One of the things I love most about running Learning Tangent is that I have had the opportunity to meet (virtually in most cases) some of the most amazing moms. They’re from all walks of life, stay at home, work at home (or outside the home), religious and not religious, from a variety of regions, and a variety of personalities. I love the variety. I also love that no matter how different our backgrounds, we find so much in common that I question why it is that people fight over the differences!
I first met Amy when we were looking for a few columnists to add to the magazine. I thought that a few shorter columns to break up some of the longer articles would balance things nicely. We had a rather lengthy conversation, where we essentially decided if we wanted to work together. She’s an awesome fit, and I’m so glad that she’s joined Learning Tangent.
GN: How many kids do you have, and do how many do you homeschool?
AA: 3. Two boys and a girl.
GN: What made you start homeschooling?
AA: I never once thought about homeschooling. I wasn’t homeschooled myself and didn’t know anything about it. When my first son was 7 and in first grade we had already switched his school once, dealt with a teacher who was a bully, dealt with students who were getting him into trouble, and witnessed him coming home crying in the afternoon. After his winter break, I started thinking about how unhappy I was with the system. I drove him to school that morning and walked right into the office and blurted out that he would be homeschooled. It came out of nowhere. I signed the paper they needed saying that I was pulling him out of public school. Then I put him back in the car and told him “Well, son, we are going to do school at home.” His response was “okay mommy.” I’ll never forget it. That day I went and bought a book named “Everything Your Child Needs to Know by the End of First Grade.” We finished that book in 3 months and during that time I researched and read and read and read. By the next Fall, I had a complete curriculum, extracurriculars planned, and had met a group of people who were homeschooling too. It was the best choice I have ever made, even if it was completely out of the blue!
GN: Talk about a surprise, and what an awesome response from your son! How long have you homeschooled?
AA: A total now of 10 years.
GN: You work and homeschool your children, just as I do, but I sometimes find it very difficult to balance my family’s needs with work. In Summer 2017 we published your article, “Feeling Like You’re Missing Out: A lesson from Spielberg,” in which you speak frankly about how you sometimes feel like you’re missing out on life with your kids. Is it difficult for you to find a balance?
AA: One of the things I focused on was a job which would allow me to create my own schedule and give me the freedom I needed to homeschool. I teach full-time at a University and work in a writing lab online at another University. This has given me the freedom in my schedule to work with the kids at home. It can be challenging but becomes easier once they started to become more independent. I have two complete independent learners now and one that I work with daily. I check work off for the older two and we have family discussions at night to make sure everyone is on track. There are times where the benefit of a SAHM weighs on my conscience, but I know that they see me working and are gaining a desire to push themselves as well. One thing for sure, I am busy ALL THE TIME.
GN: One last thing: How would you finish the statement, “If I knew then what I know now…”
AA: I would have been more relaxed early on. I jumped into homeschooling with a fury. I was convinced that I could do better than the school system and was very stringent about the amount of work they would get done in a day. We tackled every subject, every day! Now, I am way more relaxed. Perhaps it’s because I see the benefits and outcome of what homeschooling provides and am not as worried. If we miss a subject now or get behind I don’t panic and instead we just add it on later.
GN: Thanks Amy!