Peering into the lives of other Canadian homeschoolers is just plain interesting.
It also gives us ideas for our own homeschools, our own children, and our families. It leaves us with a feeling of pride: this is our community, this is who we rub shoulders with, these are the benefits to homeschooling.
I have the pleasure of introducing you to Lisa Marie Fletcher of the Canadian Homeschooler.
Tell me about your children.
I have 5 kids. 4 boys and then a girl. They range from 15 to 4.
What brought you to homeschooling?
When my oldest son was supposed to be starting Junior Kindergarten, we were extremely conflicted. He wasn’t ready for a classroom. At the time, my sisters-in-law both homeschooled and I was an ECE, so I decided to give homeschooling a try – at least for Kindergarten. Here we are 10 years later!
What was your educational/work background?
I was an Early Childhood Educator. I’d spent most of my life working with kids in some capacity, so it was a natural fit.
What are your goals for your children?
To create long-lasting relationships with us and each other. For them to discover a passion for learning things – even if that’s just the things they want and not necessarily the same things I might want them to learn. To give them skills to survive on their own.
Do your children have present goals for themselves?
Not really, no. Maybe we need to be more intentional about this.
What is your understanding of an education? And how do you include that understanding in your homeschool?
Education is just about learning… It doesn’t have to look a particular way or have all the same results. This is something that I keep trying to remember when I feel pressured to do things a specific way, in a specific order, or with specific outcomes.
What challenges have you faced?
I have kids with a variety of special needs that has made some of our learning journey very challenging. My own ability to follow through with this has been a real struggle as well.
How have you approached or overcome them?
We have tried different learning approaches and programs. We’ve tried different routines and rhythms. We’ve adapted and changed as needed and made sure to be as flexible as possible. It actually has taken many years, and we’re not 100% “there” yet. BUT… in the last year we’ve made huge changes to our homeschooling and I’ve seen much more success for most of my children. Now we do school one-on-one instead of all together, and I’ve been using more structured resources than in the past. These two things combined are helping us accomplish more than we have in the past.
What self-care strategies do you think are most important for long-term homeschool mama satisfaction and balance?
Self-care and I have never been exceptionally wonderful and it’s been one of the major reasons that I’ve ended up exhausted and burnt out. My advice would be to make sure you are doing something for yourself too. Don’t completely put yourself on the bottom of the list.
What are your favourite books?
For homeschooling? I don’t have any really. I don’t spend a lot of time reading many books.
What are your favourite online resources?
Pinterest. Various online homeschooling groups on Facebook.
What would you say are your favourite top five resources?
- WriteShop for elementary language. This was a great resource when my kids hated language and needed something more interactive and fun.
- Oak Meadow. This curriculum is new to us this year, but it’s been a great one – especially for my active ADHD kid. Having some sort of structure combined with options to choose your own activities has been exactly what he (and I!) needed.
- Teaching Textbooks. Around Grade 6, my kids all got extremely bored with the math program that they had been using since the beginning. That sent me on a search for better options and Teaching Textbooks was recommended. We’ve been giving it a try for a couple years now and it’s working really well. The kids like knowing exactly what they are expected to learn every day and being able to see grades that show how well they are doing (or not!)
- Reading Eggs / Math Seeds. This has been a favourite for the preschool years. It makes reading and math so much fun in those precious early years without stress or pressure. Using games, bright colours, and incentives really encourages the kids to keep going.
- YouTube. We live in a world that has everything at our fingertips. YouTube has been an AMAZING resource. I have one kid that used YouTube to watch Japanese anime with subtitles to learn Japanese. Another has been watching a channel full of interesting facts which has got him curious and exploring neat things. Another loves to watch science channels. They all love to reference channels for gaming tips and information on coding. We’ve “travelled” the world through YouTube videos. It’s also given us plenty of opportunity to have many discussions about internet safety and how to filter what we watch, as well as given some of my kids the desire to learn how to create videos and understand the work behind running an online video channel and business. It’s a terrific tool.
Where can we find you on-line? What unique stamp do you offer the homeschool world? What resources do you have available?
TheCanadianHomeschooler.com – I provide support and resources for the Canadian homeschooling community, especially in history and geography.
Thank you for sharing with us your homeschool world!
Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂