Homeschool Reflections

Homeschool Reflections

The thing about homeschooling is that it’s personal, personal to your life, your family, and your children. Your experiences can be unique to you but they can also help others who are struggling or need validation that their journey is similar or they are not alone. That’s the goal of Homeschool Your way to make you feel more comfortable in your homeschool journey and help you find the community and resources you need. 

Today’s podcast gets personal as our host Janna Koch gets to ask those kinds of questions to her own children, Courtney, Alison, and Ashley. So Join us as Season 3 of Homeschool Your Way winds down with some honesty and laughter from the Koch girls.

Listen to this podcast episode

Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:00: Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host, Janna Koch, BookSharks Community Manager. Today's episode is special because I have my girls on. And before you think this probably was a bad idea, you were probably right. But I did say that my girls were allowed to be honest. And I wanted you guys to get a clearer understanding of what homeschooling could look like for you. And maybe compare it to what you have experienced in your own home. I chose to homeschool my three girls at the ages of 10, 10, and 6. So we're just going to talk about our experiences. The Good, the bad, and yes, the ugly. So let me introduce Ashley, Alison, and Courtney. Hi, girls.

Ashley & Alison 00:41:  Hello. 

Courtney 00:42: Hi. 

Janna 00:43: All right. So why don't you quickly introduce yourself? Ashley we’ll let you go first.

Ashley 00:47: My name is Ashley. I'm 17. I'm a junior. And I like painting. 

Alison 00:52: I'm Alison. I'm 17. And I play volleyball. 

Courtney 00:55: I'm Courtney. I'm 13. And I babysit. 

Janna 1:01: All right, well, at least you all have something that is non-academic in your life. One of the common myths is that homeschoolers don't have anything to do while they are at home. So let's talk about that a little bit. First of all, who wanted to homeschool? When we talked about homeschooling in 2016? Who was excited? 

Courtney 01:19: Not me. 

Ashley 01:21: I don't really think any of us were. 

Alison 01:23: I don't remember. But I like change. So I might have been 

Janna 01:28: Okay. So you weren't sure you don't remember? And you were definitely not wanting to Alison, why don't you tell the audience what your apprehension was about homeschooling? 

Alison 01:38: Well, we moved out to Kiowa. So it was about a 40-minute drive into town where all my friends were. And I was in public school, my whole academic career. And then I was told we were homeschooling and we were moving away from everyone and I was going to be stuck at home and I would not have any kind of social interaction. From what I perceived as homeschooling, we would not have any kind of social interaction with people and it was just not something I was used to. And it's something that I was not looking forward to, but it wasn't necessarily true. After, you know, we adjusted and figured stuff out. I was we went to school once a week in town and met a lot of great people. We got into CBS, reconnected with a lot of people, and found a bunch of different homeschool groups that hung out, you know, once a week at PE and stuff like that. So it really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. 

Janna 2:41: Alright, so that was one who didn't want to homeschool and then ended up it turned out better than she thought. Ashley, you on the other hand wanted to homeschool. Do you remember why you wanted to do that?

Ashley 2:52:  I do not. 

Janna 2:55: Did it have something to do with not liking school, or 

Everyone 2:58: people.

Janna 03:00: We will all attest to Ashley's dislike of people in general. Courtney, what about you? Do you remember when we pulled you out of school?

Courtney 3:09: No. 

Janna 3:10: You just kind of always remember homeschooling? 

Courtney 3:12: Yeah. 

Janna 3:14: Do you remember at all your experiences in kindergarten or first grade?

Courtney 3:17: Not all of them. But certain ones.

Janna 3:22: Are they positive memories about public school? 

Courtney 3:24: Yeah. 

Janna 3:25: Give us one. 

Courtney 3:26: My kindergarten teacher had fish in her classroom. 

Janna 3:29: She did. In fact, she even had fish in her wall which was pretty cool. Alright, so what were you looking or what were you looking forward to when you thought about homeschooling? Was there anything that appealed to you even though you knew it was going to be different? And it was unknown what appealed to you, Courtney. When you even though you don't quite remember it? What appeals to you about homeschooling?

Courtney 3:49: When we first started I really thought it was going to be fun was just like staying in my pajamas and sleeping in like doing whatever I want at home. 

Janna 4:02: And little did you know that that wasn't always going to be the case. Alison, what about you? 

Alison 4:09: Probably just the sleeping in part, mostly staying home. It actually really helped me because I was always someone who was never home and always had an excuse to be out of the house. So homeschooling really forced me to stay home and like, like really connect with my sisters. In public school, Ashley and I never hung out. We were never in the same classes ever. Per my parent's request. We didn't get along very well. And then we were forced to stay home with each other, you know, seven days a week all the time. And even though we still fought, we were closer, weren't we Ashley?

Janna 04:52: Speaking of growing closer and maybe fighting a little bit more, because I worked out of the house once a week, What kind of environment did you guys create when you were on your own while I was gone? Ashley, do you have a story about that?

Alison 05:09: One time, Ashley, I was working on a science project for the school I went to once a week. And she got we started fighting like, this isn't just bickering, this was fighting. And she took my papers, tore them up, and poured water all over them. Ashley and I, we've fought a lot when you're not home, and then Courtney would lock herself in a room.

Janna 05:36: So before you report me to human services, to be fair, I knew of nothing. By the time I got home, they had figured it all out. So I guess one of the benefits of homeschooling was conflict resolution. Yeah, you guys had it cleaned up. You had it figured out. No one was hurt and no one was hurt. That's right. That's right, crimson papers, but it all worked out. So it's not always sunshine and rainbows when you're choosing to homeschool your children when they're together a lot. What about something that you dread? When you thought about homeschooling? Or as you were homeschooling? Was there something that you really just disliked?

Ashley 6:15: Telling people I was homeschooled. 

Janna 6:17: Why was that Ash? Tell me and the people who are listening want to hear.

Alison 06:23: There's a stereotype any stereotype for sure that kids who walk on their toes and that's a little funny. It's just like, oh, yeah, they're homeschooled. I don't know. It's definitely a stereotype. And when you first think about it, you're like, oh, yeah, those kids don't know how to interact. Yeah, they're very socially awkward. 

Ashley 06:42: Yeah. Not quite the case. 

Alison 06:45: It helped though, that we weren't homeschooled our entire lives.

 Janna 06:49: You think? 

Alison 06:51: I mean, I think it would have been different. But then again, we still had social interaction throughout homeschooling. So I don't, it's hard to say.

Janna 06:59:  And you had a lot of friends that were homeschoolers who had been homeschooled from the beginning. Not all of them fell into that stereotype. 

Alison 07:06: Yeah, but they're still a little weird. 

Janna 07:08: Sure. We're all a little weird in our own right. For those who listen frequently to the podcast, they will definitely agree at my weirdness.

 Ashley 07:15: You were homeschooled.


Janna 07:17: I was homeschooled, it's true. And yet, here we are. The other thing is, as I was homeschooled, I never wanted to homeschool my children, it is not a dream or an aspiration that I had. And so as our homeschool journey began, I think we all were a little resistant to the idea of us all staying home together. Definitely, because of our location being out in the country, knowing that we weren't going to be interacting with people every single day, which was a change from our life, previously. We were the type of family that was always doing stuff, always busy. Which, again, is why I think Ashley probably did benefit. And liked the idea of not being forced to leave all the time and to be doing stuff all the time. But what's one thing that turned out differently than you thought? When you think about your homeschool? Courtney, you're still homeschooling. You're gonna be part-time next year. Alison and Ashley, you guys have not been homeschooled now for three years now. So what do you think what turned out differently?

 Alison 08:17: It wasn't as bad as that I thought, for sure. Um, I think it really did give us an advantage going into high school and not having to go especially middle school because like middle school girls are so horrible. And I talked to people all the time, like gone through middle school. And it's the worst experience of their life. And I'm just like, I'm so grateful. That wasn't my experience, because I actually had like the best time in middle school, just with my small class. And we all got to really know each other.

But I also think it was really a good advantage going into high school, especially the fast-paced program that we were given the opportunity to get into and be thrown into college classes as a freshman. And it really did help both Ashley and I to really get on board with that and just be able to finish those classes and do well in those classes. I know a lot of kids who came out of public school and just couldn't get with the program. And it was like it was just too fast. And that it was just totally different than what they were used to. And I think that homeschooling really helped us adapt and be on our toes for those kinds of situations. 

Janna 09:28: What do you think, Courtney?

What's one thing that turned out differently than maybe you had thought? Or maybe you even have a chance to think but as you reflect

Courtney 09:37: Um, I definitely became a lot more independent. 

Janna 09:45: Whether that was by choice or not. That is definitely a true statement, which I think is probably something that most people who think about homeschoolers would not think about. I think when you think homeschool, you think you're with your mom or your dad or somebody all the time, somebody is right there in the room with you, instructing you. And so how is how has your experience been different? 

Courtney 10:08: I pretty much just teach myself and do everything myself. But I have resources. Like you're not completely alone. Um, yeah, it's definitely a good skill to have in my opinion.

 But there is a downside. 

Janna 10:33: And what's that? 

Courtney 10:34: I think the downside would definitely be, I'm really stubborn when it comes to asking for help. And I just want to do everything myself, even when I know that I can't do it myself. I like force myself to figure it out by myself.

Janna 10:50:  Would you agree that maybe homeschool has helped you teach to help teach you some self-awareness in that? 

Courtney 10:56: Yeah, I think that I have gone through a lot of trial and error. And I know like what my limit is, I'm starting now more to learn what my limit is for like, what I actually can do by myself and what I actually when I need to ask for help. 

 Janna 11:18: Well, as your mom, I think that's great. Even if I did leave you alone too much. All right. Now just thinking about what is advice you think you could give, let's say, a teenager, a middle schooler, or even a parent, they're listening to this with their kids. And they were like, Hey, listen, there are kids who homeschool that didn't think they wanted to homeschool. And they, it turned out all right there I say, good. And there were benefits to it. So what advice would you give to, let's say, a friend whose parents were whose parents decided that they did want to homeschool? And your friend is resistant to the idea? What would you say, Alison?

Alison 11:55: It's really not that bad. It really isn't. It really gave us an advantage going forward. And it, you know, had its ups and downs. Sure. And it's really not what you think it is like going into it, you think you're going to be how your parents are going to hover over you and make sure you get all your schoolwork done. And like all the stuff in the schoolwork material, it's not that hard. You just have to make sure you get it done. And there's still leniency. And I'm sure you've talked about it on this podcast about there's leniency about when you get done and how much time you put into it and stuff like that. So it really isn't that bad. And it really does help with like Courtney said, with independence and learning to get stuff done. And especially as a procrastinator myself, it really did help with some deadlines and going into high school. Um, it did help me with those more harsh deadlines, and making sure I was on track and stuff. So it really isn't that bad. And it really does give you an advantage going forward in your academic career.

 Janna 13:05: I'm glad that you think so. Courtney, what about you?

Courtney 13:08:  Um, I, it's pretty good. You know, like, you get to do a lot of the stuff that you want to do. And it's not like, Oh, you sit at your table all day in do in like, all you do is schoolwork. And it's not like that at all. Like, personally, like my mom and I,  we go on trips. And we like to go to the lake and do all the stuff that no public schoolers can’t do because they're in school all day.

You get a lot of free time, which is really good. And it kind of is gonna sound so cheesy.

It gives you a chance to like, like, find yourself you know, cuz you don't have those like pressures of like being ‘in’ like you do in like public school and kids around you. Yeah, like whatever other people are doing and what they're wearing and what they're like all that stuff like, you don't get that because you're, you're with yourself.

So you're gonna just become familiar with like, what you like and what you want to do and what you want to wear. And you're not really influenced as much by other people.

 Janna 14:25: And I think to be fair, the three of them were homeschooled together for four years. And then for the last three, Courtney has been home on her own, although Alison and Ashley have more of a college block schedule, so I'm not sure they're ever at school, but the grades and the computer tell me that they're passing their college courses. So definitely going to believe that since we are since you guys did use the BookShark curriculum. Let's talk about really quickly before we close what has been one of your favorite subjects or activities that you've done with BookShark

 Courtney 15:00: Okay, that's tough. Not science. 

Alison 15:07: Science was hard. When we did it, they changed it, I think now, but when we did it, it was hard. The books we read were like big words. Yeah. I really did like, our language arts, though, when we got to read those books out, because it's like the ties in with our history and stuff. So I did really enjoy reading the different books, I probably should have read more. Because looking back, I would have really liked the books Courtney read. But the ones I did read, I really did enjoy and probably wish I would have read some more.

Janna 15:42 :  Well, it's never too late. I have the book list, you can still access those books. Courtney, what about you? 

Courtney: Um, I don't really remember what my favorite subject is. Back in the day.

Janna 15:53: What about now?

Courtney 15:55:  Um, this year, my favorite subject has definitely been history. The book, like the history books that I've been reading, has been, really insightful. And they're not like biased, you know, they're not biased. And she really gives, the author really gives, like, both perspectives of like political things, because it is American history. So she gives both perspectives.

Janna 16:29:  Would you say that you like that it affords you the opportunity to come to draw your own conclusion, as opposed to somebody telling you what you should think about it? 

Courtney 16:39: Yeah, definitely. It in the book, it actually says, I'm pretty sure multiple times like, like, what do you think about this? And like, what, what are your ideas about this? And it's not like, This person was a horrible person, this person's ideas are right, and you know, so it's really good to kind of form your own opinions about things, especially now, yet. 

Janna 17:09: I would say as a parent of a daughter, who is reading through this curriculum, the times because she is so independent and using Virtual, so we don't even use the discussion questions, because all of that is online. Now, she does offer stories at dinner about what she's reading about, about the persons in history that she has read about. It's super exciting as a parent to see that drawn out without any pressure or, or guidance from us, but she's so excited about it that she continually shares with us what she's learning.

Alison 17:44: We learn something new every night.

Ashley 17:47  Yeah, for sure.

Janna 17:49: All right, I asked you gals if you had a homeschool hack for our listeners. So who has a hack, something that worked for you when you were homeschooling? Something that maybe from homeschool you're using now in your everyday life that has worked? What do you think to draw Ashley into the conversation? I will say that I never had to check on Ashley. She was a self-starter. She always got her work done. And I guess if she didn't get it done, maybe I didn't really know about it. But it has continued on into her college classes where she was completely prepared and does not need to be micromanaged in any way. Would you agree with that? Ashley? 

Ashley 18:28: Facts

Janna 18:30: Perfect. 

Ashley 18:31: Um, I would say probably the biggest thing that helped me homeschooling was to write it down everything I need to do, and I probably should have done it more because I am not very good at getting stuff done. Oh, you're the opposite of your sister. 

Alison 18:49: Yeah, isn't that funny. So definitely write it down. I've definitely picked up on it more in high school because I found that it is really helpful. But get your stuff done. And just check it off. And definitely also like, be outside, like if you can do your schoolwork outside because it makes all the difference. In my opinion, staying inside cooped up all day is just not, for me, at least in my brain. I just can't do it. So definitely getting outside and making a list and just checking it off every time we've done and it makes you feel really accomplished. And then you have the whole day ahead of you. 

Janna 19:26: You want to go ahead and sound like Santa Claus. You make a list and you're checking it twice. Courtney, what about you? What's a hack that you could share as a current homeschooler?

Courtney 19:36:  Start out with your with the subjects that take you the longest first or like maybe a short subject that doesn't take you very long first to just like warm up and then do your hardest or longest one.

And then you kind of just have like the most time-consuming thing out of the way and you can just kind of fly through the rest of your work.  

Janna 20:00: So in your case, what would be the most time-consuming for you at this point,? 

Courtney 20:02: Um, history because I'm not a very fast reader. And I have quite a bit to read usually. So I usually do that one second.

Janna 20:15: And then do you break up the historical literature or the novels that you have to read? Separate from when you're reading? Like you're required reading for history? 

Courtney 20:26: Yeah, I usually read those. I don't really know. I kind of just read them whenever it depends on the day, but like, sometimes, I'll read them. Like, right after I finished, finish history, and then, like, answer the questions for them, but other times, I'll do like, I'll look at my writing assignments first. But yeah, it just kind of depends on the day.

Janna 20:55:  What about you, Ash? Do you have any homeschool hacks or life hacks that you have learned that you can share with our listeners? 

Ashley 21:03: Avoid podcasts if you can. 

Janna 21:07: Especially the one that kind that your mom hosts?

Ashley 21:09:  They’re fine to listen to, I guess, but being on the other side of it? No.

 Janna 21:15: No, not your favorite thing? I don't know. I think Alison and I can start our own podcast. Do you think Alison?

Alison 21:21 What would we talk about? 

Ashley 21:24: You would have zero listeners.

Courtney 21:27: It should be called the Alison and Alison who would

Janna 21:29: Just no guests is that it? That is a monologue. And I think you'd be really good at it. All right. In closing, ladies, if you could choose to have done things differently, not choosing not to homeschool, because that's obviously not an option. But what would you do looking back? What do you wish we would have done differently in the years that we've homeschooled

Alison 21:57: The wish that I had wanted to learn more? Okay, because I feel like with the books I read, I could have gained a lot of information from them. But I didn't, because I didn't want to do it. So looking back, I actually want to learn some stuff. 

Janna : Well, it's not too late, you can learn the rest of your life. What about you, Courtney?

Courtney 22:22: I would have not skipped chapters in books.

Janna 22:28: Why is that? Why is that? Not a good idea? 

Courtney: Um, well, to be fair, I was never actually asked the questions in the book. So it didn't really matter. But occasionally, Mom would give me a pop quiz and be like, actually ask me the questions for the book, and I wouldn't know the answer. 

Janna: And you know how we took care of that. We signed you up for BookShark Virtual.

Courtney 22:55: No, I haven't skipped chapters since I was in fourth grade. 

Janna 22:59: Well, that's good. I'm glad that you know, I'm glad 

Courtney 23:04: Also because I found that I like reading now. 

Janna 23:06: There we have it. There you go. Mic drop from Courtney on that answer.

Courtney 23:10: I dropped the mic yet. Oh, a little bit. Yes.

Janna 23:14: Ashley, what could you change? What would you have liked to have changed? 

Ashley 23:17: Once upon a time? I was reading a science book. And then there's a section that said, Why your voice sounds different on camera? I didn't read it. I'll never know.

Janna 23:29: Well, there you have it. There you have it. She could have learned something that would have changed her life forever. Yes. She gets to that chapter read that book. Yes, I can actually I work from school and find it as soon as I can. I know where the warehouse is sorry. It’s not lost. It hasn't been pulled from the curriculum. Well, I hope you guys have enjoyed these few moments of insight into my homeschool life with my girls. It has been a pleasure of mine. It's always fun to hear their answers, never quite knowing what your children are going to say. But I would think that overall. In this discussion, we would all agree that, although not every day was sunshine and roses. We did enjoy our time together as we homeschooled and so much so that Courtney is going to continue into her eighth year of BookShark. We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. Until next time. Bye