Stacie S. shares her homeschooling life through her blog, No Idle Bread. She’s also one of our super-duper contributors here on Our Homeschool Forum!
Take an exclusive peek into Stacie’s life and journey in this interview.
Stacie, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your kids?
I am married to my college sweetheart and so far, we have 6 children: 3 girls and 3 boys. My kids like that things are even now. God has blessed me with the awesome gift of family, so I offer my home life–how I care for my home & family–up to Him. My kids definitely keep me on my toes, with frequent outbursts of laughter. There is never a dull moment, with all the princesses, superheroes, and comedians around here. My all-time favorite tea is cinnamon apple, I have been known to stay up all night reading, I am quite fond of the colors orange and purple (but not together!), and I love to sing.
Was there a definite point in your life when you decided you’d homeschool your children? What were the deciding factors?
We were not always a homeschooling family. Although I did preschool at home, when my oldest turned 5, she went to kindergarten in public school. So did my next daughter when she turned 5. The summer before my 2nd child went to school, the Lord began dealing with our hearts about our responsibility to educate our children. Although we were very involved parents, we had little to no say in what our kids were taught or who was teaching them.
By November of that last school year in public school, we had decided that we would let the girls finish the school year out and begin homeschooling in the fall. We had our share of highs and lows with traditional education and we could not wait to experience something different. We are blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool.
What homeschool approach works best for your family?
We take a “loose” Christian classical, some what eclectic, approach. Why loose? Well, I don’t require my children to memorize tons and tons of facts, and we do Latin at a relaxed pace. Why Christian? We teach from a Biblical worldview, so my curriculum choices reflect that. Why eclectic? I piece our curriculum together, rather than purchasing a full curriculum in a box. Also, we use various formats for learning such as text books, living books, online work, etc., which allows me to tailor each child’s education.
You’ve got 6 children, one of whom is a newborn. What’s it like caring for a baby while staying caught up on your older children’s education?
Tough! (smile) I’d be lying if I said it was a breeze. My youngest three are each a year apart in age, which can make for some pretty interesting school days. With such young ones on board, I take it one day at a time, understanding that my younger children need me in ways that my older children do not. So, I totally have days where diaper changes, nursing, and toddler meltdowns occur right in the middle of history or grammar. The key for me is being flexible and remembering that mothering and schooling go hand in hand.
Also, a basic routine keeps me on track. Not hyper-scheduling, but a simple routine. That way, everyone has a general understanding of how the day will go, which helps to get things back on track after a toddler meltdown. With the exception of Math, I usually don’t schedule the same subjects two days in a row. For example, Monday and Wednesday are Language Arts days, while Tuesday and Thursday are Science and History. This gives me an extra day to check assignments and prepare materials. Fridays are our lighter days (some combo of music, art, & health), which leaves time for catching up on anything from previous days.
Any triumphs or challenges you’d like to share about your journey?
The biggest challenge has been figuring things out, as my husband and I do not come from homeschooling families. All of this is completely new to us, so we feel like trail blazers in many ways. But, we are up for the challenge and are thankful for online, homeschool communities, like this one, where can get so many questions answered.
What’s the most interesting activity your family has gotten to participate in because of homeschooling?
We were invited to a try-out for the gameshow, Family Fued! Yep, my husband submitted an application online (random!) and got a response in a matter of days! They asked if we could travel to the next try-out, which, at the time, was 3 weeks away. One reason we could accept was because there were no worries about the kids and school. We had a few other family members join us so that we had our team of 5 adults. That was a pretty spontaneous road trip for our family, but we enjoyed it so much. My kids still talk about it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get selected for the show, but it was SUPER fun trying out and playing a mock-game against the other families.
What inspired you to start your blog, No Idle Bread?
The inspiration for No Idle Bread came from Proverbs 31: 26-28:
“She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her.”
This passage of Scripture embodies the way I want to be used by God as it relates to my family. I’ve come to realize, that my family is the primary ministry God has given my hands to do. I cannot be idle in that calling. Through blogging, I’ve connected with other sisters in Christ who are living out the same thing in their homes. No Idle Bread is a place for me to share my struggles, triumphs, and light-bulb moments as Christ molds me into the woman He wants me to be. And, the heart of that woman is defined by the way I serve my family and take care of by my home.
Do you have any advice for moms of newborns who are also homeschooling a varying age range of children?
Yes, write your plans in pencil!!! The life of a newborn is ever-changing. As soon as you think you’ve got something down, the baby will have a growth spurt or suddenly doesn’t like being swaddled any more. So, this will affect your homeschooling schedule, among other things. So, be flexible!
Also, I would say, focus on the basics, one day at a time. Feel free to say “no” to any extras. So, when little ones are born in our home, I don’t do huge writing assignments or knock-your-socks off science experiments. I focus more on math, reading, and basic grammar skills. We do more school subjects together and we watch more educational videos than we normally would.
A newborn teaches the older children more independence. Having had a newborn for each of the last 3 years of homeschooling, I realized each year that there were more assignments my older children could do with less “hand-holding” from me. Also explain to your big kids some of the changes a newborn will have on the family, how it will affect the flow of the day. That way, everyone is on the same page. I realized that I assumed that my kids would understand I’d be tired after having a baby, or sleepy because the baby didn’t sleep the night before. They don’t think that way, even though it’s obvious to us moms! So, just stating the obvious helped my kids think of ways to help me, which was really sweet.
Above all, enjoy your precious little one. Embrace the sleepiness, the rough days, the hard nights because we can’t get those moments back. Enjoy the presence of new life in your home and know that your little ones are more important than math facts!