The Force Will Be With Her Always: Obi-Mom Kenobi's Interview

I guess it was inevitable with all the traveling I've done lately that I would end up in a whole other galaxy. One far, far away.

I forgot my map, lost my way and ended up on the dark side. Fortunately I met Obi-Mom Kenobi and she helped me find my way back. Good thing too, because she was my only hope.

As you can see by the photo above, the force is strong with this one. When she's not in the far away galaxy, she and her family make their home in West Michigan, which she refers to as part of the Great Frozen Midwest.

Obi-Mom has a blog called, wait for it...Help Me Obi-Mom Kenobi, You're My Only Hope, where you can learn all about her family's life told in the way only a true Jedi Master can.

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

We've homeschooled for 6 years, after pulling our son - Padawan Learner (PL) - out of school in the middle of 2nd grade. Those 5 1/2 months in 2nd grade were so traumatic for him (and us) that we ended up bagging the entire rest of that year and started 2nd grade over again in the fall. That was one of the best decisions we've ever made homeschooling. Padawan Learner grew into himself a lot that spring and summer.

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 all love to travel, travel, travel. Well, at least that's my favorite part of the flexibility from homeschooling. There's just so many ways that we've all benefited from the freedom of homeschooling; it's hard to pick just a few...

Padawan Learner decided (back when we first took him out of school) that he wanted to learn Dutch like me. Now you may be shocked to hear this, but Dutch is not a language that's offered in most American elementary schools - private or not. Shocking, I know.

Because he started lessons at the age of 7, his accent is just beautiful. I sound like an American speaking decent Dutch. He sounds like a true Nederlandse jongen - with that gorgeous blond hair to match it.

PL at his Earth home

An unexpected benefit of doing this was incorporating many of the spelling rules from Dutch into his English spelling efforts. Dutch has very hard and fast spelling rules, and many of them transition well into learning the spelling guidelines for English.

On the flip side, he has very little tolerance for all the spelling rule exceptions in English though because he's seen that a language can operate very well without them.

Dad Windu (DW) likes that he gets to see us more often than when PL was in school. We join him at his office for lunch sometimes and tag along on projects when he's out doing a site visit.

Sometimes he has to stop in at home on his way to a job, and we get to visit with him for a few minutes while he gets ready.

Dad Windu says "Drive a car one must learn before piloting spaceships, yes."

There's no worrying about getting permission from PL's school to travel with Dad Windu when he has an extended trip out of town or a conference out of state.

I like being able to juggle curriculum, methods and/or timing as needed. If something isn't working for PL, I can put it aside for a while to see if it's a developmental thing or chuck it altogether if it just isn't a good fit.

We've run the gamut of homeschooling methods over the years from a very heavily regimented classical approach, to unit studies, to footloose and fancy free unschooling.

No single method was right.

So we settled on planned lessons in the morning (Algebra I, expository writing, and either history or science - on alternating days) and interest-led things in the afternoon, e.g., piano practice, trampoline class, housekeeping, cooking, visiting museums or nature areas, etc.

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 have the most fun getting out into the world when everyone else seems to be locked up inside! We especially enjoy sledding with friends, slinking around art museums, hiking and camping in National and State Parks, roaming Lake Michigan, and having the trampoline center all to ourselves.

We once ran off to Madison, WI on a lark when our house was in the middle of a horrendous, double bathroom, repair fiasco. We just couldn't take it any more!

Instead we went creeping through an awesome cave system, snuck into a writer's conference (inadvertently), found one of the most wonderful chocolatiers in the world, and hung out around the WI State Capitol Building - watching a very confusing smorgasbord of protest groups roll in and out across the Capital lawn.

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

Once, while PL and I were climbing to the top of the bell tower on the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, we saw a look-out ledge about half way up the 356 steps to the top.

Being curious, Padawan Learner gave the door latch a pull and it opened right up. We had a grand old time checking out the panorama. I was a little shocked to see such low railings and thought, "This would never pass inspection back home!"

Only after we had climbed to the top (decent-sized railings here, I was glad to see) and returned to the main floor did we learn that the viewing ledge we first stopped on was NOT intended for public use.

I was stricken with belated panic.

The ticket seller was stricken with horror.

Only Padawan Learner thought it was funny. "We're homeschoolers," he announced to all in his best Jethro Bodine voice.

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