I LOVE seeing what homeschooling looks like for other families, especially families that have been doing this for a long time! It reminds me that there really isn’t one way to do this, it often inspires me to try something new, it gives me hope to persevere, and it helps me be more at peace with what homeschooling looks like in my home. Today I am super excited to introduce you to Stacy Keely, a homeschool mom of 3 who has been homeschooling for 16 years and owner of the Facebook page, Field and Forest Herbals. She has homeschooled all the way through high school and she is part of my series showcasing you guys!
How many kids do you have, what are their ages and how long have you been homeschooling?
We have 3 kids, Emma is 19, Gavin 15, and Elijah 3. We have homeschooled for 16 years if you count preschool.
We decided to homeschool initially because our daughter was having some sensory issues, vision challenges, and overall health issues. After that, we just continued.
What does a typical homeschool day look like for you?
My husband and I get up with Eli when the sun comes up, eat breakfast together, and start on chores (feeding chicks, the dog, cats, etc.) Then my husband leaves for work. He has his own HVAC company. Then my middle gets up, does his hygiene, chores, eats breakfast, and starts lessons. Often times he can do most of his school by himself. My daughter works from 2-9 at a ranch a half an hour away. We have a little time together in the afternoon to go over common subjects like bible and history. If we are lucky Eli takes a nap in the afternoon which is a nice quiet time to start dinner…. if not then we give him jobs to keep him busy. My husband comes home between 5-6 most nights. In the evening everyone has a few hours free time before we start getting ready for bed. Fridays are our co-op day where my middle takes a science, a robotics/programming class, and woodcarving. Eli takes a few preschool classes while I teach two art classes to elementary students. Monday night is scouts, Gavin is working on Eagle scout.
Do you have a homeschool style and if so, what is it?
We are mostly Charlotte Mason style. We love studying nature, artists, music, and good literature. We have a relaxed stye about it and are flexible with our schedule. We have more of a routine and rhythm to our day rather than a schedule. Some days school ends not long after lunch and some days we are still working on things when Dad gets home.
What does morning basket look like for you?
The morning basket is part for me and part for the kids. Right now the basket has a devotional, music cd, preschool planner, my teacher planner, nature study cards(I Spy seasonal cards for our nature walk), my current read, and sometimes a nature ID guide. We use it as a time to come together to go over the day, start with a devotion, bible memory cards(we use a 100 verses you should know) and listen to some music a few times a week. I try to keep everything very simple so we actually stick with it. When we start school I add the extras each week to our schedule so we ease into it over a few weeks. That way our days are lighter and we can enjoy the last of summer days. If my middle child’s language arts (the Good and the Beautiful) did not already have art appreciation and fine arts included I would add that to the basket as well. The basket only takes about 15 minutes. My older student takes his work to his room to work on anything he can do himself. In the afternoon we come together for a meal and to go over anything he needs help with. The toddler helps with chores and plays on the porch.
What is your biggest challenge with homeschooling?
Trying to keep a toddler busy all day!
What is your favorite part about homeschooling?
That we have the freedom to choose(for the most part) what we study and how we study it so that it can be tailored to our children.
Do you plan in advance or wing every day?
I plan out the whole year on a few pages and then write assignments on his planner every Monday morning. Most of the time it is just writing in the next lesson or assigning a new book for history.
How long does a typical day take for you?
Somedays we are done in 3 hours and other days more like 4 if he has homework from co-op.
Can you tell us more about what it is like homeschooling a teenager?
Homeschooling a teenager is such a new season. You are helping to prepare them to be a young adult so even though they are deep into the academics whether preparing for college or not; they are starting to make more adult decisions. I have my teens open their first checking/savings account, do odd jobs for friends/family, and continue their home chores for no pay. We believe home chores are just apart of being part of a family, working together as a team. They also work on getting their license, volunteering or service projects, and taking a few trips away from home. My 15 year old is in scouts. He is working on his Eagle scout, works at camp, and is a patrol leader. My daughter works at a ranch and takes folks on trail rides.
Embracing each child as their own unquote person helps us as parents to not have expectations that they can’t fill. Working with them on what God has gifted them in and the path He has them on no matter how unusual it is helps to encourage them in their walk. The biggest struggles are still educating them and having them grow and take responsibility for they own choices. Sometimes that make the mature choice and other times they still act like children that need direction. One of the best things to teach a child all the way through is time management. It will become invaluable to them as young adults setting their own schedules. I also make sure to slowly transfer the “parent/teacher” work of scheduling out their planner from me to them so by the time they are in 11th grade they are writing out their planners.
What would you tell someone who is new or just thinking about homeschooling?
Keep elementary years fun and engaging with lots of time to explore nature and watch how things change. LOTS of reading together. As the child gets older let them make some choices and help them learn time management by keeping their own planners checked off as they finish assignments. The best curriculum for your family is the one that works with both your teaching style and their learning style.
What does your day look like?
Not only does it take time to type up these answers and send me pictures, but it is a super vulnerable experience laying out your life like that. So if you have questions or comments I would LOVE for you to show Stacy some support in the comments below. She’ll be checking in to answer periodically!