|Tracy and her boys!|
Me: "Hey, Tracy. Thank you so much for your willingness to open up and share about your homeschooling journey. I am excited to hear what you have to say!"
Tracy: It's my pleasure to help out in any way.
Me: "I'd love for you to share a little about you, your family, and what sort of things you all enjoy doing together"
Tracy: I have been married to a GREAT man of faith for the last 20 years and we have 3 boys: 16, 8 and 3. I have total support from my husband, but since he works 2 jobs he is not really available to help out with the day-to-day of homeschool. My husband and I like to run together and have monthly date nights. As a family we read, attend church, bike ride, hike and SWIM. We all love the water and we are poolside in our backyard most of the summer. We do travel but not too much.
Me: "Have you always known you wanted to homeschool or are you what they call an 'accidental' homeschooler?"
Tracy: I guess you could say I have always said I (we) wanted to homeschool but we did not follow that path at first. I do believe with all my heart that homeschool was no accident, it was by God's grace that we followed the call.
Me: "Have any of your children ever attended Public/Private School or have you always homeschooled? What are the reasons you have chosen to homeschool? How long have you been doing it for?
Tracy: Yes, the oldest of the boys attended private Christian school from grade K - 8th grade. The middle boy has always been home and of course the 3 year old is just getting ready to join the fun too. To be honest, the cost of private school for highschool and then adding the middle man was way more then we could afford, so that was one reason. Since we always felt like homescool could be a good fit for our family, we thought "why not, go ahead, and give it a try". We started off with the oldest doing Cyber School and he still attends classes through CCA. We have moved onto Unit Studies and Lapbooks too. This fall will be are 5th year homeschooling. Wow, 5 years already!
Me: What would you say has been the hardest aspects or obstacles you face with homeschooling and having your children home with you?
Tracy: At first, the hardest part was telling our family. We are the only ones who homeschool, so at first they all thought we were crazy. Now most everyone seems to be okay with our choice. Having a baby in the house then a toddler was very hard for me. I always felt someone was not getting my attention or not getting the best of me. The strain of being pulled in too many directions was very hard. Since our boys are spaced out so far, keeping up with everyone's activities was hard to balance at first. I have now learned its OK to say "no" and go at a slower pace when it comes to sports, activities, and hobbies. The biggest obstacle of having them home is just getting a little "me time," but since our oldest is a teenager, I feel ok leaving for a cup of coffee with a friend or an afternoon run, and I NEED TO RUN to keep the stress level down.
Me: "What are some of your favorite aspects of homeschooling? Also any special moments that stand out in your mind that have affirmed all the more your decision to homeschool? "
Tracy: The favorite part for me is watching our boys love each other, I mean real love and friendship. Watching them mentor each other and have a true friendship is amazing. If they were all in school all day, they would not have the friendship they have, and its a true blessing. What stands out most for us is the LOVE for Jesus that is in our home. They are learning to put Him first in all that they do. When Christ is first, all academic stuff will come.
Me: "What have you learned the most about yourself during this homeschooling journey?"
Tracy: To listen to God in all areas of my life, and to place my trust in him. Also that I can do this; really I CAN DO ALL THINGS IN CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME
Me: "Have there been days/times you felt like throwing in the towel with homeschooling? What encouragement would you give to any mom out there who is feeling discouraged or not excited in homeschooling her children?"
Tracy: To be honest, I have not ever felt like throwing in the towel. I may have needed to step back and take a moment to see things through the eyes of our children or ask for help from other homeschool mom, but I never felt like I wanted to quit. I would tell other moms to seek the help of other homeschool moms, find a homeschool group just for moms and go and talk to other who have traveled this road and to go GOD in prayer.
Me: "Do you have a homeschooling missions statement or a vision and purpose you want to share?"
Tracy: Our homescool vision is to equip our boys to serve Christ and put others first, and that everything else in life will follow when you follow HIM.
Me: "Do you take time away from the kids/home to do things for yourself? If so what do you enjoy doing?"
Tracy: YES!!! I try to run at least 3 times a week and I try to get out with friends for coffee when I can. My husband and I have date night once a month, even if that means everyone to their rooms early. We just pop popcorn and watch a movie. I also try to attend a homeschool moms group through our church. It meets once a month and it's just for moms to chat and encourage each other.
Me: "Who has been your biggest mentor and encouragement on this homeschooling journey?"
Tracy: I have several mentors. We are blessed to attend a church that has many homeschool families and some have been homeschooling for a long time. They are so eager to reach out and help others. If I had to name at least two I would say Laura G and Peggy B.
Me: "Is there anything else you'd like to say or add that I didn't cover?"
Tracy: I was once told by a dear homeschooling mom that "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called," and that is so very true.
Me: "I really appreciate you taking the time to share with me and all those who read my blog! Thank you so much"
Tracy: You're very welcome, it's a true blessing to encourage anyone who is homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling.
Just in case you missed it, here are the first three in the series: