Interview with a Veteran Homeschooler #5

As I am rounding out my first year as a homeschooling mom, I look back and see quite a bit that I’m proud of and happy about as well as quite a bit that I’m unsure of and nervous over. ┬áIn times like these, when I’m pondering our homeschool, I find it helps to hear from someone who has “been there, done that.”
Jennifer Lambert is a former higher-level English teacher turned homeschool mom and professional homeschool consultant. She writes about homeschooling at Royal Little Lambs and she writes about natural health, essential oils, and marketing at JenniferLambert.com
Interview
Suzy: First tell us a bit about your yourself and your family. How many years have you homeschooled? How many children do you have and what ages are they? How would you classify your teaching style? Has it changed since you first started homeschooling?

Jennifer: I’ve homeschooled since my eldest was about 5. We moved out of state and I couldn’t find a teaching job and I was pregnant. We couldn’t afford day care or private school without my working so we decided I would homeschool Liz for a year but we never looked back! We started our classical and now we’re more relaxed and Charlotte Mason.

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?

Jennifer: We are so different from family and most church friends and I am happy to have the freedom to raise my family the way God leads. I respect their choices even if they don’t always respect mine.

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? And if so, what helped you through it the most?

Jennifer: OH YES. Blogging and social media help. I prefer to stay home with my kids rather than waste money driving around and doing and going.

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? What advice, if any, would you give to women regarding this balance?

Jennifer: Homeschooling is our lifestyle. I think I almost always wear this hat and I have learned to allow time for fun school without forcing education. By allowing this freedom, my kids constantly surprise me by learning and exploring and researching. I can see how unschoolers could be so successful with this. We’re constantly narrating our lives to teach our kids why, how, goals, God’s leading, praises, prayer.

Suzy: Many people are curious about the results of homeschooling. Questions plague them like, “will my homeschooled child succeed in college?” “will they resent being homeschooled?” “will they be especially close with their siblings?” In your experiences, has homeschooling hindered or benefited your children?

Jennifer: I see very few hindrances. I see many, many benefits. My children are more helpful, independent, resourceful, and capable than many of our friends’ public schooled kids. I think much of this is just parenting. I encourage independence and am often surprised by what my kids know and are able to do.

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?

Jennifer: It has been, is, and will be worth it! I am more confident than when I first began. Sure, we still have bad days, but I know more tricks and am more relaxed to go with the flow now than I was in the beginning. Since we school mostly year-round and don’t adhere to traditional grade levels, we can take a day off here and there if need be.
Suzy: If you could say only one sentence to a new homeschooling mom, what would that sentence be?
Jennifer: Let go and let God lead.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing with us today.
I encourage my readers to check out Jennifer’s site, Royal Little Lambs.
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