Home Ed Q&A with okiehomeschool

Many thanks to okiehomeschool for taking part in my Chai Chat, what a lovely read :)

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
When my daughter was in Kindergarten 5 years ago we noticed she was having difficulties learning.  She had a diagnosis of ADHD already but I thought it she also had dyslexia (These often go hand in hand).  The school doesn't recognize dyslexia so after a lot of heartache dealing with the school ignoring her problem we took her out of school to home educate.  While we did feel forced into the situation and I was hesitant to homeschool, I'm very glad we went down this path.  We did get her tested for dyslexia later and she does have it.  After that we adopted 3 older children and I wanted more time with them because we missed out on those first years of their lives so we did homeschooling and spent time learning and bonding.  

What kind of approach do you take?
With my daughter we take a very slow and steady approach to accommodate her needs.  With the others we go at a faster pace.  We use the state standards as a guideline for all the children but we piece together curriculum that we like.  Some is online, some is at the table (desk), and some is wherever we want it to be! 
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?  
Mostly we do work at the kitchen table or computer.  There are times in the day where one will take the laptop to their room to do their online work and take a book to their room for their required reading.  They do distract each other.  It can get loud with four kids so we do have to have strict rules about noise levels during class hours just like a brick and mortar school.  

What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
I think my favourite thing is that my kids can be exactly who they are without their peers telling them to be different.  I also really appreciate getting to be with them more. 

What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
We do math, language arts, social studies, and science on a daily basis.  We do add in other extras like sports, Bible, and art. We do have a loose schedule that we stick to daily.  It's not always the same time but its a pretty consistent routine.  Sometimes we start at 7:30 and sometimes 9 but the curriculum is always the same and in the same order.   Lunch breaks usually always follow a strict guideline because we have lunch with my husband at the same time daily but other breaks (recess) happen after each subject. 

What do you find most difficult and why?
I think that the most difficult thing about homeschooling is definitely the pressure I put on myself and my high expectations.  Sometimes things don't happen the way they are planned or sometimes a child doesn't get it and needs to do a lesson again, even in brick and mortar schools.  I have a hard time not being too hard on myself if we miss something on a certain day.  I can be too rigid with our curriculum schedule (the start and end dates). 
How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
I find that a lot of people are just not properly educated on homeschooling so I try to just explain all the ways my kids can and do socialize.   I have absolutely no worries about my kids socialization.  I actually feel like my kids have more opportunities to socialize than kids in a traditional school setting.  They have friends at church and in our neighbourhood that we play with daily.  They do co-ops like acting classes or art classes where they meet other kids.  They are around other people all the time and they communicate and play well with kids of all ages. 
Have family supported your decision?
My parents are really supportive of our decision and understand why we felt forced to start this journey.  Other family has made it clear that this is not the way they want us to raise our children.   It's definitely frustrating at times. 

How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
My kids participate in sports like track and bowling league.  My husband is a runner so they go on runs as well.  They get a lot of physical activity daily just including playing, bikes, roller skates, and the trampoline! 

Do you plan and how  far in advance?
I do plan but most of my curriculum is open and go which is nice.  The reading program we do for my dyslexic daughter does require some training, as does the writing program we use but they are very easy and are on video.  I plan art and history in advance so that I have the necessary supplies for our projects. I usually plan about a week or so in advance for those. 
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
Wake up and have breakfast and spend some time just waking up our bodies and minds.  We then start with our work.  While my son does his math online, my daughter and I will be doing her reading curriculum, my other daughter will be doing spelling on the laptop in her room, and my youngest son will have a book in his room.  Then they will have a short break in the back yard and then switch.  We will do history, science, art, and/or Bible together at the table.  Many times we are finished around 1pm.  
Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
Yes, but I find it a lot of fun to buy stuff for their education.  People don't have to spend a lot, though.  There are so many online resources! 

How do you make time for yourself?
I go to the gym or on a walk alone every day.  They have a bedtime so when they go to bed I use that time to watch tv or read. 
What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Find a support group online that you can get advice from and don't put too much pressure on yourself and your children.  Make learning fun!  One of the best things about homeschooling is that learning doesn't have to be done at a desk or sitting down.  You can learn the way you learn best! 


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