More and more it seems, there are stories of school teachers choosing the homeschooling route when it comes to teaching their own children. I spoke to one such mom, Erin Weidemann, who made that decision and now helps other parents succeed in homeschooling. Her advice may be just the push you’ve been looking for to take that big leap yourself.
The Epoch Times: Please tell us about your journey from school teacher to homeschooling mom.
Erin Weidemann: I taught full time in the classroom for almost 10 years before quitting my job and homeschooling my daughter (currently in first grade). Professionally, I taught children at every age and stage (K-11th grade), from language arts to leadership to foreign language.
When I became a homeschool teacher, I really had to learn to let go of the traditional school model (schedule, routine, structure) and embrace the freedom that comes with customizing a school at home situation that works best for every member of our family and sets each of us up for success.
The Epoch Times: What advantages have you found in the homeschooling approach?
Ms. Weidemann: There are myriad advantages to spending more time mentoring your children and nurturing the voices they will use to interact with the world. I’ve enjoyed strategic implementation of character development and confidence-boosting activities while keeping core classes a high priority. I am able to craft learning experiences that engage her in the ways she learns best and we’ve become more connected and collaborative throughout this season. Our homeschool situation is highly adaptive, flexible, and reflective of our family culture and values.
The Epoch Times: What advice would you give parents who are struggling with their school’s online learning options and are thinking about homeschooling?
Ms. Weidemann: Work with your children to set up routines, expectations, and strategies for how learning will happen in your home. You do not have to model your days after a traditional public or private school schedule. Invite your children into a dialogue about what school at home looks like for them and decide together how it will look. Make a plan and reevaluate the plan often in case adjustments or changes need to be made. This is how you will create buy-in and enthusiasm for children who aren’t used to schooling at home and honor them for the unique contributions they can make.
The Epoch Times: What habits or strategies, if any, have you brought into homeschooling from your experience as a teacher?
Ms. Weidemann: I’ve brought my passion for certain subjects into my homeschool classroom, but I’ve also become aware of my lack of enthusiasm for subjects for which I’m not particularly passionate. I’ve learned to adjust my approach to every subject by encouraging my child—and myself—to 1. be and stay curious and 2. to find the fun in every lesson or unit of study.
The Epoch Times: How can parents measure or simply recognize whether their homeschooling efforts are working for their children?
Ms. Weidemann: Set yourself up for success by gaining an understanding of what should be covered at your child’s grade level for each of the subjects. What should my child know and be able to do by the end of the year and work backward from there, building lessons that will achieve those goals?
The Epoch Times: Do you have any other advice you’d like to give current or potential homeschooling parents?
Ms. Weidemann: You do not have to be an expert or have all the answers to teach your children. No one knows your kids like you do, so lean into the fact that your unique gifts, talents, personality, and experiences have positioned you to develop your children in every facet of life, including their academics.