Welcome back to another homeschool interview. Today we dig into the homeschool life of Stacy Martinez and her three children. Stacy blogs about her homeschool over at Three Busy Bees.
Why Homeschool? It’s Not What You Think!
The top 3 reasons why I homeschool are: freedom, instant gratification, and hands on learning. Homeschooling gives our family freedom. When I say freedom, I am talking about the ability to do as we please. We love to travel and are constantly gone somewhere. Having the freedom to go when and where we want makes our life easy and fulfilling. The kids love learning in new environments. Plus my husband’s job is very busy. When he has the time to be home we all want to be together. Homeschooling gives us that ability.
I don’t know about you but we live in a world of instant gratification. Homeschooling offers that reward for us. I love when my kids grasp a concept and it all unfolds in front of our eyes. It’s amazing to watch them learn and grow. I’d miss this if they were in school for 8 hours a day.
Do They Struggle?
Being hands on in our children’s education allows us to know exactly what is happening. We do not have to rely on sporadic teacher emails or vague information from the kids. This allows us to help them flourish in areas that they struggle in. For the areas that they excel, we can give them the opportunity to advance faster than in public or private school.
How do I choose curriculum?
Choosing curriculum isn’t always easy. “Box” curriculums may include everything in one box, but all those items might not fit our children’s personalities or learning styles. They may not cover what I want to for the year either. We have come to realize that picking from various companies fit our family and the kid’s perfectly. If we like something, but don’t “love” it, we search for something else. We went to our first homeschool convention this year and it was amazing to see various types of curriculums laid out in front of us. It definitely helped us choose what is a better fit.
Who are the “three busy bees”?
My “bees” are Bubba-11, Rea-6, and KB-3. I homeschool their grades: 5th, Kindergarten, and Preschool 3’s. I started homeschooling when my oldest, Bubba, was in 2nd grade. We took a break (he went to private school) but started back when he was in 4th grade.
What has been our biggest failure?
Our biggest failure came when Bubba was in 2nd grade. We pulled him out of public school because we were disappointed in the quality of education he was receiving. Many friends had recently started homeschooling and were great supporters (when I would see them). They all were in closed co-ops so I felt alone. I really could have used a co-op in those early days. I also had a 2 year old and newborn at the time. All of these factors plus my husband traveling for work made this our greatest failure in homeschooling. The failure sent us searching for private schools and then enrolling him in one after only 6 months of homeschool. At the time it was good for him to be back in school but it would later turn out to be a decision I shouldn’t have made.
What has been our biggest success?
Our biggest success so far is transitioning from homeschooling one kid to 2 kids (and sometimes 3). The transition was smoother than I imagined. I slowly started working with our preschooler when she isn’t at a local preschool.
What is our philosophy on education?
Our philosophy on education is “Hands On Learning”. You can find us any day on the floor, at the park, hanging out on the beach, or on the road. Some would call it “un-schooling”, but it’s really just hands on. We incorporate places into our lessons to give them a greater understanding of what we are covering and the world around them.
How does our day go?
A typical day for us can seem chaotic to some. Depending on what day it is, we either sleep in slightly or get up early and head out. Around 9:30 a.m. our day will start unless I hit up the gym (on morning gym days, we won’t start until 10:40/11 a.m.) After breakfast has been eaten and cleaned up, we start working. Bubba usually starts with math. We use Teaching Textbooks so he gets in his zone. This is when I can work with our kindergartener on her morning board work. After her board work is complete we work on Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Critical Thinking, the Bible, and cursive writing. Please understand that the curriculum we use for her, Abeka Books, breaks it down by the day. We won’t do all of that every day. For Bubba, he will wrap up math and work on social studies. Both of these subjects use the computer. He uses the online World Encyclopedia to notebook the Eastern Hemisphere. When he is done with that, he starts science. We usually break for lunch and then he will finish science afterwards. He has homework for the co-op we are apart of so on certain days he will complete that. Language Arts is typically the last subject we work on. I don’t know why we do it last but it seems to be working right now. Bubba has art classes at the co-op as well as at the house. After lunch for Rea includes her having fun with practice puzzles, memory games, or sight words. KB, our preschooler, works on coloring, numbers and letters, puzzles and playing memory games with her sister.
If I had to choose one word to describe our homeschool adventure it would be Journey!
What is the biggest misunderstanding about homeschooled kids?
The biggest misunderstanding that homeschoolers face is that our kids are socially awkward. Homeschooled kids for the most part have so many extracurricular activities that they end up with more friends than if they went to public or private school. I honestly can’t keep track of all of their friends. I can tell you that they get more vitamin d from the sun and exercise in a day than kids in schools get in an entire week.
How do I avoid burnout?
One tip to avoid burnout is to take breaks. Taking a day off every so often recharges everyone. Kids need breaks as much as the parents. Taking a small amount of time off won’t ruin the kids or make you fall behind. You will see that the kids will return with energy to move forward. I will usually take a day off when our co-op does. You can find me being a complete bum and binge watching all of my favorite shows I have missed during the week. If it is warm, I will relax on our trampoline and soak up the rays.
A motto we have for our homeschool is “Just Keep Swimming!” We love Disney/Pixar and have named vacations after them (“‘Ohana”). Finding Nemo is a great film on family and perseverance. It suited our homeschooling journey. We even have a sign in our office of it.
What is the best piece of advice for a new homeschooling parent?
The best piece of advice for a new homeschooling parent is this: don’t give up! I wish I had had someone in my ear telling me to keep going, “just keep swimming”. I would have continued and never given up. There will be days that it is awful. There will be days where you are on cloud nine and the stars have all aligned. The kids will fight. The stress will get to you. However, you’ve got this. Homeschooling will be like a tree that is always blooming.
“Hello y’all! I’m Stacy.
Welcome to 3 Busy Bees. I started this blog in January 2012 to document the addition of our 3rd “bee”, but I have since deleted most of the posts. 2015 was a rather tough year for our family and it made me re-evaluate many things in my life. One of those things was this blog. I thought long and hard and decided to remove about 95% of all my posts. So if you scroll through the archives there won’t be a whole lot.
What is 3 Busy Bees all about?
It’s a blog about my 3 Bees: Bubba, Rea, and KB. I am a homeschooling mom who sometimes questions if I am really an “un-schooling” mom. Before all of this I was a professional photographer having worked for amazing clients and even photographing the President of the United States and Air Force One. The 2008 election year landed me in front of many prominent politicians, which was pretty cool. I was born into a family that traveled so it is no shock that we spend a lot of time traveling. We love to see the big touristy spots but also the hole in the wall places that make for great conversations later. I wish I could snap-shot all my memories – the places, people, smells, sights, sounds, and feelings. In between all of that, you can find me in our urban container garden and trying to raise these “bees” via natural and organic living. Okay. Okay. I may be a “crunchy” mom.
I am a born and raised southerner who married a city boy – from a rather large city too – Miami, Florida. I have a true southern accent that Siri can’t understand half the time and Marty, my husband, is multilingual. We’ve been instant friends since the beginning and have had the privilege of watching each other grow up. We live in the South but our 2nd home is in Miami.
I’d love for you to stick around and check out our adventures on this journey!!”