Unfathomable Gifts of Love: Susan Gaissert's Interview

Today's interview is with Susan Gaissert, who has a blog she calls The Expanding Life. This photo is of her daughter on a Minnesota prairie but the family lives in the Northeaster U.S.

Susan shares her experience of how the freedom of homeschooling can really enrich a family's life, in particular when needing to care for an elderly family member.

And speaking of family members, read on to see what Susan and her daughter learned about their little toad family...

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

My daughter spent one month in kindergarten. Since then she's been home, and she is now just about sixteen years old. So, we're at about the ten-year mark for homeschooling. Actually, in our hearts, we've always been unschoolers, and as time went on, that spirit grew stronger and stronger. Our house is filled with books, notebooks,pens, and pencils, and we just happily read and write the days away.

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)?

Our freedom brought us unfathomable gifts of love. I was the only child living in the same state as my aging, ailing mother and because my daughter was home, I had the flexibility to take my mother to doctor's appointments, to do her errands, and to just plain visit with her, without ever having to worry about getting back home in time to pick up my daughter from school.

My daughter spent thousands of hours with my mother, and they became best friends. For the last four years of her life, my mother lived with us, and my daughter -- because she was home -- was able to be an integral part of the experience of living with and caring for and adapting to the needs of an elderly person. The cohabitation enriched us all, especially my daughter, I think.

Another benefit of flexibility and freedom has, of course, been the opportunity to travel. Our biggest trip was to Minnesota and South Dakota, where we saw the Betsy-Tacy book sites and the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites there.

Not being tied to a school schedule comes in handy so often. We regularly attend book discussions in New York, and when we get home, we are often hungry, so we go to the neighborhood Applebee's and eat at 11:30 p.m. We have a good time, and we probably would not do things like that if we had to get up at 6:00 a.m. for school.

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?

The Minnesota/South Dakota trip was a lot of fun, and so is our yearly trip to Cape May, NJ but then schooling families can take trips and have fun, too.

I guess our "fun times" come from the large amounts of time we spend together.

My daughter, my husband, and I share innumerable "in-jokes" that can make us laugh anytime, anywhere. The topics of the jokes come from all the shared experiences we have had -- all the time spent in one another's company, instead of being separated by a school schedule and homework.

We also love to watch old sitcoms together ("I Love Lucy," "Dick Van Dyke," "The Odd Couple," and "Father Knows Best") so that provides lots of fun.

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

On a trip to Kitty Hawk, NC, we found two adorable toads and brought them home with us. We named them Lucy and Ricky and looked forward to having a toad family.

After waiting a very long time for Lucy and Ricky to mate, we did some research and learned that Lucy needed to be renamed Fred. We had to adjust to having bachelor toads instead of a traditional toad family.

We still laugh at how we just assumed that one of the toads we arbitrarily picked up would be male and the other one female. Now, with our toad knowledge, we won't make that mistake again!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Debbie, for making us the subject of one of your interviews.

The Gaissert Family