Today’s interview is with Desiree Alonso who lives with her family in Tulsa Oklahoma. I met Desiree through the work she does with Unplugged Mom Radio, a weekly radio show about home education and parenting.
Desiree considers herself a BuddhaMommy and you will see how well this fits when you read her interview - she’s as full of joy as the famous “Laughing Buddha.” When she’s not having fun making mudpies and laughing with her children, she blogs about her BuddhaMommy life at “Something Happened on my Way to BuddhaHood.”
Now, relax, get yourself into a Zen frame of mind and meet the BuddhaMommy and her family of “joy-addicts”…
1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?
It's hard to think of how long I have been homeschooling because I don't feel like I ever "began". I don't feel like there was ever any moment when I wasn't since I became a mother. It just feels like it is the way it has always been. I remember realizing I would be an Independent Educator while still holding my infant child in my arms. I guess you can say I simply *realized* I would be a home educator. I don't really have a specific moment that I can look back on and say, "This was the moment we decided to homeschool." It was more like I simply realized what I already knew. I knew it in my heart, I just knew it.
Ironically, I was very critical of Home Education before I became a parent. Not just that, I was also very critical of mothers who chose to raise their children over a career. I was actually completing my degree when I delivered my daughter and I had it all planned out. I was going to have my baby, get my degree, enjoy the summer with my daughter, work at a university and get started on a good Graduate program. My husband would take care of my daughter while I continued my graduate program and my nani and mother would help raising the baby. Oh yeah... I had it all figured out.
And then, I became a mother.
So imagine my surprise when I realized I wanted to stay home and raise my daughter and I wanted to be responsible for her education. It shocked everyone! Including myself. However, it was also the most natural and easy decision in the world. So I guess my answer is, since my oldest is 7 years old.. I have been on this home education path for 7 years.
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)?
Gosh... the freedom of this path we've chosen is the best thing in the world. I can't imagine life any other way.
We have moved across country because we don't have to worry about "schooling". Our children learn freely and there is no building I need to register them in. We are free to live! to learn! and I don't just mean in very concrete ways but abstract ways as well.
I would say the minute we realized we were home educators... it was then that our understanding of "Freedom" really began. The freedom of Home Education is but one aspect of how our family has decided to reject "compulsory" anything. Albeit, careers, location, employment, our children's choices, etc... Home Education was but our first step in this journey of Freedom.
There are so many benefits to home education. When I think of the freedom it embraces and promotes I think of the freedom to really know my child, to really nourish their potential, talent, individuality and soul.
The freedom for my child to know me... really know me.
The fact that my children have the freedom to be as happy, as odd, as quiet, as loud, as funny, as serious, as intense, as laid back, and as much of themselves as they wanna be, without the risk of being labeled, categorized, branded or singled out. My children are happy to be, to learn and grow. In addition to my love, what better gift can I give them?
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 most fun times we have is when I completely let go and become a child once again. I love to see them playing outside running around and I just jump in there! They go crazy! I love that. I love to get dirty in the mud when they are making mud pies. I love to see them climb trees and I hear that excitement and wonder in my daughter's voice... how excited she is to make it all the way to the top of tree. For that moment I forget how old I am and I am introduced to the magic of tree climbing all over again.
I can honestly say Fun is just the core of what we do. It's a the center of what we do and who we are. That does not mean that there is no "hard work". It just means that even the hard work is fun.
Let's see, some of the fun stuff... deciding to make an alligator out of flour, water and salt and then painting it green... just cause. There was no real reason, it wasn't an assignment from some teacher and it wasn't written in a curriculum. The kids wanted to make clay, they figured out how and then after they figured out how... they wanted to make an animal just cause. We learned about Alligators, the consistency of clay and we also learned that rice grains are an excellent thing to use for alligator teeth!! :)
4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?
HaHa!! A funny experience. It's funny because I just laugh out loud and say to myself, "when isn't it all a funny experience?" Even the moments that seem to be a challenge, when we look back at those moments we can honestly look back and say, "oh my god what the heck was I thinking?"
Some of my favorite funny experiences are when my kids figure something out faster than I do. Those are seriously some funny moments.
Or they correct me and they are right. I admit sometimes I have asked, "How did you know that?" and they answer, "You taught me mommy." haha!
Or when I have given some instructions and they do it their way and it is more incredible, enjoyable and fantastic! than I could've imagined. I love humbling moments and I can admit I have LOTS of them.
I can't single out specific funny moments but all I know is there have been plenty of moments where I am at the table surrounded by chatter, papers, paint, a question from my 7 year old, a request by my 4 year old and a 2 year old trying to get under my shirt for some lunch and I just feel my hands over my face laughing and thinking... oh my god... my life is too funny. I love it! I can't imagine living any other way.
Labels: Homeschooling Family Interviews