Welcome to another Interview with a Homeschool Mom! A Year Long Series: 25 Different Homeschool Moms answering the same 10 questions about homeschooling.
This interview is with homeschool mom Crystal from the blog Crystal Starr!
- How many children are you currently homeschooling? How long have you been homeschooling?
- I am currently homeschooling 3 children officially. My son Noah is 10, my second son Ezra is 8, my daughter Joyanna is 6. We also have little 2 year old Eliza bringing up the rear and learning about the world in her own way. We’ve been homeschooling for 6 years now.
- Have your children always been homeschooled? Why did you decide to homeschool?
- My children have always been homeschooled. Before my first son was born I was a public school teacher. My experiences in the classroom opened my eyes to how stifling our traditional school system really is for all children. I have a different vision for the education, one that likely could never be fulfilled in the public or private school setting. In my opinion family and home should be the basis for life and learning. I think learning should be an adventure. The pace should be set by the child. Learning should never be confined to just the four walls of one building. What is learned should be dictated by the family with input from the child. Most importantly character and relationship should be at the heart of everything. I can’t imagine being so removed from my children’s lives. Therefore, we school at home… sort of… we spend quite a bit of time out and about as well!
- How would you describe your style of homeschooling?
- My family’s style of homeschooling is based in literature. We learn through rich and engaging books that we share as a family. We even find a way to work math and science into much of literature studies. My goal is create shared experiences through books, field trips, and a life well lived together.
- What does a typical day in your homeschool look like?
- If we are at home for the day we typically start with a family Bible study. We usually just open the word and read and discuss together. I use a concordance and some different commentaries to help me fill in important background or cultural information. We love to look up keywords and discover their various meanings in Greek and Hebrew.
- Afterward I send my older boys off to do some independent work such as spelling and typing while I read aloud books specifically chosen for my 6 year old daughter. Next I work on reading and math with her as well.
- Once her work is done for the day I spend time working through math, science, and history with my boys. Right now we also enjoying a study of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights dream. (I want to pause here and tell you I have never read Shakespeare before. This is only working for us because of the book How to Teach Your Child Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig… I’d be lost without it.)
- Finally all come together again for poetry memorization and family read aloud time.
- We spend plenty of days away from home too. I really challenge myself to get my kiddos out into the world as much as possible. We cross cross the state (and neighboring states) nearly weekly to explore some new museum, park, lake, ocean, or historic site. You can’t slow us down.
- What kinds of tools or curriculum do you use to homeschool?
- My library card is probably my most used tool. My state has a very robust inter-library loan system and I take FULL advantage. We often have as many as 100 books out at a time between all of our cards.
- We use a lot of curriculum from Institute for Excellence in Writing, Math-U-See, Sonlight, and whatever else we have running along side our usual studies.
- Do you have a motto, quote, or scripture for your homeschool? Why did you choose that one?
- Deuteronomy 6:5-7 reminds me that I am to teach my children about our Lord always. This is the true heart of our family. I think teaching them to love God if they were in a traditional school would just be so much harder… not impossible… but more difficult simply because we’d be so removed from each other for so much of our lives. The scripture says…. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
- Is your spouse or other family members involved in your homeschooling?
- My husband is an amazing support for me. While he generally isn’t able to take part in much of the day-in and day-out nitty gritty of our homeschooling he is certainly my sounding board and encourager. At times I get so bogged down in the details I miss the forest for all of the trees. I can miss some of the great progress my children are constantly making. He always points out for me how far we’ve come. When I find myself in a quandary my husband is my go-to to help me sort it all out. And once in a great while I toss a math book at him and say… YOUR TURN!
- What is your favorite part of homeschooling? What is your least favorite part?
- My favorite part of homeschooling is the close family bonds my children hold dear. My children and I know each other in a way we just couldn’t if we were all separated 8 or so hours per day. They love each other! Though don’t be fooled, they also fight with each other plenty.
- I must also add that I LOVE the education I’m getting myself! I can’t help but learn right alongside my children. We learn together in a way I never did during my own school years.
- If there is anything I don’t like about homeschooling it would be the amount of STUFF that homeschooling brings into my home! Remember those 100 library books? Those, art supplies, other books, papers, pencils, STUFF… always, all over the house… no matter what I do! It drives me insane!
- What is the best piece of advice you were given about homeschooling? What advice would you give to someone who is considering homeschooling?
- The best advice anyone gave me about homeschooling is really advice about life…anything worth doing will likely not be easy. Homeschooling is definitely not always easy however it is very much worth doing.
- My own advice for someone considering homeschooling… You likely feel inadequate in some area (general knowledge, organization, patience, competence… etc.) God will grow you in that area. Step out without fear and know that homeschooling will refine you as a person and a parent.
- Finish this sentence: Homeschooling is….. one of God’s greatest blessings for our family.
Crystal blogs at Crystal Starr. Mom to four kiddos ages 4-10 and wife to Todd for 15 years. Before homeschooling Crystal was a special education public school teacher. Her experience in the classroom created for her a vision for a truly fantastic education for her own family. Before she knew it she traded in the traditional classroom for the chance to educate her children with the world as their classroom. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.