an interview with Isis Loran: garden blogger and homeschooler

Peering into the lives of other homeschoolers is just plain interesting. It also gives us ideas for our own homeschools, our own children and 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 Isis Loran, garden blogger extraordinaire and homeschool mama to four!

Tell me about your children.

Aerilaya is almost 9 and is a creative artsy type of kid. She lives in make believe land which makes her very creative, but often focusing on other things is hard. She spends hours drawing and playing.

Makaia is 6 and has a very determined personality and learns quickly. She loves books and gymnastics. She has an old soul and loves to do ‘adult’ things over playing a lot of the time (opposite of Aerilaya).

Naviella is 3 and is starting preschool in the fall but we’re doing a little here and there. She loves cuddling with books. 

Kaedrius is a busy and emotional little 20 month old. He’s the loudest and highest energy of the 4 kids.

What brought you to homeschooling?

At first it was because we lived too far from a bus stop (1km up the mountain from the closest stop) but it has evolved into a choice. There’s a public school 5 mins away, and our eldest tried it for 3 days. Her drawings were always started but never finished and there was an hour of waiting and being on the bus even though we were so close.

I wanted our kids to have freedom in their days, to chase the spark of what their interests were. There are so many fun ways to learn that don’t include sitting in a desk for most of the day. I’m personally a life long learner so I LOVE finding great resources to teach. 

What was your educational/work background?

After high school I went to digital film school for a 10 month program in Vancouver. Then I went to University (U of A) for Environmental Biology. I did 2.5 years but got incredible anxiety during finals. My mind would go blank and I’d shut down during the tests. As a life long learner who always got A’s in classes then did poorly on exams, I was upset that education was shoved into forced standardized tests and bell curve.

I took a break from classes and got a job as a field and laboratory assistant for the faculty of Agriculture where I worked for 2 years. I ended up moving back to B.C and not completing my degree, although I often think of going back.

After moving we had a surprise first baby in our mid-20’s. Since then I’ve opened and run a wholistic pet supply store in Nelson (Downward Dog, which we closed after 2 years) and launched a gardening and homesteading website Family Food Garden. After writing a couple of eBooks, I’ve now ventured into starting a secondary site, Nature Homeschool, for my recent obsession with home education books and resources. 

What are your goals for your children?

For them to love learning. For their time to be their own. For our family to be close and have wonderful memories of cuddling on the couch for morning basket and read alouds. For them to love and play in nature as often as possible and for them to love and appreciate that connection to their food source by gardening and homesteading.

Do your children have present goals for themselves?

Not yet, they’re young and often just love to play. We have them in extra curriculars like dance, soccer, gymnastics and acting as per their requests. I think they’re making the connection of a little bit of learning every day helps guide them forwards, but so far they aren’t creating big goals for themselves.

What is your understanding of an education? And how do you include that understanding in your homeschool?

We’re a mix of unschooling but with a love of curriculum. We have a rhythm which we try to follow, but if there’s something that’s really interesting them, we roll with it. I have goals for each week, and most of the time they’re met. We school year-round, take a week off here and there where it’s needed to restore.

I feel that education is more than tests and memorizing things. I love Charlotte Mason’s philosophies of short lessons, lots of nature, great literature, copywork, narration and dictation (later on, they’re still too young).

What challenges have you faced?

Baby. Baby. Toddler. Toddler.

Burning out in February and March. Having judgment from family or friends if we’re listening to our kids and how they’re supposed to learn and not always following the common core.

How have you approached or overcome them?

Greatly reduced expectations with the babies and toddlers. I want to do all the fun handcrafts or science experiments, but that’s almost impossible right now.

What self-care strategies do you think are most important for long-term homeschool mama satisfaction and balance?

I always feel better listening to podcasts of other moms and homeschoolers. I do that frequently throughout the week, or read from blogs or Julie Bogarts seasonal Gracious Space.

I try to fit in a bath and books for myself to restore me. I’m definitely lacking in self-care though. As am introvert, I really just crave quiet me-time, but everyone has to be out of the house for that to happen. Sometimes dad will take the kids outside to play so I can have that.

What are your favourite on-line resources?

Read-Aloud Revival Podcast Episodes


Torchlight Home

What would you say are your favourite top five resources?

  • The Well Trained Mind
  • The Read Aloud Family
  • A Literary Education – Modern Charlotte Mason
  • Give your Child the World
  • The Unhurried Homeschooler
  • Teaching from Rest
  • The Brave Learner

Oops more than five!

Where can we find you on-line? What unique stamp do you offer the homeschool world? What resources do you have available?

Nature Homeschool

Thank you for sharing with us your homeschool world!


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