Welcome to the third of my 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.
1. Tell us a bit about your family.
We are a family of five, living on a tight budget. My husband is a golf professional, and I am a previous school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Our children, Laynie (9), Lily (4), and Liam (2) have never set foot in a daycare or public school setting.
2. Who does the majority of the teaching?
I do. There are days I take off though, and my husband steps in (with my “sub” plans of course!)
3. How long have you been homeschooling?
We’ve been homeschooling officially since my oldest started first grade three years ago. We didn’t have to register in our state (NC) until she turned 7, so I count that as our first official year. But truthfully, I started preschool with her 8 years ago!
4. What led you to choose homeschooling?
I’ve worked in the “best” preschools and public schools in my area, with toddlers, 3rd grade, and 6th grade. I know the reality of what goes on in preschools, elementary schools, and middle schools, and I chose not to put my own children in it. It wasn’t a dislike of the quality of instruction necessarily, but our priorities in raising our children would not have been addressed in a public institution, and we couldn’t afford the local private school. Plus, I really love being at home with my children, and teaching them/being the primary influence in their lives, just seemed natural for me.
5. What is your homeschooling approach? (Unschooling, eclectic, etc.)
Eclectic – we are a happy mix of traditional, Charlotte Mason, and classical. I take the best things I like from each approach, and mix it up on a daily basis! No day is exactly the same.
6. What does a typical school day look like for you?
We have a general pattern for daily activities like meals and chores, schoolwork and play/free time. I’m currently homeschooling a 4th grader, a preschooler (3K), a friend’s preschooler, and my toddler. It’s hectic, but we somehow get through our days with nearly everything checked off the To-Do list! Our day usually goes something like this (no set times):
Schoolwork at the kitchen table
Oldest then has independent work while littles have screen time
Nap for littles
Oldest finishes her schoolwork, and I step in when needed – little ones who are awake do crafty stuff/art/etc
Snack time (screen time for oldest)
7. What response did you get from friends/family when sharing your decision to homeschool?
No one (that I truly care about their opinion anyway) has really opposed it very much. It’s actually very common in my state, and there are so many people who homeschool that it isn’t very shocking. I had a few people second-guess our decision, but most people don’t, because I am often told I am “well-qualified” with my Master’s degree in Education. It’s funny though – those who think I am “well-qualified” don’t realize that I’m no better qualified than any other homeschooling mother out there – no matter what their educational status. What makes a homeschooling parent successful is their passion and desire to teach their child well – not some title written on a piece of paper.
8. What has been most surprising and/or rewarding about homeschooling?
I always say it’s the interaction and love between my three children. They wouldn’t have the bond they have with each other if they were separated for the majority of their days. It’s truly a blessing and makes me smile when I see my youngest ask his big sister to rock him at naptime – and she does it with such tenderness and sweet songs. Or when I watch my middle child and oldest child (who are five years apart) cuddling under a blanket to read a book on the backyard playset on a chilly fall day. Or little things like just seeing them help each other out when one makes a spill or trips and scrapes their knee. There’s a connection there between them that blesses my heart with joy. I see other families whose children go their separate ways during the daytime and when they rejoin at night, there’s a distance/insensitivity/relational disconnection there, and to me, that would be so disappointing.
9. What has been most challenging?
Teaching my struggling reader. I have always hated teaching Reading, although it was my favorite subject when I was a child. It just comes so easy to me that teaching it is a struggle because I can’t explain the process well. But having good curriculum helps, and now that my oldest has been diagnosed with a Reading disorder and I am learning how to help her, we are making great progress.
10. What advice would you give to parents considering or just beginning their homeschooling journey?
You can do it! No matter what your struggle is – you can overcome it. We have had our own ups and downs, but it’s all so worth it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, for whatever reason. There are so many resources and support avenues for you, and you just have to find them and use them. Don’t let your doubts or fears, limitations or struggles, get in the way of your purpose and priorities.
Thank you, Deana, for giving us a glimpse into your homeschool life.
Find Deana online in these places:
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.