Interview with Ashley
Welcome Ashley! She is an eclectic unschooler mother of four from the outskirts of GTA. Grab a cup of tea (if the kids let you) and enjoy…..
How many kids do you have and what are their ages? How long have you been homeschooling for and do you follow a particular method?
I have an eight year old boy, seven year old boy, three year old daughter, and 21 month old son. We have been homeschooling since day one and we chose eclectic whole life unschooling.
A PEEK INSIDE YOUR LIFE
Why does your family chose to homeschool?
So so so many reasons. I feel that learning happens naturally and without force when left up to the child. I want my children to love learning and to be excited about new discoveries. By unschooling them we are following their lead and letting them dictate how their day goes and what they want to do. I also want to instill a strong sense of self-worth and confidence in my kids and I find that unschooling them does this effortlessly.
What does a good day look like in your house?
I wouldn’t say we have any good days or bad days. We just have “days”. Everyday is different and some days are less productive than others but that is perfectly okay. That is life after all. Some days the kids wake up and want to go outside and play or explore, other days we are running errands from dawn till dusk, and other days we just want to lounge in our pjs in front of the tv or computer. No matter what we are doing we are always learning something.
What does a bad day look like in your house?
Same answer as above ^
What are your three homeschooling essentials?
1. Internet – You will need access to the internet as your kids get older to help them research whatever topics interest them. The internet is the most important source of information in our home and we use is daily…for just about everything (recipes, DIY projects, craft ideas, youtube videos, learning to skills, researching facts, etc).
2. Craft Supplies – You will also want a variety of craft supplies, especially a never ending supply of paper, markers, and pencil crayons. Depending on your child’s interests you may want specialty art supplies, or maybe the basics will be more than enough.
3. The ability to let go – This is crucial! You need to be easy on yourself and your kids, listen to them and trust their instincts. Let go of everything that society has taught you about the way kids learn. Sit back, relax, and watch your child. Learn their interests, learn their cues, talk with them about whatever topics they are interested in, answer their long list of never ending questions. That is what learning is about after all, getting answers to our questions.
What was your biggest homeschooling mistake or set back?
When we first started out homeschooling journey I went out and bought a lot of unnecessary supplies and wasted a lot of money on it. I spent a fortune on traditional school stuff, and we never used it. At first I had this idea that I wanted to copy school at home, but as our journey progressed so did my views on homeschooling. As soon as I let go of my traditional schooling thoughts our life became so much more enjoyable and all around better.
Have you ever had any ‘aHa!’ moments on this journey?
Meme’s. Yup, memes!! I have come across so many homeschooling and parenting
memes over the years and they have really made me think and cause me to focus more on what my values and beliefs are with regards to my children and why I feel the way I do.
Whats the best part of homeschooling?
All the time we spend together as a family of course!!!!!
Whats the worst part of homeschooling?
Finding “me” time is very rare. To be fair, I dont try to get time for myself and I definitely do not make it a priority, but when I do want it, it is difficult. Although as I am writing this, it might have more to do with the fact that we have 4 kids than is relates to homeschooling.
Facebook Pages: Free Your Kids, Our Muddy Boots, The Libertarian Homeschooler, and my local favourite – We Learn Naturally
Place to shop for homeschooling supplies: I don’t have a favourite place because we hardly ever buy any supplies. We do order from Chapters/Indigo and Amazon regularly though.
Children’s book: Tickle Monster! Family favourite, so much fun!!
Book: Anything by John Holt and Sandra Dodd, and Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto.
Family movie: Jurassic Park Trilogy, and Frozen (of course!)
(Board)Game: Battleship and charades
Looking back on your homeschooling career, what advice would you give to yourself when you first started?
Relax and see where the journey takes you. Dont just dive in full force. Deschool and do what feels natural – for everyone in the family).
Have you ever thought about giving up? When, why, and what got you through?
Yes, many times. Whenever I start to doubt myself and my abilities and choices. My old school way of thinking comes back and makes me question myself. Whenever this happens I try to take a deep breath, reassure myself and focus on my instincts. Sometimes I will open facebook and visit some of my favourite pages just to remind myself that I am not alone in this lifestyle and read comments and posts from families who share the share my views.
Who or what is your biggest homeschooling support?
My kids. They absolutely love their homeschooling journey and show me all the time just how much they are learning.
How do you manage to juggle all the demands of motherhood and housework while homeschooling?
It is hard, I am not going to lie. Some days are easier than others and some days feel like chores are never ending. I try to do things in short bursts daily so that nothing piles up too much and I get overwhelmed. My kids and husband help out too. We all live here and we all pitch in and do our part. It is not a one woman show. It is a family effort.
What does your family usually eat for breakfast?
Cheerios and milk (fast and easy!).
Where was the last place your family went to enjoy some quality time together?
For a walk and visit to the playground.
What is something you do for yourself to feel good?
Top 3 things that make me happy are: a hot shower, a hot cup of tea, and some creative/crafting time.
Can you share a confession of something you let your kids do that others may not know or approve of?
I am a pretty open book and respect my kids enough to let them do as they please. I am embarrassed to admit that in a pinch I have fed my kids McDonalds! *gasp*
If you were an animal, what would you be:
I often refer to myself as a hermit crab because I rarely want to leave my shell, aka home, but I recently saw this graphic going around on Facebook and felt it was so ME!! I am a lion because “Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep” 😀