Second Generation Homeschooler: Liberty’s Story

I’m excited to share Liberty’s story! Liberty was homeschooled and now that she has kids of her own, she has chosen to homeschool them. This is her story!

Second Generation Homeschooler: Liberty’s Story

1. What led your parents to start homeschooling?

My parents began homeschooling me and my two sisters in 1986. They had both been saved as teenagers from non-Christian homes and went to public school all their lives. They wanted a different experience for us. They wanted a faith based education. They didn’t want our minds filled with secular philosophies and beliefs for 6 hours a day. My parents wanted to be the primary influence in our lives. They realized how little other people saw their children during a school week, and they wanted something different for us.

2. How did homeschooling shape your life?

Homeschooling shaped my life in a few ways. That was the year my mom started
teaching me to play the piano. I loved it and began playing for our small church at age
12. Eventually, I would go to college for Sacred Music and become a piano teacher.
Piano teaching and continuing to play for church services is something that I have really
enjoyed doing all of my adult life.

Another way that homeschooling shaped my life is that it gave me perseverance,
confidence, and independence. I LOVE to be independent. I graduated high school
confident that I could handle life in practical ways. My mom was able to weave things in
throughout our days that she knew would be important in life—lots of home ec
(economics) subjects like balancing a checkbook, doing laundry, and cooking (including
food handing safety and technics). I’ve read recently that they need to bring home ec
back to the schools….

3. What opportunities did homeschooling give you growing up?

Well, I grew up in South Dakota on an isolated farmette. The opportunities I had may
not be the kind you would normally think of. We had goats and pigs for a time, and
homeschooling gave me the opportunity to be very involved in the animals’ lives for
Agriculture credit. I was solely responsible for feeding and watering, and for milking the
goats. It gave me a lot of opportunity to learn to be responsible!

My mom chose a 4 day school week for us by lengthening our school days on Tuesday
through Friday. In high school, this enabled me to work an 8 hour day on Mondays (and
also Saturdays) at fast food. Because of this, I was able to purchase a vehicle and begin
saving for college. This would be critical to my college education because I would pay
for 98% of it myself. (It turns out my mom was ahead of her time because now some
homeschool curriculums offer the option of a 4 or 5 day school week!)

The opportunity I appreciated the most, was being able to complete my last two years of
high school in ONE year by working hard to finish all of my credits. Because of that, I
was able to work full time at an electronics factory for an entire year before going to college. Then when I went to college I was not behind my peers—I was the same age as
them since I had finished high school a year early. I was also able to pay for my college
education and graduate debt-free because of that jump start, and continuing to work full-
time throughout college.

3. What did your average homeschool day look like?

My day began with breakfast and animal chores. Then school would begin with us
saying the pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. My mom had
us begin at the same time every day, with scheduled times for recess and lunch. After
pledges, we began working through our subjects in order. Math was first, then Social
Studies/ History, English/ Literature, Science, Spelling. Then of course into high school,
electives were added like Art and Typing. We also had Bible reading and Bible memory,
but I don’t remember if this was part of the school day, or something we did before
school began. There is a reason why I don’t remember—I graduated in 1994 — 26 years

4. How was the transition to college?

My transition to college was as smooth and seamless as it could be. I hadn’t been lectured to before, and so everything was new and exciting. I also had not had many friends (remember—I had spent more time with animals than with friends growing up) so the opportunity to make college friends was something I valued greatly. I still have some of those college friends to this day.

The only difficulty I had was Music Theory class, which was required for my chosen major of Sacred Music. It was a small college, and if I remember correctly, 12 people had signed up for the class. I was given a two week trial period, passed it, and was allowed to continue the class. It was a difficult class, and some people changed their major because of it. There were just five of us at the end of the first year, and only three of us continued on through the second year of Music Theory. Two of the three of us were homeschooled! Perseverance definitely paid off! At the end of that second year I received a small scholarship for perseverance and diligence in music.

5. What made you want to homeschool your children?

I wanted to homeschool my children because it just seemed the natural thing to do for me.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. By the time I had my own children, I had taught in three different Christian schools, and had been an aide in a public school. I have observed and experienced what happens in so many different situations—and I believed that by homeschooling I could best raise my children to love and serve God. I could also protect their environment from so many things; I won’t name them all here. My husband was bullied in middle school and for that reason he was in favor of homeschooling. He also thinks homeschooled kids are smarter. 🙂

7. Has your homeschool philosophy changed at all?

My philosophy has not changed, but my wisdom has increased! When I was being homeschooled, I thought it was pretty easy. But as a parent doing the homeschooling, Whew! It is hard. It is harder than I thought it would be for sure. But my perseverance continues, and having a good support group really helps!

8. Is there anything you wished you would have changed when you were being homeschooled?

I would have liked to have been challenged more academically. I think I could have
really excelled and learned more if challenged to do so. But in the absence of that, I did end up learning to crochet, knit, and sew. And for lack of other things to fill my time, I
was able to increase my skills. Those are hobbies that I still enjoy and if necessary, something that I could turn into a business.

I also would have liked to do more things socially, with friends. But the lack of social
opportunities that I experienced was partly due to our location in the country, and being in
a very sparsely populated state.

9. Now that you’re homeschooling your own kiddos, what has been the most difficult part?

I think the hardest part right now is getting them to do their work without complaining or
goofing off/wasting time. What this means is that I have succeeded in giving my kids a
variety of other activities that they enjoy! They also enjoy goofing off with each other,
so I’m glad they have that sibling love.

The hardest subject for both of them seems to be Creative Writing. I’m not sure if the
problem is: 1) the kids 2) the teacher or 3) the curriculum. There has been a parent-teacher conference (ha-ha) going on, but no solutions have been found yet….

10. What advice would you give to other homeschool parents?

Be sure that you are not “cheating” at homeschooling. Make sure your kids are learning, and that you are giving them the academic skills that they need. If you are not good at Spelling for example, then Please get a tutor to help your child in that subject.

Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Don’t be too proud to make whatever changes you need to make, if something about your homeschooling isn’t working. Accept wiser people’s advice when they offer it. And if you do have the skills you need, but homeschooling is just harder than you thought, then don’t give up too easily.

Find someone to encourage you, someone who is a little further along in their homeschooling journey who is able to counsel you because they’ve already been through this particular bump-in-the-road before you came to it.

You can read more about Liberty’s story from her blog, B4 And Afters!

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