Here is my interview with Ruthie, a former homeschool student who is now a home school mom herself.
How many years were you homeschooled? I was homeschooled from 1996-2002, so about 6 years. But really, being a home school mom, you never stop learning.
How old were you when you started homeschooling and were you homeschooled all the way through high school? I was 12 years old and in the 6th grade when my mom withdrew me from public school. I had just finished my first semester and just didn't go back after Christmas break. And if you're wondering why- it was by my choice. It was my first year in junior high and I just don't think I was ready for that much change all at once. When my mother pulled me out she also pulled out my younger sister who was in the 3rd grade.
Since then she has homeschooled my younger siblings all the way through. I am the oldest out of 7 children (including a 3 year old baby sister who is starting preschool this year). And guess what? I finished a year before my graduating class and on my GED I scored above average on my essay.
Were there very many other people homeschooling at that time? When we first started homeschooling, there were no other families that we knew of (at least anywhere near us). We felt very much alone. I didn't meet another homeschooler until I was in high school. But now everywhere I go I run into a homeschooling family. Homeschoolers are very close to my heart. In fact, I married another homeschooler. How cool is that?
What materials did you/your mother use for homeschooling? I was raised on Alpha Omega LifePacs. I wasn't really that inspired to learn with it. There is nothing wrong with a curriculum-in-a-box, but it just didn't fit with my learning style. My teaching style is very different from my mother's. I'm actually pretty eclectic. This year I'm using Abeka K5 with my almost 4 year old. With my 6 year old (in 1st grade) I am using Abeka for Language Arts and Math and anything I can get my hands on for History/Geography and Science. Next year, I may drop Abeka (except for math) and piece together my own curriculum and may even try a unit study or two.
Rule of thumb: If you're not having fun, try something else. Life is too short to be stuck in a homeschooling rut.
What was your favorite subject/activity and what was your least favorite? Being a homeschool child my favorite subject was History and my least was MATH. My favorite subject to teach, as a home school mom, is history and science and my least is still MATH.
You said that you homeschool your children now. What made you decide to homeschool them and why? Well, I honestly wasn't going to homeschool. Three years ago my oldest daughter was diagnosed with PDD (Autism Spectrum Disorder and it was mild). So the thought of homeschooling a special needs child scared me to death. After going through a special education preschool program and lots and lots of speech therapy (her speech is the only thing was effected), she was able to be enrolled in a mainstream kindergarten class. I enrolled her in pubic school August 2009. My bright, cheerful daughter who loved school started riding the bus, going to school and enjoyed being in kindergarten.
A month and a half later, she was a cranky and emotional child who would lay on the floor crying, "Please don't make me go back". I would jerk back tears and make her get on the bus, despite my motherly instincts. After many bad notes and several phone calls from her teacher practically saying that I have a problem child......I had enough! By October 2009, I took her out of school and started homeschooling her and she has blossomed. My bright and cheerful daughter is back and the PDD, well lets just say that she is healed. Thank you, Jesus. She needed alot of one-on-one attention and the only way she could get that is if she's at home and it's been the best decision I've ever made as a mother. When I mention to anyone that she has been diagonsed with PDD their reply is usually, "Wow. I would have never known. I don't see it at all".
Has homeschooling changed much from when you were homeschooled up to now when you homeschool your children? Absolutely! In the 90s there wasn't much to choose from as far as curriculum choices. But now with the internet the possibilities are endless. You can research curriculums that you otherwise may never have heard of. You can read reviews of curriculums from other home school moms who have already tried it. There are educational computer games, free printables and laundry lists of lesson plan ideas from everything from dinosaurs to the Mayflower to plant anatomy. The internet has become an almost must-have alongside your personal library card. There are even parents who try to forgo homeschooling for free (or almost free) and with today's information available to homeschooling families, it's possible. Oh, and they weren't near as many homeschool groups a decade ago as there are now.
My best advice for a newbie home school mom: Get plugged into a local homeschool group. Make friends with these women. They know what you are going through. Glean from their wisdom and advice. Don't go through this incredible journey alone.
Thanks so much to Ruthie for agreeing to participate in this interview! She is a great example of how a home school mom can make a difference in their child's life even when it's not comfortable for her.
If you have enjoyed this interview with a home school mom and you want to read some more interviews I had with other writers and publishers in the homeschool community, just head over to Home School Education and see the complete list of interviews there.Return from Home School Mom to Homeschool Information