Welcome to another Interview with a Homeschool Mom!
In this Interview you will meet Lisa Nehring from Golden Grasses, a true pioneer in the homeschooling world…she has been homeschooling since 1991!
How many children are you currently homeschooling? How long have you been homeschooling?
We’ve are currently homeschooling two kids, ages 13 and 16 and have been homeschooling since 1991. Our older kids, all homeschool graduates, are ages 29, 25 and 21.
Have your children always been homeschooled? Why did you decide to homeschool?
My kids have always been homeschooled. We started homeschooling in 91, when my husband and I were both graduate students in southern California. Several factors came into play: we knew that we would only be in CA for 2 more years at the time our oldest was ready for Kindergarten and the law at that time stated that kids did not have to be enrolled in school until the age of 7. Also, we visited several elementary schools in our area and were disturbed by some of the things we observed, socially, politically and educationally. Homeschooling seemed the very best option at the time. After graduate school my husband took a commission in the Air Force and we knew that we would be moving a couple of times within a short period of time. We felt like homeschooling afforded our kids with continuity as we moved across country.
How would you describe your style of homeschooling?
Our homeschool is classical in pedagogy. We also equip and encourage our children’s personal passions and interests as much as possible.
What does a typical day in your homeschool look like?
I work from home, and my husband’s schedule is such that he leaves later in the morning and gets home later at night. Also, our college aged son is often around so in the morning, my husband, older son and I drink coffee together, check and share news, chat and talk about the day. Then I check work emails, while the kids wake up and get breakfast. Every week, after our CC Community Day, we plot out the kids work in their weekly planners for the coming week. We list all activities- School, church, social, etc. We refer to this all week long. I do Math and Latin with my 13 year old in the morning- solidarity, Ecc.4: 9 and all that. I do check in with the kids regularly about where they are at and remind them to stay on task. Because I work from home, and they are fairly independent, I am not doing so much on-task with them, but I am checking their work, making sure they are on-track for items with a deadline (CC’s Community Day is great for accountability!) reviewing memory work with them, discussing things, going over papers, etc. My kids are self-motivated but also love being outside and reading so one of my main jobs right now is reminding them when it’s time to get to work!
What kinds of tools or curriculum do you use to homeschool?
We use Classical Conversations Challenge programs and love it. We also utilize resources from Roman Roads Media, Memoria Press and the Circe Institute. We honestly don’t use a lot of curriculum, per se. We do a lot of reading, writing, memory work, math and Latin exercises. We do get through a lot of content each year, but we are heavily skill based.
Do you have a motto, quote, or scripture for your homeschool? Why did you choose that one?
By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is established, by knowledge the rooms are filled with all pleasant and precious riches. Proverbs 25:3-4
We love this verse for several reasons: It’s a beautiful promise of what we can hope for if we live faithfully and according to God’s precepts.
It also depicts the Trivium. Wisdom is the Grammar stage, understanding is the Dialectic stage and knowledge is the Rhetorical stage. It’s great to be following an educational pedagogy that is so clearly laid out in Scripture.
Is your spouse or other family members involved in your homeschooling?
My husband is very involved in our homeschooling efforts, but in a non-traditional way. He has been a CC Practicum speaker with me and is totally sold on the classical method of education. He loves science and spends time with the kids looking at NOAA and NASA sites with the kids, sharing his passion for all things technological and nerdy and modeling for them true wonder about God’s magnificent creation. He is also passionate about Biblical scholarship and we have Biblical Archeology Review as well as Artifax magazines lying around and he discusses the articles with the kids regularly. In addition, he is involved in a ministry with our local synagogue (Evangelicals and Jews together) and our kids have attended many lectures and events through this with our Jewish friends, at the synagogue and meeting with members of the CJCUC, etc, He is also very political astute and we discuss and are involved with politics to some extent. We have also been blessed to have traveled across the country many times and my husband loves taking the kids to museums, historical events, nature centers, etc. My husband models life- long learning and is currently learning his third foreign language (Hebrew, after Greek and German).
What is your favorite part of homeschooling? What is your least favorite part?
My favorite part of homeschooling is and has been spending time –quantity which leads to quality- with the people I love most. I truly love being involved in teaching kids to read- what a great gift to watch literacy take hold of a person’s mind and imagination! I have loved reading aloud and alongside my kids and sharing the great words and thoughts of great minds. I have loved watching them perform; particularly Shakespeare and poetry recitations as they dig deep to understand difficult words and concepts and bring them to life. My 16 year old recently recited 9 minutes of Patrick Henry’s speech, “Give me liberty or give me death!” So many people, young and old alike, commented on how powerful those words were coming from a young man during these troubled times!
My least favorite part of homeschooling has been the housework. Managing the details of running a home with a large family is no small thing. Also, as I grow older, watching this sweet season draw closer to an end. What a privilege it has been to be home with my babies, teach them to read, discover the world together, learn and grow, get to know them, understand their strengths and weaknesses, pray with and for them. It is very bittersweet to work my way out of the job I have loved best.
What is the best piece of advice you were given about homeschooling? What advice would you give to someone who is considering homeschooling?
Best Advice: “The days are long, the years are short.” Steward well the years you have with your kids at home.
My Advice: Equip yourself. Many of us were not equipped with adequate parenting skills and certainly not with adequate educational tools. Equip yourself, as best you can, and trust in God to make a way for you. Don’t get bogged down in finding the “perfect curriculum” or making sure your kids have “fun.” Define what true education is and then equip yourself with the tools to make that happen. Find a homeschooling mentor. Live generously. Give freely what you won’t use and don’t need. You are the older woman to someone- invest in others.
Finish this sentence: Homeschooling is…..
Homeschooling is a great joy. I thank God for allowing our family the opportunity to homeschool.
Lisa has been thinking and writing about education since she wrote a Master’s Thesis on Why Parent’s Homeschool back when her oldest was in pre-school. She continues to write about education on her blog: Golden Grasses, sharing up close and personal field testing findings as she has homeschooled pre-K through high school and has graduated 3 kids to date. She continues field testing with the two kids she is still homeschooling, aged 13 and 16 and loves the diversity and quality materials currently available to homeschoolers, many of which have been reviewed on her blog.
Lisa is a Classical Conversations Challenge Director and loves learning alongside of her talented and hard-working Challenge students. Additionally, Lisa works for Bridgeway Academy as an Academic Advisor as well as Roman Roads Media. She and her husband often speak on topics of marriage, parenting and education. Along with her family, Lisa has spent the last decade re-claiming and re-storing a 1920’s 4 x 4 farmhouse and acreage, with a little help from a house-fire.