Time With Dad Is Priceless: Jane J.'s Interview

Today's interview explains the value of homeschooling in a way that needs no introduction from me so please read on for a very enlightening and heartfelt talk with Jane J. from Indiana...

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

Since 1985. Four have graduated. I’m still homeschooling a high schooler.

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)?

Answering this question has been the hardest part of responding to this interview. I want to fit into the “fun side of homeschooling” spirit of the interview. But my answer to this part is life-and-death serious.

To my mind, the greatest benefit of the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling is evidenced by the amount of time my older kids spent with their dad when they were little.

For some of the early years, my husband was self-employed and the kids were able to hang around in the shop a lot. They worked for him and with him and just generally soaked up hours of time and conversation. When he went to work for a vending company, he maintained a rented storage unit for supplies, and the kids worked with him every week at "the warehouse."

Because he died suddenly in 1996, it’s beyond priceless to me to know that the kids got so much more of his presence and influence than could ever possibly have been imparted in a few left-over, after-school-only hours each day.

Obviously, nobody starts homeschooling thinking that it might a good idea in case something like this happens to the family. But when it does, I can tell you that it feels very good to know that not one minute of the time that the kids had to spend with Mart was given to complying with government regulations about mandatory school attendance, instead.

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?

Oh, gosh. There’s a lot of stuff that qualifies . . .

For instance, since the kids started working younger than today’s average, that facilitated things they could never have had otherwise, like going to Europe and owning a horse.

They all have fairly well cultivated discernment in the arts because of the time we could put into the things that interested us.

This includes classic movies. For most of our lives, we’ve had a TV-free home, but for a couple of months right after the first Gulf War, we had TV. We saw a LOT of 40’s and 50’s movies in the afternoons during that time.

Another thing would be elaborate birthday themes, with whole-room, floor-to-ceiling decorations and sculptured cakes. (A five-foot tall Mighty Joe Young face looked into our kitchen window for weeks one year. We’ve had hobbits, Guybrush Threepwood, Lady and Tramp . . . the list goes on.)

We’d never have had time for the kids to do those sorts of things, had they been in school.

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

To this day, my kids practically speak a private language of punchlines and quotes from stuff they’ve enjoyed together in the past. The two new sons-in-law agree that it takes a while to learn how to communicate when all the sisters get together. In general, life’s been pretty hilarious with this bunch, and homeschooling has allowed it to flower.

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