Interview Feature with…is a feature that I am so excited to introduce. Designed to encourage busy moms and dads by sharing interviews with homeschoolers that are not only homeschooling but juggling other things as well.
Today I am happy to introduce you to Shelly. Shelly is a blogging homeschooling mom of 11 who has taken time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.
She is going to share with us how she “does it all”, what her biggest challenges are, mistakes and what you can do about them! So please join us and leave a comment at the end to say hello!
Question 1: Please share with us what made you begin the homeschooling adventure with your children?
My oldest son had been bugging me about homeschooling for quite some time, but I honestly thought I could never handle it.
A few years later, I began to disagree with many of the things that were being taught in school, so I decided to pull the kids out of school and give it a shot. Since I really didn’t have anyone who could be my “homeschooling mentor” I tried to recreate school at home because that was all I knew. While this method may work for some people, it was a big mistake for us.
Between having such a large number of kids to immediately begin homeschooling with (I had 7 kids at the time but 4 were school age) and me being a bit too rigid, I burned out after about two years and asked the kids if they wanted to go back to school. Of course, they said yes because homeschooling wasn’t any different than school was anyway!
After another two years, we began having multiple issues with the schools, and I really missed having my kids home with me. I did a lot of reading on homeschooling methods, and I pulled them back out determined to relax a bit, which is exactly what we did. We’ve been homeschooling ever since! (We just started our 8th year of homeschooling, including the two years before burnout.)
Question 2: What is your homeschool guiding principle?
Keep. It. Simple. With a family our size, this mindset is imperative for us to maintain good relationships and for me to keep my sanity!
Question 3: How would you describe your homeschooling style?
We are relaxed/eclectic homeschoolers. We use whatever works at the time.
Right now all of my kids in 7th grade and below work on the 3 Rs and do unit studies together. We also do read-alouds and notebooking, and those are the two core foundations surrounding everything else.
My three high school age kids are all completely different from one another, so they all learn in completely different ways.
My 17-year-old daughter prefers to use mainly textbooks, although she is also using some living books for some subjects.
My 16-year-old son is very hands-on and uses field work and notebooking for science, documentaries, military movies, and notebooking for history, and very no-nonsense textbooks for algebra and grammar. He also integrates photography and art into his science field work.
My 14-year-old daughter is very Charlotte Mason-like in her learning. She uses living books and notebooking for everything- even her pre-algebra and algebra books are literature-based!
Question 4: As a homeschooling mom, and as someone who writes and blogs, how do you find time to fit the work of writing and all that comes with blogging into your busy life?
Writing is my “me time” and is the only “me time” I get, so I am diligent in blogging as regularly as possible. I usually write late at night- it’s 11:05 pm as I write this- after most of the kids are asleep.
I consider this time to be my “work”, so my kids know that even if they are awake, they are not to interrupt me unless it’s something important. As for sharing on social media and such, I just try to get online whenever I can to do what I need to do to get my blog noticed. That’s usually only a few minutes at a time.
It can be busy and very tiring, but I absolutely love doing it!
Question 5: What do you wish non-homeschoolers knew about homeschooling?
Oh, so many things.
First of all, homeschooled kids do leave the house, and all of the concerns about socialization are a non-issue. In fact, homeschooled kids are better socialized because they’re out in the real world while school students are stuck in a building 6 hours a day, 36 weeks a year.
I also want people to realize that it doesn’t take a teaching degree to have the ability to homeschool. All it takes is a bit of time, creativity, determination, and love. If you possess a combination of those things, you’re on the right path.
I also don’t think that people realize that homeschoolers are not bound to do things exactly like schools do. We have so much freedom and flexibility in how we choose to educate our children. I think my description of how we homeschool is a great example of that. We do what works and toss what doesn’t. Schools just can’t do that.
Question 6: If you could give a piece of advice to a parent who is considering homeschooling, and you only had 5 minutes, what would it be?
Don’t jump right into buying a curriculum. I know how tempting it is…after all, who doesn’t like shopping in any form? 😉
Just spend the first several weeks or even months doing things with your kids. Take them to the library and to run errands with you. Show them how to run a household and budget. Let them explore and discover what interests them, and use that as a springboard to help you decide how you’re going to approach learning with them. And remember to really pay attention to what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
Kids are all different and all approach learning differently. A successful homeschool is one that tailors a curriculum around the child, and not the other way around.Homeschool mom of many shares how she does it all! @redheadmom8 #ihsnet #homeschool Click To Tweet
Question 7: When children that are homeschooled are talking to you, what is the one thing you wish you could tell them?
You are so blessed! And don’t pay any attention to the naysayers because 9 chances out of 10, they don’t really understand what homeschooling is all about. And that remaining 1? Well, you can’t please everyone, can you?
Question 8: What is your biggest homeschool mistake?
Without a doubt, my biggest mistake was trying to replicate school, down to requiring my kids to raise their hands to go to the bathroom and making them do school work on the weekends if we didn’t accomplish all that was neatly written in my little planner.
I wish I would have realized the flexibility that comes with this lifestyle and used it to our advantage from the very beginning.
Question 9: Your blog offers so much information for homeschooling parents, can you tell us what your favorite parts are?
I am so determined to encourage new homeschoolers to not make the same mistakes I did, so my favorite posts all surround this sentiment.
Thank you for spending some time with me and answering our questions. If you are interested finding out more about Shelly and her family adventures, you can find her here:
Read more in this Series here: Interview Feature With…