Homeschooling Family Interview: Catherine

Today we interview Catherine, also known as Cat. She has a blog about her homeschooling life titled Tales from Cat's House of Homeschooled Kits! so I guess she's really decided to take this cat thing all the way.

She may regret this since my blog came along though. I'm not going to say what happened to her on Paint A Cat day; you'll have to ask her. But I will point out that when you read this post, you'll see that her "kits" have access to many art materials and some good mentoring, so just use your imagination.

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

We started to consider homeschooling when our oldest son was 6 months old. We officially began with Kindergarten at our school district Independent Study Program. It's been 10 years. The boys are in 7th and 9th grade now. We are in a public charter ISP.

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)?

Flexibility is key. My son went years with undiagnosed Sensory Integration Disorder. He had a very hard time holding pens and pencils. His public school ISP teacher suggested that he use a type writer or word processor. This would let his language develop while still shaping his ability to write by hand.

In the same vein, flexibility, the guys were into games and Pokémon. They wanted me to read these game guides over and over. I love a lot of things but after a hours of Pokémon reading, I was Poké-ed out. I told them that I would read for an hour and then they had to read what they could and I would help with the hard words. This totally paid off.

They are writers, readers, and story tellers. I have always felt that reading is the most essential skill in our society. Without reading you can't read the T.V. Guide to pick a show, find your way on a map, or set up your DVD player. That they are so confident in these skills is a relief.

The biggest feature is being able to study what you want, when you want, for a long as you want. That made the language, writing, and reading happen. They did it based on their desire, self direction, and with some facilitating by my husband and I.

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?

We have fun every day. It seems like there is something someone says, does, or points out that gets us laughing, talking, and brainstorming.

When they were younger we would play on the floor with Legos and tell stories with the things we were building.

They started drawing with my mother early on. She is an art instructor at a University. She'd get the guys use water colors, crayons, markers, whatever. We'd sit on the floor or on the grass at the park, drawing Plein Air as Mom says. We incorporated this into trips to Yosemite, CA., Mendocino, CA., and rural New York.

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

Last year at the HSC Conference held at the Radisson Hotel in Sacramento, the guys saw Live Action Role Playing (LARP) for the first time. It looked pretty cool but complicated. We didn't participate but we did watch.

Then we went to a birthday party where LARP was the activity. They really got into it. I made all kinds of weapons when we got home.

I was at the video store and saw a documentary on LARP. I rented it and no one wanted to see it at that time. I rented it again. We were watching all these grown ups being monsters, vampires, clerics, fighters, and more! As a person who played Dungeons and Dragons, I thought it was very clever.

My younger son said, "No offense mom, but I don't want to be like them when I grow up."

Another time, my older son once said to my artist mother, "It's too bad you can't draw from your imagination." My mother, a representational artist, laughed out loud.

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