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!
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.
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?
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.
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!