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Homeschool chat with Leslie Monroe

“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone,we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play ” Charlotte Mason 

Today’s homeschool Chat brings you American homeschool mama of two  Leslie Monroe. Leslie is a mommy engineer, an avid reader and a list maker. She designs journals for her family and friends. She spends her days with her family on their Ozark homestead, where they have endless projects for pastures, gardens, animals, and farmhouse fixer upper plans!  She is a keto fueled homebody, who loves the Fall.  Friends are always welcome to stop by and enjoy a glass of her homemade kombucha in the garden!

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1.Tell us about your family and your child/children.

My husband and I met at a Missouri college and fell in love while taking Calc 2 (yes I’m not kidding).  We got married right out of college, took jobs with a major automotive company.  Several of the engineers were homeschooling their kids and that got me thinking. We moved back to Missouri to change our lifestyle and to focus on our family.  We took jobs with a small government contractor (they made water pumps for our military).  Hubby was plant manager and I was the Quality manager.  We pleasantly surprised everyone at the company that we could work so well together; we really do make a great team.

Our Daughter arrived a year after we moved back.  I thought I would go back to work, but once I held her I knew she was mine. I was meant to be with her, guide her and keep her safe.  So we decided I would stay home with her.  We didn’t set out to homeschool.  But as we built our family and worked to together- that became our family mission- to live and work together.

Now we are in the Missouri Ozarks.  We are a 4 family as my son says.  Hubby works and plays hard.  He is an outdoorsman and is so good about sharing his love of nature and hunting with his kids. I’m an avid reader, creator and designer.  I make homeschooling journals and love spending time with my family. My daughter is 9 and a lover of animals and is a super creator.  Her imagination is off the charts.  She is always dreaming up something to cook, something to draw, a story to write or movie to make! My son is 6 and lives for anything Lego or dinosaur.  He thinks he can do anything his sister can, and spends most of his days trying to keep up with her limitless energy!

2. What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children ?

My sister in law was homeschooling her oldest son and I started reading about it.  After becoming a mother,  my mindset changed.  I was first and foremost her protector.  I want to be the primary influence in my kids’ lives.  My mommy gut tells me that they aren’t ready to be turned over to someone I don’t know, in a room full of kids I don’t know 5 days a week.  It’s my job to keep them safe, physically and emotionally.  We socialize plenty, but I am careful about our interactions.

But this journey has been so natural.   I love my kids. I want to be there for all their big moments.   We are always learning and our school isn’t defined by a location!  It’s been such a blessing to be able to live life alongside them.

3.What does a “typical”  home school day look like for your family ?

We sleep in until 8.  Mornings you can usually find us around the kitchen table. I write in a journal and the kids will often join me.  They draw, color or read. Sometimes they are playing games on their tablets. Breakfast is late, around 10 or 11.  We do our chores by then (dishes, feed the animals, laundry and tidying).  About noon we are ready to head outside.  Mondays we ride horses.  Tuesday a learning coop at the library. Wednesday-Saturday we are around our home, doing gardening, planting identification, nature studies, field trips, play dates, and other activities. Sundays we go to church.

Most days the workbooks or reading aloud happen in the late afternoon.  That seems to be the best time for us.

Then dinner by 5, or 6.  Evenings find us busy.  With a life group from church and never ending farm and home projects! (Currently building a greenhouse from old windows, over the winter we will be renovating the master bath.  It is great to be able to include our kids in the projects and pass on our love of work.)

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4.What type of a home educator are you ( structured , semi structured , unschooling , classical , Charlotte Mason , Steiner , Montessori etc ) ?

Officially we are Relaxed schoolers.  Some might call it unschooling, but I do have a curriculum we work from for some subjects.  But mostly I pay attention to my kids interests and we drive as deep and as long as they want into that subject.

I call it blitz learning.  Math facts won’t stick if your brain needs to know about the animals on the African plains, or why the buffalo were almost extinct.  What I’ve found is they will come back around to all the school subjects.  My daughter will spend a whole week (or month) on mostly 1 subject.  Last month it was math, the month before was ancient history in the fertile crescent, this month it has been animal conservation, who knows what it will be next month!

Here are my hashtags for most of the homeschool posts on Instagram @besimplybetter to give you an idea of my education style!

#peacefulhomeschool #happyhomeschool #relaxedhomeschool #monroeacademy365 #leadbyexample #childledlearning

I have read so much that I do pull in ideas from all over.  Charlotte Mason has inspired me to dive deeper and set goals for my kids.  I have large bench marks that we work towards every year.

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5.What do you love the most about home schooling ?

Freedom.  That one word, means so much.  We have the freedom to adjust, relax, shift focus if we need to.  When husband takes a week off we don’t have to check with anyone’s schedule.  (We often take a vacation the week after Labor day….and we always have the place to ourselves.)  If we get sick we can rest, recharge and recover.  We get to choose the format and subjects that we like!

Time.  We enjoy the luxury of being responsible for how we spend our days.  We teach to mastery NOT to a clock.  If it takes longer to master a skill that’s fine.  (We have 18 years to get our kids college ready….to pass a college entry test they need to know how to write and essay and do some algebra…that’s it.)

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6. What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your  least one ?

Favorite: Anything they are interested in.

Least favorite: Anything they are not interested in.

When they are excited and engaged it is pure JOY to be with them, learning alongside them.  If I try to force a subject on them that they are not ready for….it is pure frustration, defiance, grumbling, and painful.  It’s not worth it.  Plus if they aren’t interested, they aren’t learning!  They won’t retain any of it! So really I’m wasting my time and theirs on a fruitless, frustrating day.

7.What do you find challenging when it comes to home schooling your children ?

The balance of home life.  The house is always lived in, so it’s always a mess.  We love books, art projects, puzzles and Lego.  Things that take up every available horizontal surface in our home.  I struggle daily to clear the tables and desks so more creative learning can happen.

8 How do you deal with unsupportive family , relatives and friends ?

Honestly, I have slowly brought my family and friends along with me.  I share books and articles I’m reading and the insights I’ve gained from them.  My reasonings for education at home are sound and just.  This is working for my family and our opinion is the only one that matters.

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9 Where do you see your home schooling journey in 5 years time ?

I will have a teenager and a pre-teen.  I see us pursuing their passions and dreams.  Starting business ventures, traveling further, expanding the farm, and doing all of what we are already doing but with the kids taking on more responsibility.

Homeschool is just living life.  We learn everyday. We deepen our understanding and knowledge everyday.  So I just see more of that in 5 years.

10 What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children ?

Read.  Write.  Model the behavior that you want for your kids. Learn alongside them. Grow together.

I never ask my kids to do something I wouldn’t want to do.  So anything we do, even math worksheets- I’m right there doing it with them.

I have a little journal book called “The ABC of Homeschool” ( https://amzn.to/2lmrWmu )and it will help you to work through your family’s unique gifts and goals for homeschooling.  It will help you find the joy in home education and solidify your why.

Authors to read:

Cathy Duffy- to get a feel for your teaching style

Sarah Janice Brown- How to Homeschool- to learn about your kids (and your unique learning styles)

John Holt- Learning All the Time.

Julie Bogart- The Brave Learner

Charlotte Mason

Durenda Wilson-The Unhurried Homeschooler

Leslie Monroe

bit.ly/LeslieMonroe (my books on Amazon)

www.besimplybetter.com

www.instagram.com/monroehomestead (for our farm updates)

www.instagram.com/besimplybetter (what we are doing and planners, journals and drawings)

www.facebook.com/besimplybetter

www.twitter.com/besimplybetter

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEtk4DVwTlR3-UePoRZHjmQ

 

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Published by ivushka1985

I am a Bulgarian Muslim Home schooling Mama of 5, married to a a British Bangladeshi , residing in the South West of England. I blog about our home schooling adventures, travels, the ups and downs of motherhood , parenting books and children's book reviews.

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