Homeschooling In The Last Frontier


The last frontier, no it's not space but it may feel as vast, is the state of Alaska! With wide open spaces, it can sometimes feel even lonelier when homeschooling. But homeschooling is truly what you make it and in keeping with the premise of Homeschool Your Way today’s podcast covers homeschooling, community, and of course a helpful hack or two. Join Janna and her guest Carol Simpson, an IDEA representative, as they discuss homeschooling options in Alaska and ways to make homeschooling, if not easy may be easier for you.

ABOUT OUR GUEST | Carol Simpson has been an Alaska resident for over 40 years. She is a veteran homeschool mom and a Field Rep/Administrative Assistant for IDEA since 1997.

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Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:00 Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host Janna Koch and BookShark’s Community Manager. Homeschooling can feel daunting, and sometimes it can make you feel alone. But I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. And my guest, Carol Simpson, is familiar with homeschooling in an area where you might wrongly think you homeschool all by yourself. She has been in Alaska for over 40 years. And she is part of a community to support homeschool families in this area where again, even when she went she felt like maybe nobody was doing this. And like many parents coming into homeschooling today, there is a misconception that you will be by yourself. So we're going to be talking today about how you can find support in your homeschool, you can find a community, or create your own community.

And you're just going to listen to Carol and her journey of homeschooling. So Carol, thank you so much for being here. 

Carol  01:00 Thanks, Janna.

Janna  00:02 First of all my own experience, Alaska, it feels like a foreign country to most of us who are down here in the lower 48. And it's still touted as the final front or the last frontier. When considering homeschooling in Alaska, I always thought it was a remote and disconnected community. But you have educated me in the last year on how that is incorrect. Before we jump into all of that, why don't you just tell our families how you got connected to not only the state of Alaska but to IDEA, which is your school district that you help run there?

 Carol  01:35 Ah, well, I grew up right outside of Washington, DC, and Maryland. My husband grew up in California, we met waiting tables in Yellowstone. And that first summer when we met my husband was living in Yellowstone and my husband who I wasn't even dating at the time. But we were talking about it. He said, Someday I want to go live in Homer, Alaska. It's the prettiest place I've ever seen. And we were in Yellowstone, I thought how can that be, you know, but I told him right away, I said you have the wrong girl. No interest in going to Alaska, I'd never even looked at a map of Alaska, never considered the possibility. So when we got married, we lived in Montana for a few years, and we were ready to move on from the job we were doing in Montana, I prayed and prayed for an open door anywhere but Alaska. And we had an open door in Alaska, but not anywhere else. So I resignedly got in the car, and we drove up the Alcan. And that was 1984. And we had two children at the time and had five more living here. And all of my kids now are adults and most of them have children of their own. And they all live in Alaska, one lives in Anchorage, and the rest all live in our small town. And so I love the fact that they grew up in this small town. And some of them have lived in other places, even other countries, and have come back because they love the community here and love the idea of raising their children in this small town in Alaska.

Janna  03:13 It's a testament to the community that you have created not only with your family but in your town that your children could see the world and always want to come back.

Carol  03:22 Yeah, right. Yeah. So then, when I moved here, my oldest was four and I didn’t do any formal education that year, and so really dove in when he was first grade age, he's 43 now. And and during that time period, there were other homeschoolers in the town where I lived. And sometimes I would get together with them. But you know, when you're homeschooling in some ways, it doesn't matter where you live, or how many homeschoolers, you know, you still feel alone at times, and you still feel like, you know, what you're struggling through isn't always a struggle, but your overall you're struggling through each developmental stage with your kids and trying to figure out like, I mean, it's just an extension of parenting, you know, you're just trying to figure out what's best for this kid at this moment. And when you're homeschooling that just adds another layer on to that doesn't make it more complicated, but it adds another layer of trying to figure out what curriculum is best for them and what teaching style is best for them and okay, they're really stuck on this, how do I get them past this? And you just kind of assume that the professionals have those kinds of answers. They don't by the way, but you think they do, and sometimes I have gone to the professionals and gotten input and gotten advice. I had one kid that had learning problems and I eventually took him to the public school nearby and did some testing they were really helpful with that and gave me some really good advice. And then at the end of that, they said, Okay, well, here are your choices, you know, you can enroll them with us. And that would be our recommendation. Or you can keep homeschooling them and bring them here for an hour a day for special ed. And we'll be happy to help them get over the hump on a few things. Or you can just keep homeschooling and just call us if you have questions. And we'll be happy to answer your questions. And so I did take him in for special ed for an hour a day. And that was a great experience. And it was at the same time he was my third child, but I was homeschooling. I think it was homeschooling six kids. At that time, I had six kids at home, two of them were preschoolers, and four kids, I was homeschooling, and we were building a house. And so it was kind of a combination of all that where I was like, Okay, I need some input from somebody else to help him get past some things that he was stuck on. So that worked really well for me, and they were very honoring, surprisingly so, of my own role in the homeschooling journey. Anyway. So I did know some other homeschoolers, and there was a homeschool support group. And I can't quite remember now what happened with that, why the other person wasn't going to lead it anymore. But I led that for years and wrote the newsletter for that group. And that's how it came about that when the school district that I work for, so I work for a homeschool support program that's operated by a public school district. And somebody who went to their first introductory meeting reached out to me because I was the support group leader in Homer and said, Hey, I just found out about this great new statewide program, do you want some information? And I thought, No, I have no interest in any school district telling me what to do with my kids. But I thought, Well, I do lead this group, I do write the newsletter. If anybody in my group is stupid enough to affiliate with a school district, then I should probably get the information. So I called and got a lot of information and realize, oh, but what these people have in mind is completely different than the standard of ‘You get involved with the school and it's one box and they tell you what to do. And they grade all the materials and all that kind of thing.’ And so they weren't doing that, they were letting people use any curriculum they want, the parents were doing the grading and all that kind of thing. And so I asked for a job, my husband goes, you should ask them for a job. And I'm like, honey that's dumb. They don't need somebody way off at home. Or they're the main office, our business offices are in Fairbanks, which is about 800 miles or so from my house. And I've never been to Fairbanks. And I thought this is ridiculous. They don't need somebody way off in this small town where I live, but they did hire me. And so I got to help create this program, which was great fun. And one of our mottos that I came up with actually is ‘Created by homeschoolers for home schoolers’. Because one of the things I love most about this program I work for is that the first thing they did was say, You know what, we're public school educators, we haven't worked with a lot of homeschoolers before. We don't know a lot about homeschooling, and they hired me and another experienced homeschooler, to be on staff to advise them to direct the course of the program to help come up with the policies and procedures that we still follow today. So it's really true that the heart of the program was always homeschoolers.

 Janna  08:47 I think a lot of families would be surprised to know that programs like yours exist all over the United States, just like your initial reaction of I don't want to get involved with the public school system. If I'm choosing to homeschool, they have. I mean, obviously, there are really good programs like yours. And then like anything, there are probably not so great programs in other places and depending on your state, but that's exactly how I came into homeschooling my children. Unlike you, I never wanted to homeschool my kids, even though I was homeschooled. That's a whole other podcast. But when I was introduced to this program that our district offered they offered BookShark as one of the curricula. That's how I got involved. And now I tell everybody, I wish I had known about this curriculum when I was homeschooling because I would have loved it. I mean, I just loved homeschooling anyways, but this would have just made it even more amazing. And had I not had that introduction through a home curriculum through the public school district. I wouldn't have known about it so I think that people are surprised when they find out like, oh, you homeschool but it's through your school district.  Again, depending on your state that can look very different. So definitely you have to do your research and your due diligence. But like you I've had such a positive experience and it was run by parents who homeschooled and then started to work for the district. And so it is at the heart of it true homeschool because they know what you that the parents want to remain autonomous, and yet still have support. And that's one of the amazing things that especially this next generation of homeschool families coming in, who maybe like me, never thought they would homeschool. Now there's this support, if you choose to take it, that they can come alongside you and really help and not hinder. And you know, there are families who start off with it, and then they end up going off on their own and they want to do their own thing. But it can be overwhelming to think about the very beginnings of how am I going to do this and what am I going to do for this? So having some veteran people who are there to support you really does set you up for success when homeschooling

Carol  11:04 Yeah, I agree completely. And I also like I loved homeschooling on my own I loved school growing up, I grew up going to private schools, got a really great education, loved learning, that's the best thing about homeschooling is all the stuff you get to learn when you're teaching your kids. But also, so I felt very confident, very capable, and very excited about learning along with my kids. But also, there are just times when you have questions and when you wish you had some better resources. And I think that in some ways, it's both easier and harder to homeschool now than it was when I started in 19 something 86 I guess. Because back then there weren't as many choices of good curricular materials that you could use at home, there were a lot of things designed for schools that you could get. But there wasn't much designed specifically for homeschooling, and adapting school materials is complicated and expensive because you have to buy like the Student Book and this very expensive teacher manual. And then you have to figure out how to adapt all the class materials to a one-on-one teaching situation. And I never really used textbooks. hardly at all, I used them for math, and I use them for science in high school. But other than that I waited and never had any money either until I till IDEA came along. But I homeschooled with library books and things I bought used and things I borrowed and, you know, did math concepts with stuff around the house and made my own little bingo boards for things and flashcards for things and card games and stuff, you know, out of laminated paper and markers and things like that. So but now, there are so many things out there for homeschooling parents, there are so many choices that it can be mind-boggling to you know, so it's, it's a rags-to-riches thing kind of and the good thing is that there are so many options. And the bad thing is that there are so many options. So it makes it a little harder to figure out what might be a good fit for your family, which is one of the things I love in my job, when I get to talk to parents that are just starting homeschooling is asking them questions about their kids and them and their homeschool, their home environment. You know, like I was saying about that one year, you know, if, if you're building a house and you've got toddlers or you know, you've got a two-year-old and you're nursing and your husband is working 12-hour days or something, you're going to use different kinds of materials than you are if all you have is a six-year-old and an eight-year-old or whatever, you know, or you have some teenagers to help you around the house or whatever like that and or people going through medical things or whatever. You know, it changed from year to year. I mean some years I was very, very eclectic, very with BookShark was created. I was well along in my homeschool journey and I didn't use BookShark because that was how I homeschooled I use library books and I structured things around a history model. And I read biographies and historical fiction and non-fiction books and tried to bring them in and we would just get books for the library about science. Oh look, here's a good book about electricity. Let's learn about electricity like that. And then I was just getting busier and busier with work. I thought you know what I might like Sonlight or something like that where it's somebody has done some of that planning for me. Somebody has put the effort into curating books that go well together and prayer. Usually, I was trying to decide between the options that I was aware of like Beautiful Feet and Sonlight for that kind of thing. So I picked a time period, I brought the list of books, I went to the library, I spent hours at the library one day, and I went and I looked up every book, this is I'm a little OCD. So every book that Beautiful Feet was doing and Sonlight was doing in that time period. And I had a big stack of books on one side and a bigger stack on the other side. And then I sat in this chair, and I flipped through all the books. And I was hoping that I was going to love one of the piles of books, and not so much the other pile of books. And unfortunately, I found way too many books I wanted to read. And in the end, I was like, Okay, I just need to pick one. And I picked Sonlight. And I just said lay it all the way through with my youngest, who's now 24. But we loved it.

Janna  15:53 There is this idea that I'm not the type of personality that wants to spend hours in the library. They're just in my day, I love the library. And I love to read I would much rather spend hours reading not doing the research part of it. So right when we talk about an all-in-one curriculum, a box curriculum, that's one of the perks is that there has been a team over the years that is constantly updating and improving this list of books that are going to give you a great overview of history or when in specific time periods. And so there's no right or wrong with homeschooling. And that is the exciting part. But also the daunting part, right? So if I know my personality, I'm like, Listen, I'm not if someone else has done it, I'm gonna let somebody else do it. And if I don't agree with it, or I don't like something in it, I can, I'm sharp enough to go ahead and switch it out with something if I need to. I haven't had to. And I'm so grateful because I appreciate that it's already done for me. But one of the things with literature-based programs is that there's a lot of reading, I hate to read aloud, but I love to read and I love to talk about what I've read. But to sit down and read with my kids is not something that I like I know I'm a horrible homeschool mom because I'm saying this out loud. But like I don't like to read aloud audiobooks, they're amazing, I get to enjoy, my kids get to enjoy it, we're still together, we can still talk about it. But I get to take off my plate, something that just doesn't really bring me that much joy. And so it's those little tweaks, it's those little personalizations that you can do with whatever you're doing in your homeschool, that makes it so much more enjoyable, or it should. And I think some parents don't know, the freedom there is even within a curriculum that they choose. And they kind of like oh, and maybe that's why they don't complete it for a full year. Or they're they have dissatisfaction because while the curriculum didn't say I could go get an audiobook, we're here giving you permission. Get the audiobook. Sometimes we watch the movie, and we didn't read the book. Yeah, like, I mean, there are so many ways you can go about it that it really can fit anyone's lifestyle, anyone's preferences, I like a good outline. And then let me fill in the blanks.

 Carol  18:14 The joke was that our box of books would come and we'd be all excited to pull up because we love but my whole family, loves books. So we pull out this, all these books, and flip through them. And every year, there's always at least one in the box where I'm like, Oh my gosh, I've heard about this book for years. People tell me it's really good. I have no interest in reading it. It just sounds so boring. And frankly, often the reason is that I don't like the cover art. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But nonetheless, I would we do. Yep. The first year it was Mr. Popper's Penguins, and I was like, I hate this art. I don't want to read this book, it sounds so stupid to me. And then we read it and oh my gosh, I just loved it. And we were laughing and laughing. And the big kids are upstairs doing algebra or something. I have a gap between my youngest and the end, and a couple of kids, and then a little more gap and the rest of the kids. And so the kids that were six and eight years older than him would hear me start to read and they would be off doing their algebra or whatever. And they'd be like, wait, wait, wait, wait, let me finish this problem. So I can come down and listen to the book and stuff. So we all listen to it together and loved it. And so every year that was like the joke, okay, what's the book you don't want to read this year? And I would always say, Okay, I'll try it. I'll read like the first three chapters maybe. And then if I don't want to read it, I'm out of here. And over the years, I think maybe twice in all those years. He was reading a book and he's and he came to me and said, I just really don't like this book. Do you mind if I just don't read it? And I was like, Fine, don't read it. You know, we've got plenty of other things we're doing and there were maybe five through the years that I started was like oh My gosh, this is just putting me to sleep. Do you want to finish reading it? Or should we skip it? And pretty often he would just finish reading it because he enjoyed it, you know, but I love reading aloud. So I'm clearly a better homeschooler than your apparent rules. That's right. I get it. When one of my kids was married and living in Hawaii, they had their first baby, I'd only met his wife living in Hawaii actually. And so I had only like, seen her over Zoom. And I had been to their wedding. That was the only time I was with her in person. And so now they're having their first baby, and they wanted me to come. And Drew said, Sarah loves history, could you please pick a book that you really like and read it to us? Because I want her to have that experience of you reading aloud to us. So I brought a book to Hawaii and read it out loud to them because he so enjoyed the reading out loud. I have a great homeschool hack related to reading out loud to your kids.

Janna  21:12 Yes. Okay. 


Carol  21:14 Here's what you missed out on by not enjoying the reading aloud to your kids. What I did, so I had seven kids, you know, so you know what that means. That means my house was a mess all the time. So I have and I also had an adult friend that was a teacher of mine, who had seven kids. This to date myself, this was when I was young, and her husband was often in Vietnam for the Vietnam War. And so she was having kids, her oldest was 14, her youngest was five, and she was working full-time. And she had all of her kids doing the housework. And so I learned from that, that to have all my kids do the housework. And so I have done that over the years. And sadly, they're all out of the house now. And I have to do some of it. But they really did do everything, I made the meals and we did our own laundry, but my kids start doing their laundry when they're seven. And they do everything they do the dishes, they do the sweeping, they do the vacuuming, they clean the bathrooms, all that stuff. And so that's when I would read aloud, I would walk around the house, reading out loud, and I'd be in the bathroom doorway while kids cleaned the bathroom. And I'd move over to the entryway while they're cleaning out the litter box and sweeping out the entryway or it's the other while they're washing the dishes or whatever. So it was two birds with one stone. It's sort of like listening to an audiobook for them. And not falling asleep, because we're just sitting still on the couch in the sun, which is sweet and wonderful, but makes me go to sleep sometimes or want to go to sleep, you know, and, and I don't feel like, oh my gosh, I have so many other things to do. And I'm spending all this time reading out loud. And I get to experience the books together with them, which you know, that's what creates depths of relationship is shared experiences. And it's one more experience that you're sharing with your child to walk through these books together, whether you're listening to an audiobook together or reading a book out loud together. But I strongly advise people, if you don't have your kids do your housework, train them to do it, your their wives will thank you or their husbands will appreciate you whatever. But they'll appreciate you as they get older that they know how to do this stuff, and there's no reason for you to be doing it. And you could read at the same time.

Janna  23:42 Well, I think that's great. I also think that for parents we also don't have to feel like we have to do it all, we can invite our children to help us with age-appropriate chores, because let's be honest, we can't do it all. And so if these things need to get done, you have these, you know, not only are you instilling in them these great qualities for later on, but they're also helping you be a better parent because you're not exhausted. And I don't know about anybody else. But sometimes I can get very angry when I'm the one doing everything or it bothers me that it doesn't bother anybody else. And then I don't I don't want to be an angry parent like I want to be. I want to enjoy my family. I want to enjoy my kids. But I will say that my mom read to my brother and me as children, even up into our teen years during the summer, we would swim in the pool, and then we'd have a break and she would have a book that she would read to us. And so I definitely attribute my love of reading to my mom's reading out loud to us and so I wanted to make sure I pass that on to my children. And now my teenagers are constantly they go to the bookstore with their friends. They're buying each other books like I'm so excited that this we keep this going this idea of reading and critical thinking and having these types of activities that are not antiquated, that are very important. Even though we have all the other things, we still need to be instilling in our kids, the love of learning. And that comes through the love of reading. So one thing I would love for you to just touch on briefly, if you can think of something, you know, we talked about, like where you're at, and it's not as remote as far as the community is, most people would think it is remote. As far as you and I were discussing earlier. There are no roads that connect everything to Alaska. Right. So in that fact, but are there specific challenges that you have seen in your families that homeschool, that maybe they kind of feel like, Oh, it's just because we're, we're in this area, but really do kind of probably affect a lot of homeschool families?

Carol  25:49 Right? Well, I think mostly, I don't really think there are challenges that are unique to Alaska from a homeschooling perspective. Maybe getting things here on time, obviously, we have fewer stores, we can't just run out and buy things even where I live I'm on the road system and I can get to Anchorage, which is the biggest city in Alaska, half the population of the state lives in Anchorage or near Anchorage, but it's five hours away. So I don't run out to Walmart very frequently the nearest Walmart I guess it's not five hours away. Anyway, it's two hours away. But, um, so there's that you have to plan ahead a little bit more. But really the most important thing I think is relationship and making community and having people that you can be honest with and that you can go to you know, even when, when I ran the homeschool group, when and when IDEA first started, IDEA does provide a community in a lot of ways. And frankly, there aren't as many support groups as there were before IDEA came along. There are other programs like IDEA, but IDEA is the biggest school in the state. We've got about 7000 students and there are about 10,000 homeschooling families in the state. But in any case, we make a concerted effort to bring homeschoolers together and to provide a community for homeschoolers. But before that, when IDEA was first starting, people were leery of state-run programs, justifiably so I think you should do your research before you get involved in a statewide program or whatever, a public school support program. But in any case, as I used to tell people all the time, you should get involved in your local homeschool support group. Even if you think, you know, even if you're an introvert, and you think I don't really want to be around people, I don't really want to devote that kind of time to go into these meetings. I or I'm struggling with these things. I don't want to, you know, you, you look? Well, what I tell them is that here's why you should go to a homeschool support group, even if all you do is go to the meeting, sit there and listen, and leave, you should go. Because everybody's view in life as, as a mother, as a sister, as a friend, as a parent, as a church member, whatever everybody's view is that other people have it more together than we do. We all think that we all know our failures. And we, we see the external of somebody else, and you're struggling with getting your kids to get out of bed in the morning to do anything you're telling them to do to homeschool. And then you go to the grocery store. And you see your friend with their four homeschooling kids who are all dressed alike. And they're all polite. They all say Yes, ma'am. And no, ma'am. And, they help each other and you think oh my gosh, I'm such a failure. But you're seeing them just in this isolated moment. And you need to go to the support group meeting so that you can see that same mom saying these two kids just keep fighting, I cannot get them to stop fighting, or I cannot get Johnny to do his math. It doesn't matter what I do. I've tried four different math programs. He will not do his math. You know, what, what kind of advice do you have for me? And so just even if all you get out of it is that realization of oh, we're all struggling and we're all doing the best we can. You need to know that. Everybody needs to know that. And then another thing I thought about which is associated with that, actually, when we were talking about kids doing the chores and stuff, particularly when you were talking Janna about the value of them contributing to the household chores, it's important for everybody to feel like they're contributing something and that they're a value and that they're not just, you know, lots of times, I'm trying to think of little tasks Okay, I can have the kid help carry the groceries, because that will help me, that's probably not the best example, because that is an actual help, I can't think of one right now. But I sometimes would give them kind of busy work sort of stuff, to give them something to do so that it looks like they're helping me. But really, it didn't matter much if they did that or not. And they know that too, you know, they really need it, it's, it's for their best future, and for their best emotional health for their best view of themselves, if you give them things to do that are actual jobs and their actual help to you, and that might be actually hard for them. And you might have to go around behind them and clean it up a little bit, or you might have to do it with them. And you definitely have to do it with them for a while and teach them how to do it. Right, quote, unquote, you know, and, but everybody needs to feel like they're contributing to something and that they have something of value to offer. And I've often lamented that I think that's something that we've kind of lost in our culture these days, you know, when you read Little House on the Prairie, and that kind of stuff, you know, when people were living on farms, and they all had to get up at sundown to work, and everybody had to work or that family was not going to eat, you know, I mean, their contributions were really valuable. And so it's kind of hard to manufacture those in our society today. But I think it's a really important side note from homeschooling. But

 Janna  31:31 Well, I think, I think as parents I mean, for me, personally, I have had to maybe relax on my expectations, if I am willing to bring invite my children in to help contribute, it's not going to be done like I would like it to be done. And I either have to be okay with that. Or I have to then go behind them and know that I'm going to have to do, you know, a little bit of cleanup behind that. So I think sometimes parents hear that, and they're like, oh, they don't do it like I want. So you have a choice, right? I would rather my bathroom get cleaned. And maybe it's not to my specifications or my liking. But at least the work was done. And if I need to go behind it and spot-check it, that's one thing, or I honestly, I've lowered my expectations. And I just, it is what it is it got clean, so I think.

Carol  32:17 It's more important. Because if you're always going around and tidying up the stuff they did, then that just goes back to undermining their value in the family. So it is important to lower your expectations.

Janna  32:30 Yeah. Another thing that you mentioned that I also think is incredibly important about community is that we are so capable in our society as adults to be able to do these things on our own. What we are devaluing is showing our children, we didn't get here on our own, a community has helped create what we have become. But now if we're not inviting the community in, we're not showing our children that they can ask for help when needed. You know, they're not seeing the nuances of us at night, you know, either online researching something else, or talking to a friend through a problem. Because, you know, we tend to do that when they're busy. I feel like but if our kids can say yes, in the struggle, that gives them permission to accept their own struggle, and to get away from this idea of perfectionism, like, oh, well, my mom did it all. You know, she just did everything. She never asked her for help. I'll tell you what, they just need to come to talk to my kids because I asked for help. Either I asked Google, or I asked a friend or I asked family but if we're not demonstrating community and intentionality and relationships with people, how are kids ever going to learn that that is there for them as they then grow up and go out of the house and start their own families, and all of these things. And so sometimes they think we are so capable in this day and age that we are devaluing vulnerability and showing that to our kids.

Carol  33:58 Right? That would be my strongest advice for any homeschooler really, to find community, create community, and do whatever you have to do to have some community. Again, even if you're an introvert. I do a lot of public things. So Jenna might be surprised to find out I'm, I'm an introvert primarily. And so I can get up and I could do things and people tend to think I'm an extrovert because they see me in those situations. But I'm not I need my alone time. I would much rather be home all by myself than be out in a group full of people and I have to kind of take a deep breath and just force myself to go sometimes to things. But you get so much from that, you know you then you have friends to rely on to ask those questions of and to be vulnerable with, and also you will just hear things you know, people will just say things that they're doing in their own home school in their own home with their own families that will give you good ideas even if you don't do Would they do and it'll still trigger creative thinking on your part of, oh, I might want to adapt something like that. And so, find a homeschool support group if there is one in your area. Start one if there isn't one in your area, get make friends with the librarian. ask the librarian if she knows of other homeschoolers in the community, she will and or get on online groups, you know, find some listserv or find some podcasts that you'd like to listen to or find some, you know, if you're in some sort of program, or even if you're buying curriculum from somewhere, the curriculum suppliers often have people on staff that that's their job is to respond to questions and they don't just respond to questions about their own specific curriculum, they respond to questions about homeschooling in general, and about tips for getting somebody a kid over the hump with whatever it is that you're struggling with. And so they're a great resource, but just, you know, find people that you like to listen to, that provide you with input that, that stirs your soul that brings life to you, that is inspiring to you. And that's what's gonna keep you going through the years go to homeschool conventions, where you're around a lot of other homeschoolers, and get to go to workshops and see a lot of different curricula and talk to curriculum providers and, and learn things.

Janna  36:2 Yes, never stop learning. I think that as homeschool parents, we can demonstrate to our children, again, that we are learning alongside them, that although we are the authority in their life, that doesn't mean we know everything, and that we are willing to learn the things that we don't know. Well, Carol, I want to thank you so much for coming on today. It's been so good to hear your wisdom and all of the years that you have been doing this and all of the 1000s of families that you have helped through the program that you work with. I appreciate your time. I appreciate what you've contributed to the homeschool community, not only in Alaska but also to the ones who get to hear you on this podcast. And I look forward to seeing you at the next curriculum fair.

Carol  37:11 Yay. Thanks. It's been fun.

Janna  37:15 Thank you, guys. Until next time, bye-bye.