• A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family
    homeschool interviews

    A Homeschool Interview – Mama Olvera

    Welcome back to my homeschool interview series!

    I hope you enjoy getting a little peek into the lives of another homeschooling family. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview you can fill out your answers to the questions here!

    Today Mama Olvera is giving us a peek inside her homeschool.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

    TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.

    Well I’m a SAHM of 2 crazy kids, Alice is 5 and Ezekiel is 2. Alice is very active and happy go lucky and my Eze is a big time Mama’s boy who loves building things. I’m married to a wonderful man who is an army veteran. I like to read, drink coffee, cook and really anything creative.

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START HOMESCHOOLING?

    I had a very hard time in school, it never really fit me. I was dramatic and daydreamy and I struggled with a “learning curve” I guess you can call it. I wanted a more one on one education for my daughter. She’s so much like I was and I was terrified she would fail in the public school system like I did. Add in the way the world is changing and the choices schools are making these days and there was no way I could let my kids go to public school. I wanted to guide my kids through their education the way I needed to be.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR HOMESCHOOL?

    A sprout ha! We just started homeschooling but the seed was planted a long time ago. I watered it with ideas and notes and I set it in the sun to grow with research and advice from other homeschooling families. My little sprout will grow bigger and bigger and I’m hoping to encourage other people with seeds to plant them.

     

    WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST BENEFIT OF HOMESCHOOLING FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

    A few things actually. My kids are amazing me with how quickly they learn. Our home has fallen into a pretty great schedule. We are constantly on a new adventure. There are so many great things but the best is my relationship with my daughter is so so good now. If I’m honest when we let her go to a public preschool it was rough. I wasn’t very patient with her and I felt like I was tossing her at a babysitter everyday and asking myself why she wasn’t learning what she needed to. Since starting homeschool we have bonded so much and she’s taught ME a lot.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT IS A COMMON REACTION YOU GET FROM PEOPLE WHEN THEY FIND OUT THAT YOU HOMESCHOOL? AND HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

    Some people are interested in what we do but most people are concerned. They ask the usual questions “how does she get exercise?” “How will she make friends?” “Don’t you think a ‘real teacher’ would be better for her?” I just smile and nod and explain best I can what ever we do to answer them.

     

    WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PARENT THAT REALLY WANTS TO HOMESCHOOL BUT FEELS THEY AREN’T SMART ENOUGH, PATIENT ENOUGH, FILL IN EXCUSE HERE?

    I would say you’re not alone. I never ended up graduating high school and sometimes when it’s quiet I get so scared I’m not smart enough. My own mother actually told me before we started that I was going to fail my daughter and her education would go down the drain. She said this “isn’t my thing” and my daughter would never get the education she needs with a teacher like me. But after seeking encouragement from some homeschooling mom’s on Facebook I was reassured that we will be just fine. I can teach my kids what I know and learn with them along the way. I’m not stupid and I know the best way to teach my children. We can make this happen and my kids have a bright future ahead of them.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PARENT THAT IS WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S “SOCIALIZATION OPPORTUNITIES” AS A HOMESCHOOLER? (YES, IT’S A RIDICULOUS AND ANNOYING QUESTION BUT IT IS OFTEN ASKED.)

    Children don’t have to be in school to socialize. Homeschool kids can bond with other kids in any setting just as well as they would in school. In sports or music classes or camps or even the park with young kids. Yes they often make friends with other homeschooling kids over the fact they’re both homeschoolers but a lot of times it’s because they’re more mature and like being around More mature kids their age.

     

    WHAT IS ONE AREA OR SUBJECT YOU FEEL YOU DO REALLY WELL?

    Field trips. We love going out into the would and learning from people. I set up meetings with people like a local bakery, a local grocery store or someone from the farmers market that makes their own jam and we learn from them! I try to get my kids to learn something new where ever we go. Even if we’re at the bank pulling out some cash I ask if they can tell us something about how a bank works. My kids love it.

     

     

    WHAT DO YOU DO ON THE HARD DAYS WHEN ATTITUDES ARE NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD BE OR YOU JUST DON’T FEEL MOTIVATED?

    Those days are hard but I try to work with my kids to learn any way we can. Educational videos with a quick quiz at the end, moving our classroom to Barnes and Noble or maybe extra play time to get out more energy. My kids are so Young though, we work around attitudes regularly, mostly with my 2 year old Ha!

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES?

    Again my kids are younger so I use Pinterest and tips from other moms and Instagram homeschool pages and I google anything that’s not off the top of my head. Bad I know but it’s worked so far.

     

     

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE READ ALOUD PICTURE BOOKS AND/OR CHAPTER BOOKS?

    Picture books I love The Giving Tree, Are You My Mother, The Gruffalo, any Bible stories, Dr. Seuss and anything Shel Silverstein really. Chapter books I’ve introduced my daughter to A Series of Unfortunate Events and she likes it but she would much rather have pictures.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    AS A HOMESCHOOLING MOM HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF TO LEARN AND RECHARGE?

    I plan daily so every night after the kids are in bed I put on some soft music, make myself some coffee and start planning the next day. It’s incredibly nice to sit with some candles lit and read a chapter or 2 of my own book after I’m done too. But if I’m being honest… My favorite thing to do is let my husband watch the kids at the park at our little mall here and walk around in Target with a coffee looking at all the pretty things!

     

    WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ONLINE?

    I started an Instagram for our family and friends to follow along with our homeschooling adventures @_homeschooling_alice_

     

    Thank you so much to Mama Olvera for sharing a little about their homeschool with us!

     

    Now it’s your turn! I would love for you to go here and fill out the interview questions for yourself!

  • A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family
    homeschool interviews,  real homeschool stories

    A Homeschool Interview – Jessie

    Welcome back to my homeschool interview series!

    Jessie was the first one to fill out my interview questions so hers is the first interview I’m going to share (mine the one where I interviewed myself, but I don’t know if that legitimately counts . . .).

    I hope you enjoy getting a little peek into the lives of another homeschooling family. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview you can fill out your answers to the questions here!

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

    TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.

    My husband and I have been married for ten years and we have three little adventurers- Sonic is 7 and in 2nd grade, Sidewinder is 5 and in Kindergarten and Little Lady is 3 and destroys the house while I homeschool the boys. We live in the upper Midwest on a quaint little acre plot and are hoping to turn it into a little farmstead of sorts. We love Jesus, each other, nature, movies, travel and laughing… a lot.

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START HOMESCHOOLING?

    We were actually the people who made fun of homeschool. Every kid we had ever known that was homeschooled was so, so incredibly awkward. Once we started having kids, our plan was still to send them off to public school (because, HELLO actual free time!) and our circle of friends was pretty against homeschool. Well, God has a sense of humor. We just went on ahead and stuck our foot in our mouth when we sold our entire “American dream life” and took our family on the road… homeschool was the only option we had if we wanted to take the adventure of a lifetime. After we purged and packed up all of our worldly possessions, we traveled for a year in our 30’ RV. It was a trip! It changed our lives completely. We loved the time we spent together so much that homeschool has just become the natural thing for us to do! So, let me say it straight… Dearest Homeschool Community, we humbly apologize for all of the things we said about you three years ago. You are our people and we love you.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR HOMESCHOOL?

    We are pretty eclectic. Like, a mix of CM, unit study, unschool and panic-because-I-accidentally-compared-my-kid-to-public-school-kids (pretty sure that’s a thing, right?) Mostly, I have no idea what I’m doing but we are having a blast! We learn through life, books, Lego, crafts, nature and pbsKids.

     

    WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST BENEFIT OF HOMESCHOOLING FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

    The flexibility. 100% that is why we started in the first place and why we continue. I love that we can have rigorous learning days and relaxing learning days. I love that we can travel or vacation without having to worry about school attendance and homework. I just really really love what homeschooling has given us.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT IS A COMMON REACTION YOU GET FROM PEOPLE WHEN THEY FIND OUT THAT YOU HOMESCHOOL? AND HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

    “Oh, so you must have an education for teaching then right?”
    – Answer: “In a past life, I was a preschool teacher.” What they don’t know is that I was a preschool teacher who achieved that position using my life experience, hard work ethic and love for kids… I have no formal “education for teaching”, no degree, nada. I’m just good at what I do.

    “What about socializing your kids?”
    – Answer: “We get to see grandparents, cousins, neighbor kids, and church friends on a regular basis. AND my kids are, literally, best buds. We good.”

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PARENT THAT REALLY WANTS TO HOMESCHOOL BUT FEELS THEY AREN’T SMART ENOUGH, PATIENT ENOUGH, FILL IN EXCUSE HERE?

    Yep… neither am I. I doubt myself CONSTANTLY. My doubt is relentless. But, for this chapter in our lives, homeschool fits like a comfy sweater.

    Define your vision for your family, if you feel like homeschool is a part of that- just try it already! I went into this saying, “One year. Just one year.” and that was two and a half years ago. Take it one step at a time… any rate, after a year (or six months or a week) if it doesn’t work for you- Public school is perfectly acceptable, it is not the enemy.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PARENT THAT IS WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S “SOCIALIZATION OPPORTUNITIES” AS A HOMESCHOOLER? (YES, IT’S A RIDICULOUS AND ANNOYING QUESTION BUT IT IS OFTEN ASKED.)

    I briefly touched on that up there ^^^ but, something else is that my kids ARE weird. They are so quirky and so cute. I would hate for them to have to perform or not be their true selves because other kids at school help define them. Socialization is huge, but who do you want your kids to model after? In these formative young years, I’d rather them not be stuck with 28 kids of their age but have access to the world and all the cool people we meet in the grocery line, hiking at the park or even just the family that is so near and dear to us.

     

    WHAT IS ONE AREA OR SUBJECT YOU FEEL YOU DO REALLY WELL?

    I feel like I do really well at just letting my kids be kids. I say “yes” a lot and there is a ton of play that happens here. I’ve gotten better about letting them learn at their own pace and not shoving it down their throats, it’s made for much more peace in our day. Don’t get me wrong- I still hit panic mode if google and I get too friendly and I start searching common core standards… but overall, we’ve become a more relaxed homeschool in the past several months.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT DO YOU DO ON THE HARD DAYS WHEN ATTITUDES ARE NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD BE OR YOU JUST DON’T FEEL MOTIVATED?

    Movies. That is the cure all in our house. An incredibly close second is nature and getting our bodies moving outside. I suppose that nature should be the FIRST thing we opt for on nonsense days when our little corner of the world is falling apart, but I gotta be honest… we really love movies.

     

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES?

    Currently:
    The Peaceful Press – Playful Pioneers (sooo many fun projects!)
    Master Books- Math Lessons for a Living Education
    McGuffey Readers
    YouTube
    PBSKids Video App
    Art supplies (but, no glitter)
    The Library

    I’m 94% sure that’s all you need to homeschool successfully.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE READ ALOUD PICTURE BOOKS AND/OR CHAPTER BOOKS?

    Anything by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Little Bear Books
    Magic Tree House Books
    BFG
    Any book that has been made into a kids movie
    Really though, we just go to the Library and check out 33+ books at a time. Just go pick out a ton of books and read them all

     

    AS A HOMESCHOOLING MOM HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF TO LEARN AND RECHARGE?

    I’m definitely still working on this one.
    I recharge by reading books and going grocery shopping by myself. That’s what I’ve got for now and it’s just *nearly* enough.

     

    A Homeschool Interview - a peek into the lives of a homeschooling family

     

    WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ONLINE?

    A Tale of Ten Feet << The blog we kept during our travels for a year. We have since settled back down in a new state and are building our dream life. @ataleoftenfeetfamily << The Instagram account that I use to follow homeschool mommas at. I mostly gawk at the beautiful homeschool pictures and wonder if they have any peanut butter toast smashed into their carpet like I do? And I sometimes post pics/stories of our day to day life.

     

    Thank you so much to Jessie for sharing a little about their homeschool with us!

    Now it’s your turn! I would love for you to go here and fill out the interview questions for yourself!

  • A Homeschool Interview
    homeschool interviews,  real homeschool stories

    A Homeschool Interview – Chantel

    Welcome to the first day of a new series: Homeschool Interviews where I will be interviewing different homeschoolers!

    I thought it would be fun to create this new series, if you would like to be featured in a future interview you can just head over here to answer the interview questions. I would love to get a number of different interviews in the series because everyone homeschools in such a unique way and it is nice to see how other people homeschool.

    But first I thought I would kick things off by answering the questions myself. There were so many other questions I would love to include but I decided to not make it too overwhelming.

    So, welcome to the first homeschool interview where I interview myself. 😉

     

    A Homeschool Interview with a homeschool mom - favorite homeschool resources, how to answer the famous socialization question and more!

     

    A Homeschool Inteview

     

    TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.

    I am Chantel and I live in the heart of the Canadian prairies (Saskatchewan) with my little family which consists of my husband, Jared who was my high school sweetheart and our two kids: Raeca is eight and in grade three this year and Ephraim is five and in kindergarten.

    We enjoy the prairie summers and in the freezing winters we dream up all kinds of future travel plans, and we read lots of books no matter the weather outside.

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START HOMESCHOOLING?

    I have my education degree and taught in the school system for just a little while before starting our family and realized it wasn’t the kind of environment I wanted to work in for my entire life and not the place I wanted my children to spend most of their lives either.

    It was around this time that I came across some homeschoolers on a new (at the time) social media platform called Instagram. I was hooked from the beginning and fell in love with the idea.

    My husband wasn’t totally on board with the homeschooling idea since we didn’t really know anyone that homeschooled and we definitely had a negative stereotype in our minds. So, our daughter went to school for kindergarten but my heart was still set on homeschooling and it wasn’t long into the school year when Jared agreed with me. So when it was time for her to start grade one we officially embarked on our homeschool journey.

     

    A Homeschool Interview

     

    HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR HOMESCHOOL?

    This year we are trying to follow the Charlotte Mason method a little more to see how it goes and in the past we’ve been a little more on the relaxed, unschooling side.

    Our homeschool method has always been, and always will be, very literature focused. We love reading and thankfully there is a plethora of good books at our disposal.

     

    WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST BENEFIT OF HOMESCHOOLING FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

    Who made these questions?! 😉 There are so many benefits to homeschooling! I love how we can go at our own pace, create an individualized education for each child, bring the Gospel directly into our homeschool and how strong the sibling bond has become between my kids.

     

    A Homeschool Interview

     

    WHAT IS A COMMON REACTION YOU GET FROM PEOPLE WHEN THEY FIND OUT THAT YOU HOMESCHOOL? AND HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

    Most of the time the reaction I get is along the lines of “That’s good for you, I would never have the patience to homeschool my kids.” with the odd question about how we are handling socialization thrown in there.

    Which sparked my next two questions:

     

    WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PARENT THAT REALLY WANTS TO HOMESCHOOL BUT FEELS THEY AREN’T SMART ENOUGH, PATIENT ENOUGH, FILL IN EXCUSE HERE?

    Since people usually tell me they couldn’t homeschool because they don’t have enough patience or they couldn’t handle being with their kids for that long I usually reply by telling them I like my kids more because we homeschool. When my daughter was in kindergarten she would go to school for full days every other day and by the time she got off the bus at the end of the day she was tired and exhausted from holding herself together all day. She would be the perfect student at school but at home she would just fall apart. Now that we homeschool I do still see the falling apart but I also get to see her better moments throughout the day too.

    As for the patience, I do think homeschooling (and parenting in general) is one big test of patience, but God will give you the patience you need, and you will do a lot of growing!

    Often parents imply that they don’t like their kids enough to spend all day with them and while I think every parent has moments like that, we are the ones raising these little humans. If they are turning into people you don’t even like, how well do you think they will do once they get out into the world as adults?

    As for not being smart enough, a lot of homeschooling is teaching kids to know how to learn and a big part of that is being willing to learn yourself. When people find out that I have my teaching degree they often think that really helps me in homeschooling, but honestly, it doesn’t at all. When I graduated with  my degree all I really had in my skill set was the ability to control 20-some students. University wasn’t like in the days of Laura Ingalls when teachers needed to have most of their knowledge memorized. I have learned so much in the last few years as I’ve taught my children and they are still in elementary school! I can’t wait to see what I learn as they advance into middle school and high school!

     

    A Homeschool Interview

     

    WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PARENT THAT IS WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S “SOCIALIZATION OPPORTUNITIES” AS A HOMESCHOOLER? (YES, IT’S A RIDICULOUS AND ANNOYING QUESTION BUT IT IS OFTEN ASKED.)

    I feel like so many people are “worried” about this issue because they have heard someone else talk about it, but for the most part it is not a questions people have actually thought about. When people mention it in a short conversation I usually tell them all the different things our kids do that people consider “socialization”; different sports and activities they are involved in, plus the fact that there is a fairly large amount of homeschoolers within a few blocks from us, plus there are a number of homeschool families in our church.

    If the people who are asking me are in for a longer conversation I will share more about my thoughts on socialization and how school isn’t really “socializing”, etc. But these conversations don’t occur very often.

    I do have a lot more thoughts on this topic and still have plans to write a long post about it in the future!

     

    A Homeschool Interview

     

    WHAT IS ONE AREA OR SUBJECT YOU FEEL YOU DO REALLY WELL?

    Literature. While technically not a “subject” that’s where I feel like we are excelling. Not “language arts” because we don’t do spelling or grammar and for the most part those are grouped in with language arts. But I feel like we read a lot of really good books and have some great discussions because of them. I am excited for the upcoming years as we start to read books with even more substance and the conversations that will result.

    Through literature we learn about all sorts of things: nature study, geography, good character, science, history, etc, etc, etc.

    Another thing we all look forward to each week is poetry tea time. This year we have been stocking up on some new poetry books we’ve been eyeing up for awhile, memorizing poems and just having a lot of fun with them.

     

    A Homeschool Interview

     

    WHAT DO YOU DO ON THE HARD DAYS WHEN ATTITUDES ARE NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD BE OR YOU JUST DON’T FEEL MOTIVATED?

    This depends on the situation. If we’ve been in a routine for awhile and things are feeling a little meh I love to break out of routine and have a day off or a day out of the house, or just doing something different.

    But sometimes the opposite is true, sometimes attitudes are not what they should be because we are lacking routine, in that case I try to get us back into a bit of a rhythm.

     

    A Homeschool Interview

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES?

    Books.

    But other than books, I love watching documentaries and playing a variety of games with the kids as well. You can see some of our favorite games here. Lately Raeca has been loving Dutch Blitz which I don’t think is on our games list because she is just getting to the age now where she can actually play it. I’ll have to add that to our list soon!

     

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE READ ALOUD PICTURE BOOKS AND/OR CHAPTER BOOKS?

    Seriously, I’ve got so many. There is a reason I love creating book lists here on the site! That being said, I do have a list of 50 books (picture books and chapter books) that every parent should read to their child and these are my absolute favorites.

    Though, I recently asked on Instagram what all of your favorite picture books were and I created this list of 25 picture books based on the advice of homeschool moms which is packed with some excellent books as well.

     

    A Homeschool Interview

     

    AS A HOMESCHOOLING MOM HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF TO LEARN AND RECHARGE?

    As an introvert it is very important for me to carve out some alone time each day. I usually spend some time in the morning drinking my hot chocolate and reading my Bible and then throughout the day I will try to find a few minutes to read from one of the books I currently have on the go.

    I think it is very important to make sure we are filling ourselves up as mothers so we can have something to pour out to our children.

    Recently I’ve been documenting a lot of my “mother culture” over on my personal blog.

     

    FIND CHANTEL ONLINE AT:

    Well, here! 🙂 I also like to hangout on Instagram under Intentional Homeschooling and my personal Instagram account: An Intentional Life.

     

    Now it’s your turn! I would love for you to go here and fill out the interview questions for yourself!