Homeschooling can look very different from online k-12 to Unschooling; we all have to find what works best for our families, and even that can change over time.
Rachel Sachs is the mother of three boys, who has found a unique way to incorporate homeschooling into their lives. Enjoy this interview of how she saw a need to start a homeschool-hybrid opportunity for parents wanting the best of both worlds.
1. You’re not a “traditional” homeschool family. Why not?
When my kids were born, I really wanted to homeschool them. But honestly it terrified me!
I struggle enough just keeping my head above water some days. I didn’t think I could give my kids the “perfect” education. But I loved the idea of learning as a family, having more time together and being spontaneous and hands on with education. I didn’t want to lose that.
2. But you’re a “half homeschooler” how does that work?
My oldest son went to a Montessori preschool and I fell in love with the philosophy. A lot of people do Montessori at home, but as I learned more, I was convinced that the full experience of Montessori happens in a classroom community.
So that’s what we’re trying to do now. We started a homeschool-hybrid (see video at this link) called Family Montessori of Lebanon to bring Montessori philosophy to homeschooling, and provide extra support to the families who need it.
3. So you feel homeschooling and Montessori work together?
Absolutely! They both value the individual learning styles of each child. They both let him progress at his own pace. They create independent learners who let their intellectual curiosity lead their learning. I think that’s the goal of both styles.
4. So did you always plan on being a homeschooler?
No, not at all. I went to public school and had a really good experience. I had great teachers who invested in me. A lot of who I am today began through those relationships.
To be honest, I saw a lot of poor homeschooling examples growing up. So I didn’t think much of it.
But my husband, who’s a college professor, kept coming home and telling me about these incredible homeschool kids in his classes, how academically, socially and intellectually amazing they were.
Also, our town has an amazing homeschool community. I saw it really working well first-hand. When I had my own kids, I knew it was what I wanted for us.
5. What does homeschooling look like in your day-to-day?
For the first half of the week we work at home. We do the basics in the mornings and extra curriculars in the afternoons.
The rest of the week, the kids work in the Montessori classroom with their teacher and classmates. Parents volunteer in the classroom, which I love!
I learn so much about my kids on “school days”. I’m watching how the teacher works, getting strategies from her and taking advantage of her experience.
I get to see how my kids personalities function outside of our home. It’s an incredible insight into who my kids are and I wouldn’t give that up for the world.
6. What are your biggest struggles as a homeschooling mom?
Balancing everyone’s needs. I realize I need to sharpen my own saw so I can be good for them. My husband and I need time as a couple, because that’s the foundation of our family stability.
7. In your perspective what’s the purpose of education?
Identity, intellectual curiosity and family relationships are really important to me.
I want my kids to grow up knowing who they are as a part of God’s plan and creation. I want them to love each other and love learning.
8. Last question! What advice can you give to parents who are considering homeschool?
The best thing about homeschooling is that its unique to your family. So don’t be afraid to tailor it to meet your needs. And don’t be afraid to change, even year to year.
For us, Family Montessori is a way to make homeschool work in our life. We’re finding that it’s bringing a lot of families into homeschooling who wouldn’t have had the courage to try it on their own. So it all boils down to doing what works for you.
Thanks to Rachel for sharing her story. Feel free to ask her questions in the comments!
Rachel Sachs is a homeschool-hybrid mom and founder of Family Montessori of Lebanon. She lives in SW Ohio, with her husband, 9 year old and twin 5 year old sons. Family Montessori of Lebanon is raising funds on behalf of Warren County Foundation, a verified nonprofit. Their fundraiser through Indiegogo is almost over, but their goal has not been met yet. You can learn more at this link.