Community,  Q + A

Q + A with Shanda

What is your name and general location

My name is Shanda and I’m from the Mitten State – Michigan!


How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have three kiddos ages 5, 2 and 4 months.


What are the main reasons you chose to home educate?

Education is so important. I wanted to make sure that both the mind AND heart were being nurtured and grown. I believe it’s my job as a parent to help bend my children’s hearts toward God. There is no greater calling or purpose of being a mother than that.


Do you follow a specific method or style of teaching?

I tend to be a little more eclectic, though I lean heavily towards the Charlotte Mason and Montessori styles.


What is your favorite aspect of homeschooling?

I love those ‘lightbulb’ moments when something finally clicks! To know that I helped them reach that moment is so rewarding.


What is the most challenging thing about home educating?

I think the most challenging thing about home educating is finding the balance between ‘mom’ and ‘teacher’ not only for the kids but for me as well. They need to know that I have the understanding and wisdom to impart to them and they need to respect me as ‘teacher,’ but they also need to respect me as ‘mom’ and realize that can’t speak to me disrespectfully simply because they don’t want to do something. Of course, it is impossible to completely separate the two rolls because I am the same person, so finding balance is critical.


What is your family rhythm like?

We have a fairly laid back morning. Kids rise when they are rested, though not unreasonably late. We do chores and self care before or immediately following breakfast. After this, we launch right into school for a couple hours. School is typically in our school room, though on nice days we head outside to the porch. The rest of the day consists of free play, lunch, and running errands… With an afternoon nap in there somewhere. Our motto lately has been ‘This family is a team.’ If not every member of the family is doing his/her part, we all suffer.

How do other people react to your choice to home educate?

So far it’s all been very positive! Some people question why I wouldn’t want to send them and have more free time, but as far as education goes, no one has been overly critical. I’ve been thankful to have a great support system.


How do you plan your homeschool year and what curriculums do you use?
To be honest, I’m not much of a planner. I actually write down our school day in hindsight. ‘Today we did math lesson 5, 20 minutes of LA working on vowels, played Legos on the lawn with a read aloud, etc. This helps me not stress about checking things off my ‘to-do’ list… Though I do try to accomplish certain subjects daily.
We are currently using The Good and the Beautiful Level K Language Arts and Math. We are using Exploring Nature with Children for our natural science. I enjoy reading beautiful Living Books to my children, so we learn a lot through the books we are reading.


How do you make time for yourself?

I am very thankful I have a wonderful husband who is willing and supportive of ‘me’ time and regularly sends me out of the house while he watches the kids. I’ve been running lately, reading on the porch by myself and of course shopping at Target!


What insight or advice can you share about being a home educator?

I’m still learning as I go, but one thing I’ve gleaned from other mamas is ‘don’t over complicate or over plan.’ There is so much we want to accomplish, but planning too much can be detrimental. The souls of our children and our relationships with them are much more important than learning to add or subtract…That will come in time. Step away when you are frustrated and regroup with a silly song or snuggle up with a book. It’ll all be ok!


Thank you Shanda for sharing your journey with us! You can find Shanda on Instagram at @littlehousebecameahome.