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Interview Feature with…is a new feature that I am so excited to introduce. It’s 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 Kelly from Fearless Homeschool. Kelly homeschools 5 beautiful children, runs a blog, and is currently a nursing student as well.
So how does she do it all? Let’s find out!
Question 1: Please share with us what made you begin the homeschooling adventure with your children?
I didn’t know what homeschooling was when I first had children! However, when my fourth child was born he surprised us with some rather astonishing physical differences.
As he grew it was apparent that these were part of a syndrome (we still don’t have a diagnosis, he’s unique!) My husband and I realized we could never send him to school because it would destroy him-we never wanted to put him through the pain of being teased or constantly feeling stupid and behind his peers.
That’s when I really started researching homeschooling, and I was pleasantly surprised by how un-school-like it sounded. At that time, my eldest daughter was 3, and nearing kindergarten age. She already had all of the base knowledge and skills that were required at the end of grade 1! I could see a school experience for her that would be much like mine-always bored, rarely challenged. So we decided homeschooling was worth a try.
Nine years later none of them have ever been to school, and I’m yet to see any reason why they should. We all love our lifestyle so much.
Question 2: You have homeschooled all 5 from the beginning, what is your biggest challenge?
It’s not the educational aspect I struggle with, it’s having my kids around ALL the time!
We don’t have any family help, we literally have them 24/7 and have had for the last 12 years-my husband and I have had one night away in that whole time. I’m an only child and I enjoy solitude, so I’ve had to work out how to provide that to myself in my situation.
My kids have always had a bedtime, and I get up earlier than them most mornings, so my days are bookended with peace. Now my childI’veare older I can tell them I need a break and they respect that, and are happy to retreat and entertain themselves for a while. It’s all about learning to work with what I have rather than wanting what I can’t have.
Question 3: How would you describe your homeschooling style?
Very, very eclectic!
Combining five children, a strong academic focus, and interest-led learning can be challenging. We incorporate elements of classical education, Charlotte Mason, unschooling and unit studies. The children learn their core skills in a classical manner and we enrich that with Charlotte Mason-style study in areas such as poetry and nature journaling. We always have a unit study on the go which is usually science related, and I encourage and facilitate them to follow their own personal interests, which currently range from Latin to hula hooping. It can get quite confusing! We started a weekly list habit years ago which has worked brilliantly in keeping track of what everyone is doing.
That’s the core, but if it’s not working for one of them, I’ll change it to suit. This means I nearly always have cooperative children that are happy to work away-giving them that trust and autonomy works wonders. I’ve tried fighting it on occasions, to make them do things for my reasons, and it’s never worked!
Question 4: You are currently homeschooling, running a blog, and a student yourself. How do you juggle it all?
I am having a term off my nursing studies right now because I was starting to drop those juggling balls! At the end of last year, I was exhausted from ‘doing it all’. Yes, I proved I could do it-but I decided if I had to drop my quality of life I didn’t want to.
I listened to a talk a few years back by a Buddhist monk which gave me a lightbulb moment and has guided us in our priorities since. You can read a copy of the story here-and I highly recommend that you do.
I always work out what the ‘big rocks’ are and tend to them first. Right now my big rocks are my children.[bctt tweet=”Finding Balance in your #homeschool is hard. This homeschool mom of 5 shares her #secrets! #Ihsnet” username=”PracticalByD”]
I can’t do another year of full-time study and then work in a graduate position while also providing the quality and quantity of time that my children need. Everything will suffer. So nursing is the sand-it fits in where it can.
Meanwhile, I always need a project to work on because my brain runs at a million miles an hour, and my website is that challenge. It is the pebbles. Of course, nursing was a challenge and a project, but I found that as it wasn’t related to my family it took me away from them. Our Homeschooling Days complements and enhances our homeschooling, so life is much more enjoyable now. Of course, there’s more that needs to fit in (hello husband!) but that’s the basic idea.
Now I have the big rocks back on track I’ve enrolled in a single nursing subject-it will be interesting to see how it fits back in.
Question 5: In your opinion how has homeschooling benefited your family?
I could talk all day about the benefits! But I’ll keep it short-ish.
- The best benefit is the strong family bonds it has nurtured. We’re all so close. Living and working together has allowed us to focus on what’s truly important-each other.
- Allowing my ten year old with special needs be happy and confident in himself
- Giving us the freedom to experiment with many lifestyles-we’ve traveled for years (we’ve currently been in a caravan for over a year), farmed, lived off-grid, renovated a few houses………we don’t have to stay in a single place or be stuck to someone else’s schedule and demands.
- Giving my children the freedom to follow their interests when they’re ready and at their own pace. Watching how able and enthusiastic my children are about learning is one of my greatest rewards.
Question 6: What do you wish non-homeschoolers knew about homeschooling?
That it is really not that hard, that the core educational side of things takes astonishingly little time, and that it is incredibly fun and rewarding.
Question 7: If you could give a piece of advice to a parent who is considering homeschooling, what would it be?
You can do it.
Find a way to work through your fear and doubt, because when you do you’ll have the time of your life. It’s totally worth it. You don’t need to be rich, or intelligent, or well-educated-you just need to love your children and be willing to put in the work with them.
Question 8: When children that are homeschooled are talking to you, what is the one thing you wish you could tell them?
YOU ARE SO LUCKY! And I do tell them that. So do all the schoolkids they meet.
Question 9: Your blog offers so much information for homeschooling parents, can you tell us what your favorite parts are?
Well, I’m probably biased by the sheer amount of time, research and love that has gone into it, but I think my email course is pretty fantastic!
So many parents go into homeschooling fixated on getting registration and fulfilling requirements.
Of course, they’re definitely big rocks, but another big rock is working past your fear and doubt and ensuring the whole family has a really great homeschooling experience. This course has 13 units which help parents get started homeschooling in a way that skips many of the usual teething problems and empowers them to build a homeschooling experience that really suits their family.
And yes, it’s totally free.
Thank you Kelly for spending some time with me and answering questions. I really love your honesty. Kelly has an amazing course for those thinking about homeschooling or just starting out, called Begin Homeschooling With Confidence. If there is one course I think every homeschooler would appreciate it is this coures! I can not recommend it enough!
If you are interested finding out more about Kelly and her homeschool please check here:
Other posts in this series are:
Interview Feature With…