Today’s Interview with a Homeschool Mom is with Victoria from Via Bella who has been homeschooling her three children for 5 years now.
I am glad to do a virtual interview with “Faith and Good Works” blog.
One reason I agreed to do the interview was because I know many home schoolers get the question(s) of:
“Why do you home school?”
“Aren’t you just being over protective of them?”
“Are they really getting an education?”
“How do you know where they are at?”
“Are you sure you are qualified to teach your own child?”
The interview here will answer some of the questions.
Some do it for protective reasons, some do it for religious reasons, some do it because (insert your cultural or social stereotypical answer in here) but I don’t. I do it for the education. So I know they are being challenged. So I know they are contributing to the world. Being world citizens.
Yes, to answer the qualified questions. I have worked in classrooms, been the TA, been a tutor, am currently a boy scout leader and girl scout leader (to huge groups of kids). I have a college education.
Now that we are past that, let’s move onto the real interview!
1. How many children are you currently homeschooling? How long have you been homeschooling?
I have three children that I home school currently. I have been homeschooling for 5 years now.
2. Have your children always been home-schooled? Why did you decide to home school?
No. My kids have not been. They got homeschooling early on though. My reasoning for homeschooling started when my oldest son was in preschool. (I know a little early but keep with me). He already knew how to read and write his name. He loved (I mean, really obsessed with) reading and was an independent reader by the age of four. When he got his teacher at the new year, who happened to be from China, I was stoked. We talked and we got along fairly well. She and I talked about having her teach a few Mandarin words, like counting 1-10 to my son since he was not only ahead of the curve but he was extremely bored and was getting very hyper. We were both really stoked about that opportunity to expand his horizons. To both of our surprise, it was a no go from the child care center/preschool. She and I both got in trouble because she was suppose to adhere to “No Child Left Behind” and that everything had to be completely equal and fair amongst the kids. (Which is not bad in theory and I agree with for the most part– the equal and fair part). The problem was that they in turn used my son to go around as if he were the teacher’s assistant and teach the other kids how to read and write their names. Now, once in a while for leadership skills is fine, great, and well! Totally agree. But to do every day, all the time, is not okay. It goes against what learning is about.
In some states you don’t have to put your kids in public school in preschool or kindergarten. This was one of those states– so why they would feel the incredible pressure to make everything the same so early on and set kids back who are ahead or push forward kids who need to be held and taught more closely. This pressure is felt by the kids, the teachers, and the parents. So why this young?
Needless to say, that this combined with a few other things like his safety, yes, his safety, was a reason I started questioning things. Since I was working, he still went until the end of the year and I could do a co op. I started looking into school options at this point. Homeschooling, Public School, Charter Schools, you name it.
3. How would you describe your style of homeschooling?
Right now, I use some k12 program and then I combine it with scouting (boy scouts and girl scouts). I am the leader so they get many cool opportunities and I can cross them. I also go to the museums, parks, I add in lots of different things. We can use exploration of the world around us.
One of my other big reasons to home school was for giving my kids the chance to fully explore who they are as people individually. So on their downtime, I want them to explore the world, dance, play Pokemon, discover why balloons do funny things next to the air vent, you name it.
I love that we got a house that I can stick the kids out during morning, afternoon, or night and say, hey, there is shade and a tree. Sit and read or run around. Our backyard isn’t big but it is big enough to get much needed air that most kids don’t get when they need.
My style? Collective.
I am also hard on my kids when I know they can do what they have in front of them. I know they can do it so I will help them make sure they can get it done. Encourage them. Relate it to life. Act it out. Whatever makes the lesson real to them and gets it done.
Each child is different at as well. My son is currently a more independent learner. Why my daughter shifts between being independent and dependent learner. My youngest is of course dependent. This is mostly age and grade related but it calls for a different approach for each of them.
4. What does a typical day in your home school look like?
They get to start a little later than average school kids. Right now, I let the kids decide their rhythm for the day. Some days are much harder than others. Why do I do this? Well I think it is important for their own sense of pride in their schoolwork.
When you are 21 and have to go to work or college class, it has to be something they decide and realise that they have to do it.
There are times I have to sit them down and tell them they have to do something for school- “write this paper”, “do this math worksheet” and a lot of the days are spent that way. They of course would prefer not to do that. They just want to focus on what they want to learn about. They would like most kids, like to forfeit parts of their lesson.
We have lunch, PE, sports, scouting, tests, field trips and all of that. Just like any normal kid would. Surprise!
5. What kinds of tools or curriculum do you use to home school?
We use K12, School House Review, National Park Service, Smithosain Museums, etc.
K12- We use K12 because it has a very comphrensive education that is pushing the educational envelope in terms of what is expected from each child. My kids are learning things that I learned in later middle school in 4th grade. It gives them the head start they need. If they were to go back to public school, in fact, I am sure they would be bored of it because a lot of it they would have learned already through this program.
School House Review- I use this in our home school lesson plans because it allows my kids not only to try it out but to help me review home school lessons and products that can enhance what they are already doing.
National Park Service= I think that one of the most untapped resources in our nation is the National Park Service. Even if they don’t go in person to the parks, they can explore them online and earn the Junior Web Ranger as well as get history out of the way. And you are learning about our Nation.
Smithosian Museums- I live in Washington D.C. One of the most well known places on this Earth. What makes this great? You get free museums. They can see the Hope Diamond any day of the week. We can see the first handsewn American flag. We can see and experience so much by going to the museums. Honestly, I wish we went more often because we don’t go often enough.
Other things: There are many other things we utilise as well. You can talk sports and boy scouts and girl scouts also. They learn and experience so much.
6. Do you have a motto, quote, or scripture for your home school? Why did you pick it?
I guess I have never thought about it that way. Having a motto that is. I guess my “motto” would be two fold. One is the same as cub scouts, “Do your best”. (Can you tell I am a proud boy scout leader? LOL).
The other being this super awesome quote;
“Shoot for the Moon, if you miss you will land amongst the stars”.
I will and do push my kids to do their best and expect nothing less than that. I will push them to their outer space limits so they can grow and expand (haha, get it?). I know that they are capable of not being ordinary, but being extra ordinary!
7. Is your spouse or other family members involved in your homeschooling?
No. I am the primary schooler. Really, I am the schooler and the principle and everyone else. Haha. Not easy, but hopefully one day worth it.
8. What is your favorite part of homeschooling? What is your least favorite part?
I hate discipline. When I sat down thinking about how I would ideally home school my kids, it was NOT through a k12 program the way it is now nor was it in the way I currently do it. I wanted to be hippy dippy (for lack of a better term) and let my kids really steer the way they wanted to learn. It was important to me for this to happen. Well, things change. I am very bummed about this but think as they get older this approach will work better.
My favourite part is seeing them learn and seeing them safe and growing. When they choose to learn and choose to have fun, it is a joy to see that in their beings. Knowing they are smart and more than capable. Seeing them ace tests, seeing them see that sense of achievement. Seeing them not having worry about their looks, their social standing, their sense of self that grows through this.
9. What is the best piece of advice you were given about homeschooling?
Nothing really besides, “Wow, you do that?!”. Which says it all. It is hard as hell sometimes. In NO WAY is it the easiest way out. It is very hard but worth it when their education exceeds expectations.
10. Finish this sentence: Homeschooling is….. Worth it.
If I were to advise someone… that is hard. Sometimes I don’t feel I am in the space to be able to do that… but that is because everyone’s situation is so different. If I were to though, and obviously I will now, is that it is up to you. I do it for many reasons and you need to feel confident in those reasons.
This is not the easy way out. This is a lot of work. But it is 1000% worth it. If you feel your kid needs to be home schooled, do it. Even if your mum, sister, friend, husband, wife, does not approve it explain to them why and stick to your guns. It could be school safety, worried about what they are learning or not learning, worried about bullying, etc etc. Also, if you start and can’t that is okay too! You can always give them teaching moments.
Via Bella is a blogger of many things (reviews, giveaway, homeschooling, scouting, parenting, life), a homeschooler, a scout leader of 67 kids for both boy scouts and girl scouts, a dreamer, an entrepreneur of many sorts, but above all this… a mum of 3 vivacious kids.
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