Mysterious Guru on a Mountaintop: Beverly's Interview

This is Beverly. She lives in Minnesota with her family and likes to sit on the tops of mountains and answer in riddles.

She blogs at Homeschool Image where her kids are known as Princess, Gameboy and Cookie. I'm sure mom has lots of riddles about how those names came about too.

But the biggest riddle of all is how she and her husband have managed to avoid owning cellphones. Even her 4 year-old has one for goodness sakes...

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

I imagine that sometimes when I answer queries about our homeschooling life, I must sound like a mysterious guru on a faraway mountaintop who answers only in riddles.

If you ask, "How long have you been homeschooling?" I might answer, "My oldest child is 10." I think all parents are homeschoolers, and a child's education begins even before birth.

But I'm not so dense as to not understand the question. You're asking, "For how many years since your children have been school aged have you not enrolled them in school?"

And the answer to that would be that this coming fall will be my eighth year. But even the simple answer could be more complicated, still. I registered my oldest child as a homeschool kindergartner one year early because he has an October birthday and was already reading so well.

A few years later, I declared him to be in second (or third?) grade two years in a row so he'd be back with kids his age. And another complication in this answer is that in our state, Minnesota, education is not compulsory until age 7, so I didn't need to register them until that age anyway, so perhaps that is when homeschooling began.

So I have an answer, but I'll say again: My oldest child is 10. I have two others, ages 7 and 4. None of them have been enrolled 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)?

Freedom for our family unit is perhaps the number one reason for choosing not to enroll the kids in school. It can be hard to explain to people, but I don't see homeschooling as a choice so much as I see school enrollment as a choice. After all, the baby is at home, toddler is at home, the family is living at home. Keeping them there is just maintaining the status quo.

Choosing to pursue an education outside of the home seems like a big choice for a family, and a choice that most people make. I trust that families know what works best for them, and I support others people's choice to send their kids to school. I don't think school is necessarily a bad place.

But back to the freedom homeschooling allows. There are practical matters, such as being able to go on vacation anytime.

My kids have been in several plays, and it never stresses me if they're at practice very late because I know they can sleep in the next morning.
Beverly uses nicknames for her kids on her blog. Pictured: "Princess" (left) and "Cookie" (right) join "Gameboy" in the lobby of a theater on opening night of a play in which he played a queen's royal adviser.

I work part-time at night, and it's nice the next day not needing to get children ready for school.

There are aspects of freedom that are more philosophical, too, such as the freedom to teach matters of faith and personal family values in the context of whatever they're learning.

There's the freedom to follow a child's curiosity and find teachable moments that happen every day. There's the freedom to quit things that aren't working.

Children experience freedom, too, I think, when they are able to avoid peer pressure at a young age and develop a strong sense of self.

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?

A memory that has stuck with us happened a few years ago when I was reading "Eragon" out loud to my son, a book about a boy and a dragon, and one which we were enjoying together.

There are many descriptions in the book about what kind of food two characters are eating as they travel a long distance on foot. On a sunny day, we went to a store and bought homemade dry sausage, a fresh baguette and block of aged cheddar cheese. We took this food on a short hike to the basalt top of the highest peak around.

As we sat there eating the food, my son's imagination was filled with the image of the dragon flying around us. Reading the book, buying the food and traveling to a place similar to the book was really fun and created a special memory for us.

In an academic sense, I suppose it instilled in him the feeling that books can transcend their pages and affect your real life with emotions and shared experiences. I don't try to break things down academically too often, though. I just enjoy our time together.

Another example: My oldest two children have been in several community theater plays. Last year, I decided to audition, too, and the three of us were in a play together. People would ask, "Is it hard to get your school work done while you're all in this play?" and I'd say, "What do you mean? This *is* school!"

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

I tell funny stories on my blog, but I don't separate "life stories" from "homeschooling stories," I suppose.

I like the funny games the kids invent; right now there is a target taped to the end of the hallway. There are different points in different zones. The game is, you run down the hall with your arm extended, hand pointing. Wherever your pointing finger lands, that's how many points you get. You'd think it would be easy, but actually, when you're running, it's kind of hard to control where it goes.

All three of my kids independently invented the game where you crawl around with a laundry basket on your back and pretend you're a turtle.

My 4-year-old was on a pretend cell phone yesterday, calling her boyfriend named "Muscles." This struck me as extra funny since my husband and I don't have cell phones.

So to me, the kids are the funniest bunch on earth. Our homeschooling is just a part of our life, my husband and I being aware that they are children who need to be taught so naturally, we teach them.


Beverly said...

Looks good, Debbie! Thanks for including me in your project!

Ruralmama said...

I have been reading Beverly's blog now for well over a year. She's a hilarious mom! I homeschool in MN as well (she somewhat further North than I) and it's always fun to see how different our parts of the same state look/ the different opportunities that we get to have in the same geographic region.
Awesome job and what a great interview!

Debbie H. said...

Thanks Ruralmama. I've contacted you to see if you want to participate too. Hope you will!

Ruralmama said...


I've managed to lose the email you sent me! Chalk it up to summer-brain, if you know what I mean. I am interested!


Haha, my word verification is "descul" and to a dyslexic that would translate to "deschool"--that's so darned funny!