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A Charlotte Mason homeschool life in Puerto Rico sounds so exciting!! I just love this series. Each time we interview a homeschool family from our online community, I learn so much about them and about homeschooling in other places of the world. I also love how I get a lot of new ideas and book suggestions from them!
This time, I’m so pumped to have interviewed Liza, a pastor’s wife and mother of two boys homeschooling in Puerto Rico.
Liza is part of our online community at Blessed Homeschool Moms, our free Facebook group that is completely drama-free and oh, so encouraging! She is also a founding member of The Homeschool Sisterhood, our membership/mentorship program. She is a blessing to our community and has a heart of gold to encourage others.
I connected more with Liza when she joined our Bible Study Club Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath a few months ago. I have been blessed by her and by learning about what the Lord is doing in her family and in her homeschool as well.
Not that everything has been easy for her, on the contrary, she has been overcoming big obstacles including homeschooling a child with ADHD, sensory processing, and dyslexia. But in all, she is determined and 100% committed to doing her best for her boys!
So here is Liza’s interview for Our Homeschool Life series. I hope you will enjoy it and be inspired by her Charlotte Mason homeschool life, approach, curricula, etc.
Tell us about you and your family.
Hello everyone!!! We are the Torres-Lugo Family! My husband Paul and I have been married for 16 years. We have 2 very active boys who love soccer, dinosaurs, playing board games and building with Legos…Kenan (11) and Yosef (5).
Paul works as Pastor at a bilingual church here in Puerto Rico. I used to work full-time as a CPA but decided to resign and stay home after giving birth to our youngest son.
After my father passed away almost 5 years ago, we moved in with my Mom. Abita (as my kids lovingly call her) is a vital part of our family and homeschool. In addition to her continuous support in our day to day activities, she also teaches Spanish to our youngest!
How long have you been homeschooling and what led you to start?
Paul and I had discussed the possibility of homeschooling multiple times. My idea was always that he would teach the kids (since he studied education) and I would continue working full-time to support the family. Well, didn’t quite happen my way!
What triggered our decision to begin was a concern for discipline, behavior, and self-esteem issues with our oldest son while attending Kindergarten in a private school. We also identified several difficulties that were hindering his educational progress (ADHD, sensory processing, dyslexia, etc) and determined it would be wiser to work one-on-one with him.
At that time, I was already staying home with the baby and, after praying and considering our options, we decided to dive in… with me being the teacher! 5 years have passed, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!! Certainly, GOD led us to begin this homeschool journey.
What are the rules and regulation concerning homeschooling in Puerto Rico?
Homeschools in Puerto Rico operate as “nongovernmental schools,” which have no regulations (as per HSLDA.org).
In Puerto Rico, we speak Spanish and English and both languages are taught in schools. Therefore, Spanish is an additional subject apart from the usual Math, English, Science, and History.
Tell us about your Charlotte Mason homeschool life approach
Because of our oldest son’s special needs, we’ve tried numerous curricula throughout the years. I would say our homeschool approach has been eclectic, but we are now moving more towards a Charlotte Mason style.
Year-round homeschooling or traditional calendar homeschooling?
We follow a modified, year-round homeschool calendar:
- 6-8 weeks of school / 1 week off
- Winter break (2 weeks)
- Summer break (8 weeks)
Tell us about your Charlotte Mason homeschool life routine.
We began the new school year on July 22nd. Our homeschool day usually begins at 9:00 am and ends around 3 pm. The little one still takes naps (extremely necessary for him and me!), so his class times are shorter and additional playtimes are squeezed in between.
I’m a planner. I’ve tried every kind of schedule you can imagine since we started homeschooling. My Excel spreadsheets look like multi-colored Tetris game boards! LOL, but, as you can imagine, what gets on paper is NOT necessarily what gets done each day. And, to be honest, setting strict timeframes just got me more stressed and irritable.
I am currently adjusting from a “check the box” mindset to an unhurried, relaxed approach. So, although I have a “suggested schedule”, we are flexible in the timeframe for each class and have been slowly phasing-in the subjects each day.
Our current daily homeschool routine:
- Family Devotion
- Habit Training
- Dianne Craft (Midline Exercises & Right Brain Phonics)
- Park – Playtime / Snack
- Hebrew / Israel Unit Study **
- Read Aloud
- Science / History
**We are focusing on learning Hebrew in preparation for our trip to Israel in October.
In September, our youngest will be joining a Homeschool Supplemental Day Program 2 days per week, which uses My Father’s World-Creation to the Greeks to cover Bible, History, Science and Arts. This will allow me to have an individual targeted school time for our oldest son.
Our homeschool happens mostly…
Our homeschooling happens mostly in the living room. We move to the homeschool room for table or individual work (Math, English, Spanish).
What are your favorite homeschool curricula and resources?
These are some of our favorite homeschool curricula/resources (we currently use only some of these):
- Math U See – DVD & manipulatives/blocks
- Institute for Excellence in Writing
- Primary Language Arts – Reading & Writing
- Student Writing Intensive A
- Fix-It Grammar
- Language Lessons for a Living Education (Master Books)
- Editor in Chief (Critical Thinking Co)
- All About Spelling / All About Reading…multi-sensory
- From Adam to Us (Notgrass History)… has textbook and audio
- America’s Story (Master Books)
- Liberty’s Kids (DVDs)
- Lengua Española (Publicadora La Merced)
- Lectura – Serie Aprendamos de Dios (Rod & Staff)
- Dianne Craft
- Right Brain Phonics
- Brain Integration Therapy Program
- Hebrew for Homeschoolers (Ana Willis)
- Expedition Israel (Amanda Bennett Unit Study)
List your favorite homeschool blogs, online communities, books, and podcasts.
Some of my favorite resources about homeschooling, parenting and special needs are:
- · They Call Me Blessed Blog & Blessed Homeschool Moms Facebook group
- Ana Willis has been of great encouragement and support for me and a blessing to our family. Among all the homeschool blogs we’re subscribed to, her emails are among the few I consistently open and read. When she first mentioned building a community off social media, I jumped right in!!! Can’t wait for all we will do together in The Homeschool Sisterhood!
- Homeschooling with Dyslexia Blog (Marianne Sunderland)
- Moms of Master Books FB Group
- The Arts of Language Podcast (IEW – Andrew Pudewa)
- Real Cool History for Kids Podcast (Angela O’Dell)
- Teaching from Rest (Sarah Mackenzie)
- Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask (Israel Wayne)
- Simply Homeschool: Have Less Fluff and Bear More Fruit (Karen DeBeus)
- Laying Down the Rails (Sonia Shafer)
- Family Bible Study Series-Proverbs (Kevin Swanson, Generations)
- Pitching a Fit (Israel Wayne)
- The Gift of Dyslexia (Ronald D. Davis) – This book helped me understand what my son was experiencing…seeing the world through his eyes.
- The Out-of-Sync Child (Carol Stock Kranowitz)
If you had the chance to start homeschooling all over again today with the knowledge and experience you have now, what would you do differently?
If I had the chance to start homeschooling all over again today with the knowledge and experience I have now, I would take the time to understand my kids learning style and only buy curriculum that adjusts to their needs, not necessarily “what I liked”; simplify our Charlotte Mason homeschool life and routine to worry less about standards or grade levels and intentionally make learning more fun!
Wrapping Up My Interview with Liza!
This Charlotte Mason homeschool life in Puerto Rico sounds wonderful! Their boys are thriving! She has found a strong homeschool online community to plugin, found the perfect homeschool curriculum and the right resources to help her sons!
What was your best take out of this interview? What inspired you? Were there any resources ideas she shared that you could use in your own homeschool? We would love to hear your comments down below.
Read about other families living a Charlotte Mason homeschool life:
Check out our latest posts here!
- Homeschool Vlog News – September 8, 2019.
- Our Charlotte Mason Homeschool Life in Puerto Rico
- 3 Quick Tips For A Restful Homeschooling Year
- 7 Ways Sleep Affects Your Kids’ Learning
- 10 Things I Love About A Charlotte Mason Education
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Ana is the unhurried homeschool mom of 3, wife, health coach, social media and online marketing strategist, and blogger. She loves to encourage, inspire and empower moms to go from stressed to blessed by providing them with the tips, strategies, and resources they need to succeed. Ana is the founder of They Call Me Blessed and the creator of 5 Days to Your Best Homeschool Years, Grow Your Blog Partying in 30 Days, and the Beyond Blessed Life Planners. She leads a vibrant online community for moms on Facebook and you can connect with her at www.facebook.com/theycallmeblessedblog.