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Curious about Interest-Led Homeschool? Meet Tatiana, a full-time working and homeschooling mom of 6! This family is having fun while learning lots in their homeschool.

Our Interest-Led Homeschool

Tell us about you and your family. 

My husband Mario and have been blessed with 6 amazing kids. Our two oldest (20 years old boy & 19 years old girl) are homeschool graduates and attend a local university. I homeschool the rest of our girls; ages 15, 13, 10 and 9. We also have 3 dogs Chewbacca, Gunnar, Zoe and 1 cat, Miles. We live in Southern California for now but plan to relocate to The Treasure State (Montana) in the future.

interes-led-homeschool-banner

How long have you been homeschooling?

We unsuccessfully homeschooled our 2 oldest through a charter school for 2 years, and we then made a switch to independent homeschooling all 6 of our kids 3 years ago.

Tell us about your interest-led homeschool approach.

When we began our journey I purchased tons and I do mean TONS of all the curriculum with the best reviews; however, we quickly realized most of it wasn’t going to work for us. The boxed curriculum was too much like school and didn’t leave much time to explore personal interests, like art, theater, music, and sports. After our first year, I was introduced to Classical Conversations and the topics covered were almost exactly what my husband and I wanted to teach our children. Soon after that, I discovered the world of Charlotte Mason and we almost immediately adopted many of her philosophies. Our approach is what I call “Interest-Led Classical Charlotte Mason”.

Most importantly we learn from a Biblical perspective. God created everything, after all, so the more we learn about nature, history and even math, the more we learn about Him; because all creation points back to Him. We keep Christ at the center of each day and we strive to give him glory regardless of what we are learning about.

“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all fort he glory of God.” 

1 Corinthians 10:31

Year-round homeschooling or traditional calendar homeschooling?

Because we live so close to nieces, nephews and our many public schooled friends, we’ve kept a pretty traditional calendar. However the more we immerse ourselves into the Charlotte Mason lifestyle, the more we see learning as an ongoing activity,  so this year we decided to keep learning through the summer at a very relaxed pace. We have lots of trips planned this coming year, so year-round schooling will allow us to take more time off when necessary.

Tell us about your interest-led homeschool routine.

I’m a full-time working mom with a very strict work schedule; so we keep a tight routine. Mondays are usually theater, choir and library days. We are mostly on the go between 9AM & 3PM and a great deal of schooling is done on the road.

Most Fridays are park days since I only work in the morning. We pack books, scooters, basketballs, lunch; and we often meet other families there. We also do the majority of our science labs (Biology & Chemistry) on this day.  When we’re home (typically Tuesday to Thursday), our schedule looks like this:

interest-led-homeschool-schedule

I also work outside of the home every other Thursday, and my sister kindly ‘substitutes’  while I’m gone.

Lastly, we have a full basketball schedule from October to March, with practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, games on Friday evenings and road games all day Saturday.

Complete the sentence: Our homeschooling happens mostly…

All over.

We school in the kitchen, school table, by the pool, on the porch, on the balcony, in the car, at the library, at the park, at church… pretty much everywhere.  The freedom to go places and experience life hands-on is one of the best things about homeschooling.

What have you picked for your curriculum next year?

Before selecting a curriculum or planning the year, we talk about what each one of the girls is interested in learning about, and we plan our approach from that perspective. For example, though we study history as a group, each person has a different set of assignments, projects and lesson focus.

Our literature selections come from Ambleside Online’s suggested lists, however, each book is hand-picked by the person who is going to read it (not by mom). As you can see, my 10th grader has an ongoing obsession with Shakespeare.

The rest of the curriculum we selected (Life of Fred, Apologia, Memoria Press, Picture Smart Bible) is pretty much the same as this year. We loved it and it worked, so there’s no need to change it.

interest-led-homeschool-curriculum

Everyone will be taking theater and either dance or voice lessons. I am also in the process of putting together a Video Production & Editing class for my 10th grader, and possibly a Swift coding class for my 8th grader.

List 3 books about homeschooling that really impacted you.

1. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
2. Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson
3. A Charlotte Mason Companion

Your family is going on an unplanned trip, not much time to pack, you must homeschool the kids while traveling and you can only take 5 of your homeschooling resources/books with you. What would you take?

We actually just did this!

We spent 4 unplanned weeks in Arizona with multiple trips back to California in between. You can read more about it here. This is part of what we packed:

1. Bibles
2. Life of Fred Math
3. Apologia Science
4. iPads
5. Audio Books

We put everything in our “park bag” which is stocked with writing utensils, paper, a portable modem, and chargers.

interest-led-homeschool-everywhere

10 – 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?

  1. I would spend more time getting to know my kids and their learning styles.
  2. I would focus more on their personalities and strengths than on what they weren’t taught at public school.
  3. I wouldn’t worry so much about them meeting grade-level standards because all children learn at different paces and we cannot expect them to fit into a pre-cut mold.

In the words of Sir Ken Robinson:

“human communities depend on a diversity of talent, not a single conception of ability”

Well said Sir, well said. 

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