Today we spend some time with another Minnesota momma. Her name is Sarah and she homeschools the two little cuties pictured above. She’s known as Ruralmama online and blogs about their life at Homeschool On The Edge Of Nowhere.
Sarah speaks thoughtfully about the importance of the little bits of fun that sprinkle themselves around as a family lives and learns together. One day it could be the fun of picking strawberries and the next, it could be trolling for dead things…
1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?
I really feel as though we've homeschooled since my eldest daughter, Boo, was born 8 years ago. I was on the Dr. Sears bandwagon, attachment parenting--the whole nine yards and really felt like we'd sacrifice some indefinable thing if we sent her off to preschool. I don't want to come off as one of those homeschool parents that sounds like she is trying to coddle and keep her children in a bubble; the 'thing' I felt we would lose was her ability to be an individual, creative, funny, and interesting.
But more than that, I felt that our relationship with her would change in a negative way and somehow would become 'less". When her sister, Pickle, was born, almost 4 years ago, we felt that same connection. Homeschooling just felt natural and right to us.
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 so lucky to be able "to do or not do" as we please. My daughters have a very open schedule that includes math, reading, art, music, science, and lots of 'home ec,' but each day in our house looks different. They pick what they are interested in for the day and go with it until they are ready for the next interest. I know that kind of flexibility doesn't exist outside of our option to homeschool.
But some days we just chuck that all aside and do a needed family thing. Recently my grandmother was very ill and we just ditched it all in order to go visit her at the hospital for the day.
My sister, who does not homeschool, had a much more difficult time pulling her kids out of daycare and school in order to accomplish the same visit. Luckily, they were able to get there as well, but the amount of effort it took just to take some necessary time out with the family reminded me of how flexible we truly are.
Another example is that my father, the girls’ grandfather, is laid-off some winters (he's a landscaper) and we get so many opportunities to play with him, go out to lunch with him, and involve him in our field trips. Again, I can't imagine being able to do this if we weren't homeschooling!
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?
I think watching the girls "get" something for the first time is amazing fun.
When Boo first learned to read--really read--her whole face lit up like it was Christmas morning. That was very fun for me.
Another was just this week, when Pickle began to write her numbers all by herself (and they were recognizable to her as "right"), and she started chanting "Yay me, yay me!". Too much fun for me.
I think too many parents miss out on these kinds of "fun times" with their kids and have to do screamingly big things to "make fun." Don't get me wrong, taking that trip to Disney World with Grandma in the middle of March was incredibly fun as well, but I think that the little bits of fun along the way are what continue to make me want to be a homeschooler.
4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?
Dead things fascinate my dear daughters.
Out around Grandpa's house there are a large variety of semi-feral cats, who tend to kill things and leave them deposited on the lawn or in the garden. Boo's apparent job upon arriving at Grandpa's house is to run around checking to see if there are any new dead things to find. Of course, once she finds them she has to bring them to us for identification. My dad never ceases to be simultaneously horrified and proud of her finds, carefully burying them in the vegetable garden after identification.
She's found a wren, a shrew (the thing was HUGE), and more odd beetles and bugs than you can imagine. Pickle is the same way, but she saves her dead-thing trolling when we’re at home.
My dad claims that this just cinches it that we are homeschoolers. Then, he usually offers to find us some bonnets (a long-standing joke of his that all homeschoolers teach their kids how to reload gun shells and wear bonnets.
Labels: Homeschooling Family Interviews