“Children, even when very young, have the capacity for inventive thought and decisive action. They have worthwhile ideas. They make perceptive connections. They’re individuals from the start: a unique bundle of interests, talents, and preferences. They have something to contribute. They want to be a part of things. It’s up to us to give them the opportunity to express their creativity, explore widely, and connect with their own meaningful work.” Lori McWilliam Pickert
Today’s homeschool chat brings you Breanna Rein (@dirtyfeetandmessyhair), a homeschooling mother of two children who lives in Nebraska, USA. Breanna is also a very talented full time photographer and you can find some of her work on https://www.rein-photography.com/
1)Tell us a bit about your family and your child/ children
My name is Breanna Rein. I am married to my husband William, we have been together since 2008. Right after high school, we moved to Nebraska from Virginia.Kind of random, but we made this our home ever since. I am a full time Photographer and part time seamstress. I have two kids, Camden Brynn (7) and Laiken Jameson (2). My husband works 4 days and then if off 4 days, so we get a ton of family time. He is a big time hunter and we also have a ton of reptiles.
2)What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children?
We had just gone through a half year of preschool and the morning routine was just plain awful. It was never a good morning. There was rushing and yelling and mom guilt and just all of it. When the time came to sign Camden up for kindergarten…I physically couldn’t do it. I just felt a really strong pull to keep her home, it’s not really explainable until it happens to you. And so we did and now we are on year 2!
3)What does a “typical” home school day look like for your family ?
Kindergarten was A LOT easier for us (not because it’s a lesser learning curve) but because Laiken wasn’t as mobile as she is now. We have a lot less ‘alone’ time than we did when we first began. Laiken wants to be involved in everything and while it sounds amazing…it’s not. It’s more or less her tearing everything up, basically being a toddler version of King Kong onto everything that has to do with our studies. So, how our learning revolves around naps and leaving the house when we can get a sitter or staying up later than everyone else to be alone when the house is quiet. In the morning, we make coffee and go for a walk…ideally. This doesn’t happen every day. We live in Western Nebraska and it is cold and windy a lot. During the winter, we’re staying in a lot. But, when we go get our walk in…our day goes a lot smoother because we got our ‘wiggles’ out. Then Camden and her sister just play a majority of the day. Tues-Thurs Camden has piano, jiu-jitsu and class at our local zoo, so those 3 days are our main focus of study as well. When Laiken does nap, we try to get through one lesson in our ‘The Good and The Beautiful’ literature book and also read one short story from our reader book from the same curriculum. If for whatever reason we weren’t able to do that during the day, often Cam and myself will stay up past everyone else and do those things when the house is quiet. We’ve always been night owls, it’s just how we function.
4)What type of a home educator are you ( structured , semi structured , unschooling , classical , Charlotte Mason , Steiner , Montessori etc ) ?
If I most had to describe our style, it would be unschooling. We do a lot of living over here, more living than formal learning….100%
5)What do you love the most about home schooling?
I love the freedom. I don’t want to ask some authority if my family can go on a trip, in fear of missing too much ‘school’. This is OUR life, not anyone else’s.
6)Do you do morning time/ symposium / circle time ?
Our morning time is either walks or art, often coloring or watercolor painting.
7)What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one ?
We love art as a whole family…definitely art is a fave. I don’t enjoy literature because Camden doesn’t like to be forced to read. The more I’ve let off, the better she has gotten learning how to read.
8)What do you find challenging when it comes to home schooling your children ?
Time management is hard, that’s my only goal this year is to really hone on on what we are doing. It’s difficult have a toddler around, feels like I’m putting out a fire all the time.
9)How do you find time for yourself/ self care etc ?
After hours, Camden benefits from a quiet house too. And I imagine in years to come, it’ll of course get easier as Laiken gets older. But night time is just out time and its how we both recharge.
10)What are some of your favourite homeschooling related books?
“Homeschool Bravely” is my favorite 100%, so much of that book I felt was just written about us. At first, you doubt yourself so, so much. So much guilt. So much ‘are they missing out’. You will not feel that way after reading that book.
11)How do you deal with unsupportive family , relatives and friends ?
I’ve never ever been one to care what people have to say how we live our life. They do not pay my bills or feed my kids. Worry about yourself. I literally just do not care. My kids are smart and thriving.
12)Where do you see your home schooling journey in 5 years’ time ?
I do not really know. Would I like to do this forever? Yes. Camden’s wants might change though. I would never keep her home if she wanted to go to public school. I’m taking it one year at a time.
13)What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children ?
Do not buy this and this and this and this. Just simplify. Play A LOT. Kids need play. They are more calm, they process better. The good and the beautiful is such a blessing, it’s so simple and I could confidently toss everything else we ever bought and just focus on that curriculum. Listen to your kid, don’t place blame on yourself for their shortcomings, they’ll bloom when it’s their time…no matter what subject they struggle with. Believe in them!
14) Imagine your children 20 years into the future , what do you want them to say about their homeschool experience ?
That I so much enjoyed having them home with me. I never wanted to be without them for 8 hours…5x a week. That seems like torture for me…and them. That I loved our time together and all the experiences and adventures we had as a family unit.