“Don’t put off your own learning. Your passion for what you want to know is the fuel of your homeschool. It’s not just a model (like you don’t do it to “demonstrate”passion). You do it because you are interested. You live it because you need it to thrive! Which is what you hope happens to your children with their interests.You must make time right in front of your kids to do what interests you. The only reason kids want to be adults is that adults do the cool stuff. So do the cool stuff- and don’t feel guilty. It’s essential to their growth and your well-being.”
Today’s homeschool chat brings you the lovely Jessica , a homeschool mom of 6 , who resides in the USA together with her husband, Adam. She can be found on Instagram (@threerivershomestead), where she shares snippets of not only their homeschooling journey, but also anything related with homesteading and farming .
- Tell us a bit about your family and your child/children.
My name is Jessica and I have been married to my husband, Adam, for nearly 13 years. We have six children between the ages of 12-1 and home school them on our tiny homestead in northwestern Ohio.
2. What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children?
The main reason we initially decided to homeschool our oldest son was because of his anaphylactic allergies to peanuts and dairy. We didn’t feel comfortable sending him off to eat in a cafeteria where he could potentially be exposed to life-threatening allergens. We made this decision when he was a toddler and as we started looking into homeschooling more, and continued having more children, we learned that it was a great way to educate our children, food allergies or not. As we grew into the parents we were called to be, we realized that home education was right for our family.
3. What does a “typical” homeschool day look like for you and your family?
A typical day for us begins at 7:00 am. My older children do their farm chores and then we eat breakfast. Immediately after breakfast we do our morning house chores and everyone gets ready for the day. Then school begins with Bible read-aloud time, followed by about two hours of our book work. Each of my four older children get thirty minutes of individual instruction, one hour of independent study, and thirty minutes of entertaining their younger siblings during that two hour block. After we finish we eat lunch and then use the remainder of our day for homestead projects, playtime, and other fun child-led learning activities.
4. What type pf a home educator are you (structured,semi structured, unschooling, classical, Mason, Steiner , Montessori etc ) ?
I would classify our family as structured unschoolers. We only use curricula for the three R’s and let the children decide what they want to study for all other subjects. Living on a small farm provides many opportunities for nature study, which is a big part of our homeschool. We also enjoy family read-alouds to fill in any gaps.
5.What do you love the most about homeschooling?
What I love most about homeschooling is the way it unites our family. Other educational options can run the risk of fracturing the family unit, but home education seems to deepen both the parent-child bond and sibling bonds. Creating an environment , where my children feel like an essential part of the family unit and where we are working and making memories together builds character and a bond that will benefit them in so many ways as they grow. These are things the public school system cannot replicate.
6. What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one?
My favorite subject to teach is Maths. It’s a subject with clear rules and structure, which is really easy for me to explain. I have struggled the most with teaching writing, probably because the subject is much less objective.
7.What do you find challenging when it comes to homeschooling your children?
The biggest challenge of homeschooling seems to change for me in different seasons of life. Currently, I have four school-age children between the ages of 6-12, plus two very active little boys, ages 1 and 3. Keeping the little ones entertained and quiet while I try to work with the big kids is a daily struggle. Doing our read-alouds can be very frustrating with loud toddler distractions, so I often resort to audio books that allow me to deal with the problem while someone else reads.
8. How do you deal with unsupportive family, relatives and friends?
When I began homeschooling I received so much criticism from people. I spent years taking the bait and engaging in exhausting debates about socialization and statistics on educational outcomes. Then something switched probably 3-4 years in. My own process of “deschooling” , mixed with finally seeing the fruit of my labor in my children , created confidence in our decision. With my insecurities gone, I didn’t feel the need to try to change anyone’s opinion on the topic. I know what we are doing is what is best for our family and people can choose to disagree or not. It doesn’t change the amazing results I see in my children, which don’t require anyone else’s stamp of approval.
9. Where do you see your homeschooling journey in five years’ time ?
In five years , my oldest will likely be nearing graduation and my youngest will be in Kindergarten. It’s hard to think that far ahead when life as a homeschool mom has me often taking things one year, season, or even day at a time. I imagine having very independent and capable children in the future, who, Lord willing, are passionate about what they choose to study and want to make the world a better place. If my kids are obedient to God’s calling in their life, that is what matters, whether that path takes them to post-secondary education options or not.
10. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children ?
My advice to anyone starting is to let your first year be a trial run. Don’t try to put yourself in a box or mirror what you see working for someone else. We chose this for our children because we recognize their individuality. Remember that our families function uniquely as well. Figuring out what works takes time and will likely change frequently, especially in the early years or if you have other small children and/or pregnancies to deal with. Don’t feel like you’re failing if you have to change things up mid-year. You will likely be changing things up quite often for the rest of your homeschool mom “career”, and that flexibility is the beauty and blessing of this lifestyle. Pray about it and listen to the needs of your family, as well as the input of your children. That is all that matters!