Number of children: 5
Ages/Grades of Children: 22, 20(nursing school), 19(culinary arts/business school), 17( junior in homeschool HS), 5(Kindergarten homeschool)
Location: SW Florida
Why and when did you decide to homeschool your children?
Our youngest child, Cici, was born in November 2010. That was about the time that Common Core started to really be pushed and the sex ed curriculum started to change. At that time we had 2 daughters in public high school and a son in public middle school in Montana. There were a lot of things with the Common Core that we did not agree with but we had no idea how to go about anything other than public school.
Fast forward to June 2012 when we moved from Montana to Florida. We met our extended family at Awaken Church (we helped plant it) when we were recruited to help launch the church. We had decided when we left Montana that we needed to find a church to attend as a family because we needed the positive influence in our life. Two of our girls had stayed in Montana. Our daughter that came with us was a senior in high school. She did great in public school, so we weren’t worried about her. Our son was in middle school when we moved here and we put him in public school as well. Homeschool wasn’t even on our radar yet.
Throughout the first year we were here we started having problems with the middle school. Our son is incredibly smart and gets bored easily. The school did nothing to help challenge him to keep him focused. Our daughter graduated just fine, but had a lot of social problems and the school did nothing to help. After talking with a lot of friends that were having similar issues, we started talking about homeschool. At least for our youngest. We had dealt with the public school system for about 20 years and watched it continue to go downhill. We felt we had to explore our options.
In August of 2014 I started to homeschool Cici in preschool. Just as a trial, to see if I could do it and how she would respond. Our daughter had graduated and left the state for college. Our son is now a junior in high school. In October of this year we pulled him out of public school because of educational and behavioral problems. Working with the school, who was in denial of anything being wrong, made it obvious we had no choice. Our son deserved better. Plus, we wanted to help him become the man that we know he can be.
What would you say to someone who may be contemplating homeschooling?
Pray, do your research, talk to other homeschoolers in every type of homeschool to clarify all of your options, talk to your kids, and pray some more. It can be scary and overwhelming and daunting all at the same time. But, it can bring joy, peace, tranquility, a love of learning, and a need for knowledge as well. It’s okay to start your homeschool journey one way and end up somewhere else along the way. It’s okay to use multiple types of homeschooling. It’s okay to make mistakes and start over. It’s okay to take a week off when you feel like you brain might explode. It’s okay to teach out of order and to use what your kids interests are to bring them into whatever they need to learn. It’s okay to have a schedule or fly by the seat of your pants. Every homeschool environment is different. Every family is different. Every child learns differently in different subjects at different points in their life. Just go with it. Make adjustments as needed and teach to your child in a way that they learn…not how you think they should be learning. And pray some more!
How has homeschooling changed you?
Homeschooling has changed how I look at education and learning as a whole. My eyes have been opened to the fact that learning is not that same as memorization. That memorization can help pass a test, but it usually doesn’t stick in the brain long enough to be used at a later date. Memorization happens when information is given over and over again, drilled, tested. Learning takes place when the passion and interest is on fire for a subject. I’ve learned that I want my kids to learn. I want them to have passion about the things they are learning. I want learning to be fun and interesting. I want my kids to have a voice in how and what they learn. Homeschooling has reignited my desire to learn as well. And watching my kids learn the things they are passionate about fills my heart to the brim!
What was your biggest misconception about homeschooling prior to becoming a home educator?
I think, like most people, I simply assumed that homeschool had to mimic public school as far as structure goes. I thought we had to start at a certain time, spend so much time working on each subject, and sit behind a desk all day. I spent a full year researching every type of homeschool out there, talking to so many people my head was spinning, joining Facebook groups to have access to even more people, praying, and talking to my husband and kids about everything. We settled somewhere in the middle. A set schedule doesn’t work for us because of my health issues. We use a workbook, computer apps, websites, fieldtrips, and various activities to fill our days. What we have learned the most is that the most useful learning tool is life itself.
How do you overcome homeschool challenges?
Our biggest homeschool challenge is my health. I am on disability and when I can and cannot do things varies incredibly. I can go from being okay to not being able to get out of bed in less than an hour. I have about 3 hours a day where I can function at normal capacity. My health is the main reason a set schedule doesn’t work for us.
Our son is a junior in high school. He loves being online and so he uses free courses online to complete his graduation requirements and dig into the things that he finds interesting. He works 2 days a week with my husband and is learning some amazing things with him. He is completely self-sufficient with his education and works at his own pace. He blew through microeconomics in 3 weeks!
Our daughter spent a year doing preschool and has started her kindergarten lessons. We use a workbook that covers every subject, but we don’t work in it a lot. Every day we use life and outings to learn the things she needs at this age. Math happens while cooking and grocery shopping. Science happens while cooking and doing crafts and other projects. Social Studies happens while we discuss life in general and watch the news, etc. You get the idea.
Through the Grace of God I have learned to slow down and focus on what is important. I pray every day for the courage to continue in homeschooling with my health issues. That we made the best choice for our kids and that, despite my health issues, we can give our children the best we have to offer them.
Describe your homeschool in three words.
Relaxed, Fun, Inspired
Tell us more about yourself.
Our family relocated here to Florida in June 2012 due to my health. We are a blended family with 2 kids each and 1 together. But, they are all our kids! My husband has his own business and we are active in our church almost daily.
How can we connect with you?