Welcome to another Interview with a Homeschool Mom!
I’d like to introduce you to Shan Walker from The How-to Guru. In her ninth year of home education, she’s a modern wife and mom enamored with old-fashioned ways of living, loving, and teaching.
How many children are you currently homeschooling? How long have you been homeschooling?
I only educate my youngest child as my oldest is graduating from college this summer. We are in our ninth homeschooling year. I never dreamed in a million years that home education would be the plan for us, but God’s direction is better than any path I could ever choose. It is absolutely one of the best decisions we have made.
Have your children always been homeschooled? Why did you decide to homeschool?
We were on track for my daughter to follow the public school trail that her older brother had taken, but during her second-grade year, the Lord will not leave me alone about homeschooling. I had ignored that still small voice for months because I didn’t know even one family that was homeschooling in our area. Not one. I finally had to face the facts that this was God’s plan for her although I had no idea why. I loved our small school system full of wonderful people, plus the fact that I had been tutoring and substitute teaching at her school for years! Surely the Lord was not asking me to leave all of that? Yep, He was. As soon as the husband and I prayed together, we had that peace that surpasses all understanding, and the home education lifestyle started immediately. We committed to praying each and every year for God’s direction, and here we are with our girl in the 10th grade – smart as a whip with more life skills than I ever had as a young woman.
How would you describe your style of homeschooling?
I would say that our style is Charlotte Mason’s approach to a college-bound, classical, Christian education. A Classical, Charlotte Mason education may seem like an oxymoron, but I love aspects of both styles – so I combined them to provide information that needs to be mastered in a more enjoyable way.
I’ve tried my best to promote a delight-led joy of learning to keep igniting her learning style without sacrificing the structure of rigorous subjects. I’m a curriculum geek (OK, just a nerd in general), so I spend hours making sure we cover all of the college-bound bases with kinesthetic/visual/media tools mixed in to keep it as interesting as possible!
What does a typical day in your homeschool look like?
Our daily schedule has definitely changed over the years but now that I have a very active high schooler, the workload takes much longer than ever before. These days, we start the school day after morning chores and breakfast. She starts her devotional, bible reading/missionary stories that fit with World History this year, and any other independent work for the day. Then we start the subjects that we accomplish together. Most of the time she finishes before her piano lessons, sports, dates with Dad, friend-time, and/or church activities start in the afternoon, but if not, it’s back to the books as soon as she gets home.
What kinds of tools or curriculum do you use to homeschool?
Most years we’ve used “My Father’s World” as the core curriculum. That typically provides college-bound Bible, Literature, History, English, and Electives. I then get the pleasure of choosing the best kinesthetic and visual ways to provide the rest of the subjects and additional Electives. We use textbooks, LOTS of Literature, online classes, SAT prep, workbooks, and hands-on activities to get it all done.
Do you have a motto, quote, or scripture for your homeschool? Why did you choose that one?
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” 2 Peter 3:18
To me, this sums up our eternity-minded reasoning for everything we do – in school and out of school. It motivates me to keep my focus on what’s important when school days are hard.
Is your spouse or other family members involved in your homeschooling?
When my husband is home from work he loves to jump in as a fresh face for Math Lessons, Life Skills, and P.E. He’s definitely the “fun” parent and sometimes his crazy attitude breaks up the monotony.
What is your favorite part of homeschooling? What is your least favorite part?
I love learning so much that most of the subjects are interesting to me, but especially Literature, Grammar, Writing, and History, with my least favorite being Math. I love all of the intense high school information but I miss having more time to take “bunny trails” when my daughter wants to dig deeper into specific topics. It’s a bit of a bummer to be locked into subjects without as much freedom to discover like the younger years.
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 piece of advice I received is to zero in on how my child learns best. Not how I learn and teach best, but what my girl’s learning style is. This is been monumental in providing the best resources in front of her so that she can excel at her customized education. I would pass on that advice to anyone beginning the homeschool lifestyle – no matter how young or old the student is.
Finish this sentence: Homeschooling is….. a gift.
Homeschooling is not just “school at home” for us but has opened our eyes to the fact that everything around us is God’s world, waiting to be discovered. That sounds so clique but it’s true. My daughter has had many years to pursue the gifts God has given her and learn skills that grown women envy – and she’s thriving. We’re praising the Lord for this gift.
Shan Walker is a vintage-minded Southern Belle with a passion for motivating overwhelmed wives with hope and hacks for family travel, wellness, beauty, faith & fam, and education. Along with creating The How-to Guru, she has authored the book called, “Guru Hacks To A Happy Healthy Home,” she writes for other online publications, and adores assisting bloggers and book authors with editing, writing, research, SEO, and social media management.