Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We've moved

My husband became interested in what I was posting here, and he had a better idea- so we have moved. Come check us out at our new address

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beautifully Airred - reposted from 3 inspiring sons

This is an older post from Amys blog. Even though my 4 sisters and I, 5 husbands and combined 28 children all follow Leadership Education (Tjed) in our homeschools we all do it our own way. When Amy originally posted this I wasn't homeschooling, but I loved the idea of FEC and it became part of our life. Our FEC is a little different but the principles are the same. I love the way Amy phrases this, so I will let her post do the talking.

I'm reading Peter Pan. Have you read it recently? There is a passage at the very beginning that just mesmerized me.

"Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind, and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on."

Isn't that beautifully written? The whole book is like that. I can't put it down. But that is my favorite passage so far. Oh! How I would like to rummage through my children's minds and tidy them up! I'd love to air their prettier thoughts and stow the naughtiness and evil passions. I wish we still talked like that.

But it got me thinking...

We have a family tradition in which we do something like this. On Sunday afternoons Jake and I hold an FEC (Family Executive Council) in which we meet and discuss our family, children and our upcoming week. It's just between him and I and the Lord. This provides us the time to talk about each child specifically, their needs, and what we can do to help them. We prioritize and schedule our week based on what is most important. It's a specific opportunity to seek the Spirit in our family's life. It's wonderful.

And when we're finished we invite one child at a time in to talk. It's like an interview. Sometimes it's casual and sometimes it's more formal. We start each discussion with a prayer. The boys love it and look forward to it. They get our undivided attention. We ask questions about how they're doing, what's good and what's bad. We talk about goals, school, opportunities, whatever comes up. And we listen. Sometimes it's short and sweet, other times it lasts for an hour or more. It's amazing what comes out of those meetings.

Sometimes I'll take notes. I love scribbling quotes from the kids that we can look at later and remember.

And when we're done... I do feel like we've tidied up and put things in their proper places. We've made discoveries sweet and not so sweet {but mostly sweet}. The naughtiness and evil passions have been folded up small and placed at the bottom. And on the top, beautifully aired, are their prettier thoughts. Ready for them to put on.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My sisters, my inspiration-

I have sisters who homeschool. Their children are older than mine, and they have been doing this much longer than I have. Watching them gives me faith that the Thomas Jefferson Education Principles work. They both posted lately about their "scholar" children and I wanted to share with you their success.

My son, Andrew, has been teaching Shakespeare Conquest for the second year in a row. He's pretty amazing! He prepares every week and does fun things with the kids. He LOVES Shakespeare. He has read almost all of Shakespeare's plays. They are getting ready to put on Twelfth Night, April 16! They practice at our home three times a week. It's been awesome to watch it come together and see all the kids enjoying themselves, pushing themselves, stretching as they reach their goals.


It's amazing how becoming a student of Leadership Education principles has changed our lives! I remember Rachel and Oliver DeMille saying that when you have a student squarely in scholar phase they will pull the others along. It's soooo true. I am in awe as I watch Sabrina and Ririe follow in Andrew's footsteps. They study endlessly without being reminded. They walk around the house with their noses in books or quoting their lines from Shakespeare. I am seeing the pull with Ryan and Katie and they are only 10 and 8!

Ryan is teaching himself to play the piano. He was so excited to find some sheet music on our bookshelves. I need to get him some piano lessons soon. Katie loves to sit and read to Abigail and Gabriel. She is sad that she didn't get to take an online class like everyone else this year. She's just itching to do what they are doing. I can truly see the process at work. Trusting the process... it's paying off beautiful dividends!



Jacob came down to talk a bit tonight. I enjoy talking with him. He's a good kid. When

he's not swimming, scouting, or shooting, he spends most of his time in his room studying. He has several hours worth of classes each day with many hours of study time on the side. He's currently reading A Tale of Two Cities. I've never read it, but according to Jacob it's a really great book.

He's taking a few classes this summer. Tonight we were going through his transcript and working out the details. He's on track to graduate April 2012. According to his calculations, that's only 12 months away. That can't possibly be true.

But as much as he has loved Williamsburg, he's been toying with the idea of going out on his own next year. He'd love to make his own decisions on what to study. He's itching to have control of his own education. (Which is the whole point of Scholar Phase.) We've had several conversations about it. He's learned a lot about himself the last two years.

Many don't see that a 15 year old boy would choose to study. And not just study, but study for hours and hours and hours. Or that they could have a desire to spend time with Locke and Montesquieu and de Tocqueville. Once upon a time I would have been surprised myself. But I've watched Jacob grow the last two years into the man he is becoming and it has been a wonderful experience. He wants to learn. He wants to study. It drives him crazy to have classes that last only 50 minutes. Just when the discussion is getting good, he has to move along to the next subject. He'd gladly spend the whole day delving into these subjects.

He's leaning towards graduating next year, getting the diploma, and then focusing his studies in depth.

I'm not sure where he's headed in his life, but I trust him.


Back to Basics

If you are familiar with TJed you know of the "7 Principles." We try hard in our home to stay focused on these but often we get distracted. We spent 2 weeks this month in Utah visiting family, and I took the opportunity to attend this years Annual TJed Seminar.  I loved it!!! It was so refreshing to listen again to the basics and become refocused. For me it's like watching conference. (Is that Blasphemy?) There is not a lot of new information, but rather help in refocusing on the basics.
We came home from our vacation and despite visiting my sister who is a homeschool mom, and attending a homeschool conference, we were completely out of focus. We had let it all go for 14 days. There was no schedule, few chores, sleep overs with cousins, late night movies, computer games, and no bedtime. Then when we returned home, my children had strep, so Hulu was brought out and 2 days were spent in front of the TV and the computer. We had a wonderful break but it is now time to get back to life, the TJed way.

Classics not Textbooks....

For me reading is the most important way for my children to spend their time. They will learn more spending their time with great books, ideas and authors then they could reviewing any text book. But classic are not just books. It is art, board games, museums, family outings, historical sites, and any thing worth visiting again and again.

But for now it is reading. As we get back into our routine, school consists of personal chores, family chores, and reading. Then it's free time for playing outside, board games with siblings, art projects, baking, watching TED, playing Brainpop, and many other options. I try and stay available most of the time but am also working on my own free time projects like laundry, shopping, vinyl projects for my business,  organizing, reading or listening to seminars.

"Evening are for inspiration" and we read again. For our family this is our devotional time. Hubby and I take turns reading a book of our choice. Right now he is reading The Hobbit. Then we read from the scriptures, everyone taking their turn, and we have family prayer. Then it's personal reading time. Kids retire to their rooms and read some more. Depending on what time we get to this point it's 15 min to and hour. Usually 30 minutes.

Before this month, this is when I would have removed myself to the theater to watch tv. But we no longer have cable. (that is a story for another time) Instead I either open my computer to read some of my favorite bloggers, or I read while I listen to Hubby practise the guitar or DJ in his office.

I am enjoying our homeschool life. It is not what I had pictured for us, but it is  better than anything I had planned.


I am a home school mom to 3 kids, and I am new to this life. I started homeschooling last fall when we moved to North Cal and I was appalled unimpressed by the local schools. I started researching my options. Private schools, charters and homeschooling. I have 4 sisters who all home school, so there was a natural inclination in that direction. 
Wait... Am I crazy?
I love sending my kids off to school. Let me rephrase that, I love having my kids go to school. I do not "send" them off. Since Bear was in 3rd grade and Tie was in 2nd, my independent children have gotten themselves up, dressed and off to the bus with no help from me. They would hollar up the stair, "Bye Mom! Love you." and off to school they would go while I was still asleep, snuggled deep under my covers. It was a good system. They quickly taught Junior the routine and in 1st grade he joined the ranks of independent mornings. I loved having my days to myself. I got up when I wanted, lunched with friends, did crafts, shopped, occasionally worked out and got a part time job coaching competitive gymnastics. Now we were off on a new adventure, living in California, Hubby earning a good paycheck with benefits (after 7 years of self employment.) And now I am considering keeping my children home with me all day... EVERY DAY???

In my research, Amy, one of my homeschooling sisters, suggested I listen to several audio seminars from TJedOnline. I listened, I borrowed books from other sisters, and my husband  read listened. I liked what I heard. I wanted that life and education for my kids. But what about "me" time? What about my big plans for my new life. When would I lunch? When would I sit for hours watching HGTV or reading the latest Nora Roberts book?  I was serious. I loved my life and wasd not sure I was ready to give up all my freedoms.

But, after my research I was converted. It took Hubby a little convincing. It made so much sense. As a member of the LDS church, family is my number one priority. Teaching my children is my ultimate responsibility and one day I will be accountable for the adults they become. So our choice was made. We would home school. We would home school using the Thomas Jefferson Principles.
I have had many friends ask how I do it. And they usually aren't referring to the educating itself. I've kept a family blog for a while but thought this was a great opportunity to share our family journey through homeschooling. We are new to this and it is definitely a journey. I am a seminar junky and am trying new things. Here I will share these new ideas and trials as we move toward Leadership Education.