Homeschooling Family Interviews: Sandra

Looking at this picture, you might think Sandra and her family are nuts. And you would be right; if you mean nuts about learning.

They live in New York, not a particularly homeschool-friendly state but that's not stopping Sandra and her crew from having a lot of fun. Sandra details it in a couple of blogs, one of which is On Living By Learning. You'll see links to other blog entries as you read the interview.

I'm craving some ice cream about now so I have to go, but you can stick around and read on...

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

This is the second year that I’ve been homeschooling my son full-time, while my daughter attends a small private school. Before that, both kids attended the local public school; my daughter for the entire K-5 sequence, and my son just K-1. However, I’ve been homeschooling since birth, enriching and supplementing my children’s education.

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)?

Even in requirement-heavy New York, there is a lot of freedom and flexibility in day-to-day home schooling, and we’re like kids in Dylan’s Candy Bar surrounded by a staggering selection. Any topic can open up a dizzying array of options, leading us in so many often unanticipated directions. We’re gluttons following the Lay’s Potato Chips Philosophy of Learning: “betcha can’t eat just one!”

Recently, my son was reading a chapter on China in his Ancient History book. I hadn’t planned to do much with that subject but I just happened to have a few related items lying around. One thing led to another, and we ended up discovering Chinese Folk Tales, Tea Rituals, and Painting. Alex has picked up a little Mandarin, using a book and audio tracks on his Ipod, and he’s practiced the language with his sister on a recent visit to Chinatown in Manhattan. Meanwhile, in the process of learning about Chinese history and culture, he’s also uncovered important related math and science concepts. Home schooling allows Alex to dig deeply into a subject, and to widen the scope so that he can unearth interesting connections.

Although I’m only homeschooling one child, the entire family reaps the benefits. In this case, all of us appreciated delving into Chinese Art, History, and Culture. From trips to local Chinese restaurants, to exploring New York’s Chinese heritage, to conducting a Chinese Tea Ceremony – all the family participated in the entertaining activities and learning opportunities. As a direct result of home schooling, our family is enjoying activities that bring us closer together while adding an element of sheer fun in our lives.


On Living By Learning - Looking at Chinese Paintings With Kids
On Living By Learning - Mom’s Guide To Manhattan’s Chinatown
Alex and Leperdy’s Learning Adventures - Not a Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony
Alex and Leperdy’s Learning Adventures - Review of Lon Po Po
Alex and Leperdy’s Learning Adventures - Kid’s Tour Chinatown

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?

I wish I could tell you that it’s all fun, and maybe it would be if I were more like Pippi Longstocking, donning scrub brushes to skate across dirty floors. Unfortunately, the mess factor is just not as entertaining for me as it is for the kids.

Sure, it’s fun for Alex to try new recipes and create flour bombs in the kitchen, but I don’t really get any pleasure out of scrubbing hardened bits of pancake dough. I would be happy to eliminate the mud trails, craft explosions, and assorted bumps and bruises that I’ve gained from letting the kids indulge in the project of the moment.

Still, I wouldn’t give up seeing those “aha!” moments when either child has created something from nothing. Almost every day, I get to see something interesting erupting from my child’s imagination:
Lighting Rod Projector 2000
Digesting Dragons
and scores of fantastical stories. That’s fun!

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

Anybody who’s ever had the pleasure of accompanying me on a road trip knows that scenic detours are my gift, and finding incredible ice cream parlors is my talent. Combined, you might find yourself on a ten-hour road trip with four kids and a mother-in-law for a scoop of ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Vermont. Need I say more?

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