Friday, June 19, 2015

Homeschool Veterans: Meet Danielle!

I am really excited about this new blog series!! Over the next few weeks I am going to be introducing you to a group of amazing veteran home schooling moms. Beginning in March I have had the privilege of communicating with these women and picking their brains about education, childrearing, and homeschooling. Between them they have over 60 years of experience and as a young mother myself, I'm so encouraged by their examples. I love the reassurance they provide to moms like me who are just starting out. Just like Paul states in Titus, women like these can fulfill that role of teaching newbies like me "what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children." So pour yourself a cup of tea and join in our conversation. If you have any questions for these wonderful women, please leave them in the comments below!

Danielle, mother to seven, is graduating her oldest this year! She and her husband have homeschooled from the beginning, like she says, "since I brought my firstborn home from the hospital!" Isn't that the truth? She brings a wealth of experience to our discussion and I know you'll be encouraged by the joy she communicates through her answers. 

BFB: What originally drew you to homeschooling?
Danielle: First, I must confess that before I had kids, I said “I would NEVER homeschool!” Nope not me!! Those people are ccraazzy! :) ­But, God had a different plan and brought a very special lady into my life by the name of Carolyn. My husband and I just loved how their family interacted together.
Carolyn was a Pioneer homeschool mom who had a love for homeschooling and an even greater love for her family. As I got to know her and as our friendship grew, she had me start reading on the topic of homeschooling and child training. During this time I had my first child, Christian. As he grew, I started to grow in my understanding of my role as a mom. Carolyn was a great example to me as well as a huge encouragement to me as I started this journey. Over the next few years, I started having strong convictions that homeschooling is what I desired for my kids. I was thoroughly enjoying my new role as mommy and quickly started adding more kiddos to our family! When my fourth child came, it was also time to get my oldest ready for Kindergarten. By this time my heart was set on
homeschooling my children. My passion was to be with my children as much as possible. I wanted to be the one to teach and train them, and my husband and I thought the best possible way for us to do that was to homeschool. Spiritually, I wanted to train them up in the way of the Lord. I wanted to have as much time as possible with them to teach them the Word of God and to train them. Additionally, I just LOVED being with my kids and the thought of them being gone all day at school was something that did not appeal to me AT ALL!! There were many things that drew me to homeschooling and I am very thankful and blessed to have taken the journey.

BFB: How long have you been homeschooling?
Danielle: I have officially homeschooled for 13 years. Although I do believe that I have been homeschooling since I brought my firstborn home from the hospital. I think I have actually been homeschooling for 18 years, but then who is counting! :)

BFB: What has been the greatest joy of homeschooling?
Danielle: This is hard to answer because there are so many aspects to homeschooling that bring me joy. I could go on and on about what I LOVE about homeschooling and the benefits I see that it has brought to my family. But honestly, my greatest joy is that I get to be with my kids! I don't mean to be so sappy, but my oldest is a senior and is graduating in two weeks. We made it through, and I see how quickly it goes. I am so thankful for all the memories that we have together. Thankful for the good times and the hard times. We grew in both! It has been such a joy to teach my kids and to have that time with them.

BFB: What was your greatest challenge?
Danielle: Well, this one is easy! I was not a real disciplined person who liked a lot of responsibility! I liked to play and have fun... I still do!! I struggled to get good grades in school. No, I struggled to get average grades in school, so I often wondered how was I going to teach my kids and give them a good education! I also had 7 kids in 10 years! It was IS hard! My greatest challenge was to get that voice out of my head that said, “I am not good enough.” The truth is, I am weak, but my God is strong!

BFB: What is the one thing you wish you had known when you began homeschooling?
Danielle: I wish that I knew that we would make it and be ok! Like I mentioned my first is graduating high school this year! What!!?!...We made it!! I wish I knew that all the hard work and tears were going to be followed with growth and blessings. I wish I knew that the trials I went through were designed to train me to be on my knees in prayer. I wish I knew that my mistakes were there to keep me humble so God would receive the glory when we did succeed! I wish I knew that all that time I was investing was going to build this beautiful relationship I now have with my kids. I have four teenagers right now and they love to hang out with me...seriously. Ok, sometimes they like it when I am gone!! But now at night, they come to my bed and sit by me to tell me about their day. I
love it! I gave them my time and now they are giving me their time. I wish I knew how fast that time would go, so that I would not have wasted it by comparing myself to others. So, I learned alongside of my children, and that is the beauty of homeschooling!

BFB: How did you discover Beautiful Feet Books?
Danielle: Carolyn had me reading books by Francis Schaffer and his family, Charlotte Mason, Dr. Rushdoony, and other good authors. I was starting to form a world view and approach to how I wanted to homeschool. I started to study learning styles and different approaches to teaching. I knew that I was not going to try to recreate school in my home. I wanted something different than the typical, traditional education. I attended Carol Joy Seid seminars and really started falling in love with the idea of a literature approach to schooling my kids. I tagged along with Carolyn to many used book sales and she was always there to direct me to the good authors and illustrators! Carolyn also introduced me to the D'Aulaire books. That was my first introduction to Beautiful Feet Books and my precious D'Aulaire books. My first purchase! I have been in love with these books and the many, many other books purchased through Beautiful Feet over the years.

BFB: How has Beautiful Feet influenced you in how you teach other subjects?
Danielle and her daughters with our History of the Horse!
Danielle: My philosophy is that as the mom I must give my kids a love of learning. I need to find ways to keep it interesting and fun. I love how Beautiful Feet offers not only great books, but the study guide gives busy (and let’s face it, exhausted) moms a list of websites, movies, other books, and activities to help enhance the subject. I LOVE that! We must think outside the textbook. We have made living books a part of our curriculum in almost every topic. If we study science, we find good literature to go with it and the topic we are studying. I have gone through the History of Science with five of my kids so far, through my homeschool support group, and this next year I will be teaching the class. If we are studying math, we go and learn something else about where that is used in real life. Sports are even something that we will read a good book about like the story of Eric Liddle or Tim Tebow. We have gone through the Teaching Character Through Literature packs and the History of Horses pack which also has wonderful teachings on character. When my kids read a book, even if it is just for fun, now they see the lessons and character traits from the people portrayed in the story. I truly feel blessed that I was shown Beautiful Feet curriculum so early on in my homeschooling experience. The literature approach to teaching has been a blessing to our family in many ways and has touched many areas of our lives.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Danielle! I absolutely love where you said that you gave your children your time and now they're giving you theirs. I know that that is an outcome that I so desire and it's such a great reminder that this time of intense (hard!) investment is brief but the relationships fostered in these moments will last a lifetime. If anyone has a question they'd like to ask Danielle, please email it to me at rebecca (@) bfbooks (.) com. We're going to do a follow up entry with all our moms where they answer your questions! 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you. All these posts are really a blessing. Just ordered my first pack, the Early American, for my preschooler and first grader. We are all excited to get started.