Check out our recent interview with “second-year” homeschooler, Jill Schmidt from Richmond, British Columbia.
Tell us a bit about your family
My kids are: Theo 7, Eva 5.5 and Kezia 2.5. Theo is going into grade 2, Eva going into K, and Kezia still officially a toddler! We are a family of 5 who are stumbling through this thing called life – together. We are very involved with the co-op where we live and the church that we attend.
Have you always known you wanted to homeschool?
I NEVER thought we would homeschool. I knew of some people who home schooled. I thought they were weird and crazy for homeschooling. “How on earth could someone spend so much time with their children and still be sane????” “They obviously have fears about the real/outside world, or else they wouldn’t be sheltering their kids so dramatically!”- Those were some of my thoughts prior to homeschooling. After all, I am an educated public school teacher. I “believe” in the system!
Once my son entered K, and we were talking about moving, the idea of homeschooling (rather doing distance learning) popped into my head and never went away.
We started homeschooling my oldest in January of his grade 1 year. So that means we have only been at this whole homeschooling thing for two terms. But we LOVE it, and plan to stick with it! The system wasn’t working for him, and I knew I could do a better job of teaching my son in the way that he needed to be taught.
I knew that he would be happier if he spent less time trying to do what the teacher said, and more time actually learning, doing and playing.
What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
My favorite thing about homeschooling is being with my kids. I was quickly losing my relationship with my son while he was in school. Our days were full of fighting about getting out the door, then fighting to get home after playing on the playground, then dinner, then homework then bed. Now I get to have a relationship with my kids; working, playing, and yes sometimes fighting with my kids. We live, love and learn together. I don’t wonder how their day went, I know how it went, cause we spent it together. I can challenge them at the level they need to be challenged, and spend the one on one time they may need to master a topic.
The hardest thing?
The hardest part is balancing everything; making time to clean the house, making time for me and my husband etc.
What have you been doing to get ready for “back to school?” Anything?
Funny you should ask, ’cause yes, just this week, I started laying out the year plan for every subject. I have to submit it in September to Homequest (Delta School District). I am excited about the challenge of now officially homeschooling 2 children!
Do your children ever ask to go to school?
My son is VERY social. All he wants to do is be with his friends. So yes, he has asked to go back to school sometimes. This is why the distributed learning program Homequest (Delta) is perfect for us. He gets to go once a week to a public school and learn/play with other kids. So when the class days are not in session he really misses them.
Do you use a particular curriculum? Any recommendations?
I will carry on with two programs that I discovered last spring. One is Singapore Math, and the other is All About Spelling. Both my kids and I LOVE them!
What does a typical day look like at your house?
As most homeschooling families will attest to, there is no such thing as a typical day. In general though, so you can get a wee picture: we start with play, breakfast, and morning chores. Then do some reading, math, spelling, with a family snack time in between.
That’s my favorite time of day – family snack time. No matter what has transpired through the morning, we can all come together and have a healthy snack.
Then we usually go back to playing or do some sort of hands on learning project like a lap book or science experiment, or art. Something fun. Then lunch, then outdoor play. Then often an after school activity like reading buddies at the library, or basketball or ballet.
There is a weekly meet up with other local homeschooling families, and lots and lots of field trips with Homequest mixed into the week too!
What is your best homeschooling tip?
The best tip I ever received was “just relax you are not going to wreck your kid.”
Whenever I got stressed out about the fact that it was like pulling teeth sometimes to get my son to do ANYTHING, I would just focus back on my relationship with him. First and foremost, I need my relationship with him to be connected. I treasure the moments of true learning, and true exploring together as a family, and these moments most often come up when I am truly listening and observing the needs of my kids.
As a homeschooling family, what is the one item you couldn’t do without?
I’ll have to give you a top 5 of things I can’t live without during homeschooling.
1) My local homeschooling yahoo group.
2) The library- for books of course!
3) The ipad- tons of fun educational apps.
4) Any book by Linda Dobson
5) Getting outside!!!
Thanks Jill, for all of your insights, and for allowing us a wee peek into your family’s life.