Monday, April 16, 2012

"Who Home Schools?" Karyn from Teach Beside Me

It is my goal that this weekly feature will allow us to see the face of home schooling.  I hope that it answers some questions and sheds light on - Who homeschools and why?

Today's interview is with Karyn from "Teach Beside Me." If you home school and are interested in participating in this interview please email me - savannahmcqueen at dot com 

How did you end up deciding to teach your children at home?  Have they always been home schooled or did they attend school outside the home, at one point?

My kids are young- the oldest is 7 but he has always been
homeschooled.  My sister and I started a little preschool for our kids and as I taught him in preschool I realized that I wanted to do school a little differently.  He was very advanced - was reading well at age 3- and I was concerned about boredom and losing the joy of learning.  That was where my initial homeschooling thoughts came from. I have an aunt who homeschool her kids and always talked about how amazing it has been for her family.  I called her and had a long talk with her about it.  I read every book about homeschooling I could get my hands on.  The more I read, the more convinced I was about my decision.  I also took it to God- and felt SO strongly that this was the decision I needed to make for my family.  We currently have three children ages 7, 4 and 1. We are in our second year of homeschooling.

What is your goal in home educating your children?

My goal in educationg my children at home is to continue to inspire their love of learning, to give them a better education, to teach them the classics, to have real, hands-on learning experiences, to teach the spiritual side of things along with the secular, to teach them the importance of family... there are so many more reasons, it is hard to put them all into words.

Do your children have extra curricular activities?  If so, what are they?

We do have extracurricular activities.  We participate in a weekly homeschool co-op group together, my son is part of a lego club, and we also have a P.E. class at our Recreation center that we go to once a week.

Have you ever hired someone to teach a subject to your children?  If so, why?

I haven't ever hired anyone to teach my kids a subject, but I plan on hiring someone for music lessons in the next year.

Have you graduated a child?  Do you plan to teach through high school?

At his point I plan on teaching my kids through high-school.

Do you have a defined style of instruction such as Classical, montessori, unschooling,  or Charlotte Mason?  Are you willing to share how you decided to use this method?

I do not use a defined style of homeschooling right now.  I lean
heavily towards TJEd and Charlotte Mason.  I really love focusing on the classics and inspiring a love of learning in my children.  I would consider myself "eclectic" though since I do not stick to one method strictly.

What does your schedule look like?  Do you start early and finish just after lunch?  Or do you start later in the day?  Do you teach through the summer? And if so, why?

We start school early and are almost always done before lunch- unless life gets in the way.  Our schedule in the morning is breakfast, morning chores, then we do a devotional.  We have subjects that we work on each day- writing, reading, math, spelling, grammar- Then we also have subjects that we do one or two times per week- history, nature, art, music, foreign language, science, geography.

Do you home school for religious reasons?  If so what religion are you?

Initially I did not begin homeschooling for religious reasons, but it has evolved into it as I have studied more about homeschooling and become more convinced of the benefits.  Now, I would say, that it is definitely for religious reasons.  I am of the LDS faith (Mormon) and am deeply religious.  I love bringing the scriptures into our studies-especially combining the Bible with our studies of ancient history. It has been such a fun way to learn!

Do you have a vision statement for your home school?  If so, what is it?

I don't have a mission statement- but do have a strong vision for what I want our homeschool/family to be like.  Not sure I can fully describe it though...  I want my family to understand the importance of knowledge and to love learning and gaining knowledge.  I want them to learn love and respect for family, neighbors, self, and country.

If you were to recommend a book(s) to a new or prospective home school parent, what would you choose?

A book I would recommend to a new or prospective homeschooler would be A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver DeMille.

What was your number one concern or worry when you started out on this endeavor?  Has it continued to be your main issue?  Why has it changed?

My main concern when I was considering homeschooling was the perception of others- I know that sounds shallow and insecure, but it's true.  It is no longer my main concern.  Now, my main concern is probably fitting in everything I want to teach them, or keeping organized.

What aspect of home schooling do you enjoy the most?  What part do you greatly dislike?

What I most enjoy about homeschooling is being with my family all the time- watching them learn, learning along with them, reading so many great books together.

What I least enjoy about homeschooling would be the constant mess in my home :)

Are/Were there any subjects that you felt incapable of adequately teaching?  Have you overcome this?  If so can you explain how you have achieved this?

I feel incapable of teaching advanced math and science.  I am not too concerned anymore, though.  I am learning along with my kids- I also have a LONG way to go before I need to teach those subjects. I feel much more capable now that I have seen how much more I am learning the second time through and how much more I value knowledge.

Is there anything that you would like others to know about your home schooling?

Homeschooling is one of the best choices I have ever made.  I often feel inadequate, but get over it eventually.  It is never easy, but it's always worth all the work in the end.  I hope I can continue to homeschool all of my children.

Karyn is the author of  the very informative home educating site, "Teach Beside Me." She can also be found on Facebook or Twitter.  I encourage you to check her site out.

Teach Beside Me

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Savannah McQueen is the author of Hammock Tracks which includes Savannah's Savory Bites - dedicated to recipes and cooking with simple ingredients,Hammock Track Tales - a photographic journal of our life on the hammock, and Hammock Home School - includes editorials, book reviews, and educational link posts. You can follow Savannah on Twitter andFacebook.
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