Homeschooling Q&A with Mom

Beginning to homeschool can be nerve-wracking. In these early phases of gathering information and finding our homeschooling style, it has been helpful to gather people around who have “been there, done that.”

I started counting the BTDT families around me (though not necessarily physically nearby). I’m blessed with at least nine or ten families who can field my questions! I hope that number will grow as we get involved in the homeschool community here.

Below is a Q&A that I conducted with my mom in a week when my confidence needed boosting. Her responses made me laugh at loud – and then breathe a sigh of relief. This might turn out ok after all.

1. Mom, when did you start homeschooling?

1992, when Annie was in second grade.

How many kids did you homeschool, and for how long?
One. Eleven years.

2. How was your decision to homeschool received by the community around you?
If it was ever not well-received, we didn’t know it.

If you ever encountered criticism, how did you handle it?
No criticism that we knew of. People did ask about socialization, but those were only people who didn’t know Annie. 🙂

3. What was your favorite thing about homeschooling?
How much room do I have?!!! I loved getting to spend so much time with Annie.
I loved both learning the material myself and then teaching it to Annie (and sometimes those two events were only an hour or so apart!).
I loved the freedom of her Daddy’s spending a month (or 2?) on ratios and proportions till she really got it. Or our sitting on the couch in our pj’s all day reading about the life of Robert Frost, because we just couldn’t put it down (and we both still love his poetry).

I loved getting so excited about history, making new discoveries and friendships with other “discoverers” as we went. I liked that her (and my) friendships lacked age restrictions, not just amongst the kids, but lots of close kid/adult friendships, too, that remain.
Homeschooling also forced me to become (somewhat?!!) organized, a goal that had eluded me for years.

What worked best for you?
Two things worked best. One was the system of planning and record-keeping. The other was doing history with another family.

4. What was the most frustrating?
The first two years. What curriculum should I use? The plethora of curricula at the Homeschool conference had me in tears. And how do I schedule? Before I’d started, I had this idea that while Annie was quietly sitting at the table doing math, science, English, history, etc., etc., (Ha!) I would get all my other homemaker-y stuff done. (Ha! Ha!) After I came to my senses (a few years later), I told myself, “Meals, dishes, laundry.” Cleaning was optional. Gardening, sewing, and home improvements were pretty much put on an eleven-year hold.

What would you do differently?
Skip the first two years.

5. How has homeschooling affected relationships within your family (spouse to children, sibling to sibling, etc.)?
I don’t know. Annie and I are close, as she is with her dad. But we’re close to our other kids, too. I honestly don’t know how it has affected sibling with sibling. Do you?

6. What’s your best organization or scheduling tip?
Don’t try to take on too much. Better to do fewer things better. And get up early with an every-day routine that gets the day started right.

7. Anything else you’d advise someone just starting? Or any stories to share?
Enjoy it. Enjoy your kids.

P.S. I’ve been told that Annie has plenty of stories to share. Maybe one of these posts…

P.P.S. If you are/were a homeschooler – or you have a comment in general – I’d love to hear what you have to say, too!

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