Everyone has their own unique view of what homeschooling is about and how it’s done. Some homeschools are public school (PS) classes at home while others are at the other end of the spectrum and do what they call unschooling where they don’t force study but allow the child(ren) to learn what they want to and when they want to. I personally do not like, nor do, the PS thing at home. Unschooling is a little closer to my way of homeschooling, though I do use guiding principles taught in my core books (aka Scriptures) and Thomas Jefferson Education.  This works for our family, but I know it doesn’t work for every family.  I wouldn’t presume to say what other families should be doing in regards to their children’s education.  I wouldn’t want others to project their views in that regard on me.

I’ve tried in our home school to instill a love for learning in my children. I’ve been amazed at what they learn when they choose to seek the knowledge instead of me forcing it on them. I have friends that have had conversations with family or friends over whether or not their child knows this or that compared to another child who attends a PS or even a charter school. Personally, I generally don’t care if my children are up to par with their PS counterparts. I want them to have a love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, their family, their fellowmen, and lifelong learning. I may have learned some basics in school (I was public schooled), but for a long time I didn’t feel confident in my knowledge because most of what I learned was memorized and then forgotten. I still struggle in my own education at times, and I know that the process I went through in PS is not for my children.

I have felt guided by the Spirit to home school my children and in the specific way we do it.  I have said many prayers in this regard.  There is room for improvement, as with anything, but I know that my children are learning and generally enjoying the process.  It’s when they compare themselves (or sometimes it’s me, not recognizing I’m doing it), that they become miserable and sad that they aren’t on the same path as some of their peers.  I believe strongly that my children will likely not follow the same path the majority of American children will.  It’s okay to be different and choose differently than others.  It is sometimes a hard road, but I know in the end it will all be worth it.

This year I’ve had more challenges with homeschooling than I ever have before.  It’s not that I don’t want to or can’t, it’s the fear that I won’t be able to continue due to circumstances.  That has made me push some things on the children (some like to call it “conveyor belt thinking”) that have made them less happy about doing some of their school work.  I’ve tried really hard to not force or push things on my kids just to “know” what everyone else knows, but I’ve made the mistake of doing that the past few months and mostly just to show they’ve done “something”.  It’s not the best approach and everything I abhorred about the PS system.  I have not been inspired to use this approach at all.  For me, that approach has been all fear-based and the worst way to go about doing anything.

I admire the parents that do lots of planning and instruction, but I realize now that for me and my family, the simplistic approach is best.  We don’t have to have the latest curriculum.  I have a lot of resources without spending lots of money, and I can teach what I know for free!  I choose the classes and participate in them so that I not only help my children, but I learn from other mentoring parents as well.  I’m learning right along with my children, and that’s the beautiful thing about having a love for learning and schooling at home.

My PS at home attempt was a good lesson.  I’ve seen how and what my children have learned from this experience compared with what they learned with little formal instruction most of the their life.  Their confidence has wavered with this experience instead of staying strong; however, I’m now very confident with more inspiring than requiring they will be much better off than they have been the past few months.  I can get rid of the doubt and fear and go forward with faith and inspiration to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do.

I know each of my children have a unique mission, and it’s my job to encourage them in finding it and gaining the education they need to fulfill that mission.  They definitely have a better footing than I ever did at their ages.  I’m so grateful that the Spirit leads me to the things that benefit my family the most (and sometimes it’s guidance to just get out of my children’s way).

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to pray about what the Lord wants you to do for your child(ren)’s education.  Seek His help and be open to following the promptings the Spirit gives you.  It is eye-opening, and it may lead you in a direction that you didn’t realized you should go.  It’s a scary step sometimes, but with faith in the Lord and His help-all things are possible!

I was able to take notes in my journal about the wonderful messages of the prophet, the apostles, and other church leaders in General Conference the past few days. I came away with a full heart!

I loved the new announcement that eligible ages for missionaries were dropped to 18 from 19 for young men and from 21 to 19 for young women. That puts the possibility of my oldest going on a mission if she chooses to less than 6 years. Wow! Several of my best friends have children much closer than that…less than a year and a half. My niece could potentially be leaving around Christmas time if she chooses to go on a mission instead of having to wait two more years. Wow!

So many messages! These are my favorites:

We can't insist on our own time table when the Lord has His own.-Pres. Henry B. Eyring

My family and I have some challenges that won’t seem to let up or change. {Five years is a long time.} I know they will change for the better, and we just need to trust in the Lord’s timing instead of our own. We’re moving our feet and striving to move forward. Heavenly Father is not hidden from us unless we put up our own walls. He is always there. Though the journey seems slow, I’m grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who will make our life better than we ever planned it to be and that in the perspective of eternity, five years is but a very small moment.

pollinate the world with the pure love of Christ.-Elder M. Russell Ballard

I sometimes feel like in my own little sphere I’m not making a huge difference. Elder Ballard’s talk was a great reminder that even though I have felt that way, I really am making a difference. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and I’m striving my best to live the way He wants me to. I can spread the love of Christ through my service and my example. It matters to Him, and it matters to those I personally influence. It matters to my husband and my children. It matters to my extended family and close friends. It matters to those I have served that will never know me personally. I can help pollinate the world with His love!

never delay a prompting-Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Service is the very definition of pure religion-M. Russell Ballard

All throughout conference, I heard over and over that Heavenly Father answers prayers through other people. We can be the answer to someone’s prayer when we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I have known it for a long time, but it must be a lesson I needed reminding of because I heard it so many times!

We always go to my in-laws for conference breakfast with the extended family for the first session of conference on Sunday. It’s nice to get together and share together in hearing the word of God and of course enjoying good food. We left with the desire to go home to fix lunch and prepare for the next session of conference. On the way home, we were given the opportunity to not delay a prompting and provide service. {During Conference, I was also reminded that the opportunities to provide service are not always convenient.}

We saw a woman on the side of the road pushing her car out of the center median. We drove on for a few seconds before David said, “Should we go back and help her.” We turned around and couldn’t find her on the road. We turned into the parking lot of a library to turn around when we saw the car. David didn’t think it was her because he thought the car we were looking for had out of state plates. I knew it was her because of her pink hair. {Yes, I just said she had pink hair.} We helped her with what she needed and made sure she was on her way before leaving to go home. Though the experience didn’t seem terribly inconvenient–we didn’t even miss the second session or lunch–we would have gladly helped as long as we were needed. My children never complained or wondered when they would get to eat. I’m grateful the children were able to see us trying to live and do as the Savior would in the same circumstances. It was an opportunity for us to practice what we had been hearing about all weekend during conference and for the children to see another instance where we were trying to live the gospel not just make them listen to people talk about it.

ask the missionaries, they can help

We seem to have had a lot of eyes on us lately as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the coming election where a member of our faith is running for president. I’m sure many people outside of our faith were watching parts of conference to see what we’re all about. I loved how Elder Russell M. Nelson recommended talking to the missionaries to help people get joy back into their lives, do family history work, be healthy, know the truth about life after death…and so on. It’s true too! If you want to know more, ask the missionaries!

I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it!-Sister Ann M. Dibb of the YW General Predidency

I’m Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it!” This made me want to make t-shirts that have this statement on it! It might get more attention outside of Utah, but it would still be a wonderful shirt to wear!

I love Elder Oaks’ talk! Protecting children and helping them is very important to my family. The topic is near and dear to my heart, and everything Elder Oaks said resonated of truth. {The Spirit is so wonderful!} His talk was a reminder that I need to make sure I continue to work on improving my relationship with my family. I need to strive to do better at being calm with my children and use the teaching moments that come up throughout my day.

With many people in our country trying to change the definition of marriage to something it is not, I found Elder Oaks’ statement above to be a very welcome addition to conference. {The Family: A Proclamation to the World goes into more details about marriage, children, and their ideal roles which we all should strive for.} The gospel and plan of salvation gives my family and I an eternal perspective, and I’m so grateful!

So what were your favorite talks or lessons from General Conference?

A new wooden playset has been on my husband’s vision board for a month or so, and we weren’t sure how we would get one in our current situation. He never gave up on the idea even when I was struggling with believing that it would happen anytime soon. I’m very happy to report that it came off of his vision board this weekend!

The background story…Unfortunately our next door neighbors, Amanda and Ben, are moving. We’re all sad about it, and yet excited for them and their new adventure. Our children all get along and love playing with each other. We’re praying for good neighbors because they’ve been fabulous ones. (If anyone’s interested in living next door to me, let me know and I’ll set you up! You’d have awesome neighbors on both sides!)

These wonderful neighbors made a treehouse platform in their globe willow tree a few months ago. I think my kids played in it more than their children. When they decided to move a few weeks ago, she offered to sell the treehouse to our family. My kids were all outside when she and I were talking about it, and they couldn’t have been more excited! They were so excited that they pulled their resources together and paid for 80% of the cost–all while my neighbor and I were still talking. I was quite surprised and grateful at the same time. I didn’t think we should spend the money. Then they came through with almost all of it, and we found a way to pay for the rest.

We knew that Independence Day weekend wasn’t going to work to move the treehouse, so David decided on the following weekend. He called Blue Stakes to make sure we weren’t digging into a power line. Then on Friday, David picked up the supplies he’d need and he began mapping out the area. He dug the four holes he needed. Our neighbor, Ben, raised the platform on some load locks and another support so we could use the same support posts in our holes. David and Ben then put the poles in the holes and squared them up. David was up until midnight pouring cement.

I wasn’t much help due to my feeling light-headed all day. My kids all wanted to help though, and to some extent they did whether it was holding a post, getting a screw, or staying in the house. I think all of them were finally in bed by 10:30 that night.

The cement was set enough by Saturday morning, and David got up and called some neighbors to come and help move the platform over the fence and up onto the support posts. Gratefully, there were seven strong men handling the situation, and everyone worked well together and accomplished the job. We’re so blessed to have such wonderful people in ward! (Another shameless plug for moving into my neighborhood!)

David and I both prayed that they would have strength, wisdom, and safety though neither of us talked about it before we said our own prayers. It was just what they needed too! Originally the plan was to just lift it off and move it over the fence easily. Then they found out how heavy it was and they ended up flipping it up and over the fence. (I can only describe it like a wheel turning or a somersault–only it’s not round at all.) They all said a prayer together and then did the job. I couldn’t watch, so I just stayed inside and prayed it would all go well.

We considered putting it in our tree, but it’s sort-of dying and we didn’t want it to be a main support to the structure. We just put it near the tree instead. It’s the only real shade we have in the backyard now. lol I’m excited for the adventures they’ll have in our backyard.

David finished putting up the toys and the side rails near the posts before leaving it so the cement could finish curing on Saturday. I’m grateful it was set up when a big rain storm hit on Sunday. I hadn’t watered my lawn for days, and it was getting pretty dry. Another blessing in the whole experience.

My kids were so anxious to play on it come Monday morning when David put the ladder on. It was great motivation to get them to so their chores and do it fairly well! I now have a clean quiet home since they’re all outside playing in it! Simple pleasures! Now that’s what I call a nice Monday!

Have a great Monday!

We had a lovely Independence Day, though it started off slow for me. I didn’t sleep well, so everything seemed “late.” Then I chose to just move forward, and I was able to keep going the rest of the day.

We went to our local Independence Day parade and had a nice spot near the beginning of the parade. The benefits: get a good seat, get to leave before the made rush, kids don’t have to wait another 10 minutes to see the beginning. The downside: lots of candy for the kids. This particular parade doesn’t usually have a lot of floats, and the kids don’t seem to mind. We managed to find the same area we had last year, and it was just perfect. Some friends joined us, and fun was had by all.

Ella and I

Peter playing “freeze ray” – he likes to freeze in a funny position, even if he wasn’t in it before someone said “freeze!”

Peter and David






The ponies were one of the kids’ favorite entries.

I love that you can see our reflection in the Copper Car. Click on the picture to see a larger size. Then if you click on the larger image it should zoom in more.

Wendy “fanning” her friend.

The tractors were also a kids’ favorite.

Fireworks sure are hard to photograph!

We had a nice barbecue with David’s family, and then we headed home for some neighborhood fireworks and socializing. Our next door neighbors are moving in a few weeks, and we wanted to spend another holiday with them. They have generously hosted our Independence Day gathering for the last few years, and we’re really going to miss them.

I’m grateful for God’s tender mercies and answered prayers. I had a prayer in my heart for the safety of my children and loved ones. I also asked to see God’s hand in my life that day, and He provided! I’ll share a couple of them:

  • I forgot the squirt bottle for keeping us cool at the parade, and it didn’t matter because Heavenly Father provided the cloud cover, a light breeze, and sprinkles of rain throughout the parade. What a blessing!
  • Then at the neighborhood gathering, we had an incident with a firework. Out of the two aerial fireworks in the whole display, one tipped over and shot two rounds at our crowd. I can see God’s hand in keeping everyone safe. They shot near two adults who would know what to do. In one case, an adult ended up getting hit with it and he flipped over before it popped and injured him. If he hadn’t been there, the child behind him on a chair could have been hurt. We’ll either not use them again or secure them better next time. I used to get really freaked out by things like that, but I was amazingly calm and so grateful.
  • Isn’t it wonderful to have a loving Heavenly Father who answers prayers and shows His hand in our lives if we just seek it!?!

    How was your weekend? Did you see God’s hand in your life?

    Comments welcome!

    My, my, my, the time sure does fly by! My sweet, happy, bubbly Wendy is already 6! She is such a joy to have in our home. She brings everything to life! She can brighten a room and make someone feel loved just with her smile. Thank you, Wendy for being my sunshine!