I would like to welcome Julie Smith to the blog today to share her homeschool experience.

The Beginning

In the beginning, we sent our oldest child, now of 5, off to Kindergarten which was a typical thing you just did with no questions asked. This was the normal around me. I will be honest with you, we were inexperienced both working full time jobs unrelated to children. We were naive of the whole experience of education. I won’t lie. We had Grandma basically raising our child and running our household while we worked to provide a home for us.

Our teacher was a third grade teacher by nature and let us know what complete failures we were as parents. I came home balling just about everyday after picking up our son for educational things I did not do, on top of a long day of working. Our family quickly snapped into catch up mode and tried to reach her demands of educating. We memorized sight words, began to read, worked on our writing and counted to 100. This stuff I considered 1st grade from back in my experiences as a young child. I was so wrong. I was amazed how time has changed our schools. I was lucky we taught him his shapes, colors, ABC’s,123’s and his written name. That is all I remembered from kindergarten. Kindergarten was much more than I ever expected.

I Had the Chance to Retire

I retired early with 20 years instead of 30. I took this time to research options of what else was out there in the world for education. We went down to a one income household with my retirement added in. I started on my adventure to home school. Child 2, 3 ,4, 5 came along. We went with an eclectic type of Fun-School interest led. I pulled from all resources on the Web to Library to curriculum I researched. My kids were so close in age, I began to teach all together. I taught the oldest separate. I stuck with All About Spelling and All About Reading and Harcourt Math. I joined my oldest in for Science, Social Studies, Art, Gym and field trips. I found it was easier to teach 1 group instead of bouncing between all of the children.

If the Children are Interested They Will Learn

My daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD at 6 years old. A new door opened for home school for us. I have started to use a work book program called Dyslexic Games and Fun-School Journals from The Thinking Tree. We are working with the kids on what they are good at and what really interest them. I found they retain so much more over a longer period of time this way. My number one mistake was that I thought I needed to be like everyone else’s homeschool plan. The fact is that you have to do what is right for your family and find your own natural rhythm.  My quotes that I love the most would be “Learn to love and Love to learn”  and “Forgive yourself often”. My best advice for you would be never to stop learning for your family. Take care of yourself and do things you enjoy also. Read that book. Watch that movie. Listen to your favorite music.

About the Author:

Julie is a homeschool mom of 5 children in which 4 are homeschooled and one is in college now. Children ages 22, 9,7,5,4. We are a Michigan farm family beginning to raise our own food.