Once a month on the blog I like to share “our life” collectively as homeschoolers by interviewing an everyday homeschool mom. I hope you are encouraged in this post, Former School Teacher Now Homeschool Mom: Interview with Kristin. Enjoy!
Kristin, an educational consultant, is passionate about empowering mamas to educate their children. “For the good of others and the glory of God”. You can find Kristin on Instagram @from_kristin_homeschool or on her blog at www.fromkristin.com.
Video: Former Teacher, Now Homeschool Mom: Interview With Kristin
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Hello! My name is Kristin Stewart and I am in my sixth year of homeschooling my two daughters. Hailey is in grade 5 and Sophie is in grade 3. I have been married for 12 years to my husband who is a corporal in the RCMP. Because of his career, we have moved every few years since we’ve been married.
An interesting fact about me is that I was a full time teacher before I became a mom! After high school I went on to get my Bachelor in Kinesiology and then my Bachelor in Education. Following that I moved right out to northern Alberta and started my teaching career. I didn’t finish out my 6th year because I had a baby that February!
During that time on maternity leave, God did a real work in this career driven woman’s heart. The woman who had formally aspired to climb the educational ladder until she had a masters and was a principal began feeling a real stirring in her heart to leave the workforce. It was a decision I did not make lightly but ultimately the Lord continued to work in my heart and gave me peace with the decision to become a stay at home mom.
Even though I had left teaching to be a stay at home mom and homemaker, homeschooling was never on my radar. To be honest, it was the furthest from my radar possible. Even though I didn’t go back to full time teaching, I was still occasionally subbing in the public school system in the community we were then living in. The schools in that community had much more to deal with in regards to their students than just an education, and therefore the majority of students were well below grade level. Every time I subbed in kindergarten I wondered what this was going to look like for my little 4 year old who was already reading. Even still, I hadn’t considered homeschool.
When did you first start thinking about homeschooling?
It wasn’t until the summer before her kindergarten year that it started to creep into my mind. I can actually vividly remember where I was and the exact moment I seriously considered homeschooling. We were driving as a family along the highway up north and I was just so sad at the thought of her being in school. She is so delightful and I didn’t want to have her gone from the house all day! I knew I would miss her and her sister would miss her. Not to mention, little sis’s playmate would be gone! It dawned on me then, we don’t have to send her. I did not at all feel peace in my spirit about sending her to school and it was like a light bulb clicked in that moment that we didn’t have to send her to school. We were her parents and we could decide what we wanted to do.
Was your teaching experience an advantage?
I would say this is the question I get the most regarding going from teaching to homeschooling. The answer isn’t cut and dry. It definitely was an advantage in terms of confidence. I knew what a regular classroom looked like, what struggles learners faced in classrooms, and I was used to adapting lessons on the fly. I already had a toolbox full of ideas and methods to use to teach a concept. I know many homeschool moms struggle with feeling like they are equipped to teach their child and I didn’t have that struggle. I don’t know if it is just personality, but I attribute it more to my teaching experience.
However there were instances in which it was a disadvantage. I had to retrain my mind a little bit on what education was. I had planned my teaching days in the time constraints of school for so many years, it was what I knew. It is actually shocking when you start homeschooling and see how little time it actually takes to accomplish the material. It was a learning curve to realize it was ok that we were done in an hour (or less in kindergarten). It has been a gradual progression over time to let go of those tightly held ideals of what school should look like. Even when I think I’ve come a long way, I end up realizing I have more to go!
How do you adjust your homeschool to meet the individual needs of your kids?
This is one area that, I think, my experience in the classroom helped me. It became evident very quickly when my second daughter started school that the same approach was not going to be effective! To be honest, even before we started I could tell that Sophie was going to need a different style of learning. For her it needed to feel fun, not too hard, and include movement as much as possible.
Hailey, my oldest, preferred a “just get it done” approach instead of bells and whistles, whereas Sophie loves programs like All About Reading where she is cutting and glueing and doing cute and fun activities while learning. So the main way I adjust my homeschool to meet their individual needs is the resources I choose. They don’t use the same curriculum for Math or LA. I love that about homeschooling, that they can use something suitable to their learning style.
My approach and speed also varies between the girls based on their learning style, behavior and needs from me. One needs to sit quietly and focus, one needs to be bouncing or upside down or in motion of some sort.
You have a unique experience having taught in school and homeschooling. What would you say to someone who is on the fence about homeschooling?
Do it!!!! There is a small percentage of kids who will thrive in a school classroom. Unless your child learns in the typical way at the expected speed and is assertive enough to ask for help, they will not get to reach their full academic potential in school. Teachers work hard and are amazing but the needs in most classrooms make it impossible to teach everyone how and what they need. I cringe to think of how school could have been for my littlest. She is just now starting to read with any confidence in grade 3. I don’t know if she could have gotten the slow instruction she needed in a big classroom.
I’d also say, you don’t need an education degree to teach your kids. Most days I am learning right along with them. You just need a willingness to learn and figure out what you don’t know. Homeschool curriculums are written assuming that you DON’T have teaching experience. They make it so easy for someone to teach their own kids.
If God calls you to it, trust Him with it!
And lastly, you’ll never regret that time with your kids and the family bond it creates.
Favorite Books and Resources
All About Reading
First Language Lessons For a Well Trained Mind
Mystery of History
Why Motherhood Matters – By September McCarthy
The Read Aloud Family – By Sarah MacKenzie
Leave a Comment!
Have you learned something new from reading this post, Former Teacher, Now Homeschool Mom: Interview With Kristin? If Krstin’s story has encouraged and inspired you, leave a comment to let her know!
If you enjoyed Krstin’s story, you may also enjoy reading about other homeschool moms. Find a topic you are looking for in the Gallery of Mom Interviews on the blog!
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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