Susan is the second mother I've been in contact with who loves living beside the cornfields of Illinois. She has a blog called Corn and Oil where she works to keep families informed of news and other items of interest that relate to maintaining homeschooling freedom in Illinois.
Between Shakespeare in town and strange chicken genetics on the farm this family understands it's okay to enjoy learning...
1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?
We’ve been homeschooling since 1995. We pulled our 4th grade son out of school in the middle of the year. Our 3rd grade daughter thought we were having too much fun, and she came out of school a week or two later. We had two toddlin’ twins at the time, and they have never been in school.
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)?
I finally got over feeling guilty that I was doing something wrong while getting our kids educated. It’s OK to enjoy learning and great freedoms in our family time. We’ve been having so much fun over the years.
We live in a rural area which we greatly enjoy. We’re also in between 2 college towns and we’ve been able to take great advantage of museums, programs, shows, and open houses that revolve around the universities. Our travel plans have taken us on their dad’s business trips to Washington, DC and the Chicago area.
Our son gave a 4-H Public Presentation of Shakespeare’s Henry the 5th St. Crispin’s Day speech at the state fair last year. (We’ve had lots of time to truly enjoy the Bard’s brilliance, and his battle stories seem to be our boys’ favorites.) Kelly loved the speech and had it memorized with all of the flourishes.
When the judge gave commentary, she stated that the kids needed to be careful to “speak to the audience” (family members), and not be too “high brow." We appreciate that we are going against that particular stream of thought. Kelly took it all in stride and these farm folks will be high-browing it to the Shakespeare Festival again this summer.
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?
Most of our travels would not have happened if we weren’t homeschooling. We’ve been on a couple of Caribbean cruises in the spring and fall that we’ve really enjoyed. (Endless ice cream seemed to be a big hit, along with snorkeling and hiking.)
This spring, our kids went down to Atlanta, Georgia with other Bow-Dacious String Band members for an American String Teachers Association workshop. That, and the subsequent tour coming back up would not have happened for our family, if we hadn’t been homeschooling.
The kids and I hit the local park trails walking or riding our bikes many times. We know when the hummingbirds would be migrating through a particular area filled with jewel weed, and we’ve spent time hunting morels with friends. (Sometimes with public schooled friends skipping out on a perfect spring day.)
We’ve not ever cracked a science textbook open for studies. My philosophy, backed up by their dad, is that learning science is a very hands-on endeavor.
We’ve studied fungus, earthworms, earwigs and owl poo in the great outdoors.
Our dogs have run into a skunk or two, and we’ve run away from a skunk or two.
Our chickens have also provided food for thought (and tummies). We just finished hatching out some chicks, and had some mishaps where we learn from our mistakes.
We also had our sweet, little bantam hen turn out a chick whose daddy is a very large Salmon Favorelle. That is certainly an interesting genetics (and physiological) head scratcher.
Living every day at our farm, while participating in other activities ‘in town,' overflows with many enjoyable opportunities.
4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?
When our twin boys first learned how to ride bikes, we threw the bikes in the back of the truck and hit the parks on those glorious spring and fall days. Some of the parks have more than a few hills.
Those two boys always seemed to have an unintended, but magnetic attraction towards each other. I was the only one seeing the roller coaster sights of them running into each other, and they can still remember doing loopy loops in the air.
They think it’s hilarious now, but I can remember envisioning the two identical twins turning into one. Thank goodness for bicycle helmets and soft grass.
Labels: Homeschooling Family Interviews