This week’s Featured Family hails from the great, beautiful, wonderful, harsh, ever-changing northern lands of Michigan, only an hour away from three of the Great Lakes!
Katie and her husband, a retail store manager, live four hours north of suburban Detroit with their two children. They have a daughter who is four and a half, a son who is three, and have a dog, cat, and a few fish to round out the family. The kids also have chickens they are raising, but the chickens live at the grandparent’s house due to some “wonderful” HOA rules!
Their daughter is a competitive cheerleader (Katie says, “Yes, apparently, that is a thing for four-year-olds!”) who is her mommy’s polar opposite and an extreme introvert. This past cheer season the family traveled all over the state for competitions, and expect to continue to do so. They may even end up travelling over the country for competitions next year! In addition, her daughter loves soccer and swim, reading, and crafts of all kinds! Katie says, “She’s my walking and (non-stop) talking proof that homeschool children can also be social human beings! In fact, if you could get her to stop talking, call the Pope, because a miracle has been performed!”
Her son is almost three and is Katie’s first adventure into the world of raising boys, as she grew up with all sisters. He’s already obsessed with dinosaurs, marine animals, and chocolate milk. His middle name is Maverick (Katie loves the ‘80s and “Top Gun!”) and she says his name is a self-fulfilling prophecy! She says that she’s excited and really, really terrified about homeschooling her son because it’s going to be a wild adventure!
For Katie and her family, the decision to homeschool started when she and her husband began to discuss their own experiences in public school. He had been placed in remedial math when he was actually advanced and just bored with the work. She was (and is!) a self-proclaimed introvert and since she didn’t know how to ask for help, was simply shuffled from grade to grade, not learning to divide until high school and dealing with depression due to bullying and learning frustrations. They decided they were going to demand more for their children when it came to their childhood and education. They began to contemplate private schools in their area, but the cost for the Catholic school they decided on was simply not an option for their family. Enter the homeschool option! They decided to start homeschooling for Pre-K (this year) and then reassess their options at the end of the year. Katie says that if she has her way, her kids will be homeschooled all the way through, because so far they are loving this option!
Katie says that they take a mostly Charlotte Mason approach, but modify their curriculum to cater to her daughter. At this point, her daughter listens well to stories, loves copy work, and book work of any kind. She fully realizes that what is working so well for her daughter is going to definitely need to be modified for her son. In fact, she simply laughs at the thought of her son trying to do copy work!! They are working through the Sonlight P4/5 curriculum this year, but adjusting the reading to what works for their family. She is working hard to raise her kids to be accepting and kind, and will edit or add to their curriculum to accomplish her goal.
Normally, when a family is interviewed for a Featured Family article, I take their answers and write an article that reflects their family. I couldn’t do that with Katie’s answer to the question, “What does a typical day look like in your home?” Her daily schedule was written in a way that was too funny not to share, and I’m pretty sure most of us could relate to!!
Without further ado, a day in Katie’s home:
“I wake up too early for my liking. I contemplate the meaning of life and why the meaning of the boy child’s life includes chocolate milk at 5:30 am. We watch cartoons while I zone out and browse through Facebook and Instagram admiring how my childless friends are still probably sleeping. I silently hope they have a hangover this morning.
The girl child and husband stumble out of their rooms wanting food and drinks. I feed and water them.
Husband goes to work and I start doing dishes, laundry, making beds. All the things I looked forward to not having to do as a teenager, I do during this time.
Around 9 am, my three-year-old niece comes over for “school”. Because, just in case you thought I was sane, some part of me thought it would be an excellent idea to have my niece join us during our homeschool day. Clearly, I’m crazy.
We start our homeschool day. Circle time, Bible, Math, Handwriting, Read-Alouds, Handwriting, Science and whatever else I throw in. Most of the time, the boy child and the niece are running around. They usually only participate for the hands-on activities. However, the girl child participates in everything. She doesn’t mind, she likes copying and tracing letters and listening to the stories I read. The other two kids, I just pray that there is no blood by the time I finish reading a story about a tiger and a rabbit.
Around 11 am, we take a break from school and I get lunch started. Usually, the husband comes home for lunch and joins us. This saves money and saves my sanity. Adult conversation is usually longed for by noon.
After lunch, if we haven’t finished school, we finish it now. When school is done, I make a phone call and my niece is picked up.
After the niece is picked up, we take some quiet time. Which is usually not quiet, because the girl child never stops talking and the boy child is probably trying to flush something down the toilet that doesn’t belong there. When we’re done with our not-so-quiet time, I do any housework that needs to be done and find something to entertain the kids. Puzzles, crayons, I really don’t care. You guys play with it while I try to remove what I can only hope to assume is chocolate on the cupboard doors.
If it’s summer, we go outside. The girl child usually ends up finding one of the neighbor kids and playing with them and the boy child and I play together.
Around this time, things tend to get crazy. Between cheerleading, soccer, swim class and other activities the hours of 3-7 pm could be spent doing anything. Regardless, the tiny humans and husband need to be fed at some point during this time, and I do so.
Regardless of how busy our day was, the tiny humans are in bed by 7:30 pm. No if’s, and’s or but’s. This is mommy time. It is sacred. It is not to be disturbed. I binge on reality TV, netflix and eat the good snacks. Husband occasionally joins me. Usually only if ice cream is involved.
I stumble into bed around 9-10 pm and mentally prepare myself for another day of the madness that is my life.”
I completely agree with Katie that Mommy Time is sacred!!
Katie says that the biggest challenge they have faced has been dealing with the people around her and their comments on homeschooling. She says that the public perception of homeschooling has led to a few uncomfortable conversations about both socialization and her family’s qualifications to teach their children. She also says that she loves to prove people wrong and that she’s looking forward to showing them that she can indeed successfully educate your children in your home!
Her favorite moment of homeschooling to this point was actually on their first day of officially homeschooling. She says, “Our very first day of homeschooling I was reading aloud to my daughter while she quietly played with Legos. I read somewhere that she should absorb the information I was reading while she played quietly. I was skeptical, but when I finished the story, she managed to retell bits and pieces of the story back to me. That is when I knew that I can do this. I can homeschool my kids.”
They are still new to the world of homeschooling, but are already enjoying the freedom that comes with this decision. They love going outside and learning about nature, and the ability to head to Starbucks to learn about spending money!
Her biggest supporters have been friends and family. She says that the comments on how adorable her schoolroom is and the family members that have told her that she’s doing a good job have been very helpful. Her husband has also been supportive and she is thankful that he’s open to continuing down this path. Her mom is finishing a Master’s in Education, and has been a big support as well. She would also like to thank Pinterest, as the site literally inspires her!
Thanks, Katie for being a part of the This Crazy Homeschool Life family!
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