In today’s times, many parents are finding themselves outside their comfort zone educating their children at home. In fact, many parents who purposefully chose to homeschool their children still struggle with doubt and concern about whether they have what it takes to homeschool well. In today’s podcast, Trish interviews Jamie Erickson, mom of five, self-proclaimed unlikely homeschooler, and author of Homeschool Bravely.
As a former public school teacher turned homeschooler, Jamie shares her insights on why she and her homeschooled husband chose to homeschool their own children. Jamie brilliantly explains some of the greatest joys she has had in homeschooling her children and shares how you, too, can find that simplicity and happiness are much more important than grade levels or recreating public school at home. Jamie conveys her opinions on how not to fear the dreaded “can I go to public school” question. She beautifully expresses the joy and benefit of reading aloud to your children even as they grow older. If you find yourself under stress and worried about whether you’re “doing it right,” then allow Jamie and Trish to put your heart at ease.
In this short podcast, they will urge you to consider the many benefits of homeschooling, not the least of which is growing a strong relationship with your children. Jamie’s obvious love for her children and enjoyment of learning shine through as she tells about learning with her kids, why it is so important to talk with kids rather than at them, and the three things she would do more of if she had the chance to start over.
This podcast will inspire tired homeschooling parents to revisit the joy they held as they began their homeschooling journey while leaving behind any former doubt. New homeschoolers will get a front seat view of how beneficial homeschooling can be in so many ways…including socialization! You will be inspired and uplifted as you listen. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and prepare to feel like you’re participating in a conversation with old friends. Oh! And get ready to be excited all over again about guiding your children toward their best future and reaping the fruit that can come with homeschooling.
Meet The Guest
Jamie Erickson is the daughter of the King, wife to “Mr. Right,” and the mother to five blissfully abnormal kids.
When she’s not curating memories, hoarding vintage books, or playing ringmaster to her circus of five blissfully abnormal kids, Jamie Erickson can be found encouraging and equipping a growing tribe of mothers all across the globe on the Mom to Mom podcast, through her blog The Unlikely Homeschool, at national conferences, and in her book Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child With Confidence.
In addition to writing and speaking, Jamie loves talking faith and family over a cup of Starbuck’s finest, collecting calories around a table full of friends, and taking grueling hikes with her formerly homeschooled husband, Dain (because alas, calories don’t display very nicely on a shelf like other collections).
Show notes are below.
This episode is sponsored by Apologia. We are HUGE fans of Apologia and we both have used this curriculum throughout our homeschool journeys. This series is literally our favorite science series offered in the homeschool arena. We encourage you to spend a few minutes visiting their site to see why. Or visit our website to see the many articles we have written about it.
Quotes from Jamie Erickson
I had a teaching degree. In my mind I thought teaching is the perfect gig for a mom. I looked down the road and thought if some day we get married and we have kids they’ll be able to come to school with me. We’ll have the same days off. We will have the same hours. It just on paper seemed to add up so nicely that it never even crossed my mind, this idea of homeschooling.[By the time I had my first child] I had been in the classroom for seven years. I got to see the underbelly of the classroom and traditional education. I just couldn’t imagine sending my daughter off to that. [As a public school teacher] I got a gift. I got to take in everyone else’s kid for six to eight hours a day. I got the highlights of their day. I got the bright eyes and the smiles and the “first times” of learning. I got the “aha” moments. I sent them back and they were tired. They had used up all their words. Mom and Dad just got the leftovers of their day.
Homeschool has evolved into a thriving lifestyle of community and friendships. The sky is the limit with opportunities.
You just have to be willing to think outside the box. It might not look like a bunch of six-year-olds in the classroom together but that doesn’t mean your child has to be without friends and that doesn’t mean that you have to be without community. It just might look a little different.[My husband] saw how much [our daughter] loved homeschooling and how much our relationship was growing and bonding and how different school could actually be compared to the 80s when homeschooling was barely a thing.
Don’t be afraid of the question…if your child comes to you and says “Mom, can I go to public school?” A lot of that stems from curiosity, of not having experience with it.
I don’t really, to be honest, have a ton of regret. I feel like I can look back and see what I did right and wish I had done more of that.[Reading aloud] is an investment of time in them. I can teach “at them” but not learn “with them.” Reading is this shared communal experience. We are developing these shared memories, this family language together. It is an intentional investment of time with these people that I love so much.
When you read aloud, conversations become very pointed. Things get brought up in conversations that wouldn’t naturally just fall into your discussions.
Reading aloud to my kids is forcing me to have some really hard discussions about things but in a really gentle, natural, uncontrived way.
One of our favorite books was To Kill a Mockingbird. We still talk about that one. It infiltrated into so many aspects of our life. Morally it gave a safe way to enter into conversations about so many things.
I wish I had entered into current event conversations with my kids so that they can develop, for us, a Biblical worldview because that’s the worldview that my household subscribes to. Any worldview can not be established unless you can learn to view the world and learn to sift it through logic, through whatever lens you feel like the world should be seen through.
A lot of moms are hesitant to talk about current events and deep, heavy things with young kids. We determined that, to the best of our ability, and obviously at an age-appropriate level, that we were going to have some hard conversations with our kids.
I think there is a difference between talking to and talking with your kids. When I’m talking with them, I’m asking pointed questions and waiting for their answer and then allowing them to give an answer…to draw their thoughts out by asking more questions. To continue to ask questions in order to help them draw the correct conclusion all by themselves.
I wish I’d had more understanding that real learning is a lifestyle. When you segregate learning to only 9 to 5 or only at “this desk” or only looking at this chart with these books and these materials, you are conditioning your kids to assume that education can only look like that. Then at the end of the 12th year, they discontinue learning because they’ve seen that learning can only be done one way.
I didn’t prescribe to grade levels. None of us as adults are on equal plane in every area of interest that we have or every area of expertise, even. But I can have forward motion and continue to learn in all of those things. That’s really what learning is.
We determined early on that we were not going to focus on the number (grade level) on the front of the book. We focused on forward motion, continual motion, and continual building of the mind.
Follow your child. Understand your child. Know their strengths. Know their weaknesses. Help them explore those and grow in them.
We have 24 hours (each day) at our disposal to homeschool and to say this isn’t an “extra,” it is an integral part, and allow their passions to count even though it doesn’t look like he is opening a book or taking a test or filling out a worksheet. Those passions that he/she is diving into deeply, allow those to count!
Always plan with the end in mind. Look ahead in the next twelve years to that person that they will be some day,. We are building for the years that we cannot see. You might not see the immediate fruit, expeicially in the day-to-day grind. It might seem tedious and overwhelming. But in the end, after these 12 years, I can guarantee that you will not regret the investment. You will reap the fruit but right now you just have to dig in and do the hard work of planting. Be patient because the fruit is coming.
It is only in the hard things that you reap much fruit. Keep pressing forward even when its hard, even when you want to quit. When you get to the end you’ll realize it was so worth it.
Resources mentioned in the podcast and other important links
Info on Jamie:
- Jamie’s blog: The Unlikely Homeschool
- Co-host of podcast: Mom to Mom Podcast – Christ-centered Conversation. For every mom. For every season.
- Jamie’s book: The Unlikely Homeschool: Homeschool Bravely
Curriculum and Books referred to in this episode:
- Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Cay by Theodore Taylor
- The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Institute for Excellence in Writing (iew.com)using Teaching Writing Structure and Style (TWSS) Teaching Writing: Structure and Style®, Second Edition [Forever Streaming or DVD Video Seminar, Workbook, Premium Membership] | Institute for Excellence in Writing (iew.com)
- Beautiful Feet Books Geography Based Writing Lessons with IEW using Holling C. Holling’s books.
How to make homeschool fun!!
- Believe in Unicorns Coloring Book: 50+ Beautiful Mythical Unicorn Coloring Pages.
- Diamond Painting Kits for Adults, Teens or Tweens
- Our game recommendations on Amazon on how to make homeschool fun!
- Homeschool Road Trips
- Fun Printable Site: Only Passionate Curiosity
- Our snarky irreverent view of homeschooling: Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers