Interview Feature with…is a favorite feature of myself and readers. Designed to encourage busy moms by sharing interviews with homeschoolers that are not only homeschooling but juggling other things as well.
Today I am happy to introduce you to Dachelle at Hide The Chocolate.
Dachelle has taken time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.
Question 1: Please share with us what made you begin the homeschooling adventure with your children?
I would love to tell you that I had some epiphany moment that homeschooling was exactly what our family needed, but that’s not what happened.
As most things in my life, this monumental change came because, quite simply, we needed a monumental change.
All three of my children were attending private Christian schools. They were excellent schools by traditional standards with loving faculty. But, unfortunately, I always felt like something was missing.
I wanted my children to “experience” education, instead of memorizing it. I watched my children follow my path of gaining knowledge by memorizing facts and making exceptional grades. Education was my moment of pride.
But, when I looked back on my years in school, I realized the times that were imprinted on my memory, were the times that the teacher stepped out of the box (and often the classroom) to make education fun. I knew that I could provide that environment for my children in a way a traditional school never could.
So, I convinced my husband (who was initially very against homeschooling) to give it a try. He trusted me (thankfully) and we branched out into this scary, crazy, fun, exciting, sometimes messy adventure of homeschooling.
Question 2: What is your homeschool guiding principle?
Education should be fun. It should be enjoyed and anticipated.
That doesn’t mean my kids never have moments of “hating school”. Just ask my middle child how she feels about math!
What it means to us is that I want my kids to WANT to learn. I don’t want them to be satisfied with the knowledge they have, but to continually seek to learn more because learning is fun. It isn’t boring. It isn’t doing workbooks and reading dry textbooks. It’s reading about the Ancient Egyptians and then having an Egyptian feast.
Adding a little pixie dust into your day can go a long way toward a joyful educational experience.
Question 3: How would you describe your homeschooling style?
I love the Charlotte Mason philosophies of educating the whole child and using living books.
I have, however, been known to fall short when it comes to Handicrafts and Nature Study (I’m not crafty and I hate nature, umm, bugs).
I also love Melissa Wiley’s idea of tidal schooling. Sometimes we’re high tide (organized and purposeful) and sometimes we’re low tide (relaxed and delight-directed).
The Brave Writer Lifestyle pulls that all together for me. Julie Bogart, the founder of Brave Writer, gives you permission to make your homeschool the way YOU want it. Our homeschool has experienced a renewed life since implementing her philosophies.We’re all out here figuring our way in this homeschool arena.Click To Tweet
Question 4: What is the hardest homeschooling challenge you have had to overcome?
Deschooling and letting go of the traditional school philosophies.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we are unschoolers, though we usually will follow topics that are child interests. And, I’m not saying traditional schools are horrible.
What I’m saying is that, as a former high school teacher and daughter of two public school teachers, it is hard to let go of thinking my homeschool is supposed to look like the school system or like someone else’s homeschool.
We’re all out here figuring our way in this homeschool arena.
For most of us, it is opposite of what we have always known and is sometimes not accepted by those we love and respect. Trying to navigate our way in this field without compromising our beliefs and ideals is tough.
Luckily, I’ve been able to connect with other homeschool moms who give me permission to be different and encourage me to do what is best for MY family.
Question 5: Share a homeschooling win with us that stood out to you?
There are so many wins. I used to only look at big picture wins, like when your child masters a difficult concept. Now, I realize there are so many little wins that we need to celebrate every day. Just finishing the day on a positive note can be a win.Just finishing the day on a positive note can be a win. Celebrate the little things. Click To Tweet
It’s so easy to let the frustrations of the day get everyone down. I look for the small things that make a positive difference in every day that eventually make for a positive year.
Question 6: If you could go back and redo something in your homeschooling journey what would it be and why?
I would keep homeschooling my oldest.
For one year, his sophomore year, I homeschooled my son. I saw enormous growth in his critical thinking and verbal reasoning.
As his mother, I knew his potential and knew he always tried to do the minimum to get by. Because of this I pushed him to do more and that led to a difficult relationship between us.
Instead of working harder on that relationship and keeping him focused, I gave in and let him go back to traditional school.
He went back to his old ways of “just doing the minimum” and suffered for it later. I didn’t live what I preach which is that “as parents, we know what’s best for our kids and our family.” I should have fought harder to make homeschooling work for him.
Question 7: Share with us how you find time to fit all the moving parts of homeschooling your children, your website and “life” in your day to day?
This is truly one of the hardest parts of homeschooling. Besides homeschooling, I also do the accounting for my husband’s business, and write for my blog and for Hip Homeschool Moms. Some days I feel overwhelmed and know that something will have to give.
On those days, I have to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities (and secretly eat some Nutella). I would like to say that my kids ALWAYS come first and that I NEVER mess them up to where they will need therapy later. But, that’s not true (well, I hope I don’t drive them to therapy). Sometimes, I do mess up and I act like a horrible mom. On those days I have to hide in the closet with the chocolate until I’m sane enough to enter the real world again.
But, most days, I am a sane responsible person. Scheduling uninterrupted time for specific tasks and organizing my days are key. I have to have three planners (personal, blog, homeschool) and three Google calendars going, but I am able to do get most of my jobs done. And, when I don’t? Well, I have to let that go. I can’t be everything to everyone.
Question 8: What do you wish non-homeschoolers knew about homeschooling?
That my children are socialized. Most weeks we are running around to so many events that I’m exhausted. Guitar, ballet, homeschool group field trips, library poetry teatime, archery, saddle club, art classes and book club are just some of the events my kids do during the month. I actually get excited when I see there is nothing on the calendar for the day (and I get to wear yoga pants ALL DAY)!
That I don’t think my children’s education is better than yours or that your kid is less than mine in any way. I chose this method of educating my kids because it’s best for my kids…and one of my kids is a traditional school graduate. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone and isn’t even best for everyone. It is what is best for my kids at this time.
Will we reevaluate in the future? Absolutely. Will my children go back to traditional school? I don’t know. We will make that decision when it needs to be made.
Question 9: If you could give a piece of advice to a parent who is considering homeschooling, who is also working, what would it be?
Prepare yourself to throw away A. LOT. OF. STUFF. No, seriously, I am a curriculum addict. I admit it. I own it.
I buy all the shiny things and then realize that either there is no way I can fit it all into our day or that it doesn’t fit my kids. To avoid the obvious meltdowns, I have a yearly purge and let myself be free of the guilt of overbuying.
So, my advice is don’t overbuy, go to curriculum fairs prepared, and have a budget. But, in the spirit of full disclosure know that I will throw my budget and my willpower in the trash the second I walk into a curriculum vendor hall. It’s worse than my chocolate addiction (and don’t get me started on office supply stores!)
Question 10: Your website offers so much information for parents, can you tell us what your favorite parts are?
I started this blog as a way to share with other homeschool moms. Sometimes that sharing is brutally honest… because parenting can sometimes be extremely hard. We need to be able to stick together as moms and know that we are not alone. Some days are easier than others.
Some days we fall flat on our faces. But, always, we love our kids and want the best for them. If I can help other moms to realize that they can do this, then my site has been worth all the exhausting late nights eating chocolate.
Question 11: Why Did You Name Your Blog “Hide The Chocolate”?
Well, the obvious reason is that I love chocolate and will hide it from my children. I’m not talking about any chocolate, just the good stuff. You know the European kinds like Lindt and Ferrero Rocher and Nutella — especially Nutella. I have been known to keep a jar of Nutella on my bedside table…Don’t judge!
Sometimes you need chocolate or tea or whatever your vice is, and you don’t want to share it. So you hide it. Maybe you hide it in the pantry and label it gluten free bread sticks, or you stash it behind the laundry basket (heck, just throw it in the laundry basket. It’s not like anything else makes it in there). Wherever you hide it, know that you are not alone.
You and countless other moms out there are hiding their stash of chocolatey goodness from those darlings who drive us to eat it. Feel free to release yourself from the burden of shame and lock that bedroom door and eat your chocolate with a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book).
Because it’s cheaper than therapy.
Thank you Dachelle for sharing your homeschool and work journey with us.
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not planning and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction).
Click here to read the rest of the series!