An interview with… myself.
As told before, I’m planning a series of interviews with homeschool parents. I want to showcase the diversity of the way we all do things, but also to remind each other that we don’t all have it together. We all struggle. Who better to start with than someone who is readily available… uh, myself? So without further ado…
>What led you to homeschool?
Our homeschooling adventure began out of necessity. My husband was pastoring in a small town in South Louisiana when my oldest turned five. There wasn’t a preschool near us that was affordable or that I felt comfortable dropping my daughter off at and leaving her, so we decided we would homeschool for preschool.
Kindergarten rolled around and the same issue plagued us. We were pastoring a typical southern “First Baptist” church, so it was directly across the street (as in, directly across the street from our house) from the Elementary school. I was torn between wanting to be more a part of the community we ministered in, and not wanting to put my child in a school that received a failing grade year after year. We eventually opted to keep her home one more year. Which turned into five.
We have homeschooled in Louisiana, Arkansas, and now Texas. I have two school age children at home – one fifth grader, one third grader. Last year we had a baby (surprise!), and my kiddos spent their school year in public school while I relearned this whole baby thing. We chose to return to homeschooling this year and we’ve changed up a few things and decided to call it a “reboot”.
Will we homeschool all the way? Who knows? We are not the type of family that thinks homeschooling is the only way to raise your children. There are so many different family and financial dynamics in people’s lives that I feel like it’s arrogance to think that any one way is THE right way. In our family we’ll take it year by year.
>What does a “Typical” day in your homeschool look like?
Ha. Typical. That’s kinda funny. I figured out a long time ago that our day couldn’t be a rigid schedule; it is much more of a flow. There was a time in my homeschooling life where I had written schedules that said “8:00 AM – wake, 8:30 – Bible, 9:00 – Reading” etc., but those never worked for us.
Our “typical” is to be up and completely ready to start our school day by 9:00. At 9 we have morning time where we do our catechism question for the week (yes, I know we’re Baptist, but I am loving this catechism thing!), go over our memory verse for the week, and pray together.
From there our flow is to move on to Handwriting, Math, English, and Reading. We break for lunch around 12:30ish (and hopefully get the baby down for a nap) and resume school around 1:30. This is when we move into Science and Geography (which we do on opposite days of the week) and then Typing, Coding, and Spelling. The curriculum we use (My Father’s World) is doing World Geography this year instead of History, but I’m realizing how much we miss History and about to add that to our line up. I don’t know where. Or when. But we’ll figure it out.
>Do you ever feel like you aren’t doing enough work, or like it takes you too little time to finish school?
I’ve heard this concern from homeschoolers quite a bit. We have such a public school mindset that we worry when it can sometimes only take us 3 hours to finish our entire school day. Honestly, this worried me a little until my kids spent a year in public school. I had built up what the public school does so much in my head that I was shocked at what they accomplish school-work-wise in a day. So much of their day is taken up with breaks, moving from class to class, lunch, recess, and other fluff stuff that if you boiled down the “work” they do it’s about the same. Don’t sweat it Mamma, you’re doing fine.
>How do you handle keeping up with homeschool, work, and housework?
I wish I had a good answer for this, but the truth is… I don’t. In my perfect world my housekeeping system would work perfectly and everything could be easily maintained. But when you all actually LIVE in your house ALL DAY LONG it makes it so much harder to keep it together. Routines and habits are ESSENTIAL, and giving the kids chores, but even then just one day of breakdown of my laundry system can result in mountainous piles.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned with this is that I have to just let some things go. There is a certain set point in my home that I can relax in and feel like my family is clean and safe, and I just have to go with that. One day when my kids are all grown up I can maintain a “company ready” home. Until then, come on over and don’t mind the books and toys you may have to step over.
>What is your biggest homeschooling struggle?
Two things: my own attitude, and the picture of what it should be like in my head. Most of my homeschooling issues stem from myself. It’s not the curriculum or the kid’s attitudes, it’s my own. I struggle to stay on course when I want to drop everything and clean the kitchen. I struggle to give grace when Math is hard instead of arguing with them. My biggest hurdle is definitely me.
>What is your favorite thing?
That moment when you see that your kid “got it”. When the light comes on. Especially when they first started reading, I loved seeing them progress so quickly! I also love the freedom it gives our family. Last year, in public school, we were so tied down to someone else’s schedule that we couldn’t just pick up and go somewhere if we wanted to. A few weeks ago we decided one morning to visit some friends in Arkansas and we just got in the van and went! It was amazing not to have to think through school schedules!
This is just a small peak into our homeschooling world. There are so many more questions that people have put out there to be in these interviews. I promise to vary the questions a little every time, depending on the home situation.
I hope this was encouragement to you! We all have hits and misses, let’s celebrate them together!