Interview Feature with…is a new feature that I am so excited to introduce. Designed to encourage busy mom’s and dad’s by sharing interviews with homeschoolers that are not only homeschooling but juggling other things as well.
Isabelle has been homeschooling her three children for 5 years and has agreed to answer some questions for us today about how she handles the challenge of homeschooling.
So the way this works is, I emailed my questions to Isabelle and she sent back her answers. My questions are in bold, her answers follow. Let’s get to it!
Question 1: I notice in your about page you are homeschooling bilingually. What do you find is the biggest challenge of this?
Since my husband speaks English and I speak French, we thought it was appropriate to teach our children both languages since birth.
French is much more difficult to learn than English, so the first few years are focused mostly on learning to read and write the French language. Once a good strong base has been established, it’s much easier to teach English. Especially since they can already speak it well and have taught themselves to read it by that point.
It was easier to do this with our two oldest kids. They knew the routine and spoke both languages very well. Things have become more challenging with our youngest. He’s more hesitant to speak French and the others keep speaking to him in English. It’s a bit frustrating.
My biggest challenge is definitely getting them to speak French when their tendencies are to use English first.
Question 2: What is the greatest benefit of homeschooling in two languages? Do you use any curriculum/tools to help you do this?
Homeschooling in two languages meets our family’s needs better than any school. French immersion isn’t an available option to us since our children learned to speak French since birth. An English school and a French school are both focused on one language only while teaching a second language in the upper elementary grades and up. In our home, we are immersed in both languages all the time. I teach French language arts and math in French while teaching Science and Health in English. We are enjoying the Alpha Omega Lifepack curriculums for Science and Health. For French and Math, we use a combination of books from these publication companies: Editions Nathan, Magnard, Caractere and Trécarré.
Question 3: Your children are different ages thus different levels, how do you deal with this as far as homeschooling curriculum choices go?
I’ve looked into multi-age curriculums in the past but have chosen to go with individual curriculums. It is doable at the moment. My two oldest are mostly independent learners at this point which frees up more time for my kindergartner. If our family were to grow some more, I may consider a different curriculum.
Question 4: What is the hardest subject for you to teach, and how do you overcome that challenge?
Math. Hands down, math! I’m completely horrible in math! LOL struggled badly in this subject while I was both in high school and in University.
Once my oldest started grade 5 math, I couldn’t believe how advanced his curriculum was. Some of the stuff was over my head! At grade 5!!! But you know what? I’ve learned so much with him and my confidence in my math abilities has increased. I’m getting better and learning with them.
When I get really stuck, I’m lucky to have my husband here to help. He’s incredibly intelligent in math and physics. Between the two of us, we’re quite proficient in all subjects.
Question 5: If you could only recommend one item, for homeschooling, what would your “must have” be and why?
Honestly? A library card. There’s a whole world out there at our fingertips that we can access for free. Books on any topic you wish to cover and visit with your children. Even audio books for the reluctant readers. Something for everyone. Every homeschooler needs a library card.
Question 6: If a parent came up to you and said they were considering homeschool and you had only 5 minutes to answer, what would you say?
First of all, I’d say that it’s a big decision and it’s a decision that should be made as a family. Husband and wife and children (if they’re old enough to have a say) only. Everyone around you will have an opinion, but it doesn’t matter. You know what’s best for you and your family. Public school is not for everyone, just like homeschool is not for everyone. To figure out if it was for us, we decided to test it out during the summer. We loved it so much we just kept going.
Homeschooling is more than just “school”. It’s a way of life. Yes, you are responsible for your children’s academics, but that only takes about 1 ½ to 4 hours a day (depending on the grade level). The rest of the day is full of other teachable moments. We’re teaching our kids to cook, bake, do laundry, help out with home renovations and repairs, take care of their personal hygiene. We do arts and crafts, play games, go on road trips, and on field trips. We have pyjama days, snow days, movie days, minecraft days, and cuddle days.
Our children are learning to get along with their siblings, work on their manners, working on their relationships. Homeschooling has benefitted our family far more than we ever anticipated. Our children are real close and love each other very much. Our family has bonded and we love spending a lot of time together.
We went from a stressed-out family to a much more relaxed and laid-back family. Homeschooling was the best decision we’ve ever made. If you’re considering homeschool, take the time to talk to families who do. They can answer any questions you may have. It’s a lot less scary than it looks.
Question 7: I follow and love your two challenges you run each week, the Lego Challenge on Tuesday and the Fitness Challenge on Friday. These are extremely encouraging and helpful. I was wondering if you wanted to share with us any challenges or other blogging/homeschool plans you have for the future?”
I’m glad you enjoy my Lego Challenge Tuesday and Fitness Friday posts. The Lego Challenge Tuesday will hopefully continue every week of 2016. My family and I enjoy looking at the posts and pictures of other blogging families who put our challenges to the test. Thank you to all of you who participate. Fitness Friday, on the other hand, is strictly for the month of January. Although, once Fitness Friday is over, I do plan on continuing to post a variety of running and fitness related posts. So keep checking out gatherlovegrow regularly for more fun posts.
I’m also working on creating school related worksheets in both French and English that will be available for download. I’m not sure yet when this will become available but it is definitely in the books for this year. Hopefully sometime in Spring 2016.
I’d love to find new and creative ways to add quality posts on my blog. I’m currently brainstorming for new ideas. I’d love to hear suggestions. My focus is on Faith, Family, Food, Running/Fitness and Homeschool. Don’t be shy and send me a shout out. Share some of your ideas with me!
Thank you to Isabelle for hanging out with us today and answering some questions. Other places you can find Isabelle are:
Also in this series:
I hope you have enjoyed our first Interview Feature With… If you are interested in being interviewed in one of the following months please check my Work With Me Page, I look forward to hearing from you soon!Homeschooling and Blogging CAN Mix, Interview https://bit.ly/1Ogmd2c #homeschooling Click To Tweet
In the meantime, if you have any comments for Isabelle or me, please leave them below, and feel free to share!