How I Homeschool: a link-up and a series

I have a friend who is interested in homeschooling, but, like most of us, has a few reservations and a lot of questions.  I had an epiphany last week and decided to put the power of the internet and my online community of homeschool blog moms to work.  So I’m running a series in which I will interview some homeschool bloggers for input on how they do it.  I thought I’d start with myself and make it a link-up for anyone who wants to answer on their own blog.  Fun for the whole internet!  Link it up below!

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How I Homeschool: In Which I Interview Myself

How long have you been homeschooling?

Our family has been officially homeschooling for 3 full school years, although we participated in a homeschool preschool co-op the year before that. But I don’t count preschool as school, so obviously I don’t count that.

How many kids are in your family? How many are homeschooled? Are any schooled in a more traditional way?  

We have 4 children and are expecting number 5 in November. Currently only the oldest 2 ‘do school,’ but we’ll be adding a third in the fall. Technically, Gabe’s in an academic limbo called Transitional Kinder, so we’re going to keep it light. Like preschool basically. Which, as I said above, I don’t really count.  So I’m not even sure why I mentioned it.

What laws, if any, are there in your state regarding homeschooling? How does your family meet compliance?

In CA, families can homeschool in one of three ways: register as a private school by filing a Private School Affidavit (no oversight by the state except for submitting the yearly application), hire private tutors, or enroll in a school (private or charter) that oversees the schooling. We are enrolled in a charter school.  (There are some great benefits and some negatives, but when I started writing them out I realized it may need its own blog post.  Feel free to ask in the comment boxes, though, and I’ll try to answer.)

Switching gears here: if you could summarize your homeschool philosophy in one sentence or mission statement, what would that be?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. Alright, I’ll give it a try.

“Mission: to raise my children to know and love God, have a strong moral compass, enjoy good literature, art, and music, have the skills necessary for survival and success in the world, and to be critical thinkers.”

Sheesh. That sounds both awkward AND pompous.

What is your homeschooling style?

I am probably considered eclectic, but my overarching style is Charlotte Mason. 

Do you follow any set curriculum?

I use the Mater Amabilis free curriculum guide as a basic framework, but rely heavily on what the library has in stock. For math I use Singapore Math, which I really like, and Life of Fred when we need a break from “real” math.  (LoF is actually real math too, but don’t let the kids know that, okay?) I supplement with the materials we’ve chosen to use in our co-op. They include: R.E.A.L Science Odyssey and History Odyssey, both published by Pandia Press, and Meet the Masters for our fine art studies.  (You can see most of my homeschool posts with a whole lot more detail on our curriculum thus far by clicking the Homeschool tab at the top.)

What do your best homeschooling moments look like?  What do your not-so-good moments look like?  How do you stay on track?

Our best moments happen when we’re all enjoying a lesson together,  Usually this happens during read-alouds or while listening to music or a book on CD in the car.  When the kids clamor for more, and I’m smiling too, I know it’s a good moment.

Our worst moments are when I forget what’s important, when I worry more about checking things off a list and ignore the kids’ needs.  Symptoms:  I nag and worry and act generally insane.

How do I stay on track?  Well, usually it’s all up to me to regroup, but our social events help me relax.  Co-op, park days, chatting with other homeschool moms.  All of these help tremendously.  (I’m an extrovert and I neeeeeed community.)

But I recently came across a book that I think I’m going to have to print out and  wallpaper my kitchen with. Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie (of Amongst Lovely Things) is just the antidote for the crazy that is the end of the school year. A highly recommended e-book for your summer reading.

How do you keep any non-school-aged kids busy?

Well.  I kind of don’t.  I should, I know, but mostly I just tell them to go outside.  When they get tired of that, I grab Legos or the train set.  When they get tired of those I give them “school work.”  And when they get tired of that, I say we’re done schooling for the day.  It usually works out okay, but I’m sure I’d benefit from a more structured environment.

If you could give any homeschool advice to a new mom starting out, what would it be?

Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one particular style or curriculum, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.  It’s okay to start slowly, or to go back and change your mind.  And find other homeschoolers in your area!  I cannot overstate how valuable it’s been for me to have a community of other homeschoolers around.  I did it on my own for 2 years in South Korea, and coming back here has been like cool water on a hot day.  I feel so refreshed!

Okay, that’s enough blathering from me.  Feel free to ask any other questions you may have in the comment boxes.

For any who’d like to link up, feel free to use my questions or to make up your own.

OH!  And be sure to check back often for more interviews and to see any new links.

The other interviews in this series: “How I Homeschool.”

How I Homeschool: Jessica @ Housewifespice

How I Homeschool: Anne @ Annery at Home

How I Homeschool:  Kelly @ This Ain’t the Lyceum

 How I Homeschool: Cari of Clan Donaldson

How I Homeschool: Kendra of Catholic All Year

How I Homeschool: Dwija of House Unseen

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Comments

  1. This is great! I always love learning this stuff from other HS moms. And not just because I’m nosey. I’m going to work on something to link up.
    Kelly M. recently posted…The Creative Process of a Mommy BloggerMy Profile

  2. Absolutely love.

    I’ll be back to read others’ posts as well. So enlightening and motivating! Great idea. I’d love to join in and link , but I’m not sure I can swing it. Have not been blogging terribly often.
    Thanks for the insight and ambition, Micaela!!

    Havea great day!
    chris recently posted…Easter Dessert ~ Tomb Brownies and Our Lord’s ResurrectionMy Profile

  3. Fun! I enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to checking out the series and links. It’s always refreshing and reassuring to me to read what others are up to on the school front, even though it may be very different. I love getting new ideas and perspectives. Fresh food for thought is good as we start to sort out our plans for next year, right? I’ll try to link up. Thanks!
    Theresa@OrdinaryLovely recently posted…Summertime Learnin’ (The Lowdown on My Thoughts for June, July, and August)My Profile

  4. Always nice to read about other homeschooling families. :) I was homeschooled from 6th grade until the end of high school – some of the best years of my life.
    Country Girl’s Daybook: Jesus, Photography, Fashion, & Food
    Country Girl’s Daybook recently posted…the glory of friendshipMy Profile

  5. Ha, you sound like me with the “keeping the little ones busy.” Hope to link to this! (And I don’t think that sounds pompous at all…but maybe I’m just as pompous as you :)
    Mary recently posted…Cecropia Utopia – David’s Garden FindMy Profile

  6. Sounds fun! I’ll try to link up soon!
    Catherine recently posted…JPII and C.S. LewisMy Profile

  7. Your homeschool philosophy rocks. It has all the things. I’m jealous of co-ops and park days, I haven’t quite found my people yet, but I’m working on it. My online people help though!
    Jessica @ housewifespice recently posted…WWRW: Percy Jackson Wannabe Falls Short.My Profile

  8. Great idea Micaela! It’s always encouraging to hear about other homeschoolers homeschooling it up!
    Christy recently posted…How To Give Yourself No Expectations for Life Postpartum – A Guest PostMy Profile

  9. This is a good idea…I’ll work on linking up soon!
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…Anxiety, Fear and Online Community.My Profile

  10. Love it! Can’t wait for more interviews.

  11. Great idea, Micaela. I’ll be back for the link up, and I’ll keep coming back to check on the other smart mommas suggestions.
    Anabelle Hazard recently posted…FRQ and Summer ReadsMy Profile

  12. Just added my post!
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…How We HomeschoolMy Profile

  13. what a great idea…might have to join in soon!

  14. I had a good time answering your questions. Thanks! :)
    Erica Saint @ Saint Affairs recently posted…Eighteen!My Profile

  15. Micaela, are you still in Korea? Are you still homeschooling? We live in Korea, near Seoul, and homeschool our young daughter ( 8 years old, dual nationality, English-Korean ) and we are keen to link up with other homeschoolers in Korea.

    • Unfortunately not, Greg. We are back in California after 2 years in Daegu. We miss it a lot. Good luck finding other homeschooling families. We never did quite accomplish that.

  16. Just posted my two cents! I can never read enough of these kinds of posts. Thanks for making a virtual teachers’ lounge for us to share ideas!
    Catherine recently posted…How We Homeschool: Interview with myselfMy Profile

  17. this was fun! thank you. i can’t wait to read more.
    blessings.

  18. Micaela – I am planning to homeschool for the first time this fall and love what I am reading about Charlotte Mason. Thank you for this link-up, I really need to read what other parents are doing to keep my courage up. I am very excited to be with my kids and such an intimate part of their learning!

    • Yay! So glad it’s helpful. Good luck with everything, and be sure to come back and tell us how it’s going. Or to ask any questions you may have, too. :)

  19. Okay, I’ve finally finished my homeschol post. Thanks for the link up Micaela and I’m definitely getting the Life of Fred for this year. BTW, love your homeschool mission, girl! Wish I thought of it.
    Anabelle @Written By The Finger of God recently posted…How the Hazards HomeschoolMy Profile

  20. Thanks for hosting. I always like seeing what other families are doing.
    Monique G. recently posted…How I Homeschool~ In Which I Interview MyselfMy Profile

  21. I’m pinning this, to come back and peruse later …. when my eyes aren’t so heavy! Great ideas, Michaela!
    Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventures recently posted…The Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop #43My Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] you haven’t already, be sure to swing back to Jen’s for quicker takes and California to Korea for more homeschooling posts from women who could actually run the […]

  2. […] back to the third interview in the series, “How I Homeschool.”  Today I’m sharing with you some insights from Anne @ Annery at Home.  Anne blogs […]

  3. […] Micaela of the multiple wonderful homeschool link-ups is asking for posts on how different families homeschool.  Since these are the kinds of blog posts for which I scoured the Internet at all hours of the night when I was starting out, or even now when I’m needing some new ideas, I’m going to add in my two cents, answering Micaela’s questions as well as a few of my own. […]

  4. […] really love her perspective.  In case you missed the others, here they are in chronological order: My Interview with Myself, Jessica of Housewifespice, Annery at […]

  5. […] How I Homeschool: In Which I Interview Myself (plus a link-up if you’d like to join in!) […]

  6. […] Have you guys checked out Micalea’s Homeschool Link Up? She interviewed your’s truly, plus Jessica from Housewifespice and Annery from Annery at […]

  7. […] How I Homeschool: In Which I Interview Myself (plus a link-up if you’d like to join in!) […]

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