Kristin T., Ventura, CA
What is your greatest struggle when it comes to homeschooling?
Balancing my oldest’s needs and school while keeping the 4 and 2 year old alive. Being a parent and the teacher, there is no real separation and it can strain our relationship.
If you could go back in time, what would you change or do differently?
Be more lax from the beginning with her schedule.
How do you feel about the current political landscape in regards to homeschooling?
I think it is more common and acceptable now than it has been in many years. There is also a stigma around it and a lot of attention to what we can use funds for.
How has your homeschooling changed since the COVID-19 Pandemic?
I am incorporating my 4.9 year old in our lessons more, so a little more hands on activities than concepts. My oldest isn’t attending any classes so I am making more of an effort to find online classes for her of varying interests. I am trying not to make this time more stressful, so I am letting her guide her free time and not pushing as hard on her subjects. My 2 and 4 yo don’t respond to the lessons she does, so we read a lot of stories, do a lot of art, and unique learning stuff like an extended version of Hopscotch with numbers, alphabet, and shapes or other very active ways of learning.
Our adventures have been moved to virtual museum and zoo tours, playing instruments and dancing with a song on the TV, YouTube drawing courses, and one-on-one easy hikes locally. We have tried to source out local companies for activities at home to continue supporting them and have cool activities.
We watch story time online from our local library, or incorporate the felt board for stories. Lots of LEGO activities, Harry Potter based lessons for my oldest, and conventional methods like workbooks. We usually do themed stuff around the Earth and nature cycles, which is more limited now, but there are so many resources that we can do from home.
What are your thoughts on the growing diversity, or perhaps lack of, in your homeschool community?
I think we are meeting a big mix of homeschoolers. The majority still seems to be very religious, so that creates groups by belief and being secular can make it challenging to find friends and groups. It is definitely mostly white, middle-class families from what we see in Ventura.
Now that we have gotten to the heart of the interview, tell me a little about yourself, your family, and why you chose to homeschool. Do you work in addition to homeschooling your children or did you leave a career behind to do so?
I stay home and homeschool, and it was out of response to a tough school situation for my oldest. She will be returning to public school next year for 5th grade to determine if she wants to continue homeschooling again. I like many aspects of it but I am ready for a break and for her to experience something different.
How do you find balance and time for self-care in the midst of daily life as a homeschooling parent?
I leave as often as possible to hike, travel, and nurture my interests. I leave when their father can watch them or I get a babysitter.
In a perfect world, what would your ideal homeschool day look like?
If we have the freedom and flexibility around our schedule, I like to take her on field trips or do projects. If I had no other kids to take care of, it would be more one-on-one and project based learning with lots of travel.
But in reality, what does your typical day look like?
I plan her curriculum for the year in the summer and she is self-directed. She eats and then starts on her school work, and then after she finishes she is free to do what she wants until we go over her work. We have at least one outing per week and I try to work education into it.
How has your homeschooling changed over the years? Do you subscribe to any particular homeschooling philosophy?
We started out very rigid and school-like and now it is more relaxed. I don’t want her world to center around school tests, grades, and events. I don’t want to ruin our relationship fighting over school and homework.
What are your best homeschooling memories thus far?
Travel, hands on activities, and the overall freedom.