Our Featured Family for this week is Jennifer’s family from Seattle. Well…they are actually from Virginia, but moved to Seattle last year.
Jennifer and her husband of 14 years, Paul, live with their two children. Their kids are Hannah(6th grade) and Ben(3rd Grade). Jennifer and Paul have know each other since high school, but didn’t date until college. They married just a few days after she finished her student teaching!
Paul and Jennifer decided to homeschool six years ago after a negative public school experience. She says, “The teacher didn’t want to teach and the principal didn’t care. Hannah was coming home from school every day begging me to teach her.” After a few weeks of teaching her in the evenings after school and many unsuccessful parent/teacher conferences they decided to pull her out of public school. Jennifer says, “At the time we thought homeschooling would only last a year. By June, we realized that our family loved homeschooling and we decided to stick with it for as long as it worked for us.” Her family now says homeschooling was one of the best decisions they ever made!
They have a very eclectic style to their homeschooling. Jennifer says, “I love the freedom to try different lesson formats and choose what works best for our family.” They tend to mix hands on learning with classical lessons and good books. One example she uses is their history. They use Story of the World as their spine, but add in crafts, building, and cooking projects along with related books so the lessons stick.
A typical day in Jennifer’s house has the family doing everything from school work to conference calls and book club meetings! They usually do school work from around 9-3, but also work around Paul’s work from home schedule several days a week. They also take breaks during individual work times and are trying a few co-op classes this year. The family loves history and science and Jennifer greatly enjoys helping these subjects come alive for her kids. She says they are a religious family, but in general prefer secular curriculums.
The biggest challenge they have faced during their homeschool journey was moving across the country last year. They had grown a large circle of homeschooling friends in Virginia, so finding groups for co-op classes, park days, and field trips was fairly easy. Jennifer says, “Those friendships in Virginia can never be replaced, but we are slowly growing our new circle of friends in Washington.”
As for her favorite part of homeschooling, Jennifer says she absolutely adores taking field trips with her children! “What better way to learn than to see and do?” she says. Her favorite field trip of all time was taking her children to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown a few years ago. She says, “The trip was exhausting because it was just me with two young children for a few days, but it was amazing being able to immerse the kids in the colonial world for a short while!”
One other part of homeschooling that she loves is the ability to travel during the off seasons when travel is less expensive. When they were on the East Coast, they were able to visit Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. Now that they are on the West Coast, they are taking advantage of their new location and the kids will get to visit Hawaii and Alaska before the year is up!
She was given the opportunity to thank her biggest supporter in homeschooling, and said she would have to thank her husband. “I do 99% of the teaching, but he is always willing to problem solve with me. If I am having a hard time deciding on a curriculum he does his own research and shares what he thinks will work best. He works a high stress job, but is always happy to give me a break. I couldn’t ask for a better husband and father.”
When asked what advice she would have liked to have known at the start of homeschooling, she said, “I wish I had known that homeschool didn’t have to be like public school at home. I was a public school teacher before the kids were born so that transition was a little hard. It took a while, but we eventually got there”
Jennifer’s family portrait was taken by Yuliya Occhiuzzio of DreamWorks Photography.
If you are interested in having your family featured on This Crazy Homeschool Life, Click Here.
Join our FREE newsletter!
Join the This Crazy Homeschool Life blog family to get updates, free printables, and more!