Sunday, November 24, 2013

Just kidding!

I haven't figured WordPress out yet, and I really don't have time to do it, so I'm going to start posting on my other blog exclusively. The address is: I'll put a "follow by email" link on the right sidebar if you want to be sure you get all of my deep thoughts...or if you just want to keep up with the Joneses!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

New blog

For some time now I've been considering consolidating my two blogs, and have finally decided to actually do it. When I first started two blogs one was for cute stories about my kids and the other for school stuff specifically. But my dilemma for some time has been what do I post where? School is so intertwined with life that I hate dividing them and creating fake categories, because for us, school is life and life is school.

My new blog is in WordPress which has a little different set up than blogger. For example, I think if you want to follow the blog you have to set up a WordPress account. It just takes a couple of minutes, but then you can sign up to have the posts emailed to you when I post them. It's not pretty and cute over there, but everything is there. I'll get it figured out one day...when I have extra time...hahahahahaha!!!!

So head on over to! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Non-Opening Days

Mondays are our non-Opening days. Singing at a local nursing home and often having a family or two over afterwards take up the day. When I was still trying to wrap my mind around being okay with "not doing school" one day a week (that would be last week), I realized how amazing our "non-Opening" days really are.

Take, for example, last Monday (the 7th): I had piano lessons with the kids in the morning, then Belle and I finished getting the choir music ready to go. We went to the assisted living facility, got everything arranged and then welcomed our friends and residents. I'm leading a 16 (or so) voice choir, and having a wonderful time with the Christmas music we are learning! Sambo keeps the little boys out of the room by playing with them in the dining area, and the older kids sing with me.

This is "Grandpa Grant"--our favorite at the Nursing Home. He's "Grandpa" because mine is too far away to visit very often, and he is almost as awesome as my grandpa. :) He has some neat stories about flying a plane in India during WWII.

As we were all loading into our vans after choir someone spotted an albino squirrel, so instantly all the cars emptied as 14 kids and 4 moms rushed out to see it. We observed it for a good while, then left the poor thing alone and piled back in the cars. Two of the families came over so our 11- and 12-year-old girls could work on a trio piece with me. It is going to be lovely!

Then one of the girls had her piano lesson with me while the others went off to play (and in Belle's case, help with her brothers). After piano the girls went off, but came back soon with plans to start their own book club, so we moms helped them come up with a time that would work for everyone.

While all this girl activity was going on, Edison discovered a kindred spirit in one of the boys who came over: they both love electronics and had a fantastic time talking and experimenting--hooray for a friend for Edison!!

We moms sat out on the deck, keeping an eye on the little ones and talking education philosophy. Oh, how I love friends who think and love to discuss ideas! As we were talking we heard some screeching and looked up and saw two red-tailed hawks circling right overhead. We hurriedly called in to our kids inside and soon everyone was gathered on the deck watching (and listening to) those magnificent birds.

That was the moment that I re-realized that we are really always learning. How much more full and rich our day was because we weren't just sitting inside! Our non-Opening days can be just as full of enriching, real-life learning as our Opening days.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Today was one of those days where everything just fell into place. We all got up on time, read scriptures with Dr. Jones, had breakfast and got (almost) all our chores done by 10 a.m. (our school start-ish time). We did our opening, which consisted largely of Sambo sharing what we learned about nuclear bombs last night, then went into a great discussion of fission (fusion is tomorrow). Awesome, right?

We talked about chain reactions, and what would it be like if atoms kept splitting in two. We had dots split, then made little trees of splitting atoms and even made a family history chart--things just kept splitting and increasing in number! I told them the tale of "One Grain of Rice", and actually repeated it several times throughout the day as various children requested it again. :)

Edison knew how to program this phenomena, so he created ellipses that kept increasing in diameter until they filled his screen, with, as he said when he first thought of coding it, "just 10 lines of code."

We watched some footage of nuclear bombs going off--did you know the Tsar Bomba held the equivalent of 58 megatons of TNT? After they detonated it (the largest bomb ever detonated) in 1961, the U.S.S.R and the U.S. signed an agreement to be a little wiser. The Tsar Bomba was 4,000 times more powerful than Little Boy which was dropped on Hiroshima. Mind boggling.

We learned a little more about the U.S. dropping two atomic bombs on Japan. How heart-breaking! The human suffering involved was tremendous, and that was hard to explain.

We talked a little about the Cold War and the Space Race. Sambo kept asking "who won the race?" Then we moved to Chernobyl and got part way into a National Geographic documentary when the little boys decided they'd had enough--and they had--and those plain little boys got a little bit mad, and those plain little boys did a plain little thing: they yelled, and that yell shook the throne of the king...oh, sorry, I got carried away...Yertle is a favorite at our house!

Anyhow, after lunch the kids were too busy working on the raffle ticket video to do anything else, so we will travel to Chernobyl again tomorrow...

Nutcracker Raffle Ticket sales 2013

The kids spent the better part of the last 3 days working on putting this video together. I helped a little bit (I'm even recognized as helping by being an "Edeitor" in the credits!), but mainly they did it. It has a couple of cult references to Kid History and VeggieTales. See if you can find them!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Not good enough

I've had a thought percolating in my head for a while now, and it's a thought that worries me. It is something that affects almost all women, and probably men, and is growing in it's intensity. Since it affects almost all women, and I would dare to say all mothers, it naturally affects all families, which in turn affects our communities, nation and world.

It is a thought that is best summed up in my friend's story with her pediatrician.

My friend took her 3-year-old in for a well-child visit--just a run-of-the-mill check up. During the course of the visit the pediatrician asked her about preschool for her son. She responded that she wasn't enrolling him in preschool, they were just doing things at home. The doctor was incredulous and emphasized that her son needed to be in preschool so he could develop properly.

Essentially the doctor was telling my friend that what she was doing was not enough. She was not a good enough teacher for her child. Someone else, not her, should be teaching her son.

My question is this: When did mothers stop being enough? Who decided that little children needed to be taken from their homes when they turned 5? When did the age get even lower that now 3-year-olds need to be away from their mothers?

Why am I not a good enough teacher for my child? Why is my offering not enough?

I recently met a mother with young children and asked her if she had considered homeschooling. Her response broke my heart--partly because it is all too common a sentiment:

"I have not considered it. I had a learning disability growing up and I don't know [if] I would be confident enough to do it."

I hear that over and over: "I'm just not sure I can teach them." "There is so much I don't know--how can they learn if I can't teach them?"

(That last one brings up all sorts of questions in my mind--like, if you, as an adult contributing to society, don't need to know such-and-such information, why do you think your kids need to know it? But that is not my point today...)

Today I'm standing up to shout that you are enough! Whether or not your kids are home with you, you are good enough and smart enough and loving enough and wise enough for whatever you encounter. You are enough.

Your yearning and pondering and praying and acting are enough. Your personal inspiration and revelations are enough. You have something unique to offer to the world. You are enough.

That doesn't mean it will be easy. It won't be. But if you know that you are enough, you can make it through the tough times.

Julie B. Beck said:

"The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).1 However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.

"Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.

"Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this—women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times. We are led by an inspired prophet of God who has called upon the women of the Church to “stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord.”6 He has asked us to “begin in [our] own homes”7 to teach children the ways of truth. Latter-day Saint women should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families. I have every confidence that our women will do this and will come to be known as mothers who “knew” (Alma 56:48)."

So when you get discouraged, don't dwell on it. Pick yourself up, repent, and try to do better next time. And then repeat that over and over and over. We weren't sent here to fail. We were sent here to learn and have joy. And you--you--you are enough to do it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Homeschool Awareness Week!

A friend had the great idea to proclaim the week after Labor Day "Homeschool Awareness Week", and celebrate it by going places and wearing yellow, so everyone can see how many homeschoolers there really are. We had people from all over the country join our Facebook group and post pictures of their families wearing yellow--here are some of mine!

Painting (okay, so this wasn't really because of HAW, but has yellow in it and occurred during the week...)

Farmer's Market

Minnehaha Falls--where we met up with 16 other LDS homeschooling families in the area. I think there were 54 kids there. So. Much. Fun! My friend Angel took some great pictures, too...

And the finale, titled:
"How I hiked 1/2 mile including 103 stairs carrying two extremely tired little boys"

It was a great week!