Meet an Australian Homeschooler: An interview with Suzie

Meet our next Australian Homeschool Mum. Today we are interviewing Suzie who blogs over at Suzie’s Home Education Ideas.

Tell us a little about yourself and/or your family. Does your family have an interest, hobby or passion?

My family enjoy being outdoors. We enjoy going camping, nature walks, bike riding, swimming, tennis, dirt bike riding and just being in each other’s company.

Nature

How long have you been homeschooling?

We have been homeschooling for just over three years now.

Were you homeschooled? Tell us about your school experience?

I was not homeschooled although my young sister and youngest brother were homeschooled for a short amount of time.

Were you always going to homeschool, even before you got married?

I never really thought about homeschooling before my husband and I got married. It was while I was at university that the idea of homeschooling come to me and my husband and I began discussing it.

Would you like to share about how you started homeschooling?

We have always been home educating our children since they were born as our children never went to childcare. We listened to some bad advice and sent our son to preschool for a few short months and then to kindergarten before we removed him a few months later and continued to home educate him. We knew our son wasn’t ready for school and we also knew that the school environment would not suit his learning style or his personality but felt outside pressure to put him into the school system.

Tell us a little about your children

We have three beautiful children. Our son Master M is 8 years old and loves science and maths. Our daughter, Miss L, is 4 years old and is very much a self-directed learner and is very bright.  And our youngest daughter, my not-so-little baby, is almost 3 years old and loves having stories read to her and enjoys playing with play dough.

Where do you do most of your homeschooling?

We have a nice balance of our learning occurring outside where my children can play and learn naturally as well as doing more structured learning inside our home in our learning space.

Tell us about your typical day. Do you follow a routine?

We live in the top end of Australia where the weather is HOT! So we spend the early mornings outside playing, exercising, learning and just enjoying the nature around us. We then take shelter inside our cool home during the hot part of the day. While we are inside we start with reading stories together for my son will read to my daughters and I. This is usually followed by some spelling and word activates and possibility some letter, postcard or birthday card writing. We stop for some morning tea and continue with math which is followed by science, geography, history, visual arts or whatever else my children are interested in at that time.

Literacy Learning

What’s the first thing you do every morning to get ready for the day?

Coffee is always a good start!! On a more serious note, making sure my children are all fed, some housework has been done (a load of washing, dishwasher packed etc) and my children have all had a cuddle and kiss and told that they are loved.

What would you ask for as a homeschooling parent if you could have anything you wanted?

I would ask for more time in my day. I seem to get to the end of my day and still have so many things that still need doing and just run out of time.

What is the hardest time of day for you, as a homeschool parent?

Getting dinner ready is definitely the hardest part of the day. My little one is tired, I am tired and still good food needs to be made and family needs to be fed.

What is the best and/or easiest time of day for you?

The mornings and evenings are definitely the best part of my day. We get to leisurely we up and start our day without the rushing, stress and hassle that school brings. This is the best time of day to connect with my children too. I also love the evenings when my little girls are in bed and my son and I get to share a book together or build a lego master piece while we talk together.

When was your defining moment of deciding to homeschool your children?

My defining moment came when I had been watching that spark and joy slowly dwindle from my sons eye, watching him become more anxious and stressed (he was 5 years old too!!) and then he burst into tears one morning begging me not to send him to school. I never sent him back and applied to homeschool that same day.

Do you ever feel like you haven’t accomplished a thing at the end of your homeschooling day?

There are days when I feel like that but by reflecting on my day, I can see how in many ways, even if no structured learning had taken place, learning was still occurring in incidentals moments throughout the day.

Describe your educational approach.

I think the best label that would fit us is an eclectic approach to home education. Almost all of our learning is child-led learning in that our children follow their interest and we support their learning in whatever they are interested in. We also use parts of the Montessori way of learning in that we keep learning hands on and support and guide our children’s learning rather than teach them. We also use the Charlotte Mason approach in that we use living books (books without twaddle) to learn from when it comes to science, nature, history and other stories.

What is your favourite subject to teach?

Funny thing is that I never really liked science or maths as a student and these are the subject areas that my son loves. So while I have been supporting his learning, my love for these subjects have blossomed which has surprised me.

Hands on maths

What’s your least favourite subject to teach?

I don’t have a least favourite subject as whatever my children are interested in, then I am more than happy to support their learning and encourage them where I can.

Do you plan to homeschool through high school, are you homeschooling a high schooler?

We plan to homeschool for as long as it works, as long as our children are happy and learning and if that means through highschool then so be it!

What has been the biggest challenge along your homeschool journey?

When we first started home educating, my biggest challenge was juggling a newborn baby, a toddler as well as a five year old who was learning. Now, my challenges are slightly different as now I have three young people who are learning and keeping up with their learning and their interests is diffidently my biggest challenge as of late.

Do you use a curriculum and if so which one ?

We have two curriculums that we use. The first one is the Targeting Maths curriculum and we use this mainly as a guide as we extend learning beyond the student book and into real life situations. We also use All About Spelling as my son has struggled with spelling as asked for lessons to help him. The rest of the subject areas are directed by child-led interests and filled in by charlotte mason suggested literature.

Are you qualified to teach your children?

Yes I am. I know my children better than anyone else so I know what they like, how they learn and what suits them best. I have been supporting their learning since birth and I intend to continue to do so as they grow.

What is the one “chore” you, personally, would rather avoid?

Cleaning the floors is almost a daily job as we learning in our home but thankfully I have a supportive husband who helps me with the floor and other house work.

What do you do to relax?

Believe it or not I blog for relaxation. In many ways blogging helps clear my head of all the learning my children have been doing and it helps me reflect on what they have learnt and how far they have come. I also enjoy going for a quiet walk by myself and getting some quiet time to think.

What is the hardest thing about homeschooling for you?

Finding “me” time is always hard as there is always house work to be done, food to cook, children to care for and learning to prepare but in many ways, my life is full and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you love most about homeschooling?

Watching my children learn is the absolutely BEST thing about homeschooling. You know that moment when they finally get something and that spark in their eye lights up and off they go….I just love watching that! I love that I am daily building a relationship with my children and making memories that will last a life time. I love that I am able to support them to LOVE learning as this will benefit them for the rest of their life.

Play-based Learning

What is a favourite Bible story and why?

The story of Hannah and Samuel, without a doubt is my favourite bible story. Having experienced infertility for many years together with pregnancy loss, the story of Hannah and the faith that she had that God would one day give her a baby, gave me incredible strength and hope during those times in my life when all I could see was darkness.

What is your favourite verse in the Bible?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, t those who are called according to His purpose Romans 8:28

What is your favourite homeschooling book?

At the moment, I have two books that are my “go-to” books and they are Project-Based homeschooling: Mentoring Self-direct Learners by Lori Pickert, and How to Raise and Amazing Child: The Montessori way to bring up caring, confident children by Tim Seldin.

What are you reading at the moment?

Lots of different homeschool blogs!

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Every day that we home educate our children is as perfect as it gets! Of course we have loads of house work, and toys and mess here and there but my children are healthy and happy and get along together, most of the time. So to me that is a perfect day.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new homeschooler, what would it be?

Ignore those that don’t support you, do what works for you and just take each day at a time until you find your groove.

Who would you say has been your biggest influence and inspiration?

MY biggest inspiration comes from my son. I saw such a positive change in my son when we finally took him out of school, not just in his learning but also in his behaviour. I am inspired daily to continue working hard to support my children in their learning.  And in return I am learning so much about myself as a mum and as an educator.

Do you have a homeschool mentor?

no

Who inspires you?

My husband inspires me. He never liked school and did not do very well so he dropped out halfway through high school. Yet, he has followed his interest, put himself through tafe and then university, and now earns a very nice living working in a field  that he love.

–oo0oo—

Suzie's Home Education IdeasThank you Suzie for sharing a little about yourself and your family.  Be sure to pop on over to Suzie’s Blog Suzie’s Home Education Ideas.  You can also connect with Suzie on Instagram, Pinterest , Twitter, Google+ and Facebook

ANZAC Resource List

ANZAC FREE printables

Kylie over at Our Worldwide Class Room has a FREE Printable ANZAC unit for Young Learners.

10 Ways to help children understand ANZAC Day

Suzie shares two great posts for ANZAC day over at Suzie’s Home Education Ideas

10 Ways to help Children Understand ANZAC Day

Learning about ANZAC Day

For the Fallen an Ode

Chareen over at Every Bed of Roses shares

ANZAC Day an Ode to the Fallen a list of Resources for you

Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood

 10 Books for ANZAC day

Erin from over at Seven Little Australians shares her pic of 10 Books for World War 1

 Celebrating Australia

 Georgina from over at Walkers Homeschool Life shares

Celebrating Australia a collection of books

A photo essay of making a poppy wreath: We Remember

Easter Resource List

Willywamwhimsy easter tree Tutorial

Over at Willy Wam Whimsy you can get a step by step tutorial for Making an Easter Tree.

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Stacey from over at A Moment in Our World shares 16 Easter Activities for you.

Blog Banner Easter Printables

Kylie from over at Our World Wide Classroom shares

Fun Australian Easter Printables

8 Easter Tot Trays

The Bilbies First Easter Activities list.

Montessori Inspired Easter Traditions Around the World

Montessori Mama shares over at Montessori Nature

Montessori Inspired Easter Shelves

FREE Easter Colouring Pages to foster creative thinking and imagination

Montessori Inspired Easter Traditions Around the World

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Collette from over at The Art of Being Mama shares A Children’s Easter Bible Study.

 Our top 5 Easter Books

 Chareen over at Every Bed of Roses shares

5 Books to read at Easter

Egglo glow in the dark eggs

A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Jesus Tree 40 Days with Jesus

Ideas for Lent from Pinterest

Aussie Book Threads Picture

Erin from over at Seven Little Australians shares 28 books for Lent/Easter
 May you be blessed as you share the depth of His love with your families this Easter.

Meet an Australian Homeschooler: An interview with Sarah

Meet our next Aussie Homeschool Mum. Today we are interviewing Sarah who blogs over at We Live, We Learn

Tell us a little about yourself and/or your family. Does your family have an interest, hobby or passion?

I am a homeschool Mum and a photographer. I run a boutique (meaning I only do a very limited number of weddings and sessions 😉 ) photography business and homeschool my 7 and (almost) 5 year olds, sometimes my two passions can keep me really busy but I love both too much to give one up!

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How long have you been homeschooling?

We began to homeschool at the beginning of 2013, so this is our second year.

Were you homeschooled?

No, I wish I was!

Would you like to share about how you started homeschooling? Tell us a little about your children.

We started our homeschool life after our son completed 1 year in the mainstream system (he did PREP). We discovered that it held him back in some areas so that he was bored, and pushed too hard in other areas so that he hated learning and thought he was a failure… The day that my 5 year old said “Mum I think I am a failure” was simply heartbreaking and he never went back to “school” again. There were a number of factors
in our decision but that moment was a real eye opener.
Will is 7 and he is a chatterbox, a maths and science nut and a devoted friend. He loves having friends over to play and swim, he watches lots of documentaries and likes to build and make things. He is not too excited about reading and writing but still does it when he has to!
Sage is 4 (almost 5) and she takes her time to get to know people, loves music and art and is a loyal friend. Her most asked question is “can we go out today?”, she listens to music all day and likes to play imaginary games. She thinks she can do anything as long as she puts the words “I want to learn” in front of it — such as “I want to learn to eat chocolate” or “I want to learn to climb over the house” etc

Where do you do most of your homeschooling?

Everywhere. We are Natural Learners so we do our best to turn everyday activities into learning experiences.

Tell us about your typical day. Do you follow a routine?

No routine. We often have play dates, co-op or other learning activities booked during the week so we try and make sure to do some sort of fun learning activity on days we are home. My father also has one of the kids each Friday so I can have one on one time with one of them (we alternate who goes each week) and they also get to learn cool and crazy things from their granddad! Win win.

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What’s the first thing you do every morning to get ready for the day?

If it is warm, a swim. If it is cold, cuddle a cat and read. Or the kids do reading eggs.

What would you ask for as a homeschooling parent if you could have anything you wanted?

That my husband could work from home more, having said that he is really involved so we are really very lucky.

What is the hardest time of day for you, as a homeschool parent?

Late afternoon when we need to get the house in order and prepare dinner.

What is the best and/or easiest time of day for you?

Mornings… we can get moving at our own pace. If one of the kids sleep in it is no problem.

When was your defining moment of deciding to homeschool your children?

As I mentioned earlier when my son said “Mum I think I am a failure” because he was not able to complete a piece of work in time. Another HUGE part of our decision was an incident when William had spent the entire weekend making a science experiment with his granddad. He took it to school so full of excitement, he could hardly contain himself as he asked if he could show his class. She said yes although when the time came to show the class William we too crazily excited to be able to sit still and was sent out of the room… he missed the teacher showing the class his experiment. He was devastated.

Do you ever feel like you haven’t accomplished a thing at the end of your homeschooling day?

Of course!

Describe your educational approach.

Natural Learners or Unschoolers which basically means that we follow the lead of the children, if they are interested in a certain subject or activity we try to squeeze as many learning experiences into it as possible!

What is your favourite subject to teach?

Whatever the kids are most excited about on that day. It is so much fun to watch them being enthusiastic and loving to learn!

What’s your least favourite subject to teach?

With William it is reading. He isn’t a huge reader and get frustrated at himself when he can’t do something. He is no where near as bad at it as he thinks he is… but he can’t see that. Sage is still so little that she looses interest in most things long before I am ready for her too! I try and think up ways to keep her interest but she is tricky!

Do you plan to homeschool through high school, are you homeschooling a high schooler?

We have always said to the kids that we will homeschool as long as they want to do it. If they decide to go to school that is their choice.

What has been the biggest challenge along your homeschool journey? Do you use a curriculum and if so which one ?

Letting go. We started our journey trying to do school at home, although we knew that we wanted something completely different we were to indoctrinated to let go of the system. It took us a few months of watching the children really blossom when we did let go and let them learn their way to see that that is what was really going to work for us. No we don not use a curriculum.

Are you qualified to teach your children?

Every parent is. If you don’t know something learn it with them. Although I did do a couple of years at university to become a primary school teacher I don’t think that has been what has helped me. I think knowing my children and being interested has been the best “qualification”

What is the one “chore” you, personally, would rather avoid?

All of the household stuff!!! Vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, you name it I want to avoid it!

What do you do to relax?

Photography, gardening and getting out of the house. If I am feeling the pressure we pack a picnic, grab a magnifying glass, pens and paper and head out to nature.

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What is the hardest thing about homeschooling for you?

Balancing work and life — my brain gets too full to separate all that I am doing. Reporting — well actually keeping track of learning experiences so we can report!

–ooOoo–

Thank you Sarah for taking the time to share about yourself and your family.  You can connect with Sarah over at her blog: We Live, We Learn, and on Facebook

Aussie Homeschool Blog Post Round Up

Australian Homeschool Blog Post Round Up

Recently the Australian Homeschool Bloggers have formed a group and decided to join forces to share their knowledge and insight with you.  Welcome to the first Aussie Homeschool Blog Post Round Up for 2014.

Label Continents Collage

Kylie over at Our World Wide Classroom shares some great ideas for learning about Continents & Oceans along with a FREE Printable for you.

Making Recycled Paper over at We Live We Learn

Sarah from over at We Live We Learn addresses the topic So What is Homeschooling Anyway ? The family also did a Recycled Paper activity and shared a full tutorial on how to make your own Recycled Paper.

chalkboard paint pic blogStacey from over at A Moment in Our World has a tutorial on How to Make your own Chalkboard Paint.

For those of you looking for a visual way to teach Greater Than / Less than and Equals be sure to see this hands on approach with a FREE printable for you.

With Easter being just around the corner you can find a great FREEBIE to download and print about The Easter Story.

Australia Map Printable

For those of you looking for hands on activities be sure to have a look at Suzie’s Home Education Ideas.

Suzy shares 10+ ways to play with Fractions along with tutorials and links to FREE printables.

For those of you studying Australian Geography be sure to get your FREE Australia Map Printable. Suzy has made Australian State/Territory Name Cards, City cards and State/Territory Flag cards, Australian Animal Fact Templates, Australia State / Territory Information Sheets.

Elements Visual

Have you heard about the Visual Periodic Table ?  To see a review and get some insight on how this table can enrich your homeschool visit Visual Periodic Table.

20 000 Leagues under the sea Unit Study

This month I share a Unit Study based on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with links to YouTube clips, information to enrich your reading from across the WWW and printalbes.