Homeschooling Family Interview: Christa and Crew

Here is the second entry in my homeschooling family interview series. The whole family joined in which is great! I hope more families do so.

The mom in this family is Christa and Dad is Kenny. They preferred to not share their children’s real names so the children had some fun thinking of a name they’d like to use for this interview:

Daughter, age 10, would like to be known as Tink
Son, age 7, chose Peter Pan
Daughter, age 4, wants to be known as Cinderella and reportedly went by this name for 4 months last winter
Daughter, age 2, is going with Minnie Mouse, which she has been doing since September anyway

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

Tink and Peter Pan - Always.

Kenny - Huh? Who homeschools? I thought my kids got on a bus everyday after I leave for work. Just kidding.

Christa - The kids have never been in public school. Fortunately the four years I spent earning a teaching degree and my four year term on the local school board gave me enough of a glimpse into the government education world to make me quite certain it wasn’t the type of environment I preferred for my own children.

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

Tink - Last year we got to go to Disney World with The Ultimate Field Trip (over 700 homeschoolers from around the nation). While most kids were sitting in a classroom in September, we were having a great time at Disney. It was even better because September is the month when Disney offers FREE dining. Too bad for all those kids stuck in public school.

Peter Pan - Field trips, lots of field trips! We don’t have to go to bed or wake up as early as other kids. We can go to the bathroom when we want and eat when we are hungry.

Kenny - I can take one of the kids hunting in the mornings (the bus comes by our house while it’s still dark). If I have an appointment a couple of hours away, we can pack up the kids and all go together. Then we can take advantage of whatever museums or state parks are in those other areas. We can take mini-vacations whenever we want. We can travel at off-season rates.

Christa - Where do I begin? It’s all complete and total freedom, and that in itself is the benefit.

In my former life as a school board member, I had the pleasure of being involved in the discussions that eventually resulted in the creation of a school calendar. Pretty much a bunch of greedy teachers’ association reps. determine the dates that are most convenient for themselves and could care less how this affects parents and their children. I can’t imagine allowing those union leaders to dictate my entire life schedule. As homeschoolers, we come and go as we please. We schedule our dentist appointments whenever we like, and we don’t have to get a note or worry about getting a letter from CPS for too many absences.

What we learn is not determined by some government bureaucracy or a teachers’ association monopoly. We don’t have a standardized test dictating that we learn exactly the same thing at the same time as everybody else. We learn according to our own interests and in our own timeframe.

We have the freedom to make sure the values being instilled in our children are not contrary to our own religious beliefs. The moral character being modeled for my children is not at the mercy of every passing whim of the government education world. We don’t walk in one day and say, "Hello, children. Today we will be having a lesson about RESPONSIBILITY" and expect that completing a worksheet on the topic actually taught the children that trait. Instead my husband and I simply live our lives in a way that sets a positive example of such traits.

Most of all we are free of the government indoctrination camps (aka public schools) that train citizens to believe they cannot take care of themselves and that the only way they can be truly happy and safe is to rely on their government for their every want and need. Our children will grow up knowing self-responsibility, self-reliance, self-discipline rather than the superficial coercion forced upon the young people in government institutions.

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

Tink - Co-op classes with our friends. Going to all the free dress rehearsals and cheap school matinees at the local civic theatre.

Peter Pan - We pretend to be mad scientists when we do experiments in the kitchen, and sometimes we go to homeschool Gym & Swim at the Y on Fridays.

Cinderella - Homeschool Park Days and skating.

Kenny - I’m the principal, and I get to say, "There are NO snow days for the homeschooled." (Insert evil laugh)

Christa - Just being together as a family is the fun part. I can’t imagine having to send my kids off for eight or more hours a day and only seeing them for a couple of hours (as they sit at the table doing homework) in the evenings.

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

Tink - Once we went into the kitchen for lunch when Cinderella was only 2-years-old. She stayed in the homeschool room and poured glue and white out (which she must have climbed a bookshelf to reach) on the dark green carpet. Then she smushed it around with her hands and feet. There’s still a big crusty spot on the carpet.

Peter Pan - Tink’s hair in the mornings!

Cinderella - Princesses. (Mom says she’s not sure what that means. That’s her stock answer that she gives when she can’t think of any other answer.)

Kenny - The school uniforms!

Christa - One night I took my oldest to dance. We were waiting in the lobby for her teacher to finish with the class before hers. She was wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt that I had purchased at a yard sale this summer. She kept looking down at the writing on the front of the shirt. She seemed puzzled by it. Then she asked me, "Mom, what does this say?" I told her it said "Tommy" and mentioned that I thought she could probably read that word on her own. She said, "I know it says Tommy, but what does that mean? Who's Tommy?." I replied, "Tommy Hilfiger." She asked, "Do we know him?" I replied, "No, it's a brand of clothing." She said, "Oh, okay." Then I heard a few giggles behind me from the other moms standing around – not really mean giggles, more like amused giggles. I know that conversation would not have happened if she were in public school all day.
One day I had just finished a very important phone conversation with Ben (a homeschooling dad) about some very important homeschool related topic. When I hung up the phone, my 4-year-old asked, "Mom, was that one of your REAL homeschool friends, or was that a friend from Homeschool Webkinz World?

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