Even The Fun Stuff Counts: Theresa's Interview

Theresa is the mother of 4 children, ranging in age from 10 to newborn. She and her family live and learn in Indiana. Her children helped her with this interview and shared some benefits of the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling from their perspective.

Although you'd think someone with 4 kids would be comfortable with anyone coming around begging for some food, Theresa apparently draws the line at raccoons...

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

We started homeschooling the year my oldest was scheduled to enter Kindergarten. They were trying to charge us $60 a week for her to go half days. My husband and I decided that we could teach her what she needed to know for much cheaper. And we have never looked back. We are starting our 7th year.

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)?

The flexibility of homeschooling is one of my favorite reasons to continue. I love the flexibility of being able to go on family trips whenever we want without worrying about someone else’s agenda. We recently bought a camper and have been loving it. We like being able to go to the campgrounds during the week when it is practically empty.

I also love the freedom to be able to study what we are interested in – rather than what is planned for a certain grade level. I have one child who likes writing stories, one who loves building things, and one who is obsessed with anything Pokemon. They learn so much when they can study what they love instead of what someone else assigns.

I read this question to my kids and this is their list of benefits:

1. Being able to sleep until nine – instead of getting up at six.

2. Being able to eat while doing school work.

3. Being able to go to the bathroom without getting a pass.

4. A lot less school – and more time for fun.

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 recently camped at Turkey Run State Park. We hiked the trails and took some great pictures. We were able to visit the planetarium and the nature center. We had a blast. My husband, the principal of our school, declared we had covered state history, earth science, and PE – and the kids just thought we were on vacation!

I asked my kids this question – and they are having a hard time with it. I think it might be because when I say the word ‘school’ they tend to only think of workbooks. I never told them that the field trips to war re-enactments, participation in the drama group, being able to write and illustrate your own stories and the games they play all “count” as school in my book.

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

I am having a difficult time with this question, even though I didn’t think I would. My family laughs all the time. We are happy, and jovial, and rambunctious and spontaneous. My kids love to tell jokes and play pranks on each other. Surely I should be able to come to with at least ONE funny experience.

I asked my friends – both online and in real life. Nobody could remember anything that I had shared with them that would qualify as a funny story about homeschooling, that someone not on the “inside” would think was funny.

There is the funny story about the raccoon that wouldn’t leave us alone while camping. We were camping with two other families – and this stubborn little bugger kept going from one camper to the next trying to get into the food and the trash and the campers!

Actually – he didn’t look that little when he got brave enough to come right up to the camp fire and scare the bejeebers out of us moms, who were sitting around reminiscing about our college days. I laugh out loud remembering how far my friend jumped over the fire and into her camper to get away from him.

And then there’s the embarrassing story about how my kids used to answer questions from strangers about homeschooling. While daytime shopping for gardening supplies last year, one super perky cashier decided to start a conversation with my kids – who were NOT very patient while waiting in line. She asked if we were on Spring break. Before I could stop them, my kids, in unison said “we are ALWAYS on Spring Break because we are homeschooled.”

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