Homeschooling Family Interview: Jennifer Fink

Jennifer lives in Wisconsin and is all about boys. Probably because she has four of them running around her house all day. Heck, she's so much about boys that she has a blog called Blogging 'Bout Boys. Her two oldest boys, Nathan and Tyler, participated in this interview.

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

Four years. We pulled our oldest son, now 11, out of school mid-way through 1st grade.

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)?

Nathan, age 11: "I can go fishing early in the morning!"

Tyler, age 8: "Mom can take us cool places, and not on a crowded school bus."

Jennifer: We're able to work and relax and learn in ways that work for us. Nathan can stay up and read til 11 at night and then sleep late in the morning. The kids can attend Dad's softball games and hang out gardening with him in the evenings and not have to worry about homework or getting up in the morning. And we've all been able to enjoy daytime visits with Grandma and Grandpa and uncles; those visits, to me, are priceless learning opportunities.

From an academic standpoint, the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling allows us to nurture our children's interests. We can also move at *their* speed, not the speed of the classroom or some predetermined curriculum. When Nathan got frustrated with reading, we let him take a break -- until one day he spontaneously picked up a Junie B. book and realized he could read it!

The children also get to be part of our family life. This week, for instance, the boys will spend time with their Dad tapping trees to make maple syrup.

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

Nathan: "Fishing."

Tyler: "Going to children's museums."

Jennifer: Hmmm...the kids are right. I love going to interesting places with them during the day -- museums, performances, parks, trails, etc. We also always have a great time at the Wisconsin Parents Association conference. It's so refreshing to be around so many different homeschool families, and there are tons of interesting things to do (this year I'll be teaching a paper airplane class).

One of the best "fun" things is getting to enjoy the summer weather than lingers into the fall. Nothing better than biking past the school on the way to the park to enjoy a picnic!

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

Nathan and Tyler: "We made up a song that's really funny: "Cookie, cookie! I want a cookie! Cookie, cookie! WORD!"

Jennifer: Apparently, my children have a sense of humor that's all their own!

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