Welcome to the first of my new series in which we meet real-life homeschoolers who give us a glimpse into their families and school lives. I’ve had this series on my heart for a while, and the more I find myself telling people that we’ve started homeschooling, that I’m not a super-patient person, and that I’m not at all phased by socialisation, the more I want to show what homeschooling really looks like.
Today, we meet Jolene who blogs at Monsters Ed Academy and is mom to four cool kids.
1. Tell us a bit about your family.
We are a large blended family of 6. I am married to Steven and momma to Noo*, who is 13 years old and my son from my previous relationship who now lives with his dad, Koko* is 8, Fifi* is 6 and Pixie* is 4.
2. Who does the majority of the teaching?
I do the majority of the homeschooling with Steven pitching in on occasion. Teaching is my passion and I couldn’t imagine handing over the education of my homeschooled children to someone else.
3. How long have you been homeschooling?
We are in our 7th year of homeschooling. I started homeschooling Noo in 2009, 3 weeks before Fifi was born. He went into the school “system” in 2012 in preparation for him moving in with his dad for high school.
4. What led you to choose homeschooling?
Noo was born with Hirschprung’s Disease and as a result of that, we decided to homeschool him until he had the side effects of this horrible disease, or at the very least, until he could cope better with it. We have since decided that we are going to homeschool all the children until such a time where homeschooling is no longer beneficial to them.
5. What is your homeschooling approach? (Unschooling, eclectic, etc.)
Through trial and error we now use the School-at-home style for the older 2. The children, and I, are routine sensitive, so it works for our family. I use the Montessori style with Pixie, because that works for her right now. You can read more on the different styles of homeschooling here on my blog.
6. What does a typical school day look like for you?
We typically start at 9, any earlier and we are asking for trouble. Koko always starts with English, then maths, writing and whatever group work we have planned for the day (History, science or geography) and Fifi always starts with writing, then maths, English and group work. We usually finish by 12 and break for lunch. What ever hasn’t been finished will be done after lunch. The children have extra murals in the afternoon from 1:30 till 5:30 some days. We take a snack break at 10am for 10 minutes.
7. What response did you get from friends/family when sharing your decision to homeschool?
It was tough in the beginning. We had great reports from some friends but family was a little more difficult to win over. Over the year some family members are still not pro-homeschooling, but most have come around. We have a great homeschooling support group and have made great friends in the process.
8. What has been most surprising and/or rewarding about homeschooling?
Watching things click. You know that moment your child grasps a concept. For example, Pixie was counting to 10 with my father-in-law, Grampa, and then he asked her how many fingers he was holding up. She then counted them and told him 3 fingers. She was quiet for a second too long with a pondering expression. She then had that “ah ha” moment where her face lit up and told Grampa, “That’s why we count!” He then had to hold up more fingers for her to count so she could tell him how many he was holding up. This went up for ages. She has been counting items all the time now to see how many there are.
9. What has been most challenging?
Finding time for myself. Being home with your children, though rewarding, doesn’t give you time to yourself. You are either at home schooling your children, or you are out with them at field trips, play dates or extra murals. Steven and I have since found time over weekends where he’ll keep the kids so I can go out and just have alone time (or time with girl friends). Loosing yourself in your children can be detrimental to your health and mental well being.
10. What advice would you give to parents considering or just beginning their homeschooling journey?
Research both online and by speaking to people who homeschool. It’s important to have a look at the actual material in use and people’s response to those programs.
*These are not their real names.
Thank you, Jolene, for giving us a glimpse into your homeschool life.
Find Jolene online in these places:
Monsters Ed Academy – her personal homeschooling blog
Year Round Homeschooling – she is a monthly contributor here
Happiness is …. – recipe blog
If you would like to be featured in this series, please contact me by leaving a comment or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.