Many families have tried new forms of education this year, and the Reid family in Pennsylvania will be homeschooling for the first time. We recently talked with Charlotte Reid about their plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
My wonderful husband, Jordan, and I just celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. We are raising four kids and four pets in the beautiful Chester County, PA. Our firstborn, Asaph, is starting the first grade, and we also have three sweet girls— ages three and under. And if you’re curious about our pets, we have a rescue dog (possibly Labrador/shepherd mix), the world’s best cat, an axolotl who reminds me of the fire-lizard from Frozen 2, and a turtle.
What gave you the idea to homeschool this year? We’ve been impressed by other homeschooled kids we’ve met. They're kids who are smart, well rounded, love people, hold conversations, and explore deep passions and interests. Homeschool was a dream that we were hoping to start when our kids got bigger, mostly because I didn’t think it could work with all our babies at home.
We enrolled Asaph in a wonderful Christian private school last year, and they did the best they could considering the unexpected COVID-19 limitations. This year, we wanted to be proactive with his education so that there would not be an interruption to his schooling if a second wave pandemic shut things down again. I was also greatly encouraged when Asaph was at home virtual schooling because we enjoyed our time together and it gave me confidence that homeschool could become a reality for us.
What are some of the greatest challenges you've had in setting this up? It’s taken me a while to understand that I’m not trying to recreate the classroom at home. Jordan and I both went to public school, and Ace went to private school last year, so we have expectations of what a day of school should look like. Part of our motivation to homeschool is the time freedom…but it still feels so weird to not be sitting in a classroom all day.
Do you have a specific school curriculum you're using? We’re using a classical Christian homeschool curriculum. We first became aware of the classical model for education from a book Jordan read called The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher. I wanted to know more about the foundations of classical education, so I picked up a book called The Core by Leigh Bortins. The methods presented in this book aligned with our family’s vision of education— mastering core areas of knowledge so that children possess a deep understanding of how the world works, and knowing God and making Him known through discovery in all areas of study.
Are you part of a school pod or homeschool co-op? We joined a weekly classical, Christian community through Classical Conversations. Our group has seven families with children of all ages, who meet in a beautiful stone building in the country. There are some experienced homeschooling families and some like us who are just starting out. I’m looking forward to building relationships and learning from one another— it definitely helps to be in this together!
What have you learned in exploring options and setting this up? The first thing I learned is that there are a plethora of homeschool curriculum choices. Options are wonderful, but trying to decide which options are best for our family was overwhelming. Some of the best advice I received is to make a wise decision. Then, fight the temptation to doubt when things don’t go smoothly. I’ve also been surprised to learn how many kids are homeschooling. When I was growing up, there were few homeschooled kids (only around half a million in the 90s). So much has changed. In 2019, there were over 2.5 million homeschoolers in the US— a number that is rapidly growing every year.
What advice do you have for other families who are considering alternative school options? If you’re considering homeschooling, my recommendation is to go for it. Sometimes I joke (with an element of seriousness) that at the very least, Asaph will have an awesome childhood and close family relationships. But I truly believe that he will receive a top-notch education as well. Regardless of whether you choose to homeschool or not, it’s wise to be closely involved in your child’s education. Know that we are all educators— teaching them things through conversations, experiences, and love.
Are you part of a homeschool co-op? Or are you trying out a new style of learning this year? Let us know on social at #getfamilyapp or #ourschoolstory!
And for more stories of families’ school options, be sure to check out FamilyApp.com!