Why I Started Homeschooling AND Why I Kept Doing It: Homeschool Interview
Felicia Johnson is a homeschool mom of 8 children. Felicia has been homeschooling for 16 years and her children range in age from an infant to 19-years-old. Today we’re going to see why Felicia started homeschooling – that is due to special needs among children in her family – and, why she kept homeschooling!
Do you have children who are gifted, have special needs or autism?
Yes, my oldest (20) is a deaf dwarf with brain abnormalities. My son (18) and next daughter (16) have ADD. My son (5) is a sensory seeker and probably ADD also.
What is your best advice about what to do and what not to do when you start homeschooling?
#1 Don’t recreate the classroom at home.
Education is a way of life – education isn’t spending the day stuck at a school desk.
Not to say I don’t use tables and chairs, but we are not confined to one room or even to the house.
#2 Do spend time reading with your kids.
There is a world of possibilities waiting inside a book! Even non-readers can experience learning about science, math, history and more from listening to stories read aloud.
And don’t stop reading aloud! I still read to my high schoolers and it’s a very memorable experience for us. I love experiencing a good book together.
How did you decide to homeschool, and was that an easy choice or terrifying?
- of the flexibility
- I could teach from a Biblical worldview
- of the amazing field trips you can do when you homeschool!
When you homeschool, you choose a method or way of homeschooling. What did you choose when you started homeschooling, and if that has changed, how has it changed?
But, my homeschooling approach has changed somewhat and I’m now doing Classical Education with Charlotte Mason education.
I changed my homeschooling method because the dynamics of my family changed, thus the need to change my homeschooling methods. What worked for the first set of kids, was creating havoc for the second set of kids.
Both are amazing options, but finding the one that fits best is important.
What homeschool curriculum do you use and how did you choose it?
We used My Father’s World for many years, sprinkled with an assortment of eclectic choices. We are now using Classical Conversations, Well Trained Press, Schoolhouse Teachers, and Life of Fred. My Father’s World worked well with my first three as they were close in age, 2 girls and 1 boy. I love the unit study approach to learning about one subject and using it to teach most subjects. But when our family started growing again (My second set of children are 4 boys and 1 girl) we turned to classical education for a simple, natural approach to learning.
What is the easiest homeschooling subject to teach/guide your children in?
I think the easiest homeschooling subject to teach is probably Language Arts. Perhaps because I love literature and giving my children an appetite for the classics.
I love the written word too! Children are excited when they see others excited.
Did you find you get the ‘socialization question’ a lot and if so, how do you handle it?
While I used to get the socialization question, I don’t anymore.
If they say anything I don’t notice. Plus my older two are very well-spoken and active in their communities.
We have given no one reason to question socialization for our family. I think this is because I’ve been homeschooling for so many years and people respect my veteran status.
Do you use technology a lot in your homeschool, and why do you/do you not choose to use it?
We don’t use technology in our homeschool, really. We found it was too easy to get lost in electronics. We have a movie night once a week and usually watch a movie of a book we recently read. My kids occasionally play on a tablet, and we use some schoolhouse teacher resources, but it’s rare. We spend a lot of time outside.
What’s the best advice you ever received about homeschooling?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is that my homeschool will not look like anyone else’s homeschool.
We each have our own unique styles and bents, which makes our homes look different. And different is ok!
What have you enjoyed most about homeschooling?
The things I’ve enjoyed most about homeschooling has been watching my children learn new things and feeding their learning passions! They are each unique with their own interests.
How would you encourage a homeschool mom who’s feeling dejected and a little overwhelmed with her homeschool?
Take a breather. Curl up on the couch with a read-aloud. Do something fun together with your children. Find what fits your family and not what you think everyone else is doing.
What is homeschooling like? Would you say it’s harder work than you expected or not?
Homeschooling is busy. In fact, it’s a full-time job! One of the downsides to homeschooling is when you or outsiders think you have free time because you stay home.
But, in fact, homeschool moms dedicate all our energy to raising, training and teaching our children. It takes commitment and follow-through.
What is the biggest problem with homeschooling and how have you gotten around it?
The biggest problem with homeschooling has been registering with the state. We have lived and homeschooled in five states and every state has different rules. I find it frustrating to keep up with each state’s laws, but I know it is there as a safety net.
Some states require testing, some do not. Some require umbrella schools, some require notice of intents. Some school districts don’t understand their state laws and we have to educate them.
But, other than all that red tape, I love homeschooling!
What are the three best things you can do in your homeschool that you couldn’t do if your kids when to school?
- Go on field trips and avoid the crowds,
- Be a part of their education and watch them learn new things for the first time, and
- Vacation on our schedule, instead of the school’s schedule.
Have you had any homeschool disasters, and how would you have changed things to avoid them?
Our disasters include moving mid-year, running a farm while my husband was deployed and changing curriculum mid-year. But if I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t change these experiences as we learned something in all these situations.
What is your overarching goal or outcome for your homeschool?
To raise God-fearing men and women that will be an asset to society, not a burden. Many families focus so heavily on academics that the more important goal is overlooked.
God has entrusted us with these precious lives, to raise them up for His glory. We can’t lose our focus and forget the better portion!
What are three articles on your website you wish every homeschool mom could read and why are they great?
These are my favorite blogs that I think homeschool moms will benefit from reading: