It is my great pleasure to introduce you to my dear friend, Vicky. We first met online, when she messaged me asking me some questions about homeschooling. But, we’ve since met in real life several times. I love that she’s always ready with a warm, friendly hug, a big happy smile, listening ears and a loving heart. We’ve had many a heart-to-heart and I am honored to call her my sister in the Lord, and my friend.
She had been a teacher for about 10 years in her local public school. While her 2 children, a boy and a girl, were babies she took a break from teaching in order to stay home with them. Once they entered school, she went back to work. In fact, she enjoyed greatly the work that she did. She felt that she could really connect with the children in her care and that she was really making a difference in the lives of her Kindergarteners and their families.
At the same time, she was admiring from afar a friend of hers who also was a teacher, in fact, they attended college together. Yet, this friend had chosen to keep her kids at home in order to homeschool them.
“I admired their flexibility, their depth of study, their variety of interests addressed in their studies, their time spent together, their character, and so much more. But…..’I could never do that.’“
As the years continued to slide by she began to feel the heart tug that her working outside the home was not the best option for her family. She wanted to be with her own children more and she began to notice the holes in their educational experience.
“I began to talk with my husband about the idea of homeschooling. I began researching and talking with other homeschool moms. I read a LOT of blogs haha.”
That was when she and her husband mad ethe decision for her to quit her job and be a full time mom. But that didn’t mean she was ready to make the leap to homeschool. She needed more time to research.
“I continued to read as much as I could, ask as many questions as I could, and make the famous list of positives and negatives. I read a book written by a friend about homeschooling which outlined her journey and so very many reasons to homeschool. It really made an impression on my heart. I also longed for more time with my kids on spiritual matters. How easy it was to read about the Good Samaritan. But how much more valuable would it be to complete all our “school work” before our public school friends completed their day and then go out and be servants in action? How easy it was to talk about The Golden Rule. But how amazing would it be to have more time and energy to focus on being benevolent and compassionate in our daily lives. Those are only a few of the examples that went through my head.”
During her researching she came to be aware of a “Cottage School” which offered classes for homeschoolers one day per week. She found that the classes were both rigorous and fun classes where the kids could not only receive enrichment, but a time where they could meet other homeschoolers.
“I loved the atmosphere, the content (not all fluff, not too hard either), and I loved the directors and their teaching philosophies. After seeing I could make this leap AND get weekly support in teaching my children I knew we could do this!”
So she and her husband finally reached the full decision to bring their children home, for education, for life-training and to bond as a family. For Vicky homeschooling means she has the opportunity to better understand her own children’s needs.
Homeschooling allows them to travel on their own schedule. Sometimes with Dad on his business trips in order to explore other cities.
Vicky is loving the ability to introduce her daughter homemaking skills and to make sure her son has opportunities to grow as a future provider. As a Christian it is important for her to train her children to their future roles. For her son as husband, father and provider, and for her daughter as wife, mother, and homemaker.
She also is loves that she can incorporate Bible into everyday learning. But, for them, Bible learning is more than reading scripture, it includes actual hands-on application of the scriptures.
“Homeschooling means we can take care of family members, visit the sick, or other benevolent needs when they arise. Last year my kids carried Math books to a hospital room when an elder had a stroke and then we later went to rehab. This year my kids took school with us as we went to care for my Grandpa in Hospice Care. And just recently, they were able to adjust their school load to accommodate my Grandma who stayed with us a week. How much they learned by caring for an Alzheimer’s patient with me.”
Even though Vicky was well experienced with working with children, not only as a public school teacher, but also as a Vacation Bible School teacher, a babysitter, Day Care teacher, Public School Teacher’s Assistant, Migrant Summer Program Teacher, Elementary Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Substitute Teacher, Bible Class teacher, and as a Tutor, she admits that none of those experiences truly prepared her to homeschool her own children.
“Many of these taught me to manage time, manage groups, deal with discipline and plan lessons. But my training actually inhibits my potential on many days due to the fact that I am trying to relearn what is best for my kids, what is absolutely not necessary, and what is truly important in their education.”
Vicky tells me that while they tend to spread out all over the house, the car and wherever they happened to be, they do have space in their basement that is their school room. They utilize an old kitchen table that they use to meet together and they have bookshelves, a dry erase board, and supply bins for materials. Because it is a walk-out basement they have windows for light and can also walk outside to work on the patio table or to just enjoy the outdoors.
They are surrounded by a large homeschooling community. Which on the one hand is a blessing, and on the other hand can present it’s own form of problems.
“We are fortunate to have TOO many options, resources, classes, field trips, sports and groups to choose from and it takes discipline to say no! My children attend a homeschool group every Friday which serves K-12 students, but they are in a class group with a range of three grade levels.”
While her husband isn’t involved in the homeschool on a daily basis he is an engineer which means he is able to be an excellent source of encouragement for the kids in math and science. He often has to be away from home because of his management position but he is very supportive of Vicky and the children. He helps them with science fair projects, advanced math studies and science experiments. He’s also able to help them with their music practice because he reads music and plays piano.
It sounds to me as if this family that once thought “I could never do that.” has figured out how to make homeschooling a family lifestyle. They’ve embraced their roles and are meeting the challenges together. There couldn’t be a better homeschool model than that.
The two of them have agreed they will approach home education on a year by year basis. Their ultimate goal is to homeschool through high school but are open to other options if they find that it may become what is best for any particular phase of life.
Vicky, like most of us, struggles finding the balance between homeschooling and maintaining her home. She wants to provide a peaceful place for her family to relax once the school day is over. But says it’s a constant struggle to find the balance between the two.
“We have great support from our families, we have an abundance of curriculum and resources, we have great health and we have stability in my husband’s job. We are richly blessed. But I am still working on being a Keeper at Home to the best of my ability.”
They Yocum family has an eclecltic homeschooling style. She tells me that it’s due to the wonderful friends she has who have each offered recommendations. She never felt that a one philosophy approach was right for her, so she picks and chooses from a variety of methods making for a truly customized educational experience.
Mystery Of History is probably Vicky’s goto for favorite curriculum, but along with her eclectic style she approaches it with an open mind. They are taking their time going through the volumes. But loves the ability to integrate Bible study with secular history. She wants to approach history by teaching her kids HIS story.
And for Science, they are an Apologia family. She says the hands-on resource makes it a favorite also, even though science in general is her least favorite subject to teach. But being able to utilize their Friday study group to do most of the lab work but they do a few experiments at home as well, coupled with a science dad who likes to work with the kids and it sound to me as if she’s got science well covered.
Vicky is active in her Ladies Bible study group twice a month with her congregation, she says it’s her top relaxing thing to do. She also enjoys meeting up with friends for a lunch date or reading a good book about parenting, marriage, homeschooling or Bible study. She also takes great joy in planning and hosting events.
In order to recharge her homeschool battery she loves attending the Great Homeschool Convention each Spring. And an annual church lectureship in August. And last, but most certainly not least she loves having date night with her husband.
Vicky is working with her kids at home now and loving every minute of it. She’s overcoming that “I could never do that.” mentality by meeting the challenges headlong and seeking the best possible life education for her kids. That is what makes her a Real Life Superhero Homeschool Mom.