it more inviting for peers to feel welcome at our house. Your child may join a club or apprentice for something that they have an interest in and will help them to make relationships with a variety of people. In high school I apprenticed with a 60 year old horse trainer and two living together interns from Austria, and worked with migrant workers from Mexico and a very moody cowboy/boss. None of these people had much in common with me except we liked working with horses, but I learned to relate to them and enjoy their company while gently letting them know where my line was. In highschool I also went to seminary Monday through Friday, church dances on Saturday and church on Sunday, so I still saw friends and people my age every day. There are ways to provide the social experiences that your child needs to be well adjusted. And if you really want your child to have other homeschooled friends to share experiences with, you could always start asking around to see if anyone else is interested. You will probably be surprised by how many people are thinking about it. I recently moved to a ward with no other homeschoolers, so I decided this summer I would teach a beginner's homeschooling class for four weeks. The first class had one person, the second had three, the third had six and I am expecting the same to the fourth and final class, all of which have said they are going to homeschool now that they know what to do. If you lead, others will follow and you soon won't be alone in the venture.

Thoughts from a homeschooling mother of four and homeschool graduate,

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Background Music

I don't know anything that can develop an atmosphere like music. My husband makes amateur films as a hobby. He is currently writing the music on his computer to the film he is working on, and what a difference it makes. With the music he can decide if he wants the audience to take the scene in a light hearted way or if it is to be taken very seriously. In fact filmakers can create almost any type of mood they would like. That music is a powerful factor in putting the film together.

So, if music is so powerful in influencing the mood, atmosphere and actions of those in and watching a film, which is after all not real, isn't it even more important in influencing the lives of those that we do interact with?

I am not musical, but I like music. I have a lot of fun seeking after music that is lovely and of good report. In a way, I am, with my husband, the producer and director of our home and I get to select the music that will create the right effect. Do I want quiet, gentle music that will give us a feeling of peace? I may then play Inspired Holidays, which is original compositions for a piano and cane whistle. You can hear excerpts here, Do I want an atmosphere of excitement and energy to help me clean? In that case I may turn on Nothing But Love by the Wilkinsons. Do I want beautiful singing to just enjoy the trill of the voice? Then I turn on Lisa Arlington who sings wonderful religious music in a celtic style. I have been known to even play Christmas Carols in May if that is the mood I want in my home at the moment. I like variety, lots of variety. So in my collection you will find many classical composers, some celtic, jazz, hymns, operas, musicals, religious, folk songs and many children's collections. There is not much popular music however, mostly because I can find few artists that have a complete album of uplifting music. I wish there were more that would only sing songs about people who were kind, did nice things and were devoted to each other or to a good cause. Country music often has some very good songs that tell touching stories about how one life affects another, and I wish I could get a collection of just these. I occasionally listen to the radio in the car and I often try the country music stations as I do really like the devotion and sense of caring that goes into some of the songs, but I usually have to turn it off very quickly, because the songs I like so much are, unfortunately, a minority.

But it wouldn't be much of a quest if the good music was so easy to find. Now when I find one of those good CD's I snatch it up and treasure it. I think it is like so many other things, by having the bad, the evil, the flawed we can treasure the good, the right and the whole that much more. Then as we take those treasures and play them over and over in our homes they become part of the background music of our families and if carefully selected can help create the sense of joy and peace that we want our families to associate with home.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Starter Business

My older two kids wanted to earn some money this summer, so they decided to save their allowance of $.50 a week until they had $6 then they bought sodas which they took to The Western Festival Parade which goes in front of my in-laws house and they held up a sign and sold the sodas for a dollar, we walked down the one street and then back up again with half a dozen cousins and they made $30, pretty good investment for a 6 and 7 year old.

They made a deal that they would buy Aubrey something she wanted and then save a little more and buy Kamron something he wanted. Aubrey got a large My Little Pony with a bunch of hair accessories and then after they saved a little more they got Kamron a Viking Lego set.

Great Grandpa's Birthday

I finally downloaded the pictues from Great Grandpa's Birthday which was a barn dance in my sister-in-laws barn, two months ago. We also watched a film my husband put together of Grandpa's life. What you don't see is the pregnant mare that was due that day. She didn't seem to mind the music though.
After awhile even all the mommy's, aunt's and Grandma's danced, only a couple of the men ever did get out there, but they enjoyed watching. Aubrey absolutely loves these dances, she likes to be where everyone can see her and really wants to have the best moves=). Brennen got really into it too, but all of the pictures of him just look like he is running around in circles, which he was. Kamron and his boy cousins were playing in the fields and were not inclined to come into the barn except to eat. The two singing are my brother- and sister-in-laws. They are each in a band, one plays all orignal works while the other plays well known songs and they rarely sing together, but they did a couple of songs for the audience of mostly family.

Monday, June 19, 2006


One thing that is great about having a large family is that we get to watch the adorableness of a variety of little children with a variety of personalities. They are all so precious. I have intended for a long time to write down all of those cute things they say, but I must admit that I don't as often as I should. So I thought I would take a minute and write down a few.

Brennen, 2yos, came into the office yesterday and went to climb on the handles of the treadmill and said, "Look at me, I'm on the banana bars." Then he paused a minute and looked thoughtful and said, "I mean, monkey bars."

We went visiting at the primary president's house, who was unaware that we homeschool year round. She asked Kamron, 7yos, "So how is your summer vacation going?" He looked at her with a very confused expression. "Am I having a summer vacation? I did not know that's what this was." That would be a long visit indeed!

Aubrey, 6yod, said this morning, "Mom, do you think it will be bothersome when I grow up and am ready to get married?"
"No," I answerered, "I think it will be all right. "
"I think it will be bothersome, " she said. "There will be so many boys who want to marry me, and I just don't know who I will pick. I will have to do eeny-meeny-miney-moe or something."

6-30-06 Aubrey played like she was riding in a carriage today. She pulled a child sized bench into the family room with her stick horses where she convinced Brennen to be the driver and she sat back and relaxed. When it came time for the kids to clean up she started grunting and looking like she was going to complain that it was too heavy, so I told her not to complain because I knew she could move the bench as she had moved it in. She said, "I used play muscles to bring it in, but when I clean up the rooms I'm in charge of I use different muscles and they're not as strong."

7-4-06 We were getting ready to leave Nanny's and Pappa's after fireworks when Nanny offered Brennen a strawberry. I told him he could take one and she put the bowl in front of him. He reached in and took out one saying, "one strawberry." He then very carefully laid it next to him on the table and then reached in again and took another saying, "one strawberry." Then another, "one strawberry." After doing this a couple more times he looked up and said with another strawberry in his hand, "I have one strawberry."

7-7-06 My pregnant sister-in-law was over and Brennen began to rough house. She stopped him and said, "Don't jump on me because I have a baby in here." He stopped and almost reverently touched her belly and looked up and said, "Is it a baby dinosuar?"

7-15-06 Aubrey had some friends over today and the older sister caught a fly in a cup. Aubrey said if she was going to keep it as a pet she needed to put air holes in the plastic wrap. The girl said she didn't want it to live, and Aubrey replied, "Good then we can dissect it, after it dies, and see what's on the inside." That's Aubrey our bug and guts queen.

7-21-06 I was just talking to Brennen and he goes, "I love my person Daddy." Then after a few minutes he says, "when I get bigger and bigger I will be a Daddy. I love my beautiful Daddy."

My Weekend Projects

Last weekend my sister-in-law took my older two children for three days. Without school to do I took the oppurtunity to work on my house. I started by going to the new IKEA in Sacramento. The two younger boys and I spent three hours there looking at ideas, we finally got some new pillows for our couch, curtains for our bedroom and a few decorating items.

I then stopped by WalMart and bought cheap curtain rods and some plain muslin for $1 a yard. I love the off-white color of muslin and had been contemplating making valances for our back windows with it. I came home and spent the rest of the day sewing. I made three valances and then made a fall colored striped curtain for our brown office room. I rearranged a couple of the other curtains and then put them all up. I then reorganized and decorated the bookcases, instead of having them just be a complete mass of books I took some out and laid some books horizontally. Then I took a table cloth with an off-white background and put it on the table and covered it with vinyl so that I could wash it. I liked the look very much. It does not feel like a completed project, but it makes it feel more like my home.

A Coordinated House or My House

I used to imagine that the reason my home was not beautiful was I just did not have enough money. If I was ever rich enough I would just buy one of those matching room sets with the decorations all chosen to coordinate with it. Then it would be beautiful.

But there has been something slowly working in me to change my mind. First of all I can't actually imagine myself living in one of those houses with everything picked out and coordinated by someone else. It simply does not express me. Plus those decorater model homes have no actual stuff in them and with 6 people in our house, we have stuff.

I live in a newer area where everyone is moving into new homes with bare white walls. As I go visiting I get to see what these women have done with their beautiful homes. Some of the women have bought all coordinated matching everythings, but in some ways they are simply not as fun to look at. And they give fewer clues as to who the occupants really are. It is the slightly imperfect paint jobs and carefully chosen pictures of the families that are more expressive of the family who lives there. It also says we have created this home. In a way a home is a blank canvas that each family gets to take and make into a painting. It is worth a little work to make it beautiful and to make it yours.

I was talking to a new sister that moved into our ward and she mentioned she had painted one of her rooms green and every time she walked into it, it made her smile. That is exactly what should happen. Your whole house should make you smile. I have a light green laundry room and it does make me smile.

I am beginning to realize that a home is not a showplace, nor is it place to come and dump your stuff, but it is a place that should express the people who live there and invite them to come and enjoy being there. I have a long way to go but I have started.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Look Who Got Buzzes!

Before the Buzz

The Irresistability of a Really Good Book

My children wanted to do our read aloud outside this evening. So we went on the patio and I began reading "Peter Pan." I read about how the mermaids would play with the bubbles, but when the children would come they would all disappear, but they would secretly watch. Pretty soon I hear over the fence our 11 year old neighbor boy say, "Is that Peter Pan?" "Yes," I say, "Would you like to come listen?" "I've been listening from here," he says. So I go on and read about Wendy's rule that all the boys must take a nap after they eat and they are all settled on marooners rock when an eery darkness begins to spread of the lagoon. "Oh, it must be Hook!" and the neighbor is now perched on top of the fence. We go on to the fight and Peter is wounded and can't fly nor swim and is left with Wendy on the rock and the tide is coming in. "Oh...but they can't really drown. They don't drown. Do they?" And the boy is now over the fence. There is a kite, Peter fastens Wendy to it and it carries her away. Peter looks out bravely and says 'to die will be an awfully big adventure.' The chapter ends and the neighbor boy is beside us. I smile and ask, "Do you guys want another chapter?" "Well, if you want to," says the boy and so there is a devoted neverbird, a mother sitting on her nest that has fallen out of the tree and is now bobbing up and down in the gentley lapping waters of the lagoon...

The Back Then's

My daughter has the cutest way of relating to history. She calls it the back thens. We have been reading "Little House On The Praire." Pa has just built Ma a little rocking chair and they have a small formal celebration when he presents it to her.

My neighbor had a garage sale last week and was selling a glider which I bought. I brough it home and my daughter was so excited. She said, "Oh Mom, put it right here and then you can read to us and we will sit around you and it will be just like we are in the back thens!"

We did read and it did feel a little like the back thens, full of delicious memories.

A Religious Educational Study

Mosiah 23:14
And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

“Any man who will question the divinity of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, or will deny the so-called miracles of the scriptures is unfit to be a teacher of Latter-day Saint children.” (Improvement Era Vol. 21, p. 104)
-Joseph F. Smith

So who is supposed to teach our children?

“There is no knowledge, no learning that can compensate the individual for the loss of his belief in heaven and in the saving principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An education that leads a man from these central truths cannot compensate him for the great loss of spiritual things.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:321-322.)
-Joseph Feilding Smith
“But some Latter-day Saints are so liberal and unsuspecting that they would just as soon send their children to Mr. Pierce down here as to anybody else. I would not do it. However good a man Mr. Pierce may be, he should not teach one of my children as long as I had wisdom and intelligence to teach him myself, or could find a man of my own faith to do it for me.” (Journal of Discourses 14:287-288)
-Joseph F. Smith

Doctrine and Covenants 93:39-40, 42
And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth... You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction.

Does Satan use the common educational system to take away light and truth? Are there any afflictions associated with what is being taught in the public schools?

Henry B. Eyring
“The world in which our students choose spiritual life or death is changing rapidly. When their older brothers and sisters return to visit the same schools and campuses they attended, they find a radically different moral climate. The language in the hallways and the locker rooms has coarsened. Clothing is less modest. Pornography has moved into the open. Tolerance for wickedness has not only increased, but much of what was called wrong is no longer condemned at all and may, even by our students, be admired. Parents and administrators have in many cases bent to the pressures coming from a shifting world to retreat from moral standards once widely accepted. The spiritual strength sufficient for our youth to stand firm just a few years ago will soon not be enough. Many of them are remarkable in their spiritual maturity and in their faith. But even the best of them are sorely tested. And the testing will become more severe.” ("We Must Raise Our Sights," CES Address, August 14, 2001)

“Shall we employ teachers that will turn the infant minds of our children away from the principles of the gospel and perhaps lead them to darkness and death? ...I would like to know if a Methodist would send his children to a Roman Catholic School, or vice versa? I think not. Do either send their children to "Mormon" schools, or employ "Mormon" teachers? I think not. Do we object to it? No, we do not; we accord to all classes their rights, and we claim rights equal with them. Well, shall we, after going to the ends of the earth to gather people to Zion, in order that they may learn more perfectly of His ways and walk in His paths, shall we then allow our children to be at the mercy of those who would lead them down to death again? God forbid! Let our teachers be men of God, men of honor and integrity, and let us afford our children such learning as will place our community in the front ranks in educational as well as religious matters. But would we interfere with other religious denominations? No. Prevent them from sending their children where and to whom they please? No. Or from shipping where they please? No. I would not put a hair in their way, nor interfere with them in any possible way; they can take their course, and we want the same privilege.” (Journal of Discourses 19:249-250)
John Taylor

D&C 55-4 And again you shall be ordained to assist my servant Oliver Cowdery to do the work of printing, and of selecting and writing books for schools in this church, that little children may also receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me.

“We had to pay our own schoolteachers, raise our own bread and earn our own clothing, or go without; there was no other choice. We did it then, and we are able to do the same to-day. I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can... I understand that the other night there was a school meeting in one of the wards of this city, and a part there--a poor miserable apostate--said, "We want a free school, and we want to have the name of establishing the first free school in Utah." To call a person a poor miserable apostate may seem like a harsh word; but what shall we call a man who talks about free schools and who would have all the people taxed to support them, and yet would take his rifle and threaten to shoot the man who had the collection of the ordinary light taxes levied in this Territory--taxes which are lighter than any levied in any other portion of the country?” (Journal of Discourses 16:19-20) Brigham Young
“I can say that it is good and wise and judicious in parents to instruct their children in the way. If they wish the word of the Lord upon the subject, I will give it to you and you may, any of you, write it down if you please. It is the will of the Lord our God that we teach our children the way of righteousness from the Holy Scriptures and there is no better method than for mothers to teach them at home, and in the Sunday Schools.” (The Teachings of President Brigham Young, Vol. 3)
So what other reasons are there to seek alternative routes to the popular mainstream method of education?

To give them the education that the parent (and child) think is the best and most beneficial to the child.
To protect them from evil and just inappropriate things in the public school curriculum.
“We urge families to protect their children in every way possible. We live in a permissive world, but we must make certain that we do not become part of that permissive world... The home is the teaching situation." (Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 7) Spencer W. Kimball
To reclaim the time with the child.
To provide them with a more well rounded social environment.
To be the primary influence on shaping their character.
To keep the family unit in tack.
To keep the child safe.
“In many places it is literally not safe physically for youngsters to go to school. And in many schools - and it's becoming almost generally true - it is spiritually unsafe to attend public schools. Look back over the history of education to the turn of the century and the beginning of the educational philosophies, pragmatism and humanism were the early ones, and they branched out into a number of other philosophies which have led us now into a circumstance where our schools are producing the problems that we face.” (Charge to the David O. McKay School of Education at BYU, October 9, 1996) Boyd K. Packer
More flexible lifestyle and schedules.
To keep the child safe.
For health reasons.
To provide a more sound spiritual education
To Teach them truth
“This is one of the great obstacles in the way of the education of our children: the books which are in our schools, and from which our children are taught, contain theories that are unsound; they are based upon false premises that lead to wrong conclusions; and it requires the utmost care on the part of parents and teachers to prevent bad effects following education based upon such textbooks... It is a difficult thing, in the midst of...false doctrines and theories which come to us and our children in the guise of science, to prevent the spirit of unbelief from influencing us.” (Gospel Truth, p. 245) Joseph Feilding Smith

So why do we educate children at all?
To develop character, right thoughts and right actions
“Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting. . . . True education seeks, then to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love -- men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life. . . . It is regrettable, not to say deplorable, that modern education so little emphasizes these fundamental elements of true character. The principal aim of many of our schools and colleges seems to be to give the students purely intellectual attainments and to give but passing regard to the nobler and more necessary development along moral lines.” (Gospel Ideals p. 440-441)David O. Mckay
To give them job skills
To make them more interesting to talk to and have more things that they can relate to during life
To help them understand other times, cultures and peoples so that they can build connections and understand similarities and differences
To understand the facts of situations and not be mislead by made up facts, for instance many people believe that education is part of the constitution or at least one of the amendments but as Ezra Taft Benson says “There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution which authorizes the federal government to enter into the field of education. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment says: "The powers not delegated to the United States Government are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Nothing could be more clear. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to exercise any powers over education.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 298.) I would say that most Americans have not read the constitution and because of that and in my opinion their lack of logic studies they are persuaded to believe the constitution says things that it does not.
To help them to be able to think so that they will not be swayed be popular opinion
To be able to express themselves and persuade others to the right
It is a commandment from God

My Background as it Pertains to Education

I come from a large family of ten with various foster children thrown in from time to time. I attended a public kindergarten in Orangevale, but my mother was displeased with the school and so pulled me and my 3 older siblings out to homeschool when I was in first grade. In second a new school opened in the area and they came to my mom and asked her to be PTA president. She accepted and enrolled us in this school. I still remember her being there almost daily with my youngest brother at the time in tow.

The next year we moved to Wilton and we attended a little country school. I was very shy as a child and so mostly played with my younger sister until they split our recesses, I remember how hard that was on me, but I made a few other friends. In sixth grade I tested at the 99th percentile in what was then the CTBS test, but around the same time I tested for GATE and found that I was not smart enough to get in. I thought about this and began to suspect that perhaps testing did not really tell how smart or not a person was.

For seventh grade I had to be bused in to Elk Grove one hour and fifteen minutes each way. I can honestly say that is the closest I have ever come to feeling what the cruelest torture must be like. As I said I was very shy and all the friends I had had were placed on different tracks and I wore glasses and children of that age when too little watched and directed can be very cruel. But I got all A’s and rejoiced in the days when I was picked up. I can remember one time accidentally missing the bus, and the feeling of relief that swept through me. I was sorely tempted to miss it more, but I knew it was very inconvenient for my mother to come all the way to town and get me. In eighth grade a teacher I had liked very well came up to me in the hall and said she had been talking to the other teachers and found that I was starting to be very disruptive and a trouble maker. For the life of me I could not think of a single instance that she could be referring to. That is when I realized that the teachers must gossip just as much as the students and my respect for the profession lowered dramatically. I no longer viewed them as people who had my best interest in mind, but for the most part just people with a job. The highlight of that year was a PE class where we studied self defense for six weeks, as the final we were all to walk down an ally with the other children lined up on each side and one of the boys would spring out and attack us and we were to defend ourselves. The boy secretly chosen to attack me was one who had earlier in the year pinched my behind and I had turned around and slapped. He sprang out at me rather violently and nearly ripped my shirt off exposing me to most of the class. I could not defend myself well and I remember looking up at the teacher and instead of protecting me he was standing there taking notes.

I had a foster sister move in with us at that time who was my age and very popular. We did not get along at first but after being stuck an entire summer in the country together with no way to go anywhere we became very good friends. That summer also I met a boy at EFY who had a great many friends from the Elk Grove wards-they were mostly boys, the Wilton ward was mostly girls, because of this and because of my connection to my foster sister I found myself suddenly popular. Because of seminary I no longer rode the bus in the morning. I was in honors classes receiving straight A’s going to numerous parties and dances and in general having a very different time than the previous two years. I went to Elk Grove High which was reported to be the best high school in the area. It is still a selling point with Realtors to say that a house is in the Elk Grove district. Yet I can remember thinking that if this was there best I’d hate to see their worst. During that year the art department decided to paint a mural on the wall of the American flag being burned. This set the cowboys in an uproar and fights broke out. I can remember one girls head getting smashed into a locker, knocking her unconscious. I took ag classes where the cowboys were. But ag was also one of the places to buy drugs. I can remember the teacher would be attempting a lecture and a backpack would fly through the air to another student, that student would take out a bag of white powder put some money in and the backpack would fly back across the room. I can remember thinking that there was no way that teacher could have missed that. But of course nothing was ever done.

I have never cussed in my life, but because I constantly was hearing these words they would be the first that would come to my mind when anything happened. I began to tire of the popularity thing and the who is going out with who and the gossiping and in some cases the guess who got pregnant, …well he’s not going on a mission. At this time my older sister asked to homeschool her last year of high school. Before then I had not thought of it. My friends convinced me to go high school again for tenth grade, but I began to get more and more irritated. and finally in October I decided to be homeschooled.

When I went around to each of my teachers to have them sign the final paperwork, my two honors teachers both told me it was wonderful that I would be homeschooled and I would learn so much more. My PE teacher told me that homeschooling was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard of and it was a terrible thing that my parents were doing to me. The others were indifferent or merely looked annoyed. I was not prepared for the reaction I got in the office. I asked at the counter for the necessary signatures the principal must have overheard why because he came out of his office screaming. He grabbed the paper and actually yelled at me I can’t remember everything he said, but I do remember him saying that if I left I would never be able to come back. I knew that to be a complete lie and I remember thinking how silly it was that this man who did not know me and had never spoken to me before should be so upset about my educational choices. I felt that the only thing he could truly be concerned about was the money he would miss. I was perfectly calm though as I again asked for the signatures. He angrily signed and I left.

A new chapter opened up to me and I felt very excited. My mother also took my three younger brothers out of that little elementary school that I had gone to. The one in sixth grade had really been having trouble with pornography that was being passed around. He did not want to look at it, but it was so openly displayed by his friends that he had gone to my mother crying and asking for help.

She enrolled us all in a charter school and had so much fun ordering the supplies. I can remember how excited she was when she got some very good colored pencils for me. I did not understand the difference, but she was an artist and knew. I had passed her in every subject except art and grammar (I’d never had any of the latter) already, but this was no great difficulty as she could learn and I could self teach--except in math. I got stuck there; in Algebra 2. Later I just took it in college, and I actually went on to take trig for the fun of it.

My mother had decided to follow the scope and sequence of the public school so I just took those subjects with the addition of psychology and sociology and art. A friend and I took biology together. We followed a textbook and did a science lab kit dissecting squid, fish, mice and cow eyeballs on her kitchen table. Gross, but fascinating. I also began apprenticing for a local horse trainer and learned to break horses. I helped build a log cabin and milk goats of another homeschooling friend. I went to an LDS coop with about 25 kids where we did projects, herbal tea parties, recitals and put on plays.

I babysat a lot at this time also. I occasionally watched two little boys ages two and three and their behavior and the stuff they knew so shocked me that I knew that I could never send my future children to school with other children who knew and discussed these subjects. And so the decision to homeschool my children was made.

When I was a Junior the overseeing teacher came to me and told me that all I needed was an American Government and an Economics class to graduate so I finished both classes in the remaining two months and graduated on my 17th birthday.

I immediately went to the local college where I attended institute also. By this time I had pretty much figured out how to read most teachers and easily got an A in most classes. I remember the semester I was engaged everyone told me to forget taking classes as I would be so distracted I wouldn’t do well. So I took a full load and was determined to do well in everything. I took an economics class that semester from a teacher who spoke very broken English, it was very hard to understand him, but he had this way of emphasizing what would be on his tests so I memorized those things and got the third highest marks of all of his students. When some econ majors asked me to help them understand it I had to honestly admit that I did not really understand it at all, but I just memorized the answers for the tests. I decided then that the testing and grading thing was really pointless and would not do it to my own children if I could avoid it.

After my first son was born I began studying educational theory. I spent the next five years doing so. I can honestly say I learned more at this time than all of college. I also spent that time refining my goals for my children and researching supplies and resources. This has been a continuing process.

I now have 4 children and will be going into our fourth official homeschooling year, and I love it. But the adventures with my children would make this extremely long so I will have to write about them later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Alternative Schooling in Yuba County

So what are the legal requirements to homeschool in the state of Ca?

In all cases the list of subjects that must be taught are for 1-6 grades English, Math, Social Science, Science, visual and performing arts, physical education and health. For grades 7-12 the above are required along with foreign language, drivers education, applied arts and vocational education offered. Students in grade 7-8 must take one semester of parenting, health and self esteem studies.
Also children between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school.
There are four options
1. File an R-4 online, between October 1st and 15th.
When you file and R-4, you are in essence becoming a private school. The requirements are that you keep a copy of all students immunization records, a list of staff with a statement of what makes them ”capable of teaching” and attendance and that you offer education in the core subjects with a list of courses. If your child has been in another school you are also supposed to send a letter requesting the child’s cumulative records, you are not responsible for getting it though as often they are not actually sent. If you are going to teach students who are not your own children you also need a tuberculosis certificate and a criminal record summary for each teacher. You can also obtain a print copy of the R-4 and send it in to the state, not the local district anymore. Students in private schools do not need to take state test and can be issued a diploma on completion of the schools requirements a list of which must be kept.
2. Homeschool through a private cover school. Some can be found at
These school let you be part of a private school but all of the instruction is done at home. They keep the records and issue the diploma. Each school is run a little differently some do not do much more than that while others provide online or mail in classes, available teachers for questions, support staff, service for special needs children, curriculum development for specific children or help with selecting a course of study.
3. Join a charter school offering an independent or Homeschooling option. They keep the records, provide services and funding. For a list go here
4. Homeschool under the tutor option. To do this the primary teacher must have a Ca teaching credential and must provide tutoring in the required subjects between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, 175 days a year. No notification is necessary.

So what possibilities are there for alternative ways of educating our children?

As we look at the options of how to school our children, may I suggest that we filter them through the words of the prophets and the only method that should be used is one that leaves the content and the method of instruction up to the parents. It is not the place of the government.

Any system, therefore, which forcibly takes from the parents the power to control what their children are taught, and who teaches them, is contrary to the Lord's plan. It deprives parents of their most sacred stewardship and takes the child away from those who are most deeply concerned with his welfare. No state employee whose purpose in teaching is to get gain can be expected to serve the interests of the child as well as the parents who render their service without compensation. More especially this is true when the teacher is prohibited by law from instilling faith in the child... Since state-financed education is one of the principle doctrines of communism, those who accept it have adopted much of the socialist program... It is a widely recognized fact that public schools and universities are the foremost advocates of socialism because they teach it both in theory and in practice. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 135-136.) H. Verlan Andersen
The Lord holds parents personally accountable for the teaching of their children and if they fail to discharge this duty properly, the sins of the children rest upon the parents (D&C 68:25, 2 Nephi 4:4-6). If parents are to be held accountable, then they must be given the right to control what is taught to their children and who teaches them. Both of these rights are denied under the typical laws providing for public schools. (The Book of Mormon and the Constitution, p. 185) H. Verlan Andersen

Now with this in mind what forms of education are there?

Charter Schools- Charter schools are set up to provide students and parents more choices in education and are a government run alternative to traditional public schools. There are currently 4 charter school options that cover Yuba county and allow independent study working mostly like this. An Educational Specialist oversees each student visiting with them from once a week to once a month, according to the needs of the students. At these meetings the teacher collects sample work, attendance and records what the student has done. Funds are allotted to the students which can be used to purchase supplies from approved vendors (this is usually a very wide variety of catalogs and locations), and classes can be taken through tutors, private companies, community resources and the schools. State tests must be taken and one is supposed to follow the state standards. Some of the charter schools arrange field trips, have resource centers where supplies can be checked out for as long as they are needed.

Community Resources in Education, Camptonville Academy or CORE
(530) 478-9458.
922 "G" Street, Marysville
Classes four days out of the week such as recorder, PE, upper level maths, sciences, SAT prep, Western Expansion, Sign Language, Grammar, Yuba and Sutter Parks and Rec classes paid for. Also private tutoring from Sylvan’s or other private tutors who teach music, sewing, horseback riding etc.
Covers Yuba, Sutter, Placer and Nevada Counties.
This school gives funds based on student need, some need more so they get more, some less. Same restrictions in content. A supervisor meets with you every 5 to 20 days based on need.

Twin Ridges Home Study Charter School.
Closest Site is Beale Air Force Base, serving students on and off base they offer Spanish, writing, drama and art. Classes are less expensive than other charters. They set up field trips regularly for students to attend.Offers a computer and many software programs. The centers offer curriculum that can also be checked out, other centers are in Nevada City, Truckee, Auburn.
Teachers meet monthly with students to get their report, usually at the learning site or other public place, can meet at students homes.
Children get $1000 for curriculum, felid trips, enrichment classes, tutors and other lessons.

South Sutter Charter
2452 El Centro Blvd.
East Nicolaus, Ca 95659
Pretty laid back,openly address the silliness of the STAR testing. Parent choice very new like how Horizon was ten years ago. Centers in Camp Pollock, and Elk Grove are very specific such as oil painting, colonial life, Shakespeare, Fashion Design, gardening, dessert making, yoga, biology, algebra, career explorations, mountain men of America etc.
Teachers meet every 20 days with students for report.
Covers Sutter, Butte, Colusa, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, and Yuba counties.
Children get $1600 in funds per year.

Horizon Instructional System
2800 Nicolaus Rd., Ste. 100, Lincoln, CA 95648-9660 (800) 338-8003
Learning centers in Auburn, Roseville, Elk Grove, Grass Valley, Placerville, Sacramento and Lincoln. Also has a Lincoln Montessori 5 day a week school. Learning centers have classes from 1 to 5 days a week covering music, art, history, science, history, math, sewing, acting, lego engineering. Tutoring, private classes, field trips are offered. They have science fairs, and music recitals. Warehouse of lending supplies in Lincoln resource center.
Children get $1000 for curriculum and classes, etc.

Other charters are-
Charter Academy of the Arts,
1919 B Street ● Marysville, CA 95901 ● (530)749-6157
7th through 12th grade site based Charter school that focuses on the arts such as drama, media, art, and music.

High School continuing education for Yuba County, 1917 B Street
Marysville, CA 95901, 530-741-6128

Cooperative Schools-This is when a group of (usually) moms set up classes for there students together. For instance when I was in high school there were five families (about 23 kids) that met together every Fridays we would do a science experiment, a geography lesson and sometimes music or memory recitals, put on plays, do art projects, outdoor games, have a formal tea party, hold graduations and socialize. Other groups do a more formal school where everyone involved studies the same history, science etc and a parent teaches and does projects for the subjects 1 to 5 days a week. Some groups just take field trips once a month together others do once a week park and socializing times.

Tutors-This is the method that the upper-class used up to 150 years ago. A tutor is employed to teach the students the subjects set forth by the parents. Today tutors can come to your house to teach, college students often make good tutors and this works well for areas a parent may not feel comfortable teaching, for instance if your child has reached calculus and you do not feel confident teaching this subject a math major from the local college can be hired to come and help your student. There are also tutoring centers which usually focus on keeping the children at or above the state standards in reading, writing and math. Mentors can also fall under this category.

Cottage or Mom Schools-This is when one mother teaches several students who are not her own children in her home. She may teach just part of the subjects like history and science or she may teach all of the required subjects, in essence becoming a small private school.

Classes-Students may be enrolled in individual classes in the community, in other schools, in college or with private instructors. For instance if a parent does not feel comfortable teaching math then the child may take one of the math classes at the charter school. Or if the child wants to earn dual credit he may take a class at the college. Clubs are also a good resource here, for instance there are debate, mock trial and applied science clubs with annual national and statewide competitions

Online, Video and Computer Schools-These schools can be taken as a complete curriculum or just one class at a time. Some of these are videos of a private school and then the videos are offered or a streaming video online is watched. In some cases the teacher is available for questions, to give and grade assignments and to spend one on one time via instant messenger, email, letters or phone calls to give the student further direction. BYU has a 7th grade and up program where the student either does the work and participates in the discussions online or via mail and then the teacher gives feed back on the work. Liahona Schooling also offers LDS education in this way with every subject taught from an LDS perspective, Calvert is a private school with many courses offered via video, and some for 7th and up offered via streaming video. K12 is a computer based school based on the core sequence.

Apprenticeships- These are usually used for vocational training or visual, performing and applied arts. For instance when I was in high school I became an apprentice to a horse trainer and had hands on experience breaking and training horses. If a student has an interest in being an engineer or a businessman one can often find someone who is willing to take the student on as free labor in exchange for training about the field.

And last, but not least Homeschool- All of the above can be used as part of a homeschool, but this can also include direct instruction from the parents, family projects and trips and really whatever the parents and students deem worthy of their time. It is education that originates from the home. Often people view this as the parent directly teaching and lecturing, the students filling in worksheets and taking tests, while this is one method it is only one, but we will get further into all of the ways of teaching children in the next class.