Monday, April 9, 2012

"Who Home Schools" - Tristan from "Our Busy Home School."

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 Tristan from "Our Busy Homeschool." 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? Summarize how you reached this decision.

We have always homeschooled our children.  When I was pregnant with our oldest child I got put on bedrest and spent a few months reading library books.  After reading every Agatha Christie mystery I could find I was ready for some non-fiction reading.  I have always been interested in education and teaching and one book I picked up was about homeschooling.  As a teen I knew a homeschooling family and wanted to be homeschooled (school was too easy and boring).  My husband had the opposite school experience in school (it was a major struggle).  When I mentioned the book I was reading he wanted to know more.  Lots of prayer and studying led to the conviction that God wanted us to homeschool our children.  The rest is history.

What is your goal in home educating your children?

Our goal is to raise a righteous posterity who loves God and keeps the commandments because they love Him, who are equipped for the callings and life He has planned for them as they mature.

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

We are generally family-centered and tend to choose activities that welcome the whole family, such as the Homeschool Book Club we started.  Our oldest daughter takes piano in our home.

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


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

We have yet to reach high school but plan to homeschool all the way through.

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? 

We began our homeschool adventure as a unit study family and have gradually migrated to a mix of unit studies and Charlotte Mason style learning.  We’re very relaxed compared to some, very structured compared to others.  We began with unit studies because young children simply learn best when they are interested in a topic.  They don’t compartmentalize learning into separate subjects and so we didn’t either.  From Charlotte Mason’s theories we’ve found words to describe what we already loved – living books and a gentle learning is life approach.

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?  

Our schedule varies a bit depending on the current season we’re in – a new baby or pregnancy has come along every year we’ve homeschooled since my oldest was 2.  We learn year-round, keeping gospel learning, math, reading, and some form of writing going pretty much all the time.  Everything else happens when we want it to.  For example, my children’s history studies for this school year took a break when baby #7 was born, so we’ll actually not finish that until the end of May.  Science, on the other hand, began last July and is done for the school year, though my children still follow interests in science as much as they wish.  We just won’t pick back up a formal science study until late summer with the new school year. 
As for our daily schedule, we generally get work done before lunch, except on days when we have medical appointments for our new baby.  He’s got Spina Bifida and some other issues so he has appointments in the big city an hour away pretty much every week, sometimes more than once a week.  On those days school may happen early or in the afternoon – we’re flexible.

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

Homeschooling was something my husband and I prayed about and felt God leading us to do from before our oldest child’s birth.  We cannot imagine fulfilling the command to teach our children throughout the entire day (Deutoronomy 6:7) if we send them away for 7 hours a day beginning at age 5. We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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

The scriptures, followed by anything from Simply Charlotte Mason.

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? 

I think my main worry was that we would not be able to afford homeschooling.  I look back now and laugh.  Homeschooling is only as expensive as you make it.  Over the years we’ve learned to live and homeschool on one income.  We’re not rich, we’re not even considered above the poverty level, but it’s all about priorities and seeking God’s help!

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

I love reading with my children, exploring ideas and stories together.  Seeing their little eyes light up as new information makes connections is priceless.  I really dislike teaching a child’s least favorite subject.  Sometimes I don’t want to drag them through the hard parts, but I know that once they ‘get’ a concept finally then it will smooth out again. 

Are/Were there any subjects that you felt incapable of adequately teaching?  

Not really.  Academic learning came easily to me as a child and youth, so I have always known I could learn whatever I’ll need to teach.  I don’t have to know everything, I just have to be willing to help my children learn and find resources.  I have learned more as a homeschool mother than I ever learned in public school, and I was an honors student.

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

Homeschooling is hard work, but it is rewarding.  We do it one day at a time with God’s help.  God prepares and equips those he calls to this path, or to any other path.  Sometimes the hardest part is trusting in Him and finding perspective while living in the trenches.

Tristan is the wife of 11 years to one good man and mother to 7 blessings.  She blogs about her family’s homeschool journey at Our Busy Homeschool and shares their 7th child’s life with Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus, and clubfeet at Mason’s Spina Bifida Journal.  More importantly in the brief time I've come to know Tristan, she has been a joy to chat with and get to know.  She is one of those unusual women who draws people in and makes you want to sit down and get to know her.  I encourage you to take a moment and read her blog.

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