Interview with a Homeschool Mom ~ Sarah Centeno

Welcome to another great Interview with a Homeschool Mom!

This interview is with Sarah Centeno, a mama of 4 youngins’.

Sarah has been homeschooling for 3 years and blogs over at A Haven of Chaos.

Interview with a Homeschool Mom

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How many children are you currently homeschooling? How long have you been homeschooling?

I am now homeschooling three kids — ages 7, 6 and 5. I have been homeschooling for 3 years.

Have your children always been homeschooled? Why did you decide to homeschool?

My kids have always been homeschooled, but I am open to changes depending on what my kids’ needs are at the time. We started looking into homeschooling because we were not comfortable with our school district. But as our kids got closer to school-age, it became more about the flexibility to customize their education. I love that homeschooling gives us the option to help our kids learn in ways that are the best fit for them.

How would you describe your style of homeschooling?

I would say we are a little eclectic. I like the philosophy of the classical model, but I can’t bring myself to be all in. I’m not on board with teaching Latin and it is a little too structured for me; but I love the stages it focuses on. I also really like using living books, nature and the arts from the Charlotte Mason model.

What does a typical day in your homeschool look like?

We are not early risers in our house, so we usually don’t get started with school until 9:30 or 10:00 AM. Before we begin, I pull out an activity or toy bin from the closet to entertain my toddler. I start with my son who needs my help the most. This way I am still feeling motivated and patient.

Sarah's two-year-old son playing with tall-stacker pegs and pegboard

I work though all of subjects that need my instruction with each of the three kids and deal with many toddler interruptions. After lunch, we have quiet time for everyone, which gives me down time to exercise or do whatever. The kids use this time to read, play, and finish up any of their school work they didn’t do in the morning. My oldest two kids will often save most of their school work to do during quiet time, so they have more time in the morning to play or go outside.

Sarah's daugther, 7 yrs. old, and son, 6 yrs. old, posing next to their science kit.

What kinds of tools or curriculum do you use to homeschool?

This year we are using All About Reading and All About Spelling, which I love and recommend constantly. They are by far my favorite curriculum. We switched to Math-U-See just a few months ago because I wasn’t happy with the curriculum we were using. It was such a good move for us and I wish I would have made the switch sooner. We also use First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease, Primary Arts of Language (with my preschool and kindergarteners), The Story of the World and many other books.

Do you have a motto, quote, or scripture for your homeschool? Why did you choose that one?

Our motto is “Choose to do hard things.” A few years ago, I saw a poster that encouraged kids to do hard things, and I loved this idea. What I really want, though, is for my kids to not just do hard things when it is required of them, but to choose them as well. I want them to always be growing and challenging themselves. I also want that for myself, so the motto works great for our whole family.

Is your spouse or other family members involved in your homeschooling?

My husband is involved in that he knows what is going on with the kids’ schooling, but he isn’t involved in most of the day-to-day school work. He helps by doing art, music, and computer activities throughout the year, usually over the weekends.

What is your favorite part of homeschooling? What is your least favorite part?

My favorite part of homeschooling is that I get to see my kids learning and growing together. It is so fun to be the one that is there to see them finally grasp a concept they have struggled with. I also love that they are each other’s best friends and that they truly enjoy each other. I think if they spent the majority of their day apart at a school, it would change their relationship with each other.

My least favorite part of homeschooling is my insecurity. I ask myself questions like, “Am I pushing my kids hard enough or too much? Are my kids missing out on anything?” I try very hard to keep those questions in check, but it is still a struggle.

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 homeschool advice I have heard is from the book, “Teaching From Rest,” by Sarah Mackenzie. The author says that ”how you teach is just as important as what you teach” — meaning how we interact with our kids during our lessons is more important than how much we are accomplishing.

My advice for parents considering homeschooling is to embrace who their family is and how their children learn best, then try to block out the overwhelming amount of opinions out there. It will help to keep focused on what your kids really need, as opposed to what everyone else is doing. I go as far as to not even read much about what curriculum other people are using because it just makes me question things I was already happy about. 

Finish this sentence: Homeschooling is…

Homeschooling is incredibly humbling and immensely satisfying.

Sarah Centeno's headshotSarah Centeno is a wife and mom to 4 kids. She loves Jesus, sarcasm and the Gilmore Girls. She spends her time homeschooling and blogging at A Haven of Chaos, where she writes about the little things she is learning through her days at home and where she shares the strategies she uses to help build a haven amidst the chaos. You can also find her on Facebook, A Haven of Chaos’ community group, and Pinterest.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Ha! I don’t think we will ever start school at 8am. Thank goodness I homeschool and don’t have to get my kids to school in the morning! I’m sure we would be friends!

  2. Antonia

    Wow great interview! Sarah has a lot going on! And admits that she doesn’t start school at 8am!!! We would be friends I know it!!

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