Brandon and Kay Gilanyi live in Willow Street in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Brandon just graduated Seminary over the summer and is currently looking for a job in ministry. Right now he is working at the family business for Kay’s Dad as General Manager at “Lancaster’s Furniture To Go!!” Previous to that he held manager positions at Sherwin Williams for 12 years. Kay is a SAHM, but the couple has also taught Bradley Method Birth Classes for the past 9 1/2 years. Kay also runs a Homeopathic Consulting Service. She helps individuals through the use of this alternative system of medicine with everything from the flu, to ear infections to eczema to anxiety. Her driving force is to make better healthcare available to everyone using natural, effective and affordable Homeopathic remedies. She discovered and fell in love with this system of medicine more than 10 years ago and has made it her mission to try to spread the word and teach people how to listen to and support their body. She consults for chronic as well as acute cases as she studies under her Homeopath, who is also a medical doctor. She hopes to pursue an educational degree, but for now her passion for homeopathy and helping people get well drives her hands-on education. You can learn more about Kay and all her passions at her blog (which she tries very hard to keep up with!) www.kayleeliving.com
Here’s my interview with Kay and Brandon: (Yes, we get to hear from a homeschool dad, yay!) Kay’s real passion in homeschooling is being together in life and giving their kids a childhood. She says, “I see it as my mission to first understand my children, and then help them understand themselves and who God has made them to be, so that they can see how their gifts and abilities fit into a greater plan to serve and love Jesus. This is our great commission as parents! “
My name is Kay Gilanyi and I am a wife, homeschool mom, and health educator, I guess! I tend to be a very passionate person and when I am into something I am all in and want to bring everyone along with me! One of the reasons I hesitated looking into homeschooling at the very beginning was because I knew that once I dipped my foot in, if I felt it was best, I would be throwing myself in with a vigor and conviction that, honestly, I wasn’t sure at that time I had the energy for! Haha. I have a few big passions, and one of them has become homeschooling my kids as a stay-at-home parent.
What drew you to homeschooling?
I didn’t always want to homeschool, but I didn’t always want to be a mom of 5 kids either. God has a way of directing us into things we sometimes wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves and then blessing us with what we never dreamed. I had a diverse education experience having started in a very small private school in New Jersey, then moving to PA and into the public system for 2 years, and then an abrupt change to homeschool on nothing but my parent’s very strong conviction, their willingness to take on new adventures, and their idealistic picture of home education. It was not my favorite year. Then they sent us all off to a very highly academic private school which we were all ill-prepared for! I finished my high school years back at home and did not think I would ever homeschool any children-should I have them! But God, when my oldest was 5 years old, stirred in mt heart a realization that I was not quite ready to give him up to another adult and 20 children for the majority of his days. I couldn’t imagine how much more quickly his little life would go by than it already had, despite the difficulty of caring for him and learning to be a mom, and raising two others at the time, when days seem never to end. I knew that I just wasn’t ready to make the transition to saying good-bye everyday for all day, and never getting that time back again-ever-until he graduated and then left the home! It was just not something I was willing to sacrifice. Instead we decided we would take the next 3 years to figure things out and take it one year at a time. We’ve never regretted that choice.
What advice do you have for new homeschoolers, especially those who are homeschooling unexpectedly for the first time this year ?
I think that many parents, though they are facing many difficult challenges this year, have been given a unique opportunity to do the same; take their time to figure things out and get time that they otherwise would not have had with their kids, and use it for relationsip building, life skill learning, and character building, and not stress so much about the academic part. If you have found yourself in a position you never would have chosen otherwise by being forced to homeschool, I would say this: think about what is most important to you to impart to your children and focus on nurturing that in them this year. If it is temporary, remember that this is time you will never get back, and think abot how you would like to remember it in years to come. I’m sure we’d all like to remember time with our children with fondness. I would challenge you to not give them over to a vitrual teacher, a computer screen, or a system which was not made to be work in your home, and trust that as their parent you can do the best job at teaching them the things that are important, and allow them to become independant thinkers as they teach themselves from good books, and an inquiring mind. You have basically all the tools you need already, be bold to use them, and ask for help of other seasoned homeschoolers!
What has been your biggest challenge?
I’ve faced my own challenges and expect to face many more! One of my biggest challenges was reconciling my idea of homeschooling with my reality, and learning my children. As your child’s teacher you really have to be the best student- of THEM. Realizing that each of my kids learn in a different way, are interested in different things, and communicate uniquely, is not only overwhelming, is also very rewarding, if you embrace it and commit to learning THEM. It is also very freeing as a homeschooler to be able to give them space to blossom in their own time and not feel as though they are falling behind in comparison to others. I’ve learned to quiet the doubt in my mind that I am not enough for them, or that I will make mistakes that will set them back, as their parent, I truly want to the best for them, no teacher can compare to a parent’s motivation!
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
I wouldn’t say that homeschooling consumes all my energy or passion. I have some other interests outside of my role as a mom and teacher. My husband and I have taught Bradley Method Birth classes for more than 9 years! We have a desire to educate parents as they seek to learn more about the very important work of bringing a baby into the world safely, prepared as a team, and well-informed. It is a great responsibility that we know ourselves, how our Creator has fashioned us, and how we can be a part of his flawless design. I love educating women on the fascinating, intricate, and perfect design God has blessed them with so that they can be confident and not fearful. I also love educating and informing people on health matters. I have used and studied Homeopathy; a system of medicine, not to be confused with a general term for natural medicine, herbs, or supplements. It is natural, but it is very unique and very effective for all things from mental health and chronic disease, to acute care at home. I’ve been helping people use it successfully at home for about 10 years, but now I have had the privelege of studying under a doctor to be able to help people with chronic conditions. I want everyone to be able to have affordable, effective, non-addictive options when it comes to taking care of themselves, and what medicines they put into their bodies, and this is my one small but impactful way that I can make a difference in people’s lives in that regard.
Book That Inspired Kay to Homeschool
Read Aloud/Audio Favorite for Ages 3-10
These books are slow and lovely. He paints quite a picture and uses lots of play on words which make it more and more interesting to children as they grow and are able to understand it in a new light. I also loved the vocabulary that it introduced to my kids. My children have all been delighted with these timeless, non-fantastic stories.
Again, these stories, set in the 1950’s, are classic storylines any child can relate to, and while they are not one big plot, or anything super exciting, they draw you into the simple truths of what it is to be a child. I enjoy them as much as my kids do!
All of my kiddos love listening to these stories. The concepts they tackle are sometimes ones that I am glad my kids get to be introduced to though a story that promotes some good discussion.
Ages 5 and Up
This is a true living book which introduces them to James Audubon in a round-about way. We read this book for school this year and all my kids loved it. We can’t wait to read others by this author.
Ages 8 and Up
Harry Potter (the first 3 are suitable for ages 8 &9, beyond that, they get a little more intense for young kids) My 10 year old devoured these books! He read through the entire series twice in less than a year. I had never read the books before I read them to my son, and I am now a HUGE fan. Like- I cried at the end. The story is powerful and moving, full of great role models and is full of Christian imagery that will capture you.
Jonathan Park is a great Audio series sort of like Adventures in Odyssey but with a focus on Creation Science. My boys have really enjoyed it.
Have questions for Kay? You can contact her at email@example.com. You can email her with any questions or also to see if your health concerns can be addressed with homeopathy. Remember, though, moms are busy! Response time may be delayed, but she will try to reply as soon as she can!