So, Kristina, you think you can teach your own kids. Let me begin by asking you this: why do you hate public education so badly? Just kidding! First things first, what do we plan to do with the kids?
Kristina: What do we plan to do with the kids? I plan to teach my children the way that I parent: hands-on learning. Our children grew up in a Reggio-inspired school.
Reggio? What is that? Some sort of pasta sauce?
Kristina: Reggio is basically focusing on the children’s interests and instructing them individually by using manipulatives (for example, when teaching our youngest to add and subtract, instead of using base-ten blocks, we can use Legos because he enjoys them.) I’ve homeschooled our oldest son before during his Kindergarten year and he was far ahead of the other children in his class when he joined public school in first grade. Once there, he no longer had one-on-one instruction. I plan to teach them in a relaxed and engaging environment where they can learn in a manner that suits them. If they need a break, we can stop. It won’t be like a traditional school. We are going to be doing a lot of field trips so that they can learn by actually going and seeing the places and things that we are discussing. My goal is to also teach them about the real world so that they are prepared. When I left school, I didn’t know how to budget or take care of finances, even.
So, you’re homeschooling the children but … how does that work, exactly, when you’re not living in any one area?
Kristina: We report to whatever state we register in and abide by their rules. As full-time travelers, we are able to choose the state in which we want to reside. Most people choose South Dakota for differing reasons (including tax benefits) and that is probably what we will do.
Sounds like you’ve got the details worked out … but what are your qualifications?
Kristina: I have a Master’s Degree in Education and have taught at a private school. I have many years of teaching under my belt.
Why do you feel as though the kids will sufficiently learn this way?
Kristina: Because children are not meant to sit and do worksheets. I know how active my children are and to expect them to sit for several hours is ridiculous. What child wouldn’t want to learn by being outdoors?
Your focus seems to be on hands-on learning with nature but what about fundamental subjects such as math, English, and reading?
Kristina: You can learn all of that by being outside. It is a misconception that you cannot learn any other subjects while outdoors. A good teacher knows that you can cover multiple subjects in one lesson. For example, our oldest son enjoys birds and plants so for math, we could classify the different types of birds (grouping by color and size) which can lead into bar graphs and statistics. In third grade, even (which my oldest son will be going into,) one of the biggest focuses is on research; teaching children how to look up and gather information. Since my son likes Blue Jays, he can research them and write a report which is cross-curriculum.
Aren’t you worried about socialization?
Kristina: No, I’m not. A lot of times people think that homeschooled kids are going to turn out as these weird, anti-social children which isn’t true. For the most part, a child learns how to socialize just like how they learn to play. It is something that has to be taught to them or they have to see. Andrew and I are very social people and we’ve always made it a point to show them the proper way to interact with others. We’re going to be meeting a lot of families with young children on the road and we plan to stay in different areas for several months so it will give them time to play with other children. A child’s personality is pretty much set by age five. For the most part, our kids are who they are. One is super-outgoing and the other takes time to warm up to you. No amount of socializing is going to change that.
Don’t you think constantly moving around will disrupt the children? How will they be able to stay focused?
Kristina: Children are resilient. There is a huge world out there and I want my children to know more than just this town that we live in. I grew up moving from place to place and went to a dozen different schools by my senior year of high school. That kind of change is hard but this is different in the sense that we are staying together. We aren’t forcing them into a new school system. I’m not packing us up and moving from one house to another – we will have the same living conditions and they will be with their family, day after day. We’ll be together and able to bond. To me, children do not get enough time to bond with their parents – before you know it, they are 18 and out of the house. We only have 10 years left with our oldest son and that makes me very sad.
So, what about sports? Music?
Kristina: Good question. I’ve always been adamant that my children should play some sort of musical instrument so as far as music, we can do lessons on the road. We have guitars. We could get a keyboard. With all of the new found free time, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice. For sports, we plan to be in certain areas for longer amounts of time so we can look into local YMCAs to see what is available or sports camps. Honestly, though, neither of our two children have expressed much interest in sports outside of golf and swimming which are both everywhere and easily accessible.
How do you plan to balance out their schoolwork? Will there be a planned schedule or a routine in place?
Kristina: Yes. Definitely a routine. We will have a schedule but it will be flexible. Both children will be learning at the same time and routines will be in place so that our children know what to expect. Children thrive on routines and it gives them a sense of comfort, especially with my youngest. He has to know what is happening next. But learning will always be taking place – it’s not like it only takes place between 9 to 3.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to your handsome husband regarding this matter.