Hello! We are the Hollinger’s! We are due for some new family photos, because this family photo is two years old! Goodness, do those babies grow up fast! But I digress… My husband, Tyler and I have been married for ten years this May, and we have four children – Charles will be 8 soon, Lydia is 6, Jedidiah is 4, and Foster turns 3 in a couple weeks! Both my husband and myself were born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Video: Freedom Through Homeschooling With Kaddie and Tyler
What attracted you to homeschooling?
Ever since I remember wanting children, I wanted to homeschool them. I watched my nieces and nephews grow up so quickly and couldn’t imagine missing any part of my own children grow up. After high school, I decided to go to college for Early Education. I decided that 1) if anything ever happened to my future husband, that teaching would allow me at least a little more time with my future children, and 2) if the government ever went crazy and required a teaching degree for homeschooling, I would be one step in front of them. I know, I was a forward-thinking high schooler.
As I made my way through college and was given the opportunity to observe and teach in many different school settings, I realized that public education was not something I wanted for my children. There was so much beauty pulled from what real learning should look like! As I said, I always wanted to homeschool, but after seeing the underbelly of the system, I REALLY wanted to homeschool my children, and Lord willing, I would.
Tyler and I got married right after our sophomore year of college. Two years later, I finished my student teaching on May 2, 2014, and our first child was born on May 7, 2014!
Freedom Found Through Homeschooling
Our Unique Year
December 2020… Our family bought a baby Colorado Blue Spruce and planted it in our backyard. We planned to stay at our house for a long time and thought it would be fun to watch the children grow up with the tree year after year with each Christmas photo.
New Year’s Day 2021… My husband and I heard the Lord tell us to sell everything with no clear direction for the next step.
We did not see that one coming. I remember telling the Lord very clearly that if He wanted to sell our house, He was going to have to do it. We got a text two weeks later from an acquaintance asking if we knew of any houses for sale in our development. So we followed the Lord’s lead and sold our house. The problem was that as settlement came closer, we still hadn’t found a place to live. So three weeks before settlement (on our anniversary!) We went out and bought the second camper that we had ever looked at. We had literally zero experience!
What followed was 5 months of living in a camper. Two and half months of which we campground hopped nearly every 3-4 days and two and half months of living in it while we flipped our new home.
So what does this have to do with homeschooling?!
In short, everything. I knew when we started our school year this summer in the middle of a campground, that our family was going to need an extra dose of grace. Grace with each other, and grace with ourselves. Fortunately, I am the teacher and my husband is the principal so we get to set the rules and expectations.
The beginning of our school year went as well as could be expected when the campground maintenance man mows past your Morning Meeting…multiple times. And the kids staying in the campsite beside you keep begging your kids to play in the middle of Math.
My favorite part was that only one of my children could sit and do their book work at the table at a time. Normally that would be fine, but not when both need you at the same time. Maybe I am being a little dramatic. It really did go well, but there was definitely a learning curve and a lot of sanctification. There were also a lot of great things that we gained from schooling in campgrounds, like learning how to interact with new people and spending all hours of the day outside.
Homeschooling gave us the freedom to not stress about the little details. Did we accomplish as much as we normally would? Definitely not. Did we learn lessons that we otherwise wouldn’t have? Definitely. We learned how to be flexible. We also learned all the ins and outs of working as a team to set up and tear down our camper together.
Not everyone homeschools in a camper, but homeschooling provides so much freedom in the daily routine no matter where you are learning!
Once we finally bought our new house, we got to remodel nearly every part of it as a team. Since we persevered with our book work at the campgrounds, we had the freedom to take a couple weeks off when we first bought the house and give it our full attention. Eventually we would get into the rhythm of doing book work in the morning, and then come work on projects in the house.
Our children learned not only how to do various projects, but also how to work hard. They are able to claim different projects and jobs that they did in our home. How rewarding! If they would have been attending a brick and mortar school, they would have missed out on the opportunity to learn life skills, and our family would have missed out on a lot of family team building!
What freedoms does homeschooling regularly provide?
During my time as a student teacher I watched countless students become tied down by the system. If they did not fit into the expected box, then they had a problem that needed to be fixed. I don’t mean to sound rash, but unfortunately, it is the sad reality for students not only in public school, but most private schools as well. Homeschooling provides us with the freedom to teach our children for who they are, not who they are expected to be.
The freedom for our children to commit more time to their passions.
Homeschooling has opened up the door for my children to learn in ways that interest them most. My daughter loves to host and make food. She has a gift of making others feel loved and appreciated. She can manage by herself in a kitchen better than some that are double her age.
My oldest is a hard worker, an entrepreneur, a creator, and writer. Homeschooling gives him the time to explore his passions. He is always working on a project in our workshop, and currently has had the privilege of working under a contractor once a week as a house near us has been getting remodeled.
These are opportunities that not only interest them, but they are learning real life skills that will be of great benefit as they grow up. Our son, especially, would have missed out on the opportunity of learning from a contractor had he been attending school elsewhere.
The freedom to choose what our children are learning.
One of the largest benefits to homeschooling is being able to re-evaluate how we approach life. Life in general has drastically changed over the past 150 years. Prior to then, families were always teams that worked together to accomplish a goal. Families were multigenerational and much less individualized. Homeschooling our children allows us the opportunity to reclaim that. Our family is a team with a mission from the Lord to accomplish. Not only do we get to serve as a team, but we get to choose curricula that serves us in pursuing that mission.
When I was pregnant with our oldest, I could not imagine the idea of sending my baby’s heart and soul to learn from a stranger who taught a government directed curriculum. I would challenge that it was never the Lord’s intention for family. Not only do we get the privilege to walk out Deuteronomy 6 with our children, but I also have the ability to teach using a curriculum that points them back towards their Creator.
Modern public curriculum stifles a student’s thought process. Hard questions are not asked, nor explored. All things were made by Him and all things point to Him. Homeschooling allows my children the opportunity to explore different beliefs and ask hard questions because when all subjects are approached objectively, they will always point back to the Lord.
“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.”Charlotte Mason
The freedom of time.
Time. We all know it goes too fast. We all get the same amount of it, but how are we using it? Lord, help us be diligent with our time! Teaching our children at home allows us the freedom to claim our time.
Instead of attending a brick and mortar school for seven + hours a day, our children can finish their work within a couple of hours. This allows our family the liberty to explore the Lord’s creation, serve others, and build deeper relationships within our family and with others. Time is fleeting, spend it wisely.
Our children spend time together – all day, everyday. Not only does this allow us the opportunity for relationship building, but our children are best friends. Their relationships are deep. They care for each other, and when they don’t we take the time to learn. We are the most messy with the ones we feel most comfortable with. We get the privilege of walking through the mess, learning, and growing together (that definitely includes me too!).
The freedom from comparing.
I don’t have to compare how well my second grader can read or how quickly my kindergartener can solve Math problems. Please do not hear what I am not saying. My children still work hard and are held to high expectations, but they are only compared to their best, not what the government says should be their best. They learn at their own speed, without the added pressure of having to perform or do better.
Homeschooling offers us so much freedom – far more than could ever be listed in a short blog post. I am thankful everyday for the blessing of learning and growing with my babies (even on the hard days!). We are a team, and in my opinion, I’ve got some of the best doing life with me!
To the mamas thinking about homeschooling – you can do it, the Lord created you to teach your babies! Don’t question your ability! And to the seasoned home teachers – keep on keeping on mamas! May we never tire of doing a good work.
May the Lord fill your days and home with peace, discernment, and true freedom that is only found in Him.
What are your favorite resources?
Parables of Nature
All the Holling Books
Okay, pretty much all the Ambleside Online books! I love them for my children, but I also love them for myself. I learn just as much from them!
Daily Writing Journal
Once we incorporated daily journals into our Morning Meeting time, I saw such huge improvements in my children’s writing, handwriting, spelling, and creativity.
These books are set up in the perfect format for our schooling week. There is a short reading everyday, and we get to learn about heroes of the faith that have gone before us. There is great encouragement in hearing their stories!
Did you enjoy this interview with Kaddie? Leave a comment to let her know how her story encouraged you!
Looking for more homeschooling encouragement and ideas? Check out my most popular posts!
Also find inspiration for your homeschool by checking out the full gallery of MOM INTERVIEWS!
Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!