“Tips, tricks and techniques are not at the heart of education – fire is …… Not merely the facts , not merely the theories but a deep knowing of what it means to kindle the gift of life in ourselves , in others and in the world.” Parker Palmer
Today’s homeschool chat brings you Emily Renteria @mountainmotherrunner , a homeschool mother of one from USA . She also has a blog , where she writes about adventures balancing motherhood, running, and homeschooling in Colorful Colorado. https://mountainmotherrunnerrenty.blogspot.com. Emily has also created a Facebook group for support/resource for all those parents who are now home educating due to Covid19- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1099675340372192/?ref=share
1. Tell us a bit about your family and your child:
Our little family currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO after spending the last five years in Washington state. My husband and I have been married for nearly eight years now! He is a Realtor and a U.S. Army veteran. I currently stay at home, but thirteen years ago I originally attended college for Art and Elementary Education. My internship was with a first grade class and I worked part-time as a kindergarten substitute teacher. After our daughter turned three years old, I returned to college to become a Licensed Massage Therapist.
2. What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children:
Our original reason to homeschool was based on a few things; we sold our house in WA and were moving back to CO, but we did not know exactly where we would live or which schools would be nearby. We literally bought a house without ever seeing it in person! Since our daughter would be starting kindergarten, we thought home educating would give her a head start on schooling.
3. What does a “typical” homeschool day look like for your family?
We have no typical days for our schooling. In the beginning of the year, I followed the schedule of our boxed curriculum which does all subjects every day. This didn’t give us a chance to dive in, so we’ve become more flexible. We will spend an entire day on Science with books, drawings, experiments, and videos. The next day will be all sorts of Math with games, hands-on activities, and worksheets. We play games nearly every single day and spend much time (average of hour) reading.
4. What type of a home educator are you?
I think we are semi-structured with a mix of gameschooling. We include a LOT of nature and outdoor time as well.
5. What do you love the most about homeschooling?
The thing I love the most about homeschooling is hearing our daughter say how much she loves school! Her love for learning grows each day and we try to follow her curiosity to inspire our lessons. I also love the flexibility our family has for field trips, special appointments, days off, etc.
6. Do you do morning time/symposium/circle time?
Not exactly, our mornings are slow and gentle which is nice for our family. We all eat breakfast together around 8:30am. Eisley plays and sometimes listens to audiobooks for about an hour while my husband and I sip our hot drinks over conversation. Around 9:30am we head upstairs to start schooling which begins with reading.
7. What is your favorite subject to teach and what is your least one?
My favorite subject to teach is maths because it is tangible, you know, mainly black and white. I love the challenge of creating hands-on lessons and games to bring Math to life! My least favorite subject to teach is History. I only feel this way because kindergarten is such a small introduction to History, I know it will be better and elaborated more in older years.
8 What do you find challenging when it comes to homeschooling your children?
Our biggest challenge this year would have to be learning what works best for us. The initial schedule and curriculum teaching was frustrating for both myself and our daughter. Through trial and error, we continue to tweak our methods and we are very happy with it.
9. How do you find time for yourself/self care?
Self-care has been a big focus since becoming a mother. We do something called “Dual Enrollment” so our aughter attends Specials classes (Music, P.E., Computers, Science, Library) at our local public Elementary school. It is only one class per day and we typically go three days per week. When I drop her off, I go off on a run. There are many trails and roads to run and I can typically get 3-6 miles which is the best mental and physical therapy for me.
10. What are some of your favorite homeschooling related books?
I have honestly not read a single homeschooling book, but it is on my list! I am such a book worm.
11. How do you deal with unsupportive family, relatives, and friends?
Our family is very supportive of our decision and it seems the majority of our friends are too. My stepmom is currently homeschooling my little brother and sister, so it’s great to be able to talk to her and ask questions or share ideas. I’m yet to talk to someone that is openly unsupportive.
12. Where do you see your homeschooling journey in 5 years’ time?
I have no idea, we may not be homeschooling in five years. Life is full of many opportunities and changes.
13. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children?
My advice for people in the U.S. is to first check your state requirements. Each state is different. Colorado is quite strict, requiring us to teach specific subjects, give a “Letter of Intent” to the assigned public school, document our lessons/hours, and log 178 days averaging four hours per day!
14. Imagine your children 20 years into the future, what do you want them to say about their experience?
In 20 years from now, I hope our daughter looks back at her time of homeschool as a magical and unique experience. We get to spend so much time together as a family and out in the world, gaining experiences that can’t be had in a classroom.