Hi! I’m Karla Weaver, a former public school teacher, now teaching my children at home! Since 2020, I’ve been encouraging other moms in their homeschool journeys through PA homeschool evaluations and homeschool support sessions/education consulting. I met my husband at Millersville University, both education majors, but never imagined homeschooling our children! We’ve been married almost 15 years and God blessed us with three children, currently ages 11, 8, and 6!
People can reach out with any questions by following me on IG @leadthemwell and messaging me there! I hold k-12 evaluations (including special education) and homeschool support sessions for those who want to put a strong plan together as they begin to homeschool or for those who need some additional feedback and support as they continue to homeschool.
What attracted you to homeschooling?
Our homeschool journey started when our oldest was approaching Pre-K. I was teaching full-time as a cyber education teacher and just had baby #3. I didn’t see any great Pre-K options within 15 minutes, and a commute didn’t work with my schedule.
I wondered why parents would choose to homeschool (buying their materials and doing it on their own) when there was free cyber education available. Curious and looking for a good way to prepare my 4-year-old for kindergarten, I purchased Sonlight’s Pre-K curriculum.
This was the best purchase. While working full-time from home, we completed the curriculum in a year. The books were exciting and I loved connecting with my child in this way.
I wasn’t planning to homeschool. We registered our oldest for kindergarten at our local elementary school and enjoyed all the Pre-K nights that our district provided! However, as kindergarten approached, so did uncertainty. Five years old felt young. Her foundation and character was just beginning. She was still learning to obey! Were we supposed to send her out on her own each day?
I didn’t want to homeschool. But we were suddenly considering it. Loading three kids in the car (with a one-year-old’s nap schedule) for half day kindergarten sounded like daily stress. We needed to choose the education option that brought our family the most peace and special moments.
With tons of prayer and discussion, I resigned from my cyber school teaching position and unenrolled our child from school (two weeks before the start date). We joined Classical Conversations, a homeschool curriculum and organization that sets up learning communities (a weekly co-op) across the US and abroad.
I didn’t have much of a plan, but I had peace. The peace of God is what led us to homeschool.
How has your mindset changed from traditional ways of doing school to learning as a lifestyle?
Traditional school and “real life” can feel so separate. Children go to school to do the required things and being out of school can feel like a break and relief, away from the learning. So there can easily be this separation from real life and learning, along with a negativity toward learning.
But learning IS life and life is all about learning! The longer I homeschool, the more I love learning with my children in a way that goes much deeper than the typical school subjects. Asking questions to spark wonder and deeper thinking, rather than giving or requiring the answer all the time, are great ways to help push our children’s brains in desiring to learn more about the world around them.
Knowing what my kids are learning throughout the school week helps me connect day-to-day activities with what they’re learning, going deeper in those topics. For example, we can be on vacation and see something that relates to what we learned. Since I’m involved in their education, we maximize the education experience by relating what we’re learning to what’s really around us. Learning becomes this fascinating never-ending family experience.
In what ways does your learning mesh with real life?
My favorite learning is when we’re all together (dad too) and we’re sitting by the campfire, looking at the stars, and talking about cool stuff like the International Space Station, planets, and other amazing things above us! Just by asking questions and wondering how things work, we learn so much! My kids can complain about doing their math books, but they know learning about life is always fascinating.
Parents shouldn’t be afraid to teach their children new things, even if it’s something that’s not in the school books or may be over their heads. One evening, my husband was explaining electricity to our kids when they were much younger. It may have been way over their heads but that discussion was still worth it. It’s good for children to see that their parents have wisdom to share. It’s good to hear terms that can act as a hook to hang future information upon. It’s good to learn and be inspired by parents.
Tell about some of the interesting experiences, lessons, or adventures of your homeschool.
One evening, my husband realized my daughter didn’t know how to read an analog clock. She may have learned to read the hour hand but not the minute hand. So he took the older two out to his shop and they made a wooden clock. He showed them how to read the time, and it’s still a special piece of decor in our house!
Another time we were at Cape Henlopen and went to the bay at low tide. There were horseshoe crabs everywhere. We looked at them carefully and on the way home learned some crazy facts about them! The same thing happened when we were looking for sand dollars and shells in Florida.
If we take the time to look carefully at the ground beneath our feet and look up into the vast night sky, we’re invited to wonder and stand in awe of God’s creation. Doing this as a family, with different ages and depths of knowledge, is a beautiful way of learning.
How do you have your home or days set up to inspire the love of learning?
When my children were toddlers, I wrestled with the best way to handle tech and screens. Putting an Ipad in front of a screaming toddler can solve the problem temporarily, but it didn’t seem like a strong solution for the long term. I decided our days would be built around beneficial activities and leading them towards independence. I wanted them to learn to play well, create, and be content in our home without dependence on screens to entertain.
With my children home all day, they’re now accustomed to using their time in ways that build their brains and interests. We’re not doing school books all day long, but they’re doing beneficial things that grow their interests and skills. They read a lot. They create. They play. They practice music and play sports together. So when people ask how long school takes around here, it’s hard to answer since my children are learning and growing through many different activities throughout the day.
Are there any other tips you have to shift a home toward learning as a lifestyle?
- Invest heavily in teaching your child to read so they can learn more about the world through books!
- Think through your children’s interests and strengths and buy Christmas and birthday gifts that can help those skills grow.
- Go after a new hobby or let your children see you do something new. It’s important for parents to keep learning and being inspired too. We’re wired to learn and grow, and it’s motivating when children see it in their parents.
* This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Louie Giglio Science & God Devotionals (Indescribable, How Great is Our God, & The Wonder of Creation)
Write the Word for kids (by Cultivate What Matters)
Prescripts Cursive Words and Drawing Scripture (by Classical Conversations)
ABC Go Fish (to teach preschoolers letters!)
Duolingo (for students who want to learn a new language)
Typing.com (a free program to learn typing)
Adventure Journals (Use composition books with room to draw pictures and write about trips, holidays, or other fun things in life!)
My favorite reads
The NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible
The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch.
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Has Karla’s story resonated with you? Leave a comment to let her know how she encouraged you!
To reach out to Karla with questions or if you need help with consulting or evaluations, you can find her on Instagram @leadthemwell.
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!
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