I’ve home educated my 5 children for almost 12 years. I started out doing this as a full time stay home mom with a 7th grade education and a GED. I then became a single mother who had to go to school myself and work full time. I became an EMT/Firefighter. I had also been a published writer, musician, and a ran our homestead. While paying my way through school I worked 3 jobs, helped at the food pantry at church, and taught Sunday school. I am also a long time sober member of a well known 12 step group. During all this I home schooled my children, or I should say, they educated ME. I learned after the first year of trying to do public school at home, that what my children really needed was my support. I learned to write checks, barter, and volunteer for the materials we needed, and they basically led their own way with me rallying behind them. I had a strong support group I ran, with their help, for over 4 years. During that time I worked a discrimination case with the Rutherford Institute, stood against the local school board and town Mayor. The kids and I had to move from our farm to the ghetto for awhile, which was an education in itself. We stayed in church and volunteer activities because this is a cornerstone. I am a christian, and we are a christian family. But we’ve had our share of problems, as any other family. I had to file a lawsuit against a big city fire dept for sexual assault on the job. I went through 2 divorces. The kids were awesome and i truly believe they managed so well because they’d gotten very close being homeschooled. I have little formal education myself, but I’ve been a writer for a few well known magazines and large city newspapers. I’m a self taught computer nerd. I was on a record label and made a music video and CD in LA a few years ago. My children have taken after this in the area of art and writing. They are serious students. A year ago I married a wonderful man who is my best friend and the best Dad to my children I could pray for. He is a college graduate and Paramedic/firefighter with all the Certs. We work EMS full time, co-write a weekly column for a well known magazine. We have a small farm. We bought an old Grange Hall this past April and opened an Amish general store. We are both also on a level One DMAT team. I worked on this for 3 years before I met my husband. We didn’t live together before we married, we did everything by the book to the best of our ability and have been greatly blessed.
My oldest son(homeschool graduate) will graduate next spring with a BA in psychology. My oldest daughter(homeschool graduate) is also a firefighter and works a union job. The middle daughter(homeschool grad and looking at college) helps to run the store and the family. The youngest daughter is a junior in high school. All A’s, it was her choice to go back this year, and she is a studious pupil. No goofing off. The youngest son of 11 is still homeschooled and does beautifully. Does it take a stay home mom/dad with a college education to teach kindergarten? NO. I have learned a mountain more that I did in public school by teaching my own. One area I"ve enjoyed most is conspiracy theories. Again, let me reiterate, the most important element is the enjoyment and freedom of homeschooling. My 11 yr old son is an avid World Historian. But he would regard me with horror were I to require him to read a book on what a flower thinks of the rain. I get a list of the basics he needs, and show it to him. Then we work around it. We use the library, the internet, the book sales, lots of paper and pens for free doodling. We use the discovery,learning,teaching,court, a/e channels on the basic cable.
We talk alot. We eat meals at the table when we aren’t at work. Everyone has chores. We have maps on the wall, a huge dictionary on the table. Everyone pitches in wherever and whenever needed.
Homeschooling is a normal way of life for us. Its just the way we live. And we learn alot by just doing!
My husband has 5 children also, all grown. But they grew up opposite the way we live. They are well versed in all the secular ways of the world but the moral attitudes are absent. And the family bond is not there. This has been a happy experience for my husband who was a farmer for many years and kept his children involved in that every chance he could. But..the circle around them did not, nor does not today, support the way we live, versus the way they live. I am making an observation here. The differences are all too obvious.And I find it sad. I do hope to further my education at some point. But I have written 2 books, and am writing a third. If things progress as they are now, we will be moving to a more self reliant farmstead out in Amish country. I can then go back to being a full time mom, run the store, and finish the book. I want to add that we did not do any of the things we’ve enjoyed because we have money. We are a low to middle class income family. We’ve had to be on food stamps before, and had some rough times before my husband and I met and joined the troops. So we understand roughing it.
I might also add that my daughter and I were on a fire dept together, as a team, and also were recruited to run for public office. It was a illuminating experience to go to the voting booth and see both our names on the list. I was elected to a public office that night. Strange Days indeed.
Just a few thoughts from the country..
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