1. Tell us a bit about your family.
We have 3 kids: Jacob (12), Emma (9) and Samantha (7). Family is so important to us. We pulled our kids out of school last year, so this will be our second year homeschooling.
2. Have you always known you wanted to homeschool?
No. Our kids started off in the school system. Before we pulled them out, we were starting to have a really hard time with the school system. For one, Emma was getting frequent migraines in school. And Jacob went from a boy who loved learning everything, to, like a flower, curling up and starting to whither and die. We knew we had to do something.
When we started homeschooling, we had some real resistance from some people. They were worried about socialization. But now, people who don’t even know we homeschool have noticed the difference in our children. They stop me and ask what we did with Jacob. How he has become such a different boy than they one they remembered. So much happier.
3. What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
In school, your kids are stuck in a group with people of the exact same age. In real life, half the time you don’t even know how old your friends are. Now, our kids best friends are all a few years older or younger than them. They don’t even notice a difference!
4. The hardest thing?
Having to make sure you find your time. It’s imperative to find time for you, to detox and focus on who you are. When you’re tired and grumpy, it’s really hard to be patient.
Also, trying to find at least half an hour per day for each child individually. I sometimes get concerned that they’re not getting what they need from me.
5. What have you been doing to get ready for “back to school?” Anything?
I’ve ordered some books and organized my school room. The Cowichan Valley has a huge homeschooling community, which helps. We’ve also discussed what we’re going to do, together as a family. In fact, we go over our values system every morning, and address any issues that come up each day.
6. Do your children ever ask to go to school?
Never. They never ask to go to school. They tell me all the time, they’re never going back!
7. Do you prescribe to a particular homeschooling philosophy?
Not really. Homeschooling is so flexible. Don’t get stuck in a rut. What works for you one year, might not work the next, or the year after that. And no two children learn the same.
8. Do you use a particular curriculum? Any recommendations?
We homeschool with the BC-based distributed learning organization, EBUS. We love EBUS. We signed up with a distributed learning organization because we wanted to make sure our kids got the same (or equivalent) education as their peers.
But, we use all sorts of different resources. For history, one of our favourites is the series, The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. We supplement our learning with the [British Columbia] government resources. And we love lapbooks. They’re time-consuming, but really stick in their brains.
A few years ago, I read A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille. I don’t remember everything, but the ideas really stuck with me. It is all about getting away from the conveyor belt style of learning. You should read it, if you get a chance.
9. What does a typical day look like at your house?
We’re usually up by 8, and have breakfast and a devotional together. We do math everyday, and alternate social studies and science. We’re usually done “school” by noon, and the rest of the day is filled with the park, play or field trips. The kids also do extra classes like art, swimming etc.
10. What is your best homeschooling tip?
My friend said, “There will be days when you lock yourself in the bathroom and sit and cry. Take the time to do it.” There are, and I have.
I would say, take the time. Quiet time everyday, for everyone in the family, is invaluable.
Also, you have to be committed. Don’t go into it thinking you could send them back if it doesn’t work out. Homeschooling is a lifetime commitment. Once I accepted this, I felt such ease and the weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel great about it because I’m not having the constant worry of whether the kids will be behind their peers, or able to integrate back into the school system etc.
11. As a homeschooling family, what is the one item you couldn’t do without?
A support system. Other homeschooling families are such a necessary resource.
12. Any final thoughts?
Homeschooling is hard. But it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.