Ages of Children: 5, 7, 10, 12, 14
Location: Andover, MA
Why and when did you decide to homeschool your children?
I started homeschooling my three oldest kids a year and a half ago. My kids are visual spatial learners and public school wasn’t meeting their needs. We wanted the kids to learn at their own pace and in a way that increased their thirst for knowledge.
What’s your goal as a home educator?
When my kids pursue learning and seek out knowledge on their own, I know I’m succeeding as a home educator.
How has homeschooling changed you?
Homeschooling has helped me appreciate the process of learning in a different way. Spoon feeding facts just doesn’t work — creativity and a willingness to be flexible and follow what engages my children works wonders.
Homeschooling has made me more aware of how we are using our space in our home. We weren’t using our front room ever! So I threw convention to the wind, took out the couch and moved the ping pong table in. We now have ping pong breaks and tournaments and my 14-year-old son just recently beat me for the first time! We also spent the first 4 months of this school year with Legos and a Lego League table on our dining room table — something I wouldn’t have ever tolerated before my homeschooling life.
How do you balance a work schedule and homeschooling?
Balance is tough. I’m always trying to balance my professional needs and wants as a kidlit writer with the needs and wants of my family. Sometimes I spend more time homeschooling and less time writing. Sometimes I miraculously accomplish both at once (usually when my kids are feeling particularly motivated or interested in their projects). I have the privilege of learning with my kids, understanding who they really are and helping them to follow their dreams. And there is nothing better for a kidlit writer than spending time with kids. My kids inspire my stories and having them home and learning with me only makes my stories more authentic.
Describe a typical school day at your home.
Our house is noisy and chaotic and filled with the energy of five kids ages 14, 12, 10, 7, and 5. The house brims with pressing ideas and interesting projects. We start out doing things together: poetry memorization during breakfast, reading the Wall Street Journal, critical thinking, brain games, writing, scripture study. I usually read to the kids as they clean their rooms and do the dishes. Then the kids split off to do other things like math, biology, piano/guitar/drum practice, typing, coding. Then the three oldest spend time reading or working on various projects. My 12-year-old, Naomi, started her own Etsy shop, Little Andover Girl, and donates 20% of her earnings to The African Library Project. She spends time making art and jewelry and sewing bags. My 10-year-old, Sydney is our chicken whisperer. She studies and reads about chicken care, takes care of our 8 chickens and sells their eggs. My 14-year-old son especially loves spending time coding, programming Lego robots and drumming. By 2:30pm we go to a cappella choir, or play practice, jazz/marching band or music lessons. We usually end the day with dinner, an attempt at 3 minutes of meditation, a dance party, and reading!
What would you say to someone who may be contemplating homeschooling?
Homeschooling is one of the most challenging and rewarding gifts you can give your children. It’s tough but it’s totally worth it. There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping your child learn in a way that increases their curiosity, awe and love of life.
How can we connect with you?
More about Kirstine:
Kirstine is a kidlit author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall, and a marriage and family therapist.