How many children do you have and what are their names and current ages?
I have two daughters, Julia Ruth Townsend Barnes Allen, age 30; and Carly Sharane Barnes Tumlinson, age 28.
Have your children always been homeschooled or have they at some point attended a private or public school?
Julia attended public school until the middle of third grade and Carly attended until the middle of kindergarten.
How many years of homeschooling experience do you have total?
Gary (my husband) and I homeschooled for fourteen years.
Tell me a little bit about your decision to homeschool.
We had considered homeschooling even before we had children. When it came time for Julia to “go to school,” we didn’t know anyone else homeschooling. During the next three years we became acquainted with a family who homeschooled. We began making plans to homeschool for fourth and first grades. December of Julia’s third grade year and Carly’s kindergarten year we were planning to go to Arkansas over Christmas to visit family. We were going to need more time than the school vacation was so I went to the school to talk with the principal. I told her we would be taking the girls out early to go to Arkansas. Her response was that she would “see if it was alright” for us to do that. What?? See if it was okay? These were OUR children, not the system’s! So we decided then that they were not going back to public school. We had to rush getting our books, but we did. God is faithful!
Tell me what your average homeschool day looked/looks like.
Since Gary works 7 and 7, we had a flexible schedule as far as where we schooled. We are outdoor people, and we love camping. So as often as possible we went camping on Gary’s days off. The school books went with us. They also went with us on our visits to Arkansas. But a typical day at home was I would get up at six, do my devotions, then write out my lesson plans for the day. I used ABeka so it was pretty well spelled out for me. The girls got up around eight, made their beds and ate breakfast. Then we started the day. We usually schooled about 3 hours per day.
How did/do you balance managing a home and homeschooling your children?
Well, I had two girls so I think it was probably a little easier homeschooling than with boys. And, of course, more children would have taken more of my time. But I had plenty of time after schooling them to do my housework. The girls had chores as well. I did sit with them and work with them the whole time they schooled. I think now many people do videos so they are able to do their housework while the children are schooling. I wanted to know what they were doing, so I taught them myself.
What was/is your greatest joy as a homeschool mom?
My greatest joy was having them home with me and knowing that I was doing what God wanted me to do.
What was/is your greatest challenge as a homeschool mom?
Well…..my greatest challenge was Carly!! (Hehehe) She did not like school and wanted to make us laugh all the time – which she did!! But we made it through, and she is now a great mom and wife and also works part-time as a hairstylist. Oh, and she plans on homeschooling her little boy!
How did/does your personality influence your homeschool?
I like order and schedule so everything pretty much went on a schedule when we were home. I was not a drill sergeant, but I was pretty close! (Hehe) But we were very relaxed when Gary was home. I remember one time I was away for the day and Gary was in charge of schooling. When I came back they were all sitting in the living room making up “hick” names for everyone in our family. Julia was “Polly Esther,” Carly was “Bubbaette Juniorette,” Gary was “Bubba,” I was “Scaberina Bruisella (Scabby Bruises for short because I always have bruises. I am so uncoordinated), and their favorite uncle was “Uncle Himalaya Roid” (can you guess why? Haha). Anyway, I say all that to say that Gary’s personality is different from mine, and he liked to play more than school! Which was great because children need to have fun too!
If you could give one word of encourage to a new homeschool mom, what would it be?
There is NOTHING like knowing you are doing what is best for your child. Every day is not perfect but YOU are in charge of your child, not a government institution. You can teach them what you know is right and not have to worry about them learning about things they are way to young to know. YOU get to shape their personalities. YOU get to teach them about our wonderful and loving heavenly Father. Their role model will be YOU, not the kids at school. If I could do it all over again I would in a heartbeat. I loved homeschooling. I loved having my family with me 24/7. (Oops I guess that was more than one word!!) May God bless all of you as you do what is the right thing for your precious gifts from Him!
Thanks, Mrs. Apryl!!