EPISODE 172 | Homeschooling in Alaska presents unique challenges due to its vastness, especially in remote areas where accessing resources and support can be difficult. Cherie, initially drawn to IDEA for its comprehensive offerings and personalized approach, eventually became a representative due to her belief in its mission. Cherie's passion for homeschooling and dedication to IDEA and others like her continue to provide support and guidance to families navigating homeschooling in Alaska's diverse landscape.

ABOUT OUR GUEST | Cherie Taylor is a wife of 18 years and a mama to an 11-year-old boy. She is in her 6th year of homeschooling. She started with IDEA as a homeschool parent & parent advisory committee member. She joined the PAC to be as involved as she could be in the arena of homeschooling – something that was new to her. In July of 2020, due to the pandemic, enrollment with IDEA was quickly escalating & Cherie was hired as a part-time field rep – mainly just answering inquiries such as “How does homeschooling work?” and “How does IDEA come alongside families to support homeschooling?” In October of 2020, Cherie was hired as the full-time field rep.

She enjoys reading, baking, playing games, spending time with friends & volunteering at her church.

She also has 2 other part time jobs so, she stays very busy but, enjoys it all!

As of early 2023, Cherie’s husband is now a full-time dad-schooler. It is a team effort but he is the primary homeschooler.

Listen to this podcast episode

Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:00 Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host Janna Koch and BookSharks Community Manager. Today I am joined by Cheri Taylor. She is a homeschool mom of one. And her unique location gives her a perspective that not every homeschool parent has. CherieTaylor is also the field director of an area of IDEA which is an Alaskan homeschool support program. I'm going to let Cherie tell you more about her Alaskan life. Cherie, thanks so much for being here. 

 Cherie 00:28 Thanks for having me. So as Janna mentioned, I am a homeschool mama of one he is 11 and in the fifth grade, and we started homeschooling when he was in kindergarten. I am the wife of a retired military person. We moved back to Alaska in 2016 when he got out of the military, and my son started school in 2018. And we knew we wanted to homeschool. Even before we had children, we had talked about the potential of homeschooling. And so when we moved back to Alaska and settled here in Soldotna, I approached a couple of my friends who are homeschooling to figure out how to do this, I didn’t even know where to start. And they suggested IDEA, which is a homeschooling support program. So I started as a homeschool mom in 2018. And in 2020, when COVID happened, I was asked to be hired on temporary for IDEA. And just to answer questions about homeschooling in general, Homeschooling with IDEA, what does that look like. In October of that year, the gal that was the field rep became a contact teacher here in our office. And so I was asked to apply and encouraged to apply for the field rep position, which I did. And now I've been the field rep for three and a half years. I love IDEA. It's a it's a program that it's a homeschool correspondence program. So we are part of a public school district here in Alaska. We are the largest school in Alaska with over 7000 students statewide, we are a statewide program. And here in our area, we have about 1600 students. That's everything from kindergarten through 12th grade. And with our program, parents are the educators, parents know their children best. And so we come alongside those parents to support them in whatever and however they choose to teach their kids.

Janna  02:24 Now prior to homeschooling your son, when you and your husband were talking about it, what kind of exposure did you have to homeschool, just in your own life? 

Cherie 02:36 Oh, that's a great question. So I grew up in Colorado. And all of the homeschoolers I knew when I was in school, many many years ago, was that they were weird. They were socially awkward. They were different from other students. And so for the longest time, I was very against homeschooling, I don't want my kids to be weird. I have found that homeschooling is way more prevalent now. And especially here in Alaska, where the population is so spread out. And I did kind of have this negative stigma or negative idea of homeschoolers as being socially awkward. I have learned over the years that that is very untrue. And that probably that homeschool students are probably more social than even public school students are now maybe that has to do with social media, and that there's not a lot of face-to-face interaction amongst public school kids. Part of my job here is to plan and promote social activities and field trips for our families. So we see lots and lots of families coming together to get that social-emotional learning in, even though they may be homeschooling and working from home with their kids with just their immediate family, there is still a lot of interaction between homeschooling families here. 

Janna  03:55 So I was one of those homeschooling families in the 90s. And we also thought homeschoolers were weird, which is funny, because I want to I want to put out there that is it, that there's always going to be outliers and kind of socially awkward people. And those are the ones that we're kind of our eyes are drawn to because they are out of the norm, that there really weren't normal homeschool families, even during that time, that that they just weren't the ones that you know, people paid attention to, which I think is interesting.

Cherie 04:24 Sure, yeah. Oh, I could definitely see that. Yeah, I'm sure there were plenty of normal homeschool kids when I was growing up. It's just, you're right. The ones we saw are the ones that stood out to us. Were the ones who were awkward.

Janna  04:37 Now newsflash, I'm weird. And I'm totally fine with that. Now, as an adult, of course, as a kid, I don't think you ever want to think that you're weird, or that what you're doing is kind of out of the norm. But she I know you and you're slightly weird too. So it's true.

Cherie 04:53 It's true. You're right. I am weird. I'm okay with it all on it. It's fine.

Janna  04:58 So are we then turning around and embracing the weirdness? And maybe we're just making it, you know, more mainstream because it's not so much like you said, there's the socially awkward stigma of homeschooling really has been dispelled. I know that even when I was homeschooling people would be like, Oh, my gosh, how did you socialize and I was standing in a grocery store at 17, working them like I'm talking to you. So clearly, I can communicate with people of all ages, you know, something that not all of my peers were able to do. So there are so many things that are coming to light now with the mainstream homeschool that as an OG makes me really excited and validating kind of my experience, from way back in the day. But yeah, so you guys were in Alaska for the military first.

Cherie 05:50 We were. We were here from ‘09 to ‘13, with the military, and had my son here in Alaska. And then we moved to North Carolina for about three years. And then he retired and we came back to Alaska, and settled in Soldotna.

Janna  06:05 So when you started to homeschool after that first year, because I mean, you and I both know, working with Homeschool families that that first year can it's a transition year. I mean, there's so much unlearning that has to be done and, and really redesigning how you think about education. What kept you wanting to homeschool after your first year?

Cherie 06:28 Oh, man, I don't know that I did want to, I did want to initially, I'm a very type A personality. And so it was a lot of looking at the curriculum we chose. And okay, this is going to this page, in this book and read this many pages check, then move on to the next thing check done. So I have my checklist. That is not how my son learns. And it has taken me it took me probably three years to finally realize that it's okay to not school him. How I pictured schooling needed to be. I was in public school. And so I think in my mind, I had this vision of what homeschooling would look like, and really had to kind of readjust my thinking and my perspective and my style and how we went about it to better facilitate his way of learning. What was interesting to him. And to kind of let go of some of those expectations. And some of those things that I put on myself to this is how school is supposed to look. And it does not have to look that way. And it can look different for every family. And that's okay.

Janna  07:35 Yeah, and it can look different for your family, day by day. And that's okay. 

Cherie 07:41 Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And so I think what that, really what it boiled down to for us wanting to continue is that we liked being able to have the freedom to spend our days how we wanted and to pursue the things that my son was interested in, instead of trying to make him fit into a box or into a mold, and then get distracted by, you know, it's not the public school teachers fault that they've got 20 kids, and they're all at different levels. As far as you know, some, they have to teach at this level. And some kids fall below that, and because it go above that, they lose on either end, and they can only do so much with that many students in one classroom. Whereas when you're homeschooling, you can really tailor the education to the student. And we loved that freedom. We loved the support that we were getting from the staff here at idea, and we loved it that like said we we could be flexible with our time. So it really only took us a few hours a day to do a full day of school. So then I'm thinking what would he be doing for the other six hours sitting in the public school, he'd be probably getting in trouble. He's a curious boy, he would probably be in trouble.

Janna  08:56 I remember I think it might have been a college professor, he had said to me, this isn't Burger King, you can't have it your way. And we need to somehow reverse engineer that to say, this is homeschooling, you can have it your way. It doesn't have to look like anybody else's journey. It is so unique. We get this opportunity, like I said to tailor it to our children. And I, like you, took me several years, I think a little bit longer than you but it might have been because I had three for me to embrace that because I was homeschooled. So not only did I have an idea of what that should or could look like, my kids were not me. And that I think every parent, sometimes I feel like parents are discouraged by their own journey. Like I shouldn't be doing that or oh, I should know better. It's like oh my gosh, I was homeschooled. And I'd still made those same mistakes like we all parent out of our own experiences and I think we all homeschool them out of our own educational experiences and it takes a kind of deciding to go do it a new way and learn alongside your child to really before it really starts to click, and it's like, oh my gosh, okay, this is great. But like any parent, when you're trying to have your child go a certain way, and they're fighting you tooth and nail, because that's just not how it's gonna work for them, you know, don't think prior generations had the freedom that we do to be like, so my kid doesn't want to do math this way, let's find a different way to do math. And so there's so many new avenues that we can go down, that it can get, you know, it can get overwhelming, which is why families need support, like idea. And programs like that, to really help come alongside them and create community. Speaking of community, being in Alaska, where there is a lot of land and people are really spread out, what are some of the advantages of homeschooling with your program, or even Alaska in general, that there are ways to have a community in that?


Cherie  11:04 Yeah, so I think that, as far as with idea, we all have our regional offices, we have six regional offices, and all of our regional offices have a field rep, which is what my position is. And that person is really responsible for creating those opportunities for families to come together, and to have community and to have activities and events where those families can get together. It is difficult when there's a majority, not a majority when there are a lot of areas in our state that are off the road system. So they're only accessible by plane or boat. And those families we have to be creative in ways and find ways for them to connect. So we do some virtual activities, they do have a contact teacher for each family that they can reach out to, to give them support. And then the field rep that handles those areas does try really hard to come up with some unique ways to invite them in to meet other homeschooling families who might be in a similar situation. It is difficult in a large land area with few people. But we do try really hard to find ways to help families connect

Janna  12:21 This idea of off-the-road living just blows this girl's mind who grew up in the Chicagoland area where there just there was endless roads, always roads, roads that connected to roads that connected I mean, like to think about being off road, what would you say in your area is the percentage of families that are classified in that in that category.  

Cherie 12:47 So in our area, there's there's only one community that is not on a road system, technically on a road system. And that's Kodiak, the island of Kodiak, they are part of our region or my region. But because they are so remote, they are part of activities that take place for those people in the region who are off the road system. So they're technically handled out of our office with a contact teacher from our office and a tech from our office. But the field rep that serves the families on Kodiak is the same build rep. She's actually in Eagle River, and she handles all of our what we call region G off-the-road system, and families to facilitate activities for them.

Janna  13:33 How exciting now, I think maybe one of the advantages of living in Alaska is the endless supply of outdoor activities in all seasons. So what are some of the things that you have been able to enjoy with your son and your family as you've homeschooled in your area, and Alaska?

Cherie 13:52 Oh man, all the outdoorsy things, all the outdoorsy things. We've been able to camp and fish and hike. And for some of our families, we've set up field trips over the summer for a train trip a float trip, and a kayak trip. And then in the winter, we've done things like cross-country skiing and snow tubing, and skiing, downhill skiing and snow playdates and ice skating. So there is something in every season to enjoy the outdoors here, for sure. It's not ever a question of whether it is too cold? In the winter? It's more do you have the right equipment? Do you have the right jacket and the right gloves and the right you know, hat and boots and so that your parts don't freeze?

Janna  14:43 Now one thing that I had never heard of until I actually came to Alaska was the breakup season or mud season. So what do you do in that? Explain what that is to our listeners for those who don't know, and then maybe an activity that you guys plan for that season.

Cherie 14:59 Sure, so breakup season is spring or about that time of year when things start to warm up and all the ice starts to melt, the snow and the ice starts melting and it gets really dirty and muddy wet. That is what we call breakup season. So all that ice and snow is breaking up and starting to melt, we're starting to get longer days. So more sunshine. It is very hard to find outdoor activities during that particular time of year because it is so messy outside. So at that time, we do typically do end up doing more indoor activities. Not as much outdoors to do at that time of year because it is so messy outside. And so we end up doing more indoor things during that season. It's a short season, usually,

Janna  15:45 Let's talk about possible disadvantages. If for your July, your geographical location, you just mentioned that you can start getting more sunshine. What does it look like for you guys, when you have very little sunshine?

Cherie 16:03 So the shortest day of the year is in December, December 21. And we have about five hours of daylight during that day. The sun comes up around 10 and goes down around three. And so we have to, I have found that it helps me if I make myself get outside and do something it would be very easy to become a hermit and be inside all the time next to my wood stove, which is super warm. So I have taken up cross-country skiing personally. Some people snowshoe, downhill ski or snow machines or snowmobile. So I think that if you find an activity that gets you out, it's it doesn't affect you quite as much the darkness and by the time you realize it's dark all the time, you're on the other side and you're gaining daylight. So it can be a challenge. And then it's summer. It's a challenge too. Because a lot of people here have blackout curtains to block out the sun so that they can sleep at night. You're talking about never really getting dark, the peak of summer yet Twilight is dark, but not dark, dark. That's hard for some people who like to sleep.

Janna  17:15 So when I was in Alaska last year, in May, when the days were extending, I would just wake up in the middle of the night. It was just it just was so interesting to me. I've just been looking outside and like it's like, like you said like Twilight or Dawn. But it's 1:30 in the morning. And so I have the pleasure of traveling with one of my daughters. And she would wake up and she would be like, Mom, what are you doing? Am I just looking outside because I can because it's not dark and I can see everything. And it was for me if you haven't experienced it, it's just a very interesting way to experience, like seeing the world and one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning, you just expect it to be pitch black, and it just isn't. 

Cherie 18:03 And so yeah, how many and one of the one of the bonuses to the darkness in the wintertime is the northern lights. They make it worth it.

Janna  18:11 Yeah, well, that is one thing I have yet to see. But maybe this year, fingers crossed, fingers crossed that it's happening this year. So let's go back to IDEA. I was there because I do hold a curriculum fair and a lot of vendors from the lower 48 come up and we spend a couple of weeks up there and kind of tour around with you guys and go the different site locations. But what actually got you involved with IDEA? So you kind of said in the beginning, you had talked to some friends so they were already involved with that particular support program and kind of introduced you to it. Had you heard about it before that?

 Cherie 18:51 I feel like there was some buzz before that about IDEA. There are too, particularly to homeschooling support programs here on the peninsula where I'm located. And I remember asking friends when we were looking around, which was when I had friends who homeschooled with one and friends at homeschooled with IDEA. And I remember asking, you know which one is better? Which one would you choose? And the two that were the other programs said that if they had it to do over, they would choose IDEA, but they were with their particular program because it's associated with the local school district and their husband's work for the local school district. And so that kind of helped me decide then that okay, well then we're gonna, we're gonna try it. We're gonna go with it. Yeah. And we have been so pleased and so thankful for the program ever since we started.

Janna  19:43 So what in your opinion sets IDEA apart from these other programs that are available because people who are listening obviously, don't necessarily live in Alaska, but they're homeschooling families who have an educational choice. So just personally as you were going through and making your day decision, what were some of the things that stood out about IDEA that made you say, that's what I'm looking for? That's the type of support I want.  

Cherie 20:09 Sure, sure. So for me, it was that all of the staff here at IDEA in this office are former or current homeschoolers. So they had that homeschooling experience. IDEA was a program that was created by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers. And that was not the case with the other programs that are in this area. There are several programs statewide. And so that can be something that parents, you know, really do want to dial in what makes one program better over another, I always encourage parents to check out both programs or check out all the programs, check out all of your options, we very strongly believe in parents choice in every area. So we are very adamant about coming alongside parents to support them in whatever. And however they choose to teach their kiddos. You know, I'm not an expert on the other program, I can tell you about IDEA. And I can tell you about all the great things about IDEA. And I can tell you that we have a variety of families that use several different types of methods, and several different types of curriculum to teach their children. And we want to support them with whatever they choose. We are definitely a school of choice, we believe in choice, and we want parents to know that they have a choice in everything with their children's education.

Janna  21:35 Yeah, I think in this day and age, especially when it can be overwhelming when there are so many choices. But if you choose a program where the staff are currently or have been homeschoolers, I think it's advantageous because they do have their own, they have personal experience, as opposed to just if you have a program where, you know, maybe they don't know, it, you know, it can bring a sense of comfort, if you know that somebody's already been there, even if you don't necessarily pick what they had used or advice, at least they know, you know, they've dabbled in it, they understand it a little bit better. I remember when I first had children, my pediatrician, did not have children. And part of me was like, I don't know if I want a pediatrician that doesn't have kids. And people were like, Why? Why does that bother you? And I'm like, because she hasn't experienced it yet. Right? She has all the head knowledge. I'm not saying she's not a great doctor. And she was! I stuck with her. But I will tell you that once she started having her own family, we had become pretty close. And she was like, Oh my gosh, I now see there's such a difference when you walk through it yourself, as opposed to just theorizing about it and being able to present solutions. But nothing that you've ever actually had to do yourself. It makes a big difference. Sure, sure. So sharing in your personal we'll go personal first, and then you can give professional why is it important for families to be part of a homeschool community. 

Cherie 23:08 I feel like it's super important. No matter if you're part of a homeschool program or not. If you choose to homeschool your children, you should be part of the homeschool community because there is support there. There is support, there is encouragement there is sometimes instruction, hard instruction from fellow homeschooling families. There is variety there is community there. So you don't feel like you're isolated. Or like you're an island there are people you can bounce ideas off of or you can talk to them about, you know, what do you think about this? Or do you think about that and get input and get advice. Whether you choose to use it or not is up to you, but at least you have someone else who's going through the same thing that you are that you can talk to about life. I think it's important, not just in playing but in anything in life, it's important to have community.  

Janna  24:04 Yeah, I think that COVID really kind of leveled the playing field for people, you know, everywhere. So maybe one of the challenges of homeschooling in a remote area is that location and you can't physically get together necessarily all the time. But then COVID happened and nobody could get together. And so it kind of was what we all were feeling that isolation and coming out of it. I hope that people and homeschooling families understand that we really do need community whether it is virtual or physical support, because part of it is you just don't know what you don't know. Oh my goodness, if my 45-year-old self could go back and talk to my 30-year-old self, the things and parenting and instruction I would say like mostly I would just say that doesn't matter, Janna that just doesn't matter that doesn't let that go, who cares? I would say I'm more of an A-type personality, I'm not super, like having to check every box, but I like the boxes to be there if and when I want to check them. And so, so many times they think that as we start homeschooling back to the beginning, we have a certain perception of how it should be. And when you're surrounded by others who are a little bit further down the road, who can encourage you when you're getting really worked up about whatever it is not reading a classic or your child not doing, you know, not loving the activity that you spent three weeks planning that, you know, so I've never happened that never, never had not in Alaska only in the lower 48 Yeah, that happened for sure. But, you just there's in all humans who need encouragement.

Cherie 25:53 Agreed, agreed. And something I tell a lot of people that I've learned is to really give yourself grace. It's okay. If you don't know or if you feel like you've messed up, you're, you're doing just fine. And give yourself some grace.  

Janna  26:09 Yeah. Because we we've all messed up. I mean, it's just, it's inevitable. And your teenage children will be the first to let you know where you have. And so Cheri be prepared for that one!

Cherie 26:22 Because my son's 11. And he's so he's not even a teenager yet. Yeah, he's 11. He's not even a teenager yet, but he lets me know when I've messed up. I can only imagine how much worse it's gonna get when he's a teen.

Janna  26:35 Well, I mean, grace, grace upon grace, I do think that parenting is a Pandora's box of all of your faults, for sure.

Cherie 26:45 Mm-hmm. Yeah. I was telling somebody the other day who is pregnant with her first and design are what are what a wonderful, hard life parenting is.

Janna  26:59 I know you, you wanted you want people to go in with eyes wide open. But then at the same time, you're like, I don't want to ruin it for no one people. 

Cherie 27:07 Right? Like, it really is wonderful. It just really is hard. 

Janna  27:14 Yeah. So and a lot of ways, though. But I think that's true about homeschooling as well. 

Cherie 27:19 Sure. Sure. Yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely rewarding. But there are days when we want to pull our hair out both of us, my son and I both. So and now I didn't even mention but now my husband is no longer working a full-time job. And so he is a full-time dad schooling, he's actually the primary homeschooler. Now, as of this last year, he is the one who does the day-to-day and while I'm working full-time, he does the day-to-day schooling of our son, which I think is super important for my son to have that daddy time. And that boy time and that man time and they're able to do more outdoorsy things together, and still be learning and love learning. Whether that was like a traditional sit down to a math worksheet or go out and measure something to build to get your math done. They're both ways he's learning something. So yeah.

Janna  28:16 And I do love your honesty about that there is a,we had talked about that a little bit before this recording, that there is some loss there for you as being the primary instructor up into this point. It's not that sometimes I think we get in our society, we think that if we have loss or grief that it's bad, it has to be a bad thing. Right? But it's just part of there's some things we do get to let go of and even though it's it feels like a loss, it's still a positive experience for for everybody. But as a mom, I'm sure that was not necessarily easy to give up.

Cherie 29:00 Yeah, yeah, it was hard. And there are still days that I miss spending time with him and watching the wonder in his eyes as he learned something and or figure something out. But I still get to witness that. Just not during traditional school time. So you know, we're still on the evenings, we still get to talk about some school-type things, and on the weekends and when I'm working from home. And so I still get to see some of that it is, like you said, you grieve the loss of seeing it every day, all day. But there are some beautiful things from that too because I get to see this relationship between my husband and my son that's growing and flourishing. And that wouldn't normally be there if my husband was working a full-time job. 

Janna  29:49  Yeah, we have been very fortunate in our family to have some scheduling unique scheduling and so I feel like my girls have had a really good solid relationship with their dad and they've been able to do things that like I never talked to my dad or spent that kind of time with my dad and but there are times when they do things when I'm working through those feelings of hurt. I have legit FOMO for sure. Anyways, its just my personality. But I do have to remind myself like, No, that's good. That's good that they got to do that. And I thought all these years when I was home full-time with my girls, and my husband was working out of the house. Did he ever feel that way? Like, I don't know if there's just an expectation like it but now that it's reversed. I was like, oh, oh, you guys went and did that. Oh, okay. Well, I'm glad you guys got that done.

Cherie 30:47 That's interesting. I would have to ask my husband if he ever had that feeling of oh, like that he wished he could have done whatever it was we're doing. I imagine they do feel that way.

Janna  30:58 Yeah, I think it's something that we don't ever. I mean, I never thought of my husband would make comments like, Oh, you guys got to must be nice. You guys got to go to the zoo on a Wednesday a random Wednesday, right? Like you'd make little comments like that. But now that I'm on the other side, I'm like, Oh, I think he was being serious. I think he really did feel like he was missing out. Yeah. And there. This is a total aside. There was one time they went to an event. And they got a caricature. Picture done. Oh, yeah. And it was just my husband and the three girls. And they brought it home. And I was so upset. I was like, Oh, I'm not in it. I'm not in it into my husband's like, you're in everything else can't I have this for with our girls. And I thought, I mean, I really had to check myself. And I was like, That is such a beautiful. I mean, there's so many things that come from being able to be flexible and have time and, and see these different relationships that, you know, you wouldn't necessarily see if you were in a traditional, your children went to school every day, and you both went to work every day. And it just Yeah, it's amazing. So it's still up, and I still look at it. But that's fine. But it's okay. Yeah, why not? I mean, it literally has been like 12 years.  

Cherie 32:17 Oh, my gosh, and you still feel that way?  

Janna  32:21 Oh, yes. Insight into a little bit of my psyche. But yeah. It's, it's so nice, though, to be able to that, you know, parents can do it. You know, like you said, at different times, like non-traditional, it doesn't have to be during the day like it normally is. And both parents can be involved or other other parents or other family members. I mean, it's so unique and wonderful. And I'm sure you see that in your community where you're at as well.

Cherie 32:51 Yeah, there are a lot of families here in Alaska that the dad or mom works on the slope, so work up north Alaska where they have to fly to their job. And a lot of them are. It's they're working to and to schedule, so two weeks on two weeks off. And so we have some families who will school for the two weeks that one parent is away at work. And then they will take off the two weeks that that parent is home, and then they just school year-round. So it's really wonderful that they get to kind of their school day, their school week, their school year can look however they want to, they don't have to start a certain day and be done a certain day and take certain breaks, they can take schoolwork with them if they choose to take a week, two-week vacation in the middle of the year or not just take off for that two weeks or however long they're gone. We also have a lot of families that subsistence fish or hunt. And so they're that's how they're providing food for their families. And so they are gone for a month to go on this moose hunt and get their meat for the year and fill their freezer and so they don't do school while they're doing that. And that's okay. So a lot of flexibility and a lot of freedom, which is wonderful.

Janna  34:05 So I just have to ask what does moose meat taste like?

Cherie 34:09 It's delicious. Although I'm finding that I think my favorite game meat is black bear. It's hard to describe what it tastes like. Better than beef. It's about all I can say. I'll have to have you try some. I'll give you some moose meat and some bear meat when you come up.  

Janna  34:29 All right. I look forward to that. show you before we go. Do you have a homeschool hack you can share with our listeners?  

Cherie 34:35 My homeschool hack would be gameschooling I mean once usually like once a week or once every other week. We will take a day to just play a game. And that's our school for the day.

Janna  34:48 And what's your favorite game? 

Cherie 34:51  Whether it's right now our favorite game to play is Wits and Wagers as a family wits and wagers. So do you know this game? 

Janna  35:01 No, I don't 

Cherie 35:04 Oh, so we play it kind of our own kind of way. But basically, each person gets a dry-erase board and you ask a random question like, how many miles is it from the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas to Paris, France? You write down your answer, and then you try to get as close to the actual number without going over. And you can choose you can bet on or choose someone else's answer. You earn points by guessing the right answer, not guessing on your own as the right answer or betting on someone else's answer that you think is right. That's a pretty fun game. So learn some random facts. There's writing involved and there's reading because you have to read your produced answer. 

Janna  35:45 Yeah, so in your family who's the best?  

Cherie 35:49 Oh, my husband. It's infuriating. Almost every time he wins, because it's a logic game, and he's really good at those kinds of games. And it drives me crazy.

Janna  36:01 That's funny Wits & Wagers, maybe I'm gonna have to look that one up. That sounds like a lot of fun.

Cherie 36:05 It's lots of fun.

Janna  36:06 So before we go, why don't you just tell those who are listening and who might be in your area about the upcoming curriculum fair that IDEA hosts?

Cherie 36:14 Oh, sure. So we have our upcoming statewide curriculum there. It does go from Anchorage to Soldotna. to Fairbanks and Juneau. Ours here in the Soldotna area is April 19 and 20th. That we have about we typically have about 45 to 50 vendors that come curriculum vendors that come it will be at the Sterling Community Center over in Sterling. And you can find more information on our website, www.idea  It's a great place to come talk to vendors from different curriculum companies. We will have workshops available throughout both days. There also be a keynote lunch happening and it is free for IDEA families and there's a low charge a small charge for non-IDEA families to attend. But it's a great place to meet other homeschoolers, talk to vendors from different curriculum companies, and hear some workshops. So they should come join us.  

Janna  37:09 Definitely should BookShark will be there. I will be there with my counterpart Maddie and we are looking forward to another year of participating in the IDEA curriculum fair. Cherie, thank you so much for coming on today. Thanks for sharing your stories and your experiences up in Alaska as a homeschooling parent. I appreciate you and all that you're doing for your community and supporting those who choose to homeschool. 

Cherie 37:34 Thank you, Jana. Thanks for having me.

Janna  37:37 Thank you guys. Until next time, bye bye