Homeschool Stories From Real Moms Part 1: We Are Blessed
Homeschool Stories From Real Moms
Part 1: We Are Blessed
We're introducing a weekly homeschooling mom feature to our blog. These posts are to encourage you along your homeschooling journey, share experiences and connect with other homeschooling moms all over the world.
This week's homeschooling story is from Andrea Kessler, a homeschooling family of five living in Colorado. Read below to hear more about her experience with homeschooling
“I can’t do it! It’s too hard!” Protested my seven-year-old as he attempted to copy a drawing of a 3-D box. I was showing the kids how to draw tea crates to go along with our study of the Boston Tea Party. “Just keep trying, it doesn’t have to be perfect,” I assured him. Perfectionism often gets the best of my middle child. He needs extra encouragement and assurance that his best is enough. He gets that from me. Watching my kids struggle is often one of the most frustrating parts of this homeschooling gig. But watching them finally succeed at a goal or hit a milestone in their education is the absolute best.
This homeschool journey is risky and sometimes a tiny voice in the back of my head asks me if I’m up for the job. Sound familiar?
We are a homeschooling family of five. We live on 4.95 acres of prairie grass with a mountain view, and we’re attempting to grow our own little forest with a variety of pine and spruce trees on the North side of our house. We’re accompanied by two dogs, a cat, and the occasional goldfish- and coming soon, chickens! Laundry is a daily necessity and we learned to embrace dirty floors and sticky fingerprints a long time ago. At any moment there is a construction, remodeling, or landscaping project happening in or around our home. I live on dark chocolate, homeschool podcasts, and Jesus. I garden, listen to audiobooks, and usually have my DSLR camera glued to my hand.
My entrepreneur husband and I met in a black and white photography/film developing class in college. We both love the mountains of Colorado and have a passion for log cabins and camping. We married a year and a half after we met and have three rambunctious kiddos who are all three years apart from each other: a dramatic, fun-loving, girl with a heart for anything with wings, or fur, or six or eight legs, and two adventurous boys who don’t believe in quiet times or wearing shoes.
I began homeschooling my daughter when she was seven, at the beginning of her second-grade year. I was afraid that I was going to mess up big time. Luckily, I have been blessed with a tribe of homeschool families in our community who offer encouragement, ideas, and support. Our families meet together a few times per year on the back porch of a friend’s house. While overlooking the cattails and green open space of the golf course behind her house, we catch up on each other’s lives and foster new friendships. We discuss educational methods and give suggestions when someone needs ideas. All the while, the kids run free, laughing and learning from each other, and inventing new games. This group was instrumental in building my confidence as a homeschool momma.
I no longer try to define our homeschool style by a particular educational method. I couldn’t get us to fit properly into just one. I enjoy elements of classical education, Charlotte Mason, and unschooling (for those extra warm months in the summer.) Mostly, our school is relationship-based with an emphasis on the importance of arts, nature study, good books, and outdoor time. We have used a variety of curriculum in the past few years. We love it because of the focus it puts on art and art appreciation. It has brought silence to the anxious voice in my head asking if we’re doing it right.
Reading is the most important part of our homeschool day. I enjoy fostering a love for learning and a love for books with my kids. I adore Sara Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival for our read-aloud choices. We read living books for history, picture books for fun, listen to audiobooks in the car, and we savor our bedtime snuggles with an adventurous chapter book.
I enjoy that homeschooling is an extension and continuation of my own education as an adult. After all, the interests of others often create a spark of interest in yourself. If I find a subject interesting, my kids usually enjoy it as well. I love watching my ten-year-old learn how to use a DSLR camera on full manual mode. She loves photography because I love photography. Now my daughter is ten and headed into the fifth grade. My middle boy is beginning second grade and my four-year-old is working on some preschool activities. Our days are full of growing, learning, struggles, tears, laughter, art, music, and celebrations. And that’s how it works in our home. We struggle, we overcome, we succeed. Like an endless summer, these are the best days. Through the messes and successes, we are blessed. And my best is enough. And so is yours.