Whether this is your first year or your tenth year, homeschooling is an ever-evolving thing. Yes you’ll find your style and your routines, but as your kids grow… so will you! If you know us, you know we like to support homeschooling families with practical tips and tools and curricula. However, there is nothing like seeing authentic homeschooling in action. We know modeling learning for our children is important, and sometimes we as adults need the same! We crave honest inspiration and guidance from others.
So, we have reached out to a few families we know to get a peek into their homeschooling world! We are so excited to introduce you to these lovely families – each unique in their approach to homeschooling and open to sharing. Next up is the Toman Family! Can’t wait for you all to get to know them!
How old are your kids? My kids are 6, 4, and 2.
Why did you originally decide to homeschool? We decided to homeschool because we feel that the one-size fits all standards curriculum of the public school system does a dis-service to each child’s individuality. Everyone learns at his/her own pace and I think that that is something that should be honored and respected. In homeschooling our children we’re able to teach them according to their own specific abilities, interests, and learning styles.
What would you say is your homeschool style? We definitely follow a very child-led unschooling approach.
What is a typical school day like at your home? We wake up in the morning and have breakfast, the kids enjoy some free-play time while I enjoy my coffee time. Then we settle in to whatever it is we are going to do that day. We very rarely do any formal sit-down schooling, so the kids busy themselves with whatever projects or activities they choose to do. We always make sure to make special time to do a read aloud from a chapter book and definitely get outside whether it’s just in our yard or at a park, the beach, or somewhere else.
What is the hardest thing about homeschooling? The hardest thing is definitely juggling the needs of the different children.
What is the most rewarding part about homeschooling? Being able to experience life with my kids. I really value the time we are able to spend together as opposed to us all being sent off to different places all day.
Tell a story about a homeschool win to inspire. A big win for me is just seeing their own intrinsic motivation carrying their educations. One example of this is my son, my four year old, learning how to write his name (and other words). I’ve never had a specific sit-down time with him to practice writing his letters; however, from seeing his name written around the house and watching his older sister and I writing for our own purposes, he was able to write his name one day all on his own. He was so proud of this accomplishment, not because it was a goal that I set out for him, but because it was something that he set out to do for himself. I didn’t even know he was in the other room writing it until he brought it to show me. It is okay to trust your children to go at their own pace, learning doesn’t need to be forced. When they are ready and have a purpose for learning something for themselves, they will be more than capable.
Tell a story about a homeschool fail to encourage. One day I set out to do a poetry tea time with my kids. I had gotten several poetry books from the library, got everything all settled, baked up some goodies–but they wanted NOTHING to do with it! I was so excited to try this with them and it was a huge failure! We still enjoyed the poetry, just not in a tea-time fashion.
If Target and Amazon both went out of business (God forbid) and you could only fill one little basket for the homeschool year, what would you put in it and why? I would fill it with lots and lots of arts and crafts materials-paints of all kinds, brushes, markers, colored pencils, crayons, hot glue, regular glue, glitter, paper.
Favorite curriculums? We don’t really spend much time working through any formal curriculum. My children are the curriculum.
What do you hope your children remember when they think back on their homeschool experience? My biggest hope is that they remember the togetherness, the time spent together reading good books, exploring the great outdoors, and the hours and hours they’ve gotten to just be children enjoying their childhoods together without having to follow anyone else’s agenda.
How has homeschooling changed/shaped you and your home for good Homeschooling has given me and our whole family a sense of freedom. It’s so nice to live somewhat separately from society’s expectations for families especially in regard to busyness and commitments. We don’t have to be tied down to a certain school schedule, we don’t have the pressure of all the time spent at school and then coming home to homework. There is definitely a sense of peace and contentment that comes from living without those extra expectations.
If you could say anything to a new Homeschool mom or a veteran homeschool mom who might be “tired”- what would it be? I would steal some words from homeschool guru Julie Bogart and tell them “there is no such thing as an educational emergency”. It’s okay to take time off for both your mental health and your kids. No one is going to fall “behind” because there is no such thing as “behind”. If you’re tired take the day off (or the week or the month) and do something that makes you feel refreshed and recharged. Kids are going to learn regardless of whether or not you’ve sat down to do formal lessons with them. Kids are learning machines, you can’t stop them from learning; it just may not look like what you had in mind.
Fill in the blank: Homeschool, for us, looks like…
Life lived together.
Which nugget of wisdom did you gain from this interview? Comment below!!