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Homeschool Mom Crush – Laura
Written by Amber Marie | February 16, 2018
Who is Laura?
Laura is my mother-in-law and began homeschooling right around the time I married her oldest son. She has nine children. My husband and his sister closest in age attended public school and both live outside the home with their own families. Currently living at home, Laura has one college student (girl – age 20), a junior in high school (girl – age 17), a sophomore in high school (girl – age 15), a second grader (boy – age 8), two preschoolers (girl – age 5 and boy – age 3), and lastly one toddler (boy – age 2).
This amazing woman took on homeschooling seven years ago when she and her husband decided to take their older girls out of school. She started schooling them at home along with having them attend a private study center. Not only did she tackle homeschooling at this time but also fostered four younger children who eventually joined the family through adoption. Now with the youngest four reaching school age, she has begun homeschooling them and has them enrolled in a local homeschool co-op.
To give you a peek into her life and how she homeschools, I asked her the questions below. I hope you find encouragement in the answers she provided.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
There were several reasons that led us toward the decision to homeschool our children. First, I wanted to surround our learning with a strong Christian influence and I wanted our family to be the greatest influence in our children’s lives. Second, I wanted to assume control over some of the culture that was invading our home. In a sense, I wanted to reel everyone in. Third, I wanted the kids to be reading quality literature. Over the years, I watched so many things change in the public setting and reading great literature along with excellent writing skills were becoming amiss. Finally, I wanted to deepen their learning of history.
What does a typical day/week look like in your homeschool?
My junior works several daylight hours per week. She also attends a local college and maintains her grades. This winter semester she is taking 12 credits. My sophomore is a hybrid homeschooler. She takes two early morning classes at our local high school and comes home to complete the rest of her education with me. My second grader is home and we work four days per week for about three hours per day and our Fridays are with a local co-op. We love our co-op. In our home, I utilize all my children and we work as a team. My older children read, for practice, to my younger children. My sophomore completes Mystery of History with my second grader. This type of teamwork allows me to help with my husband’s work.
What curriculums are you using (or did use and recommend)?
We have used a few different curriculums. For history, we have used Abeka History, but we are now using Mystery of History. We like it. For math, we have used Abeka Math and Teaching Textbooks. I like Abeka Math, however, find it a bit rigorous. Teaching Text I felt was too easy and not demanding enough. I don’t mind challenging my students with math. For my second grader, we have just started Math Mammoth and plan to use it through the summer. In the fall for Kindergarten, we plan on trying RightStart Math and Math Mammoth. We will see how it goes.
Our Literature in the past has been Veritas Press reading comprehension guides. WE LOVE THEM, especially once the children can read on their own. The worksheets are great and promote neatness, writing skills and more. Our high school age kids use Abeka Literature. However, they find it very dry so we are looking into something different for next year. We also love IEW for writing and grammar.
For the first three years, our older children participated in two-day private school. It was a great adventure, however, it became too expensive. Since then, we have attended local co-op that meets every Friday. Our co-op is three hours and fifteen minutes that includes an assembly in the morning and three one-hour classes. It is based off of a Veritas Press co-op in Ohio. It follows a classical model and is parent-led. Every Spring we come together as a community and decide what classes we want to have for the following year. We vote on courses for each grade level that will fulfil the needs of the homeschool kids in our co-op. For example, our high school students may need Speech or Civics one year so we put it on the curriculum. We include Science every year for high school students because of the need for a lab setting. We also provide Physical Education along with some other courses such as archery and hatchet throwing. Last year we had a woodshop class where the students learned to make three picnic tables that were then donated to the church where we have our coop. It has been a great experience! In our family, we believe extra activities are a must, but we don’t become consumed with filling our schedule. My older girls work outside the home which I feel has been a great opportunity to build responsibility and other life skills.
Do you have any tips or encouragement you’d like to share with other homeschoolers?
When we first decided to leave the public sector and begin homeschooling, I was very quiet about our decision, although many in my circle knew we had made the switch. Now, when people talk to me about homeschooling, I am open to sharing our experience. Most of them love the idea of homeschool but are afraid to try it out. They are afraid they will damage their child’s education. Let me put you at ease: you won’t. Both homeschoolers and public school students are weak in some areas, but strong in other areas. There is NO perfect ideal child/teen. We all do the best we can. One advantage to homeschooling is that everything can be adjusted, tweaked, and can be more focused. It’s your decision on how you want your child to learn, perform, and behave.
What is your favorite part about homeschooling?
No homework at night! That is one thing homeschoolers forget about. It is especially nice when your family participates in evening sports, church or just family time. Also, we have lots of time to build character, family bonds, etc. With teens, the grass is always greener on the other side, and I have tried to please everyone…probably a little too much. Sometimes pleasing works and sometimes I knew it wouldn’t. As parents, it is okay to take a stand and say “this is how we are doing things.” As a homeschooler, you are able to have a stronger influence on your children’s lives and help teach them to make the right decisions.
Wow! What a weath of knowledge! I want to thank Laura for sharing her wonderful wisdom with us and being the first in my Homeschool Mom Crush series. This won’t be the last we hear from her. I hope her experiences have given you some hope and encouragement in your own homeschool. I know she has definitely inspired me. Stay tuned for our next Homeschool Mom Crush coming this March!