Q + A with Misty Dixon
Q + A with Misty Dixon from southeast North Carolina
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have 3 children. My oldest is 19, and currently away at University. Before that, he was homeschooled. My daughter is 14, and my youngest son is 8.
What are the main reasons you chose to home educate?
We first chose to home educate because we weren’t 100% satisfied with any of the other options. Now we continue to home educate because it suits our family so well. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Do you follow a specific method or style of teaching?
I feel like I’ve tried every method of homeschooling. I find that it changes from year to year, and from student to student. Different children require different things, and learn in different ways. For example, my daughter prefers a more traditional approach, while my youngest son thrives in a more relaxed, hands-on atmosphere. This works now, but may not next year.
What is your favorite aspect of homeschooling?
I honestly just love being with my kids every day. I love learning with them, and watching them naturally evolve into whoever they’re meant to be, without pressures to conform.
What is the most challenging thing about home educating?
For me, the most challenging thing about homeschooling has been navigating college applications, creating high school transcripts from scratch, and figuring out what college admission departments really want from homeschoolers, to prove their capabilities.
What is your family rhythm like?
I would say our family rhythm is relaxed, but routine oriented. I’m a planner by nature, and I find that without some order to our days, not a whole lot gets done.
We school Monday through Thursday, from 9 to around 2:30, with an hour long lunch break from noon to 1. On Friday mornings, we attend group science labs at a local library, or do art projects or any catch-up work at home. On Friday afternoons, we meet with our homeschool group, for field trips, play dates, holiday parties, etc. It’s a small group, but we moms are all great friends, and our kids get along well, so it’s relaxed and fun. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, my youngest son takes karate lessons, and on Friday evenings, my daughter takes piano and guitar lessons.
We have family dinner every night, followed by family time. Wednesday nights are family game night, and Friday nights are family movie night. I love not having hours of homework to contend with, or early school-night bedtimes cutting into family time!
How do other people react to your choice to home educate?
Different people react different ways to our choice to homeschool. Some snicker, some don’t understand but are genuinely curious, some are supportive, and most assume we’re religious. Generally I let people think whatever they choose. It’s rarely worth the explanation.
How do you plan your homeschool year and what curriculums do you use?
We usually school from mid August to late May. We enjoy our summers around here! I start planning around July, when I’m getting antsy for routines again.
We don’t use typical homeschool curriculums. We use big ol’ traditional textbooks, like they would use in public school. We also use plenty of manipulatives, games, encyclopedias, books, documentaries, etc. I prefer taking the hands on approach, and enjoy lesson planning and teaching them myself.
How do you make time for yourself?
I try to wake up before my kids every day. I like having a half hour or so to myself, before talking to anyone or cooking breakfast. Then every day after school, I take one hour of quiet time for myself, before doing afternoon chores, going to after school activities, cooking dinner, etc. It’s like a beautiful “halftime” in the middle of my day. Also, after the kids are in their rooms for the night, I spend a couple of hours with just my husband.
What insight or advice can you share about being a home educator?
I would say no two homeschool families are alike, and you shouldn’t expect what works for someone else to work for you. You have to tune in to what your family’s needs are, and be willing to admit when something isn’t working.
Thank you Misty for sharing your journey with us! You can find Misty on Instagram at @mrs.mjdixon