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.
I love connecting with these amazing busy moms.
I really appreciate learning how they overcome the challenge of being a mom and all that comes with that, of being a homeschool mom and taking on the challenge of educating our children and add in the challenge of working.
They are sharing with us their wins, what they’ve learned and more.
Michelle has taken time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.[toc]
Question 1: Please share with us what made you begin the homeschooling adventure with your children?
While I had strongly considered homeschooling my kids back when my eldest child was 5, I chose not to. I am from a large, close-knit family, and my choice to breastfeed, stay at home, and even my religion were sore spots with them. With so much upsetting everyone, I decided to send my eldest to school.
In 1999, after years of fighting the school system my son was in (and I worked for), I decided to bring him home. My son had special needs that were being ignored. His 504 plan was completely ignored and they were assigning him in-school suspensions if he couldn’t comprehend lessons.
The day they announced they were going to expel him was the last day he ever saw that school.
Question 2: What is your homeschool guiding principle?
I follow a set of principles, but my homeschool mission is to create self-educators by developing a love of learning in my children. I want them to seek knowledge for the sake of gaining knowledge, not for a grade or some other reward.
Question 3: How would you describe your homeschooling style?
I want to say we’re Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. In fact, her principles are the guiding principles in our homeschool. But the fact of the matter is our roots are in unschooling. I’d say we’re extremely relaxed Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.
Question 4: What is the hardest homeschooling challenge you have had to overcome?
I think the most difficult thing was breaking my own way of thinking. It took making my son hate learning before I realized turning my home into a replica of the school system was a bad idea. Deschooling myself was the key to giving my kids a pleasant learning experience.
Question 5: Share a homeschooling win with us that stood out to you?
I don’t know if my idea of a win differs from what others consider a win, but they usually have little to do with actual academics. My wins are in who my kids have become – the people they are. Yes, they get into college, but who they ARE is most important to me. You can have a Masters or a Ph.D., but if you’re a rotten human, what have you accomplished?
My kids are passionate and compassionate. They’re self-educators. They’re learners. They’re teachers. They are artists and musicians. They care about people and how they affect the world in their daily lives.
Because they’ve grown up together (read: not separated by age groups at school), their bond is strong. My kids are always there for each other. Always. If one is suffering, the others come running to help. If one is depressed, another will show up on their doorstep to offer support and cheering up – or just a listening ear.
That’s the biggest win. Kids who love each other.My wins are in who my kids have become - the people they are!Click To Tweet
Question 6: If you could go back and redo something in your homeschooling journey what would it be and why?
If I could get a do-over on my homeschooling journey, I would begin by deschooling myself. As a person who went through the school system, then worked in the school system, I certainly had the schooling mindset and had a negative impact on the early days of our homeschool journey.
Although we fell into unschooling purely by accident (and frustration!), it was probably one of the best things that happened to our homeschool. We learned to relax; to let life come; to go with the flow. In the end, we were able to discover what worked for our family.
Question 7: As a homeschooling mom, how do you find time to fit all the moving parts of homeschooling your children and your website into your busy life?
It isn’t easy. On the one hand, I never had trouble working outside of the home. That’s pretty simple: You have to be somewhere at a certain time, so you go. Working at home is another beast entirely.
My daughters are teenagers, so they can pretty much navigate their own education, especially since we’re so relaxed about it. The catch is that they struggle with mental illnesses. One of these mental illnesses is actually a huge vacuum when it comes to my time and attention, which can severely impede my ability to work.
So here’s how I do it.
I get up at 5 a.m. This is my coffee and bible time. I begin work at 6 a.m. Most times, I can be finished by 9 or 10 a.m. The rest of my day is free for whatever needs to be done or we want to do.
Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for errands and appointments. The rest of our week is pretty much free to do whatever we want.
Question 8: What do you wish non-homeschoolers knew about homeschooling?
I wish they knew the difference between socializing and being socialized. I also wish they’d just stop to think before they ask about it. For instance: If we’re at a football game, where my kid is cheerleading and hanging out with her friends, it’s baffling that I’m being asked how my kid is going to socialize.
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?
Clear your mind of preconceived ideas about what homeschooling looks like. It’s not always a working husband, a stay-at-home wife, and 2.4 kids. Homeschool lessons aren’t always around the table from 10 am – 2 pm.
I’m a single mom. I’ve worked as an employee outside the home and inside the home. I’ve owned businesses that took me outside the home, and those that kept me at home. I’ve homeschooled in the morning and, due to my children’s sleep disorders, at 3 a.m.
Find YOUR groove and do what works for YOUR family. The only point here is: anyone can do this homeschool thing.
Question 10: Your website offers so much information for parents, can you tell us what your favorite parts are?
My favorite parts of my blog are posts about:
Thank you Michelle for sharing your homeschool and work journey with us.
Michelle Cannon is homeschooling the last of her five children.
She blogs at The Heart of Michelle where she shares her journey as a single, working, homeschool mom.
Click here to read the rest of the series!