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A few years ago, while I was balancing the activities and academics of my youngest four children, starting to work part-time, and trying to run a household, a friend and I were trying to coordinate some activities. She doesn’t homeschool. As we struggled to find time to make things work, she said, “If you are so busy, why don’t you put your kids in public school? After all, you live in a better school system now.” She must have seen the shocked look on my face, because she quickly apologized and we went on with our conversation.

I grew up as a homeschooler. I would like to say I was homeschooled my entire life, but I did attend kindergarten in public school. I graduated a few years ago, and have moved on to college, a job, and four church callings. However, homeschool is still a large part of my life, and it always will be. I am so blessed and thankful that my parents homeschooled me. It is a large reason of why I am the person I am today. Here are my favorite things about being homeschooled.

In his closing remarks of the April 2016 General Conference, Elder Holland acknowledged that the “wonderful feelings” that define General Conference weekend will, likely, yield to more worldly matters in the days to come.  We'll come down from our "conference highs" into the real world of daily life.  And we'll long for the same spiritual tutoring we've soaked up during General Conference.

As homeschoolers, we are not immune to troubled relationships with our children.  If anything, when these problems occur, we feel a heightened awareness of them.  Sometimes a child is feeling surly, and then this might develop into a habit of sarcasm.  Sometimes we are tired and overwhelmed and make impatient demands, losing our temper.  Patterns of annoyance and frustration can mar our happiness and halt academic progress.  We are left to ask, “How can I shift the tone of my dynamic with this child?”

Around the age of two I was involved in a terrible wintertime car accident with my family that included lots of sliding, crashing, and broken glass.  With a bone-deep gash splitting the center of my forehead, I was rushed in the ambulance to the hospital.  Thankfully, I healed quickly and without complications, but the deep and lasting scar remains.  This was in the pre-Harry Potter days, and my scar wasn’t viewed as magical; rather, it became the object of Frankenstein-type teasing.   

Many homeschooling parents are living with a vague sense of unease in their hearts. Even after they’ve gotten past the “I’m going to ruin my child” phase, the “grass is always greener” syndrome (at school there are never dirty dishes on the table with the math books and the science experiments) and the “everyone else has their kids in school--why can’t I clean/shop/work/exercise in peace?” pity-party moments, there’s still one thing left--one source of anxiety that they may not even be able to articulate.

If we’re not careful, we are going to raise a generation who do not understand respect for sacred things.  Recently, I was at a Memorial of an event that took place on American soil where many innocent lives were lost.  I was really shocked to see several people and children behaving very inappropriately on such sacred ground.  Parents were allowing their children to run and jump while laughing and screaming.  Teens were busy taking "selfies" while smiling and laughing in front of monuments.  Adults had their cellphones ringing with loud obnoxious ring tones.  I was thinking, "What are we t

“The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature... Literature transmits incontrovertible condensed experience... from generation to generation. In this way literature becomes the living memory of a nation.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn

As a college student, I listened to a talk in General Conference about emergency preparedness. My roommate and I discussed the things we had learned, and we decided to store a few gallon jugs of water and granola bars in the bottom of our closet. One day there was an announcement that all the water in the dorms—perhaps even in the entire campus—was not safe to drink. Everyone was annoyed at the disruption, but my roommate and I smiled confidently at each other. We were prepared!

Our online classes ended the first part of May as well as our home school co-op. My kids were thrilled thinking they were done for the year! I explained that we still had lots of learning to do before we officially ended the second week in June with all of their public-schooled friends...

When Moses encouraged his people to build a tabernacle, they were eager to show their willingness.  “And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle” (Exodus 35:21)  Their hearts were willing, and their generosity was felt.  Moses appointed leaders to collect the donations, and these leaders reported, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make.” (Exodus 36:5)

I still remember the first homeschool boy I ever met—a bushy-haired boy of eleven years old—standing at the pulpit, bearing a thoughtful, sweet testimony. At the time, I was a young mom, and my own little boy was just entering primary as a Sunbeam. I secretly hoped he would grow up to act and think something like this special young boy.

In days of yore, when most long-distance traveling and trading was done via large sea-faring vessels, sailing the open seas was a dangerous prospect.  In desperate times, a single ship might set out on its own.  But everyone knew the best way to ensure safe passage was to band in groups of at least three ships.  The group formation—one of strength and preparation and confidence—told pirates to stay away, allowed the group to bring more life-sustaining supplies, and enabled ship captains to consult together and make sound decisions if troubles arose.  Traveling in a group brought strength an

When my husband and I were first married, for some reason, we got into a debate about how we each saw the passage of time. He saw it as a linear line of calendar pages that tore themselves off as each day passed. I saw time as a huge spiral taking up immense space with each year a spiral, and each calendar day a spiraling path that tilted and spun its way through the universe.  We tried to convince the other they were wrong and that our way was the “right” way. Seems silly now, but what we didn’t know is we were giving each other a glimpse of how differently our brains worked.

One of the reasons I love homeschooling my children is so that they can have the time and shared experiences that will allow them to develop good friendships with each other.  But, since we are home together most days, I find that sometimes I feel like we are only a “group” and we are not focused on “individuals.”  We came up with a solution for our family called “Playtime Permutation.” 

I was suspicious that something might be “wrong” with my 4 year old son when he could not recognize the letters of the alphabet or say their sounds, regardless of how many times we went over it, or what games we played with letters. He could remember the letter we were studying the day we were studying it, but the next day it was as though he had never seen that letter before.

As the holidays approach, my mind turns to the home of my childhood: handprint turkeys taped to the sliding glass door, raking and jumping in huge piles of leaves, decorating gingerbread houses with children in our city’s half-way house, loading up the old station wagon to look at Christmas lights . .

Math has been a trial to many a homeschool mother.  It’s supposed to be so good for you, and as important to future success as vegetables are to health.  But many kids dislike it, and it often becomes a battle.  If this is where you are (as I was), here are some things to think about.

All good parents put a priority on making memories with their kids.  “Remember the time when...” is a staple of family get-togethers.  As homeschoolers we are concerned with making memories of another type too: things like “three plus eight is eleven” and how you spell “should.”  Here are some ways to increase the likelihood that your child’s lessons will stick.

I love this passage in Job 28:

But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me....

Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air....