Educating Since Birth: Jill's Interview

Jill and her family live in Indiana and what I find a bit different about her journey to homeschooling is that her husband brought up the idea to her first. But smart lady that she is, once she started asking around and doing her own research, she soon realized she'd been doing it all along...

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

When our first born child was about two years old, my husband brought up the idea of 'homeschooling' to me. I had never heard of it before, but after speaking with a couple women who were already educating their children at home, I began doing my own research. I scoured the internet, browsed at bookstores, and investigated books at the local library.

It finally dawned on me - I had already been educating our child since birth! 'Homeschooling' just takes on the academic side of it, which didn't scare me at all since I had always gotten A's and B's throughout my formal education years. I've also always been a bookworm. If I don't know the answer to something, I do know how to find it! So - to answer your question, I'd have to say 13 years because that's how old our first born is now.

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)?

We are able to use that flexibility to work around sick days, snow days, vacation time, my husband's days off from work - or days that he has to travel for work, if/when there is a death in the family, etc.

Of course, these events themselves are all opportunities to learn life lessons as well. Home educating is not just about academic book work. Each day is an opportunity to explore and learn - not just from books/workbooks/textbooks. We appreciate the freedom to spend extra time on subject(s) that interest us enough to explore them more in-depth.

We enjoy being able to have our own schedule, which is not dictated by outsiders. We can get up as early or sleep in as late as we wish.

We are able to schedule interesting classes/workshops/extracurricular activities during the daytime hours. The children's academic book work can be taken along with us and done in the car, and/or done during evening hours or on weekends.

My retired in-laws live down the road from us, so our children have the flexibility to spend daytime hours with them, often times learning valuable skills such as woodworking and welding. The in-laws recently purchased the Rosetta Stone Spanish computer program, and our children are learning with them.

Our younger child loves art and doing crafts, so has the freedom to spend extra time working on those subjects. We try to put in vegetable and flower gardens every year, so we have the flexibility to do the gardening chores as needed.

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?

Part of the fun for me, as a parent, is to witness first-hand when my children "get" something - when the 'lightbulb going on' moments happen for them.

We've also had much fun going on field trips together, hiking together, bird watching together, playing educational board/card games together, watching educational videos or tv shows together and discussing them, reading together and discussing the material read, creating snow scenes together (not just snowmen), and playing in the rain together.

I enjoy observing my children when they participate in 4-H activities, workshops at the local playhouse, and their extracurricular activities.

Vacations present opportunities to have fun while learning. If/when my husband's job requires him to travel, the children and I will sometimes go along. While hubby is in training meetings/etc., the children and I go off exploring whatever field trip opportunities are available in the area.

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

Watching and enjoying the creativity of my children. They like to draw their own comic strips, which are often very humorous. Our older child likes to create stop-action movies on the computer, and these are often times very funny. Experiencing first-hand the development of my children's sense of humor. They often times come up with hilarious observations about whatever subject matter we are reading about or studying. We share lots of laughs together.

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