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 Amie.
I’m a newbie homeschool mom. This is our first year. I have two girls, 10 and 7 in 4th and 2/3rd grades. They were in public school up until now.
I’m a teacher (online this year) and a Young Living Distributor health and wellness coach. We’re retired military–hubby teaches in public high school now– and move around a lot, so we don’t have a lot of local friends. This group has been a life saver!!!
Amie 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?
We moved to a new house in July and I accepted a teaching job online from home. We figured if I’d be home anyway, why not homeschool the girls?
My oldest wasn’t being challenged enough; she is gifted. Looking back, my husband and I both wish we would have had the opportunity to graduate early and get started on college. That’s our goal for her.
My youngest was also struggling in school due to our year living in Mexico. She was doing interventions and pull-outs 3-4 times a day and coming home saying school was terrible. She was having panic attacks and anxiety issues about reading and spelling. For her, we wanted to homeschool to take off some of the pressure. A kid shouldn’t live with that much weight on her shoulders.
Question 2: What is your homeschool guiding principle?
Overall, our guiding principle is to just keep swimming and moving forward. What that looks like changes day to day. We want to raise responsible, respectful, caring kids who think of others first.
- We take risks, even when we have no idea what God has planned for us. It can be scary.
- We find natural solutions to everyday problems, and live as close to nature as possible.
- We have growth-mindsets and focus on self-improvement through reflection. We make mistakes and grow from them.
- We live life to the fullest and do what interests us. We chase the rabbit down the rabbit hole.
- We do hard things, even when we don’t want to. Hard work pays off and Lechs don’t give up.
Question 3: How would you describe your homeschooling style?
We tend to stick to what we know. As Texas certified teachers, we know what subjects and skills they need to know. We use that to guide us.
But overall, we stick to a curriculum for the morning so each of the girls have targeted focus on their skills for math and language arts.
Then we do spark schooling in the afternoon. Spark schooling for us starts with YouTube videos of what we’re curious about that day.
For example, yesterday we watched Moana, then did a unit study over Polynesia culture and geography, which also involved reading myths and writing our own. I really like that the afternoons have them both working together, usually for history and science, even though they are in different grades.
Question 4: What is the hardest homeschooling challenge you have had to overcome?
Finding our rhythm has taken a LONG time. In the beginning, I did a lot of research but still was scared. So when people would suggest a resource, I would go with it. We spent way too much money on curriculum that did not work for us. The first 6 months, we went through 3 different curriculums.
But that first 6 months, we knew it’d take a while to figure out what we were doing. So we focused on repeating skills from the previous year’s grade levels. They are in 4th and 2nd this year, but we took them through 3rd and 1st. That was a pretty good idea.
Question 5: Share a homeschooling win with us that stood out to you?
I like to do hands-on projects, but don’t get to enough with my work schedule. So my wins are when we make volancoes, re-create the Nile and Mesopotamia using play dough, do spelling with giant legoes, create posters of life cycles and dioramas of habitats, and take field trips to the museum to study Impressionist painters.
I try to do something like this once a month because I–as the teacher and mom–need to change it up and inspire myself. These are the things I live for, with homeschooling.
Question 6: I know you just started homeschooling but if you could go back and redo something in your homeschooling journey what would it be and why?
I would start small and then build on top of it. At first, I had everything blocked into 30 min chunks with a check list. And we were stressed because we never got everything done. If I could go back, I would focus on just the four primary subjects and build from there.
I would include the girls more in my search for curriculum, to make sure it’s something they’re interested in and will stick with.
Question 7: As a homeschooling mom, how do you find time to fit all the moving parts of homeschooling your children and your business into your busy life?
My husband has been a big supporter for this. He teaches high school an hour away. I teach high school online Mon-Fri from 8-4.
On top of that, I started a part-time business in February which takes up a lot of my evenings and weekends. I’m in LOVE with this business and plan to stop teaching within the next two years and just teach about essential oils and living naturally and chemical free.
When we moved into this house in July, we kept getting sick. But not anymore! Not since I ditched the chemicals in our home and went all-natural at the end of Jan. I want everyone to live healthy and be well so they can enjoy their kids like I am these past few months. The quality of our homeschool has improved with this business because I have the energy and emotional balance that I need to provide a quality education and time with my girls.
Having our homeschooling organized with checklists is vital for us. There’s a hard list and a soft list. The hard list is what they must do every day. The soft list contains extracurriculars like music, art, robotics, and legos, and they get paid for it (.50 per thing). It also includes chores like taking the dishes out of the dishwasher, doing the laundry, trash, and picking up the main rooms.
Because I have to be online and focused on my job during the day, sometimes we do individual projects for an hour at night. We also travel a lot, so when we’re in the car, we do a lot of our bookwork and reading. This allows me to ask questions and engage with them.
For my business, I take the girls with me most of the time. My oldest is really excited about the business and has seen the difference in our lives the past few months. She’s been a rockstar at helping me connect with people; she has such a kind heart for helping others, just like me. I’m counting her helping me with the business as part of her 4th-grade Health class. 😉 Haha!
Question 8: What do you wish non-homeschoolers knew about homeschooling?
That we work too. I wish other homeschooling people knew that. I get frustrated with the local groups because they don’t get that I work and can’t just pick up and go to the park.
I wish our family knew how great this lifestyle is, how it’s the best choice for our girls, and how much they have grown this past year. If everyone knew how amazing this was, everyone would do it.
I wish my husband knew how challenging the day is with two kids and working from home. He’s lightened up over the past few months about the house being clean and dinner ready when he gets home. But he has really high expectations that we don’t always meet. He’s really supportive, and it is just my perception, as he’s not hard on me about homeschooling or the house or anything. I just want to provide my girls with the best education and my husband with a stress-free home.
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?
Start small. Just focus on main, big picture stuff for your kids.
Figure out what each child’s learning style is: auditory, visual, kinesthetic.
Figure out what your homeschooling style is: Freeschool, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Classical, whatever.
Beware that it will take time to find your rhythm. Don’t expect miracles the first year. Give yourself some grace and just stick with it.
Question 10: When children that are homeschooled are talking to you, what is the one thing you wish you could tell them?
I don’t talk to a lot of other homeschooled children. Oh wait, I teach online so I guess my students count, right? Ha! I would tell them to chill out and do things right the first time. Quality over quantity. They really try to do things the hard way for no apparent reason.
Question 11: How has your background impacted your homeschool?
As a teacher, it has helped. I’ve taught all grades from pre-k to college in the past 9 years. So I know what the emotional levels and challenges of each grade and age are. It’s helped me understand that my 10-year-old is just going to be stinky and moody for a few years. HA! I’m also able to recognize things like anxiety and dyslexia and make adjustments as needed to help my youngest keep growing.
Thanks so much Amie for taking the time to talk with us today.
Find and Follow Amie on Facebook!