Today I am excited to share with you the first of what I hope will be an on-going series of interviews with homeschooling moms. For more information about this series please see the page entitled “Interviews.”
Our first interview is with veteran homeschool mom, Marcia Wilwerding. Marcia blogs over at eHomebody and I encourage all of my readers to check it out, say hi, and read some of her encouraging words.
Suzy: First tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
How many years have you homeschooled?
Marcia: We completed 19 years of home education when our youngest son graduated in 2010.
Suzy: How many children do you have and what ages are they?
Marcia: We have four children ages 21, 24, 26, and 27.
Suzy: How would you classify your teaching style?
Marcia: Relaxed and eclectic.
Suzy: Has it changed since you first started homeschooling?
Marcia: We did begin with a regimented schedule and curriculum guide from one primary source, but switched to a more blended, eclectic mix of curricula and scheduling once I burned out in our third or fourth year. The first way was fine until the third child was added, then it all fell apart. You cannot effectively run a one-teacher home school like an institutional school. It is humanly impossible as most home educators find out the hard way.
Suzy: Despite its rising popularity, homeschoolers are still in the minority. How did you respond if/when family, friends, or even complete strangers would make negative comments?
Marcia: Surprisingly, the only negative comments I got were from my father’s wife. She was super critical and always tried to insinuate our children would be behind their peers if we kept homeschooling them. But, I understood by other comments she made that she thought we thought we were better than her kids and grandkids who attended public schools. She constantly upheld her other grandchildren as being so fine, so cultured, so intelligent and accomplished. I ignored it for the most part and let time be the judge. However, when she threatened that our children would need computer experience (this was the early 1990’s before we got a computer), I heartily agreed with her and assured her that was in our plans.
Suzy: Stay at home moms, both homeschooling and not, often feel lonely and isolated due to the long hours spent alone with small children. Did you ever struggle with this?
Marcia: Yes, but I believe I only struggled with this because I had the culturally brain-washed notion I could be doing something more productive and satisfying than caring for and educating my own children, such as working in an office all day.
Suzy: What helped you through it the most?
Marcia: Thankfully, I got past that wrong notion and eventually discovered the joy, beauty, wonder, and *real* satisfaction of being a mother to these little persons who would eventually be adults. I realized they would not be babies and toddlers for very long and that there were some splendid people growing up in our home under my tutelage.
Suzy: As moms we wear many hats and homeschooling is a very time consuming matter. Did you ever struggle to take your “teacher hat” off and reconnect with your children or your husband or even yourself- away from homeschooling?
Marcia: I suppose I never felt the need to take off my “teacher hat” because I never put it on.
Suzy: What advice, if any, would you give to women regarding this balance?
Marcia: Home education was not separate from our home. We did not view our school as a separate institution. It was part of our day, part of our lives, part of our family dynamic. Of course, that meant I could not run it like an institution (see my article on Visionary Womanhood here: http://www.visionarywomanhood.com/how-not-to/ ). We incorporated our school time into our daily schedule along with other parts of our schedule, such as training in chores, meal times, nap time, having family worship, and bedtime routines. It was just what we did every day, five days a week. However, we tried to keep to a daily routine of having class time from roughly 9 am until 4 pm with time off for lunch. I suppose, when the books were put up to clear the table for dinner, we connected “outside of homeschooling.”
Suzy: During the difficult times in one’s life, it can be easy to focus on the current situation rather than on the bigger picture. Many homeschooling moms feel defeated after a bad day. Looking back on your years homeschooing, was it worth it?
Marcia: Oh, yes! It was more worth it than I could have ever dreamed! My husband and I had a vision for our children. We knew what kind of adults we wanted them to be. We took personal responsibility for the outcome of our parenting. We decided the public and private schools were not the best places to get those desired end results. So, we took the challenge into our own hands by faith and did what we had to to make it work. We had bad days, bad weeks, bad months, and even a few bad *years* here and there. But, it was all done by faith. Only God can see the end from the beginning, but we knew He had led us on this path and He would see us through. You just keep making adjustments through those hard times along the way, seeking counsel and praying for wisdom, until you find what works for your own family.
Only after you get to the end will you see the perfect way in which God led you through in fulfillment of His promises. Only then can you enjoy the fruits of your labors. And, I can tell you from experience, that fruit is SA-WEET!
Suzy: If you could say only one sentence to a new homeschooling mom, what would that sentence be?
Marcia: RELAX!!!! and trust God. (Is that a sentence?)
I want to thank Marcia for her time and for her insightful answers. Again, I encourage everyone to head on over to eHomebody and say, “hi.” She’s a real friendly lady, she won’t bite.
If you are a seasoned homeschool mom or a second generation homeschooler who would like to be interviewed for this series then please feel free to get into contact with me.
If any of my readers have any questions that they would like to see in future interviews then please let me know in the comments.