Today’s interview is with Missy Hauser. You will find out all about her family within this interview, so let’s just get started! Enjoy! (Interview conducted in 2012)
Sacha: What were the ages of your kid(s) when you pulled them?
Missy: Sophie was going into 5th grade. So, just before she turned ten and Lucy was going into 8th, and she was 12.
Sacha: What year was that/or how long ago?
Missy: 2009. This is beginning our 3rd year of homeschooling.
Sacha: What was your biggest fear before you pulled your kids out of public school?
Missy: My kids only attended public school for one year. They had been in private prior to that year and then returned. But, before pulling my kids out of school, my fear was could I do it? My husband and I own our own business, we are involved in different ministries, etc... and I found it difficult to accomplish everything while they were gone..how on earth could I do all of it and school them also!
Sacha: Why did they pull them out?
Missy: Numerous reasons. I guess, academically and financially, we finally pulled them out. We had been very dissatisfied with the academics the school was providing, and we sell real estate….the market was turning, and we couldn’t afford it anymore, we had two options, bring them home or send them back to public school. Our plan was to brush up on some academics and send them to public school as a 6th grader and a 9th grader. But, boy, did that plan change!
Sacha: What was the hardest part?
Missy: Oh boy….lots of things but the craziest thing…must have been MY schedule! Giving up having the day to run to the store, clean the house, and get things done that I usually had the day to do, including work. The kids were great! It was ME that needed a major overhaul!
Sacha: What surprised you the most?
Missy: The biggest shock in their education was that my kids had no idea how to study!!!! They were doing great on their daily work…100% most days, and then I gave them their tests…and they flunked!!! I thought well this must have been just them being silly…so I let it go, of course, I expressed my disappointment in their effort. Then it happened AGAIN!!! When I lost it and asked, what are you doing? They both said, “You didn’t give us a study guide with questions!!” To my shock and dismay, they were right! The school they had been attending always gave a study guide, and as my oldest said, “I just used to fill it out, and then I never had to study because once I wrote it down, I just knew it!” This began our process of studying and finding out what is important to retain.
Sacha: What was the biggest change you saw in your kids after you started homeschooling them?
Missy: Their hearts. They were no longer defeated by people that didn’t have an interest in them. They were no longer subject to peer review or daily pressure. They were more relaxed. AND…they loved spending time with their brother, who was just turning 2. They would not be as connected to him if they were on the schedule they had been on. My girls are crazy about their brother and love spending time with him and helping him grow. They would barely know him if we had continued with the typical Jr. and Sr. High schedules.
Sacha: How did it affect your family? (Yes, I want the good, bad and ugly!)
Missy: Well, I’m guessing I already answered this some! The good…we had more time to just know each other in every way; we had more time to see each other and have conversations that would have never happened. My girls were not so burnt out when they were doing their extra-curriculars which they loved! The bad, let’s see…some yelling, screaming, and major adjustments to being together that much! I do have two girls!! Also, I made them step up their home responsibilities with chores (they are still not happy about this one!)
And here is the ugly…..please don’t hate me…but I love everything to have a place! I like it tidy! Homeschooling felt like my home had exploded, and I may never see the top of the kitchen table again, much less polish it! I say this is the ugly because it is a reflection of how wrong my priorities were! It is a glaring error on my part, and it is a process to grow out of. I am a visual learner, and I have found that means I am visually stimulated. So, if the rooms are a mess, I feel like I don’t think clearly. But, now approaching our 3rd year...I’m learning how to let it go, that I can still think but it just takes effort. I am so thankful our home is a “home” 24/7 now, instead of a tidy place we stop in to change our clothes and grab a meal. I’m so thankful the Lord led us into homeschooling!
Sacha: Is there anything you miss now that you are homeschooling?
Missy: Only selfish things, and they have all been replaced with treasures I could have never even imagined before!
Sacha: How long was the learning curve and when did you finally feel comfortable homeschooling?
Missy: Well…do you ever? We’ve just “improved” each year. I am excited to start this year to implement some more things I have learned from others and just some things that I think will be great for the kids. I’m also starting over this year with something new because I get to begin homeschooling my soon-to-be four-year-old son. And I am sooo excited about that challenge!
Sacha: What curriculum do you use?
Missy: Classical Conversations for the older kids. I will be using Classical for my son also, but I will need to begin teaching him to read, etc... we are beginning with Math-U-See for his math, and I’m not sure about his literature yet.
Sacha: Did you change things after your first year?
Missy: Yes, we started with SOS (Switched on Schoolhouse), and it was okay. My kids appreciate the open-ended extent of what Classical Conversations is offering them. They also appreciate one day of the week getting together with their peers and having peer competition.
Sacha: What would you tell other parents who are thinking of homeschooling their children?
Missy: I would tell them, it has been a fabulous change for my family. In every way. I just asked my 12 year-old this question and she said “If you are going to pay attention to them and stay on them and keep them educated and learning, then do it! It is great! But, if you are just going to let them stay home….keep them in school.” Educating your kids at home, even in the older grades, is not as challenging as you might think. As a parent, you don’t have to be an expert in the subject to keep them accountable and responsible for their education. I’m finding a large group of parents scared of the older grades, and I’m here to tell you if you can teach a kid to read, you can educate them all the way through high school. And I think you will be so thankful you did.
Thanks, Missy, for sharing how homeschooling has changed your family. Next, we will hear from Missy’s girls and their experience with different types of schooling!