Almost every homeschool mom can relate to the frustrations of homeschooling with littles under foot. My husband loves to say “cleaning house with kids is similar to trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreo cookies.” It can seem daunting and sometimes impossible to stick to a homeschool schedule with babies and toddlers in the mix.
Today’s homeschool interview is with my lovely, farm buddy Phyllis. Her husband is in the army, which currently has them in North Carolina. They have 4 boys ages 2, 3, 4, and 6. Phyllis uses a Charlotte Mason/Classical education approach in her homeschool and farm-schooling is a big part of that!
Why did you start homeschooling? Do you still homeschool for that reason?
Partially due to being military and the moves in the foreseeable future. But also because I find value in knowing and guiding the nature of the curriculum, character education and the social interactions I release my children into.
What is the most challenging part about a typical homeschool day?
TODDLERS. Managing one on one time for a Kindergartner (who is really doing First Grade work in Math and Language Arts). He needs guidance with directions since reading isn’t mastered yet. Meanwhile its like 3 tornadoes around us all the time. We’ve managed to do school while littles keep each other busy or nap, but it still makes for a pretty choppy, distracted day.
What scares you the most about homeschooling?
Everything I don’t know. I worry that while I’m confident with the curriculum I’m teaching, I am missing all the hacks, tricks, holes and extra content that teachers and curriculum designers work in with enrichment. I am not geared toward that. I like open and go.
What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
Seeing the incredible journey of growth my sons are exploring. Watching my 6 year old read a whole book, do a math calculation for himself, or finish a Lego project with no help from me, is incredible to be so included in. I love moving from a place where I know every little inch of his knowledge to where he’s discovering things for himself through his own reading and exploration!!
Who is your homeschool mentor? Who taught you the ropes or you look up to? Why?
SO MANY WOMEN. I gleaned and gleaned from so many places. I kept my eyes and ears open and, then when I found someone who homeschooled, I pillaged their minds with questions about their own processes! I scoured their bookshelves and butted my way into their classrooms to see their setups. I read every blog, watched every YouTube video, and devoured every book. All of this before my oldest could even walk. My husband thought I was nuts. Primarily the names that come to my mind are the incredible women of The Rio Church. So many kids I respect were homeschooled from families there. All with different styles and curriculum.
How is dad involved with your homeschool?
He’s the enrichment guy, and the project guy, and the art guy, and the application guy.
What does a typical homeschool day look like for you?
- Quiet Time (Your Story Hour, Audio Bible, or Bible story video)
- 10-12pm School Time which includes: the formal lesson time for Language arts and Math for my 6yo, worksheets for the Preschooler and playtime for the little guys.
- Lunch and Naptime for the younger boys. During naptime we do readers, spelling quiz, handwriting if we didn’t finish it earlier.
- Then after that we start an audio book or do some science/art lesson on Easy Peasy online. Usually at some point the little guys join us for those.
Good and the Beautiful. LOVE THIS CURRICULUM. I tried All about Reading but it was so overwhelming. GATB is open and go and we love everything about it. Definitely courses are a level up from what they are labeled though.
Math U See. We did Primer partially and skipped up to Alpha. We bought this from a friend and have enjoyed it. I like the DVD teaching me before I have to teach my kids.
So far life has been our science curriculum. Farm life biology, botany and geology. We’ve jumped to using Easy Peasy All in One as well. Its ok so far, though we started on year two. We have plans to use Good and The Beautiful unit studies at some point down the road.
None yet. Still looking though Good and The Beautiful incorporates it into the Language Arts program we do starting in Level Two.
Easy Peasy Online has some good stuff for our lower kids. Good and The Beautiful incorporates Art appreciate into their Language Arts which is fun. For being a crafty person, I hate managing “crafts” for kids. Not my jam.
Do you have a designated school area or school all over the house?
We have a room that is half playroom/ half school room with our curriculum and supplies for “School Time” .. nap time schooling happens downstairs on the couch.
Have you thought about what you will do after your children graduate?
I plan to get back into writing curriculum and facilitating small groups or classes.
Do you work from home currently? Do you plan to expand your business when you are finished homeschooling?
Occasionally I run a small family farm and sell produce, eggs and poultry. When I can’t do that (like right now) I grade standardized tests online, write curriculum etc. I’m not sure yet what that’s going to look like. My whole world will look different since we will also be retired from the army.
What will you miss the most about homeschooling?
Hanging out with my best friends all day.
What are you looking forward to?
Space to pursue the other callings God has put on pause for my life.
Please share any tips or tricks you have learned along the way.
Get your eyes and hands on anything you can and then self assess and be absolutely honest with yourself before spending money. If you are not good at organizing DO NOT get a high maintenance curriculum. Don’t spend money on something you can’t or won’t take advantage of. Put the difference into the things you WILL take advantage of. And buy used from other mamas for the first year of a curriculum before really knowing if you like it or not.