Category Archives: Uncategorized

Crushing the Boards: UTAH Senate Passes Ed-Dictatorship Bill; Will House Agree? Great post by Christel Lane Swase

“Think of the current state board as a school bus with fifteen different steering wheels all driving in different directions….if one person is in charge, it’s harder for them to pass the buck.”

via UTAH Senate Passes Ed-Dictatorship Bill; Will House Agree? Another great post by Christel Lane Swasey


Throw blankets project

Faux Fur Blanket


What do you gift the men in your lie who already have it all? I am brainstorming on some handmade project that calm the crafter while blessing the recipient…how about a fur blanket? Fake fur is not just for history class projects anymore. I think this will be perfect for wintertime handiwork.



Sieks Photoshoot at Home

From Jenny:

“We just got our photos, sponsored by Mom and Dad Siek (thank you), from Breathing Moments Photography. Annette came over to our home and put up with Mommy’s wacky ideas and added a few of her own. The children young and old felt it was a fun, special time, and I loved that Daddy picked out the location- our own home and yard. The photos are so perfect for us, and we’re so glad to have these captured memories to share with you.

Annette has everything you want in a professional photographer. She is fun but takes her work seriously. She’s flexible to work with young and old. Her photos are of undeniable quality and design. She follows through and communicates well.

Any time someone asks about a photographer for a great visual capture, I will suggest Annette Walker at Breathing Moments Photography.”   Breathing Moments Photography

Integrity in Home Education

One of my deepest instincts is that of encouraging parents to protect their own autonomy to direct the education and upbringing of their children.  Many in the homeschooling lifestyle agree with me that one of the biggest threats to our liberty is entanglement with government funding. When I hear of the government trying to “help” homeschoolers, I am very cautious as not to jeopardize our liberty and expose any threat which would end it-. My friends and I agree with President John Adams’s sentiment, “Liberty once lost is lost forever.”

Indiana Home Christian Educators’ entry lays out this cautionary tale well as it gives us the origins of the Common School to consider…

“Common Schools

Although Common Schools are mentioned in the Indiana Constitution, we wonder if the State remembers the history of Common Schools? According to E.G. West author of, Education and the State, the Common Schools were only for those families who did not desire to take responsibility to educate their children privately.

Before these government schools began in America, most families were privately educating their children in brick and mortar schools or at home. The Common Schools were first formed in the rural areas for those who did not have access to private brick and mortar schools. Common Schools were not universal, compulsory, or free. Parents had to pay to send their child to a Common School.”

When we decide to spend our time and energies educating our families in our homes, using our chosen resources and reaching out to our immediate communities with our gifts of time and sponsorship, we remember this- that all is possible because we are not being forced by a government body, compelled to “seat time,” mandatory phone calls from an outside monitor or required hours of certain activities outside of the home devoid of faith development or home discipleship.

Enjoy this excellent and thorough work by clicking the link below… May it encourage you to apply the Freedom Test to our family’s Home Education lifestyle.

Maintaining Integrity of Home Education  Click:

Homeschooling in small spaces

Small-Space Homeschooling


Creativity, it has once been said, arises from limitation. Raise you hand if you look around from your chair and see what I mean. A house filled with children at least for our family, means envelopes, drawings, pencils, books, water glasses, iPod speakers, earbuds, socks, sneakers, hair doodles, squinkies —you name it. (When you raise your hand, watch out for the tower by your elbow.)

This is why hslda’s article was relatable to me. In a 19th century farmhouse with small rooms, every surface shared, is our fun reality for now- and being on the go a lot, often enough my “office” is a tote bag I toss in the van for the 40 minute wait during violin lessons.

Wherever your Zone of necessary development, I hope you gain fresh insight and a broader view of simpler spaces as you read. Cheerio!


We ask children,”What do you want to be when you grow up?” When we should ask “What problems would you like to solve when you grow up?: 10 Reasons Your Child May Not Want to Attend College

For years we’ve been planning this day. All the hard work has finally paid off, college applications are starting to pile up and we’ve narrowed down which grants our student should apply for. We sit down with our baby, excited to narrow down which colleges they’d like to focus on. Then, our child hits us […]

A Great Education in Music, Naturally!

Twelve years of public school plus four years of liberal arts studies at a college plus four years of practicing the art of teaching music in public and private schools= one homeschooling parent who still thought if she was not doing the dissemination of information the way the state schools were doing it, she would be wrong.

Enter the challenge of training up and walking alongside my children,yet doing this in our own unique way and you see it has taken me 15 years to peel back the institution-speak onion.

Oliver and Rachel DeMille have shared a process with the homeschooling community in their book called, “A Thomas Jefferson Education” in which DeMille proposes that education should be reconsidered in scope and sequence, and largely built upon principles of the individual striving for it, self study and pairing with effective mentors who use time tested resources to challenge and inspire. To the homeschooler, we parents are given the mentorship task.

“Teachers teach, and when they do it well, students educate. This is at the center of all learning and is the key to success in any and every educational endeavor.”

Students must educate. The idea needs to sink in that unless and until a young person is ready and enthused, what they are getting is mere rote work. They are not getting the process of education, rather receiving what they are told they have to do to get by. Pass the test. Please the admissions officer. So you can do more years of the same.

Answering the question of a great music education experience for our seven students has brought this idea to light through the concept of “Music Naturally”.

Needing a violin teacher, another mom approached me, since I had a daughter who began the violin. I had been investing in quality used string instruments, so we did what many homeschooling moms of single income do..we bartered.

She taught 3 of my children piano, while three of her children experienced lap harp, piano and a group violin class which took over our basement. Using methods which teach independence and peer led tooling, we are seeing some pretty amazing things. I give my young people the choice each trimester of what role they would like to play during our weekly music sessions.

At present, I am thrilled to say that our teens are skilled in brass instruments, also, guitar, digital music creation, and classical piano…with no tense fighting about practice sessions. The younger children are working on violin and piano…Out of the 4 who are studying music right now, I can say without a doubt I hear 3 of them practicing diligently, intent on preparing for performances or to play with their friends, with no prompting from me, the Mom. None. I love it.

The other child who elected to serve the younger siblings this trimester has found herself sitting down to the keyboard with her sisters piano book and self teaching her sisters pieces. She just played them for me tonight.

DeMille has hit one out of the park, land sakes, it works, and I am cheering. We find we have a musical family with no infighting cajoling or negativity.

Students really are to be the ones teaching, we parents are to practice and love the arts, then stay close enough to the child so that it rubs off. I hope my children always remember these years of following their muse, of laying aside for a season, then taking up again, of getting curious about sounds, duets, and symphonies and the brothers, sisters and friends who make it all ring out in vibrant strains of possibilities.