Friday, March 8, 2013

Fifth Flaunt My Friend Friday! Tara!

Over a month of friends have been flaunted. What fun! Today I'd like to introduce Tara to you. She is a homeschooling mom of three... age 11, and twins age 8. When I first introduced this idea, Tara spoke right up that she'd be interested but wasn't sure she was interesting enough to read about. So, not true (hence why I partially started this series)!! I immediately responded with many examples of things... her and her husband did all DIY Christmas gifts for their children one year while he was finishing up his residency... just recently made her older daughter a loft type bed on top of cabinets (then cabinets were put together on floor as a base and painted fun colors as well as chalkboard paint)... she is also a connoisseur of shoes (she could certainly teach a thing or two about shoes!!)... but mostly I thought of her homeschooling her children.  Homeschool is becoming more and more popular these days for so many reasons. I always think, how does she keep it all straight, organized, and do all the things she does to homeschool? All while teaching multiple ages and meeting the demands of a competitve gymnast's schedule?

What helped you get started in homeschooling?
I did a lot of research and I mean a lot.  Since we were relocating, I also contacted the local homeschool co-op and talked with them.  They were able to provide a lot of sites for me to visit and able to help me get started.

 What do you need to do to be able to homeschool?

 Basically, you need a good curriculum that fits your and your child.  Every child learns at different paces so you want to make sure you have a perfect fit.
Can we see your classroom?

 Yes…I do not have a traditional looking classroom but we have the basics that we like.
A Chalkboard Wall


 How do you stay organized in the classroom?

 The kids struggle through this some and I keep trying to find new ways to help because I can’t handle clutter.  We have discovered that each child has their own “dish pan” tub that they keep their books in.  We have gotten little baskets for their desks.  Those hold their pens, pencils, calculators and such.  Basically, I just try to find a proper place for everything.  Our classroom is also the kids “craft” room.  So it does get messy at times. 

 What dictates your lesson plans?

 My lesson plans can vary day to day but we generally try to follow with the book.  We are able to spend more or less time on any area that they may need more help with.  Our moods dictate lesson plans as well.  There may be some days were we wake up and decide we’d much rather have a day where we don’t do book work.  I have discovered that putting them in the kitchen with the recipe book is reading and math at the same time.  If we take a day off of book work, we still find something to learn throughout the day.  Also, current events dictate what we learn that day.  For example, last week the kids were able to watch the Pope leave the Vatican for the very last time.  This brought on many questions that we would have never thought to discuss until this event. 

Is it hard to teach two different grade levels in the same room?

 Not as hard as some might think.  My oldest, who is 11, is fairly independent and goes at her own pace.  She knows what she needs to do each day and does it.  She will ask questions if she runs into a problem and then we’ll discuss what she learned later in the day.  The twins, who are 8, do all the same subjects except math.  I have one who is one grade level and one who works a year ahead.  My oldest loves helping the youngest do her math and seems to get her to learn it a different way.  The twins also learn 6th grade health with our oldest.  They love the time when she reads out loud the chapters and then they answer the questions. 

 Your daughter is a gymnast, does that change things? How do you school on the road while commuting or traveling?

 Gymnastics doesn’t change too much, aside from we’ll be homeschooling her for quite a while.  Homeschooling allows her the opportunity to not miss school or practices or meets.  There are days when she has an early practice that we alter our school plans.  On those days, we do a lot of reading and discussing what she has just read.  And if we travel out of state for a meet, then we find something around that we can use as a learning experience.   

What do you do for any subjects that aren't your favorite or not as knowledgeable in?

 My oldest is doing a lot of fraction work right now and fractions were not my strongest.  We generally wait until my husband gets home and then we discuss or I will work through all the problems with her.  I was not a fan of history when I was in school, basically saying I didn’t pay attention during those times, so I find myself learning right along with the kids sometimes. 

What are the kids take on homeschooling?

 My kids love it. 

 What's in store for the future?

 We will continue to keep homeschooling, the oldest for sure.  We hope that we can continue to move through subjects and that they can take college classes around 16 and prepare for their future. 

Thanks so much sharing a little of your life Tara! I appreciate it! I know so many homeschool moms and I think you're all amazing. I don't know if I could ever teach my kids full time. But, I do love teaching them on the side and supplementing what they're learning in school. With all the moving we'll be doing over the next 10 years, who knows, it could end up an option for us. You never know! So glad I'll have so many homeschool moms to go to for information and support if we ever do.

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