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Q&A with Ashley at Nourishing Goodness

What style of homeschooling does your family follow?

We loosely follow a Charlotte Mason/Classical style.  We focus very much on giving our kids a “feast of ideas” rather than focusing on a specific schedule or curriculum.  I love to mix and match the resources we use.  I’m always on the hunt for great books.  Reading together is absolutely our highest priority and our greatest bonding time.  It creates a shared family culture.  Every day we’ve laughed, or cried, or suffered through the same things.  When daddy comes home at night there’s always so much tell!  We’ve been places, experienced things, taken risks and adventures… all in the stories we read, whether it’s history, science, Bible, fiction, or even poetry.  Of course we also fit in the daily math, language/grammar/spelling practice, piano, and latin.  But these things are done relatively quickly and aren’t the true focus of our day.  Then it’s OUT the door!  The kids spend nearly all the rest of their time out in the woods, swinging on the rope swings, hunting for frogs, or brushing the goats.  I’ve even got one who loves to read her own poetry up in the barn loft to her cats.  🙂  Of course, we also have opportunities every day to practice forgiveness and patience!  Because being together 24/7 is a joy AND a challenge, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

What state do you homeschool in, and what are the laws like there for homeschoolers? How does this affect the way you homeschool (if at all)?

We homeschool in the state of Indiana, which might actually be the very best state to homeschool in!  There is strong support for homeschooling here and we have very few regulations.  In fact, the only legal requirement as of right now, is to keep a 180 day log/attendance record.  This is fantastic because it gives the parent freedom to commit their time to educating and learning alongside their children… rather than jumping through hoops or filling out paperwork and portfolios.  I

Why did your family begin homeschooling?

I was a first grade teacher at a lovely Christian school for a few years before having children.  I was always frustrated by the fact that I really could not give adequate attention to each of my students, let alone meet the expectations of their parents (who were paying good money for their child’s education!)  I don’t mean that I wasn’t a good and diligent teacher, but it simply wasn’t possible to give as much to each child as I would have liked.  Not to mention the amount of time that was wasted finding pencils, waiting for Johnny to sit down and pay attention, or walking in a straight line to PE, Music, Recess, etc…

I also thought often about the fact that these little ones were spending 6-7 hours a day with me, long days for such young children.  I knew they could have learned what I was teaching them in an hour or two at most.  I loved them dearly, but at the end of the day, I felt that they should have spent those hours with their own families and OUTSIDE!

Later, after we’d had our own children, I had a cousin encourage me to consider homeschooling.  She took me under her wing and showed me how I could make it work.  I am eternally grateful to her.  I can’t even imagine sending my kids away to school now.

What do you wish you knew when you first began homeschooling?

I wish I’d read Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson.  I was too worried about which curriculum, schedule, planner, etc.. was the very best.  Now I’m thankful to see that time spent together reading, learning, loving, forgiving, even doing chores… it’s all contributing to who my children will become one day and who we are as a family.  I’m not teaching them a curriculum.  I molding them (by the grace of God) into people who love to learn, who love goodness, truth, and beauty, who know how to think for themselves and solve problems… and I’m molding them into people who will one day be my very best friends.

What are the hardest and easiest, parts of homeschooling?

Easiest – finding great books and reading them together, pretty much my favorite thing to do!  I’m a book junky for sure.

Hardest – self discipline.  Homeschooling depends totally on my own self-discipline, self-growth, self-care.  If I get depleted, distracted, or lazy, the whole ship goes down.  We all have our days and it’s wonderful to be able to call off school when needed, but for the most part, I’ve got to get my act together every. single. day.  If I show up to “work” grouchy and tired, the whole day is likely to be miserable for everyone.  Homeschool also requires prayer b/c I can’t pull this whole thing off without the grace of God and prayer is a discipline too!  I need always to be growing, learning, becoming the person God made me to be.

 I’m Ashley, or as the farmer affectionately calls me, “One who holds hot cup.” It’s short for – “One who holds hot cup – and good book – in cozy chair – with soft blanket – by warm fire” … preferably with that handsome farmer nearby. Because you see, I’m not really what you might call a “go-getter.” No.  I’m a sitter, a reader, a dreamer, a wonderer, an idea girl, and a comfort addict.” {Read more here}

To follow Ashley, and her family visit nourishinggoodness.com

To see more interviews like Ashley’s follow this link:

Homeschool Diversity: Five Common Questions Answered by Real Homeschool Moms

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