It’s been awhile since I’ve done a homeschool graduate interview and I’ve got a great one for you today! I’m interviewing Carrie of Reading to Know. Both Carrie, who graduated in 1997, and her husband Jonathan were homeschooled. I’ll be posting Jonathan’s side of the story soon, but today, here’s what Carrie had to say:
WUHS: How would you classify your parents’ homeschool style?
Carrie: My mother was once a private school teacher and so we were very much a “school-at-home” home school family.
WUHS: Do you feel that your homeschool experience prepared you, academically and socially, for life after homeschool?
Carrie: I would have to say yes. I say that hesitantly because I’m rather of the opinion that “traditional schooling” is not practical on the whole. School provides a knowledge base, but it doesn’t really help you live life in the practical sense.
WUHS: I’m completely in agreement with that. Although any type of school setting may not prepare you for the practical side of life, do you feel that homeschooling gave you the skills you needed to pursue your personal career goals?
Carrie: I also pursued my secondary education through correspondence so my answer to this question is most definitely yes.
WUHS: Are there any specific things that you wish your parents had done differently in your homeschool?
Carrie: I wish they had been more flexible/”casual” in their schooling to allow time for me to really pursue the things that I loved. For example, instead of following a strict senior year curriculum, I wish I had been able to go ahead and study things that would have put me ahead of the game when I was pursuing my secondary education.
WUHS: Will you homeschool your children?
Carrie: No question about it! We will definitely home school our own children. We would do so for two reasons:
1. We feel that it is the parents responsibility to raise and education their children and not the state’s. While home schooling is not necessarily for everyone (and we would not claim that it is) it is the option that gives us the most freedom to train up our children and education them, preparing them for the future.
2. Home schooling provides the flexibility to really BE a family. It allows time to travel together, spend more time with one another, and pay particular attention to each child’s individual talents and giftings.
WUHS: The flexibility and encouraging individual giftings and talents are two of my favorite benefits of homeschooling. What do you feel is the most positive result of your years as a homeschooled student?
Carrie: It gave me the freedom to take a job at an earlier age which taught me good business skills. If I had been in a “traditional’ school setting, I would not have been able to work the hours offered by this particular job. I learned early to be responsible in setting up a schedule I could maintain, to be a loyal employee, and to submit myself to an authority, other than my parents, who expected me to work hard and make the business profitable.
WUHS: What was the most negative aspect?
Carrie: Honestly it’s really hard for a girl to be around her mom “all day, every day.” As a teenager, I found ample opportunities to clash with my mother. It wasn’t always fun but my mom did seem to know that and made sure we had our breaks from one another.
WUHS: What do you remember as being one of your favorite homeschooling tools (i.e. curriculum) as a homeschooled student?
Carrie: Truly? I hated curriculum. I remember begging my mom to switch to KONOS which looked lots more exciting than text books!
WUHS: Oh, I can relate to that. We used unit studies exclusively for a few years and we still learn with a unit study mindset. Overall, would you classify your homeschool experience as positive or negative?
Carrie: A positive.
WUHS: Okay, I have to ask…how did you and your husband meet, what with you both being weird, unsocialized, sheltered homeschoolers and all? 😉
Carrie: I took a job at a law firm up in Oregon, in the same area where Jonathan lived with his family. We met through some mutual friends of ours and the rest, as they say, is history. A lot of relatives thought the match was just assumed because we were home schooled. That was just “something in common” though, not a connecting point. It does make it convenient though that we both had a similar background and shared the same outlook on family. That sure is nice!
WUHS: Finally, if you could impart one piece of advice to homeschooling parents, what would that be?
Carrie: BE FLEXIBLE! If you notice your child has certain giftings or interests in a particular area, be willing to let the strict schedule slide and take time to explore those interests! They’ll remember what they learned about topics of interest. If they have artistic leanings, see what you can do to let them explore that (i.e., an art class, or an easel placed on your back patio!). Encourage them in the things that they love! Sometimes a little indulgence can make all the difference in keeping them happy and content with the rest of the curriculum.
WUHS: That’s great advice, Carrie, and I agree wholeheartedly! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today. I know that your words are going to be just the encouragement that a homeschooling family somewhere needs to hear today.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.