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How to Start a Homeschool Game Club

Start a Homeschool Game ClubIf you’re anything like me, public school socialization was one of the worst parts of growing up “in the system.” With little oversight and children highly motivated to be “king of the hill,” the stereotypical school bullying is is so common it’s legendary.

One of the best parts of homescchooling is customizing not only curriculum but also socialization to suit your children.

Rather than forcing them — seven hours per day, 180 days per year — to deal with the built-in socialization that happens in public schools, you can plan the socialization for maximum benefit.

Assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and build to suit. And if you’re not up to an enormous project, it’s all good. Fun homeschooling social opportunities can be simple.

As our kids have gotten older, our homeschool has morphed, too. With three kids in college, we have half as many homeschooling bodies as we used to. This is how it looks today:

  • Monica – 16 – junior at a performing arts high school, homeschooling academics
  • Samson – 13 – homeschooling 8th grade
  • Caleb – 10 – homeschooling 4th grade

Last year they were involved in a selection of classes one day per week; this year we decided to change it up. One thing we decided to add for fun and friendship was a boys’ game club. Setting it up was simple.  [click to continue…]


12 Steps to Start Homeschooling Tomorrow

12 Steps to Start Homeschooling TomorrowNo matter how damaging or harmful — or boring — public school is for their children, many people feel they cannot transition to homeschooling. It’s unknown. It’s unfamiliar. It’s scary. (Not to mention weird.)

They think they need to plan and prepare and research and coordinate for weeks, months, or years before they finally dip their toes into homeschooling. But it’s just not so.

If you know your children aren’t thriving in school — and you know it’s not getting better anytime soon, in spite of your best efforts — now is the time to take action. It’s really not all that hard or involved. The process is pretty straightforward.

Yes, you really can do it. And you can refine the process as you go, with real-time data.

Here are your 12 easy steps to start homeschooling. Tomorrow. Or sooner.  [click to continue…]


Do You Need to Be Organized and Detoxified to Begin Homeschooling?

The Big Getting-Ready-to-Homeschool Question

Homeschool Detox NecessaryWell over a decade ago, when we lived in Florida, a friend (whose kids were in public school) called in desperation. Two of them were tanking in school and, given the environment, feeling worse and worse with each passing day.

She wanted to pull them out at the end of the semester, right after Christmas, but was wondering if she should leave them in school until the end of the year.

“If they stay in school until the end of the semester, what will they learn? What good will come of it?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she responded.

“Then why not pull them out tomorrow?”  [click to continue…]


Solving the Homeschool Field Trip No Show Problem

Field Trip No ShowPeople Don’t Value Free Events

In 1997, when we lived in Florida, my best buddy and I decided to team together to start a homeschool choir for elementary aged kids. Becky would play the piano, I would conduct. We’d hold it at my house.

Since we had, at the time, six elementary aged kids between us, we already had a good start. We opened the group to the local homeschooling community and began to spread the word. We planned to offer the class for free, to make it available to as many as possible, but another homeschool mom disagreed.

Debbie — whose daughter was going to join the choir — warned me that if I offered it for free, people wouldn’t take it seriously. If they didn’t pay something, they would not attend consistently and would not feel committed. With her advice in hand, we charged a nominal monthly fee that would help cover the cost of music.

In 2005, living in Utah, I started a swing choir for teenagers. Given my experience with the Boca Homeschoolers Choir, I followed the same plan. The kids paid for their own costumes and music and added $10 per month — for the sake of feeling invested.

Fast forward to 2013. Although I do run a boys’ game club for homeschoolers, we are too busy to spend much time planning major homeschooling events. Over the past few years I’ve coordinated a few paid events (like musical theater performances and space camp), but a few weeks ago, I offered space in a free event. My mistake.  [click to continue…]


HomeLife Academy
I have never felt I “needed” an umbrella school for our homeschool. We don’t have any problem registering with the county or being evaluated. We participate in school athletics, so registering with the county is required.

However, as my kids entered high school, I started weighing the options. There are school sports, college admissions, NCAA registration, and scholarships to be considered. An umbrella school suddenly looked like the best option to stay organized, have fewer people questioning what we are doing, have access to all scholarships my kids qualify for, and less paperwork for me.


There are a number of “umbrella” schools out there. After comparing a number of them I decided HomeLife Academy was what we needed. First, they are affordable. $60 annual family registration free, plus $20 per K-8th grader and $40 per high schooler, make registering a bargain. If you are starting in the middle of high school and need to transfer credit from another school there is a $50 transfer fee.They also give discounts for registering early in the spring.  [click to continue…]


Learning to Love Math

[This article was originally published in about 1994 in Home Education Magazine. In 2005 it was updated and posted on Mormon Momma. I’m moving it here because I am asked about my math philosophy — and in particular why I hate Saxon math — in a homeschooling context so often.]

Math Background

Learning to Love MathWhen I was nearly four years old, my father received his PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and since that time he has been a professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University. On June 30th, 1995, he retired, was granted emeritus status for the maximum three years, and then continued to teach — without remuneration — until 2005.

In October of 2005, he was given the Honorary Alumni Award at BYU’s homecoming festivities in honor of his contribution to the university. He may have retired his position, but not his love of numbers and formulae and sharing it with students.

All my life I enjoyed math and performed well in my classes; I guess it’s in my blood. Most of my girlfriends hated it or, at least, thought I was nuts to more than tolerate the subject. For years I alternated between feeling weird and feeling smart. (If you care to categorize me, I now prefer the latter!)

Learning to Love Math continued


Things I wish I would have known

When I started to homeschool,  I had no idea. Really,  I had no idea.  There are so many things I wish I would have known.

Here is a list of mine and a few others I captured from the previous WHEN forums before it was deleted:

  • I wish I would have known how fast time flies. At 18 years old, the government believes a child should be capable to live on their own and provide for themselves.  That means I only had 18 years to be able to teach them all they needed to know.  I wanted the world’s need for survival and the slap in the face to be gentle enough that their confidence would surmount any obstacles .  And only 1/2 of that allotted time could I sit down, wrap my arms around them and cuddle them for a considerable amount of time.  Time just goes so fast.  My youngest is already off to high school classes.
  • I wish I would have known that every child’s education will have holes in it and the skills and confidence I give my kids matter most.  And the more involvement I could have the smaller the holes will be.  Thanks to a wonderful friend, Cynthia Walker who clued me in on this.
  • I wish I would have known it doesn’t take a brain scientist to home school just a motivated individual who loves learning.

Here are some things others shared:  [click to continue…]

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Utah Diploma New Math requirements

I tried to gather all the universal information that was shared on WHEN forums prior to its change over. Here is the first post:

This information only pertains to those who plan on or may use the Utah Public system for graduation and to obtain a Utah high school diploma. Due to the requirements, this means that the decision to receive a diploma must be made much earlier than has been in the past. Previously many parents could make that decision in 11th grade. But now it is suggested before you start your 9th grade year. And pretty much, it is a done deal decision. I personally make that decision come 7th grade because we prepare our children to take advantage of the available associates degree through high school utilizing the middle grades to prepare them.

To graduate the math requirement is no longer a number of credits but rather include State Standards Math 1, 2, and 3. 9th grade requires State Standards math 1 (SSM1). 10th grade requires SSM2. 11th grade SSM3 or other options listed below.  [click to continue…]


10 Superlative Reasons to Homeschool + Bonus

10 Superlative Reasons to Homeschool

#1 Teaching Kids is Easy

Keeping young kids quiet, sitting at a desk, for seven hours a day, 180 days per year is hard. Teaching them reading, writing, and arithmetic is easy.

People who tell you otherwise about the general population are lying to protect their jobs. Or assuming you are functionally illiterate. Or both.

#2 Recess is Only Fun for Cool Kids

The rest get beaten to a pulp — either physically or emotionally. Or hide on the unfavorable side of the playground.

#3 Being the Guinea Pig Is Not So Awesome

My oldest daughter, Jessica (now 26 and completing her master’s thesis in information systems), attended public school full time in kindergarten and first grade. (Before she enlightened me.)

After her kindergarten year, we were told she would be part of a pilot program for a new handwriting course the next year. I asked a few questions:  [click to continue…]


Welcome to the New Homeschool Open Source Project!

This is your site. If you are homeschooling in Utah — or considering homeschooling in Utah — this is the place for you to learn about education and homeschooling, share ideas, join together for field trips and events, discuss issues, and even buy and sell homeschool curriculum, supplies, and/or classes.

Homeschool Open Source is 100% free and 100% inclusive. We invite input and participation from all points of view in a civil, thoughtful setting. If you’d like to write a blog post or add an event to the calendar, just give us a holler and we’ll update your status.

Get started today by following the steps on the home page.

Feedback is welcome! We’ll do what we can to make this site the best homeschooling resource in Utah and beyond!