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If you remember sometime back, I did a guest post on Jackie’s blog about some of the reasons that my husband and I were considering homeschooling our children. Since then, we’ve been doing some more research on the subject and have decided to take the plunge. So I wanted to sit down with Jackie to ask some more of my own burning questions on the subject, in the hopes that others who have been considering it might get their questions answered as well.
Why did you and your wife decide to homeschool your children?
Jackie: We’ve always had an open mind when it comes to the best way to educate our kids and prepare them for life in general. We started with private school (at our church). We even considered Montesorri. When our second child was born (he is now 7), we made the choice for my wife to stay home with him. When she did, she connected with many stay-at-home moms, and got connected with other families who homeschooled. This made us take a serious look at homeschooling. My wife and some of the other moms with kids our son’s age then decided to try it out by starting their own community, even piecing together their own curriculum. We loved it, our son loved it and learned a lot, so we decided to keep going that route with him. Our daughter at the time was in our public school districts gifted and talented program. We then found Classical Conversations, a Classical Christian Community, started that the next year and we were sold. We really felt called to homeschooling. The following year we brought our daughter home and started our own Classical Conversations community. We believe this community confirmed the calling as it has become a sort of ministry for us.
How long have you been homeschooling?
Jackie: We started with our son in 2009. This was when my wife and her other mom friends started their own. We have homeschooling all of our school aged kids since 2011.
What research and preparation aided you in the transition to homechool?Jackie: Most of our research was networking with other families who were homeschooling, and a lot of prayer. We also researched our state laws, and began to read a few books about homeschooling and education. But honestly, we probably could have been better prepared. I realized, in hindsight, there were some things we should have done to start better. Knowing there were probably other families not sure how to start, I wrote a guide called “Homeschooling: 10 Action Items to Help You Start Right“.
What are the challenges you face?
Jackie: The biggest challenge is overcoming the fear and doubt that we were capable of educating our children. Once we overcame that, the challenges we face are no different than any other challenges in life. One thing to keep in mind is we, as parents, are learning right along with our kids in homeschooling. So, we’ll make mistakes, but those mistakes give us the opportunity to show our kids that mistakes are learning opportunities, and a chance to grow.How did your kids adjust initially, and how are they doing now?
Jackie: Our 7 year old has never known anything except homeschool, and is doing great. Our 12 year-old daughter went to private school through 1st grade, and we brought her home after completing the 5th grade. Her adjustment went real well. She felt like she was missing out on things while she was in public school because it seemed to her we were always doing something. Field trips, events, community days, etc. Academically she has done really well. She was a straight “A” student in her public school’s gifted and talented program, so when she came home I quickly learned I had to push her. In public school she wasn’t being pushed. She has responded well (http://jackiebledsoe.com/what-your-child-can-learn-by-homeschooling/), and as of right now, she is on pace to complete her high school credits for graduation at age 16. Both of them are avid readers, great problem solvers, and love learning. And our 3 year-old looks like he may be following suit as he learns from them.
What are your top 3 key pieces of advice that every family who is considering homeschooling needs to ask themselves?
Jackie: The guide I created will be a great resource for them to follow. I will say know why you want to homeschool. Get a library card and begin to read for yourself, and as a family. And finally talk to, read about, and learn from those who are doing it. There are so many myths about homeschooling that it is easy to be discouraged by those who just don’t know. Think about it like this: will you take marriage advice from someone single or divorced? Or would you take parenting advice from someone who has never had kids? Learn from those who have the experience.
What online resources do you recommend for support?
Jackie: I don’t have any “go to” sites for you, as I read a lot of blogs, articles, and other materials online. My wife subscribes to TheHomeschoolMagazine.com via their free app, and we get a lot of free resources and information from our Classical Conversations online community, in addition to the parent training they provide.
Anything else you’d like to share with other families considering homeschooling?
Jackie: I have been considering starting a homeschooling blog series dedicated to dispelling homeschooling myths and sharing info around the “buts” to homeschooling. Many families say, “I want to homeschool, but…” I’d like to ask other families the question, what is your “but?” What is preventing you from moving forward with homeschooling? My goal is to answer as many of these questions as possible in my homeschooling series.
Thank you so much Jackie for taking time out to share some words of wisdom (and encouragment) as it relates to homeschooling. I’m definitely one of those people who had been skeptical about it.
So what questions do you have about homeschooling? What is preventing you from moving forward with homeschooling?
|Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. writes a Family Leadership blog at jackiebledsoe.com, which helps men grow in their most important roles. The roles of husband and father. He and his wife homeschool their three children, while serving as homeschooling directors and tutors for a community of 15+ homeschooling families. He is the creator of the series, “March DADness: Preparing Dads to Make a Championship Run in Fatherhood,” and the author of the book, “Lovers and Fighters: How to Love and Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage” (available soon).