21 October 2014

Nature Study: We Found a Pond!

I was so inspired by the pond study these guys did! The idea of going every week, always to the same place, is one that has appealed to me since she talked about her rationale for going to the same place. I think it was Angelic Scalliwags, anyway, but I can't find it on the blog this morning. But the idea was that, in going to the same place repeatedly, you get to know it in a much more intimate way. You get to know the regular critters, the usual plants, and you can see how they change over the course of a year. Things that you just can't learn in a single visit. I love that idea. So we tried a while back, but the weeds grew up around our first pond and we couldn't get to the water, so that plan fizzled after just a few weeks.

But we found a new pond. And friends to go with us. It's very exciting. 

Nature Study: Pond Study at Baby Steps Blog


It's only a few miles away, and it's plenty wild, so there's lots to see. It's got 2 docks, plus a small shore area, and the rest is wooded right up to the water's edge. In addition to the pond itself, there's a good size nature preserve, and a little nature center with people who Know Stuff.


Nature Study: Black Eyed Susans near "our" pond.

Tons of wildflowers, though most have gone to seed and died back for the winter already. I was quite surprised to see these Black-eyed Susans so late in the season. They're definitely past their peak, but still so cheerful. 

Nature Study: Field in Autumn

It's mostly wooded, but in a few places, it opens up to some great views. 

Nature Study: We found a tree frog by our pond!

This week, we found a frog. Again, a bit surprising for so late in the season. We've been getting frosts already. I would have guessed the frogs would have gone into hibernation or whatever it is they do; we still need to look that up. 

The green stuff on those fingers is duck weed. We asked about that last week at the nature center, and checked it out this week. They told us that it's such a desirable species that people with ponds will often plant it. Interestingly, it isn't slimy at all. Feels a lot like couscous when you touch it; it's all dry and grainy. I was pretty surprised by that. 

Nature Study: Checking out the Gray Tree Frog we found.

The kids had a good time looking the frog over. We talked about how his feet looked like tree frog feet, but we didn't have any way to identify him right there. I was amazed at how tightly he clung to our fingers! He had to be pulled off when it was time to put him back where we found him. We looked him up later and decided that he's probably a gray tree frog. 

Nature Study: Buckthorn gives us an opportunity to learn about invasive species.

Saw lots of these shrubby trees with berries on them. We had a conversation about how they are similar to blueberries, but not quite the same. The guy at the nature center said they're actually buckthorn, which is terribly invasive, so much so that there's a group that periodically comes to help them kill a bunch of it. So we need to do some learning about invasive species. 

Nature Study: Love that autumn maple color!

This one is a maple. The maples are just amazing right now. 

Nature Study: The thistles are almost spent.

The thistle are pretty well spent. But still so pretty. I was pretty surprised to see a bumblebee out so late it the season. She was definitely sluggish, like they get in the fall. 

Nature Study: A sluggish bumblebee, getting the last bits of necter.

I'm not sure what these are, but the seed pods are just so striking against those lovely yellow leaves. Autumn is so beautiful. 


And one more maple. There are do many of these around town; the whole city is just on fire with autumn maple colors. 


Over at Angelic Scalliwags, they had something of a plan as they started out. We haven't gotten so formal as that, at least not yet. But we do look things up as we're there (Hurray for little computers in the pocket!), and this week we're headed to the library to learn about tree frogs and invasive species. But for the most part, we enjoy the pond and keep an eye peeled for interesting things. Can't wait to see what our pond does next.

15 October 2014

Day in the Life

10:30am - The baby wakes me up. I wonder why she slept this late, but count my blessings, since Dragon did some sleep walking last night, and it took nearly 2 hours before I could get back to sleep. Hero hasn't been up long either, around a 1/2 hour. Slow start for us today, I guess. Not my favorite, but after last night, I'm not complaining. Morning is going to be short. He has helped himself to a bagel and peanut butter, and I am surprised to find he is reading a graphic novel version of the Iliad. I was guessing it would be Harry Potter #2.

11:00 - Jump in the shower, quick. I want to be done before the Daddy leaves for work. I grab some laundry and fold it up when I'm done, trying to find a shirt. I also need some socks for Hero; he's been wearing mine for the last two days. I don't start the washer yet, though, because the Daddy is using the water.

11:30 - I've stopped folding (which is not the same as being done with it), and change Tigress's clothes and diaper. I still need to do some yoga, and feed the two little kids. The Daddy leaves for work. Hero is reading Harry Potter now; The Weasly's flying car has just crashed into the Whomping Willow.

11:45 - Dragon wants a Minecraft coloring sheet. The printer is complaining because I'm out of yellow ink, and wants permission to print in black only. I also coax it into printing out my shopping menu: today is shopping day. We have a ton of errands to do, and I also want to get the basics of school done. I think the universe ate my print jobs, then I realize that I'd hit cancel, rather than OK. Oops. That won't work; try again. Tigress climbs up on my lap to draw. Dragon immidiately, very politely, asks for markers, which we keep up high. Put her down, give him the markers, clear enough of last night's cups from our drinks just before bedtime (midnight) that he has space for coloring.

11:55 - Pull up Pinterest to help me to think up stuff to put on my menu. Desperately try to stay focused, rather than being sucked into the wonder of Pinterest-land.

12:10 - Give the  younger kids some bagels too. Wonder where my hairbrush got carried off to. Return to Pinterest and my menu.

12:35 - Release Tigress from the high chair. Ponder doing some math with Hero, but return to my menu instead; we really have to go shopping. Give him my phone to listen to The Secret Garden. We are "officially" having a literary morning, and this goes with our current history chapter, on colonial India. Still no hairbrush, and the baby has an... aroma. Guess it's time for another change. My menu is 1/2 done.

12:40 - My nose lied about the diaper. The boys migrate to the basement and listen to the story while they play with their new balls. My girl has figured out how to connect Duplos. Sort of. And is very involved in doing just that. My menu is almost done. Dragon's nose is gross. I must remember kleenex when we go shopping.

12:55 - The menu is done! Now to make the shopping list. And figure out how to get Dragon's cooperation on this shopping expedition. He is, shall we say, unenthusiastic.

1:05 - The shopping list part is relatively painless, and goes quickly. I give Dragon a timeout - and some tylenol and sudafed. Poor kid feels rough. The boogeyman has eaten my hairbrush; count my blessings that I can convince my hair to be presentable without one, in a pinch. I wonder if I can squeeze in some yoga before we go shopping.

1:40 - Found my hairbrush. It was put away. Yoga's done; feels good. I ask Hero to turn off The Secret Garden (can I just say how much I love the Librivox app on my phone, and how much I appreciate the volunteers that read?!), and we all start looking for sock and shoes. First stop: Kohls. Hero needs pants in the worst sort of way.

1:48 - Where is Tigress's other shoe? Everyone go potty!

1:55 - We're off! The boys both bring stuff to play with in the car. It's so much fun to see old toys become new again after yesterday's Big Toy Toss (in which we lost 3 garbage backs of toys and things -- miraculously, without tears), and the toys that come with us are ones that have all their pieces again after all the sorting.






2:40 - We've been to the music store. Dropped off the banjo to get a minor repair done. Now we're at Kohls, looking for those pants for Hero. He has none that are nice. It's embarrassing. This is our second attempt at remedying the situation, but the first store, last week, didn't have anything.

3:15 - Success! On to Sam's Club.

3:35 - Lunch at Sam's.

3:50 - Shopping! We head away from the deli and into the store. It never matters that we just had lunch, the kids are always on a sharp look out for the "Sample Feast" and they are not disappointed.
 
4:50 - We're back to the music store to grab my banjo. It's all fixed up now, so when I play it next, I'll be able to tune it. Yay!!



5:15 - groceries in. Hero starts making wands (think Harry Potter), but gets side tracked by finding the missing balloon pump. Tigress actually makes the transfer, so she'll have a good nap. Hurray! Now to put away groceries & round up some Math. 

 
 
6:00 - After a delightful few minutes messing with the balloons, I coral the kids into doing some chores. Hero is unloading the dishwasher, which he can do (almost) independently, and Dragon is picking up the toys in the living room, which overwhelms him easily, so he has to be coached through it bit by bit. I have the table nearly cleared off, though, the math is out and ready to go, and as soon as the dishwasher is emptied, I can start working on catching up on those icky dishes while the kids do some math.




6:30- The boys' jobs are done, but not the math. Tigress woke up, and she thinks it's tragic that I won't let her chew on balloons. Sometimes, she is still very much the baby. Waking up poorly from a nap brings that out, so we sit down and snuggle a bit. She's coughing, but not as bad as yesterday.

7:00 - Dishes are coming along. Tigress spent some time playing with patter blocks while the boys used rods on their math. Now she's "helping" with the dishes. My kitchen isn't nearly so appalling as it was a couple hours ago, since I've been sneaking things into the dishwasher between helping the boys with their work. Sometime soon, I need to figure out what's for dinner, since we cut the shopping short before we got everything I'd planned to use for tonight. Oops. 

7:15 - Math's finally done. Piano practice is underway.  




7:35 - Dinner. I'm making this up. We have various snacky things: bread with Happy Cow Cheese, and hummus on bread and bell peppers. Sauerkraut. I get the bumps on a log almost completely to myself: the boys won't touch them.


7:35 - Clean up dinner. Hero does violin. Tigress is still eating, and Dragon is wilting. He just wants to snuggle. And play Minecraft. I'm hoping to get some violin out of him too, but I'm not really holding my breath on it. 

8:10 - Dinner's done; table's cleared and wiped. The dishwasher is still running, so I stack our plates and ignore the rest. It's worlds better than it was, and I'm tired. 


8:30 - Tigress comes for a cuddle. We read a stack of books, then she reads her giggle book with the button that giggles, and I try to read Transforming the Difficult Child while we snuggle. It doesn't work very well, but I got a few paragraphs.


8:45 - Tigress is in the bath. I sneak a few minutes with my banjo. 

11:00 - Family scriptures & prayers done. Now for potty and teeth. We had a good night call with Daddy because he's getting home too late even for our late bedtime tonight. Hero is hoping to make it long enough to get a hug, but in my heart of hearts, I'd like him to sleep sooner than that. 

11:15 - Everyone is in bed. Oops. Tigress escapes while I'm telling a story, and goes to play the piano. She's very happy with herself and comes running and giggling when I go catch her again. I do a "snot chase" (AKA lymphatic massage) on all the kids and tell them a story. 

11:40 - Both boys are asleep, and Tigress is about 75%, but fighting hard. I realize that both of them passed out without doing either personal prayers, or having scriptures read. Which is why we do stories last most of the time. Guess I messed that up. 

11:50 - The Daddy gets home and gives the kids their "snoozy snuzzles," as promised. I reclaim my arm from the now sleeping Tigress, and debate: more banjo, scrapbooking, or working on my book. There's not tons of time left before I need to sleep too, since we're meeting friends for Nature Study bright and early tomorrow (10:30), so we'll have to have an alarm to make sure there's no repeat of today's late start.

1:00am - I ended up playing around with Family Search, figuring out how to tag people in photos, and adding a bunch of my Aunts and Uncles to my file while I waited for the Daddy to finish up his paper work and stuff. They're all still living, but it's good practice, and I think that the picture will go public after they are deceased. I hope. Think I'll head to bed now.

08 October 2014

Heroic Number Line

Dragon is four now, and starting to do more school work more of the time. In math, he's been able to list numbers pretty high for quite some time, and we're working on helping him attach the concept of two to the number two, and the rest of them. Today, we worked the numbers up to five.





 
 

06 October 2014

Switchable Multiplication

Today's math project was pattern discovery. Yesterday, we did a worksheet that was intended to help the kids discover the communitive principle of multiplication. He did the work reasonably well, but it seemed clear that he had not noticed the pattern. So today we got out the completed worksheet and the rods, and we went after the pattern. 

First, we built rod trains for yesterday's problems. And I made a new train, following the same pattern. 


At this point, he thought he had this figured out, and he didn't like my train; he wanted to build his own. I knew he didn't have the pattern figured out yet, but I also knew that he'd learn more being more active, so he built his train. It was wrong. Now I had his attention. We looked closer at the patterns in the other trains, and he was able to figure his out. 


Once his train was following the pattern, we grabbed a new sheet of paper and started looking at yesterday's problems as a model for problems he would. 



This was tricky at first, but soon he was really understanding what he was looking at, and the hardest part was writing small enough to fit on the page. At that point, I helped with the writing again. 



Then, we looked at a new problem, and how we could use this idea of "switchable" numbers in addition & multiplication to solve easier problems. 

Altogether, I feel like it was a very successful lesson!



02 October 2014

Writing is Fun

"Mom, how do you write, 'Optimus Prime?'" So I showed him. And he wrote it. And tried to sound it out. Not too shabby! 
 
 
 

29 September 2014

My Commonplace Book

I got asked, today, how I organize my commonplace book, so I'm sharing my system. This is the same system I've used for years; this notebook is more than1/2 full, and I have another two like it stashed. 



The notebook itself is pretty ordinary. I do sping for the plastic cover, since that's more durable. It's a 5-subject notebook, and I like the big ones because they last. I'm not very good about going through old ones and reviewing what I learned, so I like a big sturdy one that lasts. 
 
 
One of the challenges, with a book like this, is organizing it. I decided that, in the top right corner of each page, I'd write the topic and the date. When I run out of room on the back of this page, I turn to the next clean page and label it, and continue as if there was no interruption -- even if there is a huge distance between the pages. Since I tend to have several books going at once, and often other projects as well that get tucked into my notebook, this system seems to work out well.

Figuring out what to put in my book was a bit of a challenge, at first. I learned about it when I was reading The Well-Trained Mind, and then later read this online:

"Commonplacing is the practice of entering literary excerpts and personal comments into a private journal, that is, into a commonplace book or, to use a 17th century synonym, a silva rerum ("a forest of things"). Typically the excerpts were regarded as exceptionally insightful or beautiful or as applicable to a variety of situations, and so as such they are often especially quotable. . . . The practice of commonplacing can be traced back in the European tradition to the 5th century B.C.E. and the Sophist, Protagoras.
-Norman Elliott Anderson, quoted by Lucia Knoles



My own personal style is a blend of literary excerpts, note-taking, essays I write for my blog, and even lists for long-term projects and goals. Since the notebook is large enough to last for several years, it has been a particularly effective place to lists of house and yard projects. It's not, classically speaking, something that belongs in a commonplace book, but it sure works well for me, so I keep it there. It's actually really nice to periodically review what commonplacing is, at its core, about. For whatever reason, the literary excerpts and quotes are easy to let fall by the wayside somewhat. Reading this reminded me that I need to do more of that again.

Here are some pictures of several different pages from my current notebook:

The quote in the box I actually copied from a friend's facebook post, explaining how formality/humility works in Japanese. I'd been studying this for years, and she made it all come into focus in about 3 sentences.  (Ah, the advantages she has for that sort of thing, living in Japan!)


This page is a segment of an essay that I wrote a while back, 7 Lessons From the Bad Guys. That post grew out of noticing a several month pattern in what the Spirit pointed out to me, and then several weeks of trying to coax it into words. I wanted to remember it, even if the blog disappeared.

 
This one is actually an excerpt and commentary. My sister and her husband gave me a lecture series, The Great Debate, a while back, and because I can't just listen to it, I have to read every single extra reading they list, and that slows down the process greatly. It's slooow... but I'm such a happy camper.


 Several times, in doing the work for The Great Debate, I found that I needed to know more about the geography of the early States. (No fancy markers; I'm pretty sure I just used the kids' crayolas from their art box.) This time, I drew a picture. I found that I couldn't write on the back of the page, and that bothered me, so next time...
 

I printed and glued in maps. This has some plusses, but also some drawbacks. I may do both techniques again. (Don't you love the Angry Birds Star Wars sticker? It was a gift from my seven year old, who asked that I put it in my notebook.)
 

This page has both a quote, and a practice art for my scripture journal, with which I get a lot more fussy about the artsy elements.


I love my notebook. I read more deliberately, and remember more consistently since I started using it, and I highly recommend the practice. I don't have too many rules for myself. If it strikes me (and I have time), it goes in. Sometimes I make a point of practicing writing, particularly with the literary excerpts, in a particular style, and in that way I've developed a couple of options for beautiful handwriting. And sometimes I just use everyday printing, or even occasionally all caps. It's very mood-driven. I'm a pen snob (my husband teases me about an over-fondness of the office supplies isle), and so the pens around the house tend to be ones that write well, but other than the pen has to be pleasant to write with, I use whatever pen comes to hand.

Hopefully that helps. Enjoy your own commonplace journal journey!


P.S. I'm so glad you stopped by to read about the adventures at our house! If you want more, "Like" my blog on Facebook to get posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

18 September 2014

I Have GOT to do This Craft!

Oh, how cool is that!! They are melting crayons, and making "villages" out of the drips! I'd post a picture, but we haven't done it yet, and I don't have the patience to write and ask if I can borrow one of hers. But this is going to be our art project. Soon. Like before it gets serious about being cold, because this craft wouldn't be fun in the cold. But it is crazy cool. My boys are (I hope) going to love it. Maybe we can find some buddies to play with us. More kids, yes, but more grownups too, and more fun. I am so excited!!

17 September 2014

Educating LDS Children



Several years ago, I gradually came to the place where I believe that public schools are not a healthy place for Christian children, and particularly not for LDS children. For the most part, I have kept that opinion to myself. I don't feel good about doing that anymore. That's a big statement; please hear me out. This isn't going to be short; please stick with me to the end. Then, don't take my word for it; ask the Lord if He approves of what I've said.

And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. ... it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
-D&C 88:77,81 


When we first decided to homeschool, Hero was tiny. Religion wasn't one of the reasons; we were more concerned about things like protecting our son from the bullying. We both also spent quite a lot of wasted time, bored in school but unable to do much about it. It would be years before religion rose very high up my list of reasons why we homeschool, and a couple more after that before the integration of religion into education would reach the top of the list and become the number one thing I love about homeschooling.

Religion matters. And it matters in education. I believe this is especially true for LDS children: they have more light available to them, so the powers of darkness will be working overtime to neutralize them.

As I suspect that anyone reading this blog is already aware, parents have a solemn duty to teach our children the Gospel. We are commanded to bring up our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4)." We understand that, should we fail in our duty to teach, their sins may very well be on our heads; their suffering would be our responsibility (D&C 68:25). But, I wonder how many of us consider these commands when we are deciding how to educate our children? When I dreamed of becoming a mother, I planned to teach my children, but it never occurred to me to educate them! When we made our decision to homeschool, it was not with these things in mind. We knew we felt lead by the Spirit down this strange, new path, but I wasn't thinking about the Gospel, I was thinking about academics, about education. And one of the subtle lessons taught in the public schools is that education is entirely separate from faith. It was a lesson I absorbed very well. It was years after the decision to homeschool before I started to get the tiniest glimpse of what a difference the decision to homeschool was going to make in terms of gospel teaching.

By law, public education and religion are separate. For our own protection -- after all, we don't want someone else's religion being taught to our children. For this protection for strange teachings, we have given up much. Not only have we given up teacher-lead prayer, we have created a taboo, if not yet a law, banning all prayer. We generally no longer study the Bible in schools as literature, much less as the Word of God. He is no longer welcome in our textbooks; the barest mention will get a whole book banned - particularly a science book. It is no longer uncommon to read news articles about students being forbidden to bring their Bibles to school, or in trouble for wearing tshirts with verses printed on them. Regardless of the fact that the Constitution guarantees our God-given right to a free exercise of religion for us and for our children, the courts rulings have repeatedly confused freedom of religion with freedom from religion. The result is that the education in our public schools is godless. It matters little what the beliefs of the teacher are; in her classroom, she is silenced, and the teaching is, in effect, atheistic.

What has happened to our schools? ... What has become of the teaching of values? We are told that educators must be neutral in these matters. Neutrality in the teaching of values can only lead to an absence of values.  
President Gordon B. Hinckley
Speech given at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 25, 1998


 
The absence of Christian values in our children's education is of grave concern. Then too, we must look at the teachers. Many of the teachers are wonderful people, and this is not an attack on teachers or the teaching profession. However, the scriptures tell us about the qualifications of teachers, and we must examine teachers in the light of scriptural standards:

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 (Mosiah 23:14).

 

Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, whom I have appointed: Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach ... And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken (D&C 43:15-16).


And this one is a favorite:

And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.
(D&C 42:14)


 
In case those leave room for doubt, the Brethren have elaborated.

“And then we want to study also the principles of education, and to get the very best teachers we can to teach our children; see that they are men and women who fear God and keep his commandments. We do not want men or women to teach the children of the Latter-day Saints who are not Latter-day Saints themselves. Hear it, you Elders of Israel?”
-John Taylor
(Journal of Discourses 20:179,General Conference April 1879)


There are tons of wonderful men and women teaching in our schools. But they are not permitted to teach fully, least they "contaminate" the teaching with belief in God, and offend someone. The teaching these good people give in the public schools, in many cases, bears little resemblance to the teaching they would offer, were they free to express their real thoughts and beliefs. They many not do it; they will loose their jobs if they teach from a perspective of faith. Even if one of our child's teacher's happens to be LDS, in the public schools it makes little difference, because they cannot teach in a distinctly LDS way; it's forbidden. Yes, they do the best they can, but is it good enough to fulfill the mandate for the instruction of the LDS children?

A glance over the conditions of mankind in this our day with its misery, discontent, and corruption, and disintegration of the social, religious, and philosophic fabrics, shows that this generation has been put into the balance and has been found wanting. A following, therefore, in the old grooves, would simply lead to the same results, and that is what the Lord has designed shall be avoided in Zion. President Brigham Young felt it in his heart that an educational system ought to be inaugurated in Zion in which, as he put it in his terse way of saying things, neither the alphabet nor the multiplication table should be taught without the Spirit of God.
-Karl G. Maeser, quoted in Educating Zion, p2, emphasis added



This standard cannot possibly be met in the public schools, not with the restrictions that teachers presently labor under. In the early days of the church, the Brethren worked hard to persuade the Saints to create a system of parochial schools for Mormon children (that effort was the forerunner of the current Church Education System), but the Saints were not responsive to the call of the prophet, and we do not have the advantage of parochial schools at this time. Many of us do, however, have the option of homeschooling. Though it is not always an easy choice, it is do-able, and the Lord will be there to assist, every step of the way.

When reading the scriptures about teaching, I'd always thought of the teaching they were talking about was gospel teaching. But what is gospel teaching? What topics ought we to be learning and teaching to our children. Obviously, we have to teach about Christ, with all that entails. But is that all? I have come to the conclusion that it is not.

Still. I could be misunderstanding. What do modern prophets say?

Knowledge of truth, combined with proper regard for it, and its faithful observance, constitutes true education. The mere stuffing of the mind with a knowledge of facts is not education. The mind must not only possess a knowledge of truth, but the soul must revere it, cherish it, love it as a priceless gem.
-Joseph F. Smith



 How will our children come to revere and cherish truth, if they are educated in an environment that, at best, disregards the most precious of Truth, and at worst denigrates and mocks it? And, as parents, can we feel confident that we will be able to detect and correct all the wrong teaching? What about most of it? How do we even know? When my kids come back from Sharing Time, I can seldom get them to effectively tell me what they did, even if the primary teachers have already told me and I ask leading questions. In an environment where schools are increasingly unwilling to let parents look at textbooks or have a meaningful role in the classroom, how would we even know?

Here's another thought:

“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.”
-Boyd K. Packer (emphasis added)(full speech)


"It is spiritually unsafe to attend public schools." President Packer said that in 1996. Since then, things have hardly gotten any better. Contrast that with the sort of education we ought to be securing for our children:

"Our children should be indoctrinated in the principles of the Gospel from their earliest childhood. They should be made familiar with the contents of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. These should be their chief text books, and everything should be done to establish and promote in their hearts genuine faith in God, in His Gospel and its ordinances, and in His works."
-Wilford Woodruff (source)



Since finding this quote, I have given a great deal of thought about what it means for the scriptures to be a "chief text book" in our education. Here are some of the ideas that I have come up with for carrying out that mandate: When we study history, we integrate sacred history into secular history. We often use scripture to practice penmanship. Our grammar program draws heavily on the Bible for examples for the kids to work with as they learn the conventions of the English language. One of the ladies on Facebook mentioned that she's using scripture to generate spelling lists. What an advantage it would be for the missionary who read the scriptures in what would become his mission language while he studied in school! As I've thought about it, I've realized that, while we have many books that come and go in our kids' education, scripture is and will remain a constant.

And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
 
Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—
 
That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.

Things in heaven and earth; that's life sciences and earth sciences, as well as astronomy. Things which have been; that's history. Which are; that's current events. Things which are at home and abroad; that's social studies and citizenship, and more current events. Probably geography. The wars and perplexities of nations, and knowledge about countries and kingdoms. That's civics and citizenship, geography, and history, again. Languages and cultures. Literature. Those aren't "gospel teaching," not as you usually think of it, anyway. That's education - the school kind of education. But the Lord charges parents with teaching, and this is one of the lists He wants taught. And He wants them taught with the Spirit so that we, and our children, will be prepared to fulfill our missions, to do our life's work. I do not think that this teaching can reach its full potential in an environment that is lacking any reference to Creation's God.

“I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking away property from one man and giving it to another… Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!”
-Brigham Young
(Journal of Discourses, vol. 18 p. 357, General Conference 1877)




The question of how to educate our children is a most serious matter, and should be given the most careful, prayerful consideration. It is my experience that these particular teachings of the prophets are not well known. Certainly I did not know about them when we made our decision to homeschool! Now that I do know about them, I think that I do my friends a disservice if I keep the knowledge to myself. I want to be clear that I am only trying to share what I have learned, so that we can all grow together. I consider what you do with this information to be, really, none of my business, until and unless someone asks for my input. I am happy to share what works for us in our homeschooling journey; that's one of the primary purposes of this blog, actually. May the Spirit of the Lord guide you in deciding what is right for your family.


P.S. I'm so glad you stopped by to read about the adventures at our house! If you want more, "Like" my blog on Facebook to get posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

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