To kick off our featured family series, we are starting with our publisher’s family! She wants everyone to get to know her and her family a little, but wants to be clear that this blog is not about her or her family. Her goal with this site is to create a community of families that “Do Life” together and support each other.
We will start with the makeup of her family. She and her husband live in a suburb of Atlanta with their three children and her mother-in-law. Her husband is in the electrical field, and she is a mom, publisher, social networker, language teacher, homeschool teacher, and natural living advocate. Their children are 10, 7, and 4 – two girls and a boy.
Lesli and her husband began to investigate the idea of homeschooling almost 10 years ago. See, she had finished her degree in Elementary Education, and then decided not to teach in the school system. The system they lived in at the time was steadily heading downhill, and they could not trust their children’s education to that system. They began to look at all the options and homeschooling was the one that made the most sense. Lesli says, “I could not justify going back to work and putting my younger children in daycare, just to afford the cost of private school tuition, when I could teach my children one on one at home.” They made the decision to homeschool when their oldest was under two, so their children have never been a part of the school system.
Their approach to homeschooling is very eclectic, and has elements from almost every method thrown in. Lesli says that she struggles at times to get out of the “school system” mindset due to her education training. “It’s hard sometimes,” she says, “I have a hard time shifting my focus from checking lessons off the to do list to enjoying the experience.”
As for their purpose in homeschooling, Lesli says her family’s mission is to create lifelong learners who see the world through the eyes of Christ. Their goal for their children is that they will graduate knowing they are smart, valuable, capable individuals who can work within their gifts to complete the calling God has placed on their lives.
They are a family that does most of their schoolwork in the morning, with individual work completed in the afternoon. She says they work on the subjects of science, history, art, Bible, and Spanish together, with each child working at their individual level. Most work is done through read aloud books, note taking, making lapbooks(they call them casefiles!), coloring, and practicing with flashcards. During the afternoons, her oldest works on reading and math, and her younger two are working together to learn how to read. Everyone loves science, especially zoology, and geography. They are a Christian family, and Bible memory and Awanas practice are a part of their school days.
Lesli says that their homeschool journey has been a joy, but has also had its share of challenges. The biggest challenge so far is discovering one of their children is dealing with dyslexia. Lesli says it’s been hard to figure out what to do with this child who learns so differently than how she learns and processes information. She’s very glad that they had already made the choice to homeschool, as this child would be one lost in the mix if they were dealing with the public system.
Her favorite part of homeschooling is the adventures they’ve been able to have along the way. Most of her husband’s family is in the Midwest, so they’ve been able to travel and see family for long periods of time, without worrying about the school schedule. She says, “I am a huge bookworm, and grew up on the Little House series. Having the opportunity to take my children to Mansfield and buy them their own set of Little House books was one of my favorite homeschooling memories.” Lesli and her family spend a lot of time traveling, frequently taking trips with other homeschooling families.
Lesli says that the best part of homeschooling for her as a mom has been the friendships she’s made with other homeschooling moms. “We’ve had the blessing of being part of a class that started when my oldest was three. It was a homeschool gymnastics class, and the moms all became close friends over the years while our kids were playing in the gym. We are all from different walks of life, but we’ve found common ground in supporting each other through our different challenges as homeschool families. I don’t know where I’d be without these ladies that have been by my side.”
When asked what advice she’d tell a new mom starting out, her answer was, “I would say to start with the basics. Look up the state law for what is required of you as a homeschooler, then start there. In the state of Georgia, we have five subjects we have to cover. In the beginning, I would just cover those five subjects and then add other items as I got my ‘sea legs.'”
She advocates doing the best you can, without feeling like you have to do it all, especially when children are in the early elementary years. “Children learn best through play and engagement. If you feel like you have to do eight subjects with a five year old, you’re going to be frustrated, the child will be frustrated, and you’re going to feel like homeschooling is a failure. Instead, set aside time daily to work on your reading program, begin introducing math concepts, and just go from there. When you go to the library, pick up books on a science or history subject, and read two to three a week. By incorporating learning into your lifestyle, your child will learn much more than he or she would in a classroom. As they grow, you can begin more structured lessons, but you don’t have to have a third grader writing a three thousand word research paper to be successful as a homeschool teacher!”
She hopes that her readers will find a growing community of encouragement and information on this site as they walk their homeschool journey!
If you are interested in having your family featured on This Crazy Homeschool Life, Click Here.
Photos by Lisa Crates Photography. If you are in the Charlotte, NC area – Check her out!
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