Homeschooling from Arizona

Please introduce yourself and your family to us and also tell us what country and/or state you are from.

My name is Juliette, and my husband is Victor. We have five kids. Twins age 11, John and Joshua. Jeffrey age 10, Sarah age 4, and Christina age 18 months. We live in Arizona, in the valley. We love to swim, get outdoors, and to read.

How long have you been homeschooling?

We’ve been homeschooling since the boys started learning more formally, whenever that was! Haha! Probably about seven or eight years, more or less. Unless you want to count just learning from life, then it would 11 1/2 years. 😊

Why did you decide to homeschool?

I grew up homeschooled and I didn’t want to expose my children to the philosophies and peer pressures of public schools, and I knew it was the best thing for my kids. My mom taught my brother and sister and me. I had friends who went to church school and public school, and I saw the difference between our lives and theirs, and the attitudes they brought home with them. Even now, I see the difference between my kids’ attitudes and the attitudes of the kids they play with both at church and around the neighborhood.

What style of homeschooling does your family follow?

We don’t really follow any particular curriculum, so it’s very relaxed.

Do you have a philosophy about homeschooling?

It must prepare them not only for life here on earth but also for heaven!

What kinds of tools, resources, or curriculums do you use to homeschool, and why?

We have a few workbooks that I picked up at Walmart and Costco for math and basic writing/English/spelling, and then we read some books for different subjects, and life experiences are the rest. Most of my books have come from the library, and more recently I have been getting some really great ones from my business as an Usborne consultant.

Are you the primary “teacher,” or does your spouse or other family members participate with homeschooling?

I primarily teach since Victor is gone trucking all week, though he helps some with life lessons when he is home on Sabbath.

What does a typical homeschooling day look like in your home?

We start out with chores (getting dressed making the bed, personal devotions) and worship; then after breakfast we try to have time for workbooks, and then do some music practice, reading, Bible study, and hands-on learning. Then, if it’s hot, we go swimming, or like right now, colder, we go for a walk. Then we fix lunch and while that is cooking, the kids like to watch science programs on Netflix or YouTube. After lunch about 3 p.m. comes cleanup, chores, and laundry. By that time the neighbor kids are home from school, so they go play for awhile. Then, if we didn’t go earlier we sometimes go swimming. After that, we just do some quick pickup in the living room, before having reading time (me reading to them) and worship. 

I should add that the typical day is what we strive for, what I want to see happen. We don’t always hit the mark. Always working toward that, though, and on good days we do make it through.

What do you love the most about homeschooling, and what do you dislike the most?

I love that we can study books or just learn from hands on, and they don’t have to be forced to sit still for hours. We can change things up if it’s not going so well. Also, it’s cheap!

Homeschooling from Wisconsin

Please introduce yourself and your family to us, and also tell us what country and/or state you are from.

My name is Joella Show. I married my husband in 2004. We have two boys, Christopher who will be 11 in a few weeks, and his little brother Jonathan who is 9. My husband works for Wisconsin Academy and we are a faculty family there. Prior to this move we lived in Michigan.

How long have you been home schooling ?

We have homeschooled our boys since birth. 

Why did you decide to home school?

I can not imagine sending my boys away from home for many hours each day.  I would miss them to much!  I always hoped I could home school my children. My older son has a learning disability which “cemented” our commitment to homeschool our boys. 

What style of home schooling does your family follow?

We use a traditional style of homeschooling. We follow a flexible schedule. The boys thrive on knowing what to expect.

Do you have a philosophy about home schooling?

I believe every family and every child has different circumstances. One school environment may work for one child and not for another child.  I do not believe homeschooling, public school, or private school is the best option for every child. 

In our situation, homeschool is our best option. A schedule is a must. We prefer school work with as little “busy work as possible.”  We want to get through the important stuff as soon as possible so we can have the rest of the day free to do other things.

What kinds of tools, resources, or curriculums do you use to home school, and why?

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I can choose an individual curriculum that works for the learning needs of each child.   

For example, I have tried at least four different math programs with my children. 

As a family we use My Bible First for morning devotions, Young Disciple for Bible Class, Rosetta Stone Spanish, Getting Started with Spanish, Apologia Science, Beginning Christian English Skills, English from the Roots Up, True Education Reader, and New American Cursive. We use these resources as a family. For science/history/geography we are studying the ecosystem/biome, history, art, and culture of a different country every one to two weeks. 

Jonathan: Singapore math and Building Spelling Skills.

Christopher:Math U See and All About Spelling. 

Are you the primary “teacher,” or does your spouse or other family members participate with home schooling?

I am the primary teacher, but I just took over this school year. My husband was the primary school teacher for the past four years when I was working full time. Now we have flip-flopped roles, and we are very happy about the swap!

What does a typical home schooling day look like in your home?

Wake up and complete morning routine, including drinking water, making bed, doing worship, getting dressed, and sorting/starting the laundry. Then we eat and clean up breakfast.

Then we do Bible, handwriting, This Day in History, Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader, math, Pyramid/Metronome occupational therapy exercise, piano practice, reading time, Spanish, spelling, reading. 

Then lunch…

After lunch we do geography, science, and art.  Then we clean up the house and play. 

We attend recess at the local church school several times a week. 

We read a lot most evenings. We also take part in a lot of Wisconsin Academy activities.

What do you love the most about home schooling, and what do you dislike the most?

I love having my kids at home and I love that I have control of what they are learning! I don’t like mommy guilt. I often wonder if I could do things better or if I am missing something important in their education. I don’t like interruptions in the school schedule during the day.   

Is there anything you would like to share about your home school?

I highly encourage homeschool parents to attend homeschool conferences!

Homeschooling from Minnesota

The family: Michael, Vicky, Marc, and Charity.

Please introduce yourself and your family to us, and also tell us what country and/or state you are from.

Our family consists of two kids, Marc, age 18, and Charity, age 11. We live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, USA. My husband, two cats, an adopted brother/uncle/brother-in-law, and myself complete our family. 

How long have you been homeschooling ?

We have homeschooled our entire education journey. My kids have never attended a regular school.

Why did you decide to homeschool?

It was not my plan, but God led in that direction through a variety of shut doors. What began as a one-year journey is now going on 13 years with my kids, plus two additional years when I tutored other children when Marc was a toddler.

What style of homeschooling does your family follow?

My own. In a pure sense it is probably closer to school at home because of my tutoring and working with other children who had the goal of returning to the classroom.

Charity mentors a group of third-grade students as part of her orchestra’s outreach program.

Do you have a philosophy about homeschooling?

Make sure you are committed, your spouse and family are committed, and that you can endure through the hard times. Let God lead, and be open to change as situations develop. Be willing to change if your plans aren’t a good fit for for you, your child, or family. Have fun. Pray without ceasing.

What kinds of tools, resources, or curriculums do you use to homeschool and why?

We use books, the internet, friends, and extended family…anything that would be of interest.

Marc plays guitar during Pathfinder Sabbath.

My curriculum is eclectic now, but I started out in my early years using a boxed curriculum. In my early research I found that a single-publisher curriculum such as Abeka or BJU or other complete curriculum produced the best results in a classroom setting, so I went that route. Later on as I got to know my son’s needs, I branched out.

Are you the primary “teacher” or does your spouse or other family members participate with homeschooling?

I am the primary teacher, but we use Skype for selected classes such as Spanish with the Homeschool Spanish Academy and for tutoring help from my parents. (Please note my son is in an online school and not being homeschooled at this time.) My kids also have different teachers for music.

What does a typical homeschooling day look like in your home?

Morning routine is pretty relaxed, with us in the classroom having worship between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Lunch is about 12 noon. Afternoon activities vary in time: orchestra on Monday evening, mentoring on Tuesday afternoon, violin lesson on Wednesday afternoon. choir Thursday evening, and Pathfinders on the weekend.

Marc works on Tuesday, and has choir Wednesday evening.

Marc on the first day of his senior year (U.S. grade 12)

What do you love the most about homeschooling, and what do you dislike the most?

I love the flexibility, and the ability to adapt to the current situation and to focus on special units based on current interest or upcoming travel.

Is there anything you would like to share about your homeschool? 

I am so glad God led us in this road even though it isn’t always easy. 

Homeschooling with Angela

Please introduce yourself and your family to us, and also tell us what country and/or state you are from.

Hello! 

     My name is Angela Denis. Here is my family: my husband, John; my mother-n-law, Sophie; my son, Adam; and my daughter, Naomi. We are in the state of Florida.

How long have you been homeschooling?

It’s only been this year in August that I have begun to homeschool my seven-year-old boy. 

Why did you decide to homeschool?

The reason why I decided to homeschool was because Adam was having some issues in school because of his autism.  It came to the point in time that during his IEP ( Individual Education Plan), it was discussed where else to place him because of his behavior in wanting to disrobe himself in the classroom. So, it was addressed to me that in the interim, whether to check out another choice of school; and, I could also apply for the Gardiner Scholarship which is a scholarship suited for families with children with autism, Down Syndrome, etc. 

What style of Homeschooling does your family follow?

I try various learning styles, visual, music/auditory, verbal, physical/kinesthetic, logical/mathematical, social, and sometimes solitary. I haven’t yet seen where he falls mostly. However, I think it could be a little bit of all of them. When it comes to learning songs, he loves when I either write them out into his composition book or type them out. He loves classical, hymns, and scripture songs. He’s now getting piano lessons from mom while I’m learning too. We’re working on verbal by me asking open ended questions. As for the physical, we walk sometimes around the block and sometimes other areas. When he wants to take a break outside, he likes to jump on his trampoline. Now that we have a backyard, he loves to explore, jump on the trampoline, and play with the dirt while learning. He knows his phone number by jumping on the trampoline, and he’s learning how to tie his shoe.

Do you have a philosophy about homeschooling?

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This is my philosophy in getting things done. 

What kinds of tools, resources, or curriculums do you use to home school and why?

Although I’m using Sonlight, I’m using a few other things such as sensory games and other resources.  My prime resource is the Bible, as well as scripture songs and hymns. Recently I have created with them a poster board of bible reading, scriptures from A-Z. I like Sonlight. I find the books fascinating from our library. 

Are you the primary “teacher” or do your spouse or other family members participate with home schooling?

I am the primary teacher by day, and my husband and I at night. 

What does a typical homeschooling day look like in your home?

My son is a very jovial boy (in spite of his autism). He challenges me more each day as I get him to begin with our “Time with Jesus.” It starts with sharing object lessons, then talking about the character quality and reading the Family Bible stories in the Sonlight Education Ministry Curriculum. I can’t say that our days have been the same, but it has been for some parts of the day and sometimes we have to do something different. It’s always a test and trial period to see what he can comprehend. We sometimes get to sing together, do science experiments, and go for walks. He knows that whenever he wants to go on the computer, I say “pause,” and that’s his cue to come to me to do something in the kitchen — for example, putting away the dishes or watching and assisting me with his breakfast and lunch, which to me, is like ABA therapy, which he has not experienced on a professional perspective. He comes to help me in the laundry room. He’s able to put away his own clothes. I try to keep the routine going so that while communicating with him, he is connecting and reviewing in his mind what I have introduced to him, whether it’s through his memory verses, life skills activities, or school work from either his language arts, science, math, or Bible. I take him every Wednesday to the church to distribute Sabbath school bags, placing them on each classroom door. And again on Thursdays, we go to the community service center to help with anything that I think he can do.  Lately, it has come to the point that he watches me as he plays with the plastic hangers. 🙂 But at first, he was able to sort the books by colors, fold some towels, and put together shoes into bins.  My days with him can be so amazing that out of the blue he will say something or sing a song that I know is only from the Spirit of God working with him to bring a smile to my face, and all I can do is whisper and say, “Thank you, God. Praise your name, Jesus!”

What do you love the most about home schooling and what do you dislike the most?

From the time my children were born, the thought of homeschooling was always in the front of my mind. It’s only now because of life changes that I can truly do so. I love the fact that I can mold my son to recognize what it means to have a sense of order — to be neat and tidy, to be obedient, helpful, diligent, thankful; to do skills that will probably help him in the future. He’s currently learning to play the piano. He hasn’t been given that opportunity outside homeschooling, so by homeschooling I can, and I am loving it. Lord willing, if I could I would love for him to pursue this as a love. From early childhood, he has had the love for music just like his sister. They love musical movies and we have shared some family favorites. Music has been the best therapy for him, and among other things such as cooking with mom, taking care of himself, grooming, learning his phone number, tying his shoes — all has been taught through homeschooling. I can’t seem to think of what I least like about it, only that I would definitely have to live in a state that supports it, and so far I am blessed that I live in one that does.  Praise be to God!

Is there anything you would like to share about your home school?

All together, homeschooling is a wonderful experience. I’ve have friends who have questioned me about it, but I can truly say that the ones that have  have said to me that I have made the right choice. I can see that I have made the right choice whether my son was or was not autistic. Having taken the time to look into it, it can benefit all children — but it all depends on the parent, right?

Homeschooling from Colorado with Crystal

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Please introduce yourself and your family to us, and also tell us what country and/or state you are from.

I am Crystal Reavis, and I am 31 years old. My wonderful husband, David, and I have been married 10 years, and we have two awesome children. Gauge, a boy, is seven years old; and Kahlan, a girl, is six weeks. We are a family that loves to play and laugh together. We live in Colorado, but I am originally from New Mexico. Both my husband and son are from North Carolina, and my daughter was born here in Colorado, but I tell her she is my Southern Belle. 🙂

How long have you been homeschooling?

We have been homeschooling for three years, and we plan to continue through high school.

Why did you decide to homeschool?

We felt God calling us to homeschool before our son was old enough to start school. We also wanted to homeschool because we didn’t feel that we wanted our son to be influenced by the world. We wanted to know what he is learning is wholesome, and that people around him shared our beliefs. We cannot protect our children from everything, but we can limit exposure.

What style of homeschooling does your family follow?

We use a mix of things, I think. We usually use several curriculums, but we also use child-led studies when my son finds something he really wants to learn. We also use unit studies for certain subjects.

Do you have a philosophy about homeschooling?

I am not sure we have a philosophy so much as just knowing what we are doing is right for our family.

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What kinds of tools, resources, or curriculums do you use to homeschool and why?

We use the Bible, You Tube videos, unit studies, and a mix of curriculums usually. I can’t really say what curriculums, because we usually add something new every year. LOL.

Are you the primary “teacher” or does your spouse or other family members participate with homeschooling?

I am the primary teacher, but my husband will teach computers, and help with math and anything else he and my son want to learn at any given time. He is very supportive and loves to help.

What does a typical homeschooling day look like in your home?

We get up, have breakfast, Bible time; I will do chores while my son does math. We take a short break, do language arts next, typically, then art, science, and lunch with a short play time. We will then do history, social studies, watch educational videos, and review some of what we did that day, and that usually ends the day for us.

What do you love the most about homeschooling, and what do you dislike the most?

What I love the most is being with my kids. I love watching my son learn something new and really understand it, knowing that I helped with that; and seeing his eyes light up when he gets it, really gets it! His excitement is contagious. I can’t help but smile and feel good. What I dislike the most is not getting out of the house very much; we love to do things, but we don’t really get out as much as I would like. That is something we are going to have to work on.

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Is there anything you would like to share about your homeschool?

We try to make it fun, we take breaks when stressed, we are a family, and that comes first above school work.