First of all, would you tell everyone how many children you have, and how many years you homeschooled? read more
We have three boys, and we homeschooled for 18 years.
What made you decide to homeschool?
Our oldest violently opposed "wasting his time sitting in school." He felt he could learn quickly at home and have plenty of time to play. As parents, we had already determined that our relationship to our sons should be high priority.
Consequently, my husband Alfred made a way to work at home some of the time so he would be available as well. Homeschooling became a tool to deepen our family relationships and teach a wider range of skills and knowledge.
What did you like best about homeschooling?
That learning could be done anywhere. While we used a mix of published curriculum, we were very flexible with times and places to learn. We could hold “classes” in the yard, the woods, at a creek, in a car, or anywhere. Think "Green Eggs and Ham" but with education... and we liked it.
Did you experience any challenging situations?
Number one, since our life style made things financially tight, we had to be creative in making ends meet.
Secondly, our oldest had immense trouble sitting still so it took awhile to relax my own expectations of a quiet school day to allow him to lay on his stomach or stand at the counter, shifting around as he wrote.
Besides those two challenges, our second son Stephen didn't relate to my teaching style like his brother. What I struggled to teach him all day could be learned in 15 minutes with his dad on the couch. His dad would come in from work and ruffle his hair. "Hey bud, having a hard day? Let's go in and figure it out on the couch." They'd sit, Alfred's arm around Stevie, accomplishing everything and more than I tried to get done all day, in just a short time. It was beyond frustrating. I learned that I needed to pull from my mate's skill set to better serve Stevie's needs.
Are there any particular books or curriculum you would recommend?
To learn to read and write, the original Sing, Spell, Read, and Write was perfect for my sons. It was full of games, fun, activities, and had a racetrack that drew them. Bob Jones University Press has an excellent history series. My sons would grab the books when they came and disappear for hours just reading the textbook. Bob Jones math and Apologia science were great too. When the boys hit early teens, we preferred Switched on Schoolhouse for several subjects because the program gave them their lessons and not mom. It saved a lot of arguing.
Since your children are graduated and working, do you see any benefit to them from being homeschooled?
They relate well to all ages and are leaders at heart. Generally, they think things through. They are diligent workers with a sensitivity and kindness to others that warms my heart.
Do you have any works of wisdom for others who homeschool?
Relax. Do not push yourself or your kids to prove something to the “world.” Use curriculum as a guide, not a task master. True, there are things that ought to be accomplished by the year's end, but have realistic expectations. Allow and encourage your children to pursue areas of interest. My one regret is that I lived so long in fear of doing things inadequately that I may have robbed my sons of some of the joy of learning. When I relaxed, they did too, and they learned much better.
Mothers may like to hear that there is life after homeschooling. What are you doing now?
During my youngest son’s senior year I began to take online classes to be a realtor. I work for Cavalry Realty out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. I've transitioned from working for the good of my children to trying to be helpful to my community.