I recently had the opportunity to interview Tonia Simeone, author of Itty Bitty Impact, and her Mother Terry about their wonderful homeschool experience. Homeschooling is something that becomes more intriguing to me each day, and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to ask them the questions that I wanted to know!
1. (Tonia’s Mother Terry) What made you decide to homeschool?
We always wanted to homeschool, but as she approached kindergarten age Tonia REALLY wanted to go to school with her neighbor friend. After a few weeks, we noticed that she would come home and furiously draw pictures for hours, and that all her papers from school were mimeographed sheets with precise instructions – “Color the bird blue” – that kind of thing. When she asked to stay home we knew it was time to make the shift. She said she wouldn’t even miss her friends because they never had time to play together anyway… In kindergarten!
We also wanted to homeschool because we both worked from home and knew we would have the opportunity to do many things together as a family. We wanted learning to be a part of every day life, and teach our kids a love of learning that would last all their lives. Most importantly, we wanted our kids to grow up with the chance to know themselves – their unique personalities, interests, strengths – and not be squelched by the arbitrary standards of the school system or peer pressures.
2. (Tonia) How many hours a day were devoted to schooling?
Schooling began right after breakfast at about 9:00 AM. We took a break at 12:00 PM for lunch, and then resumed lessons again until 3-4:00 PM (six hours). Once a week we met with a group of other homeschoolers (about 30 kids) for the whole day. The parents would take turns organizing and teaching the “units” we studied. One year we focused on science and did experiments, one year we did history and did lots of reenactments of important events, and another year we did geography and culture and “traveled” all over the world together.
3. (Tonia) Did you feel prepared socially and mentally for the classes in your public high school?
Yes, definitely. My 9th grade year was my first time going to public school, but I already had a lot of friends at the school. Some of them were former homeschoolers who were also making the transition to public that same year. Some of them had been in the public school system their whole lives, but I had been able to meet and become friends with them because my parents made sure I was active in community events, sports, music, etc. Another factor was that our high school was small (500 kids total), so it was easy to find my place and settle in socially. Academically, I had an extremely easy time in almost every class and subject and generally felt that the teachers were too easy on us and assigned pointless projects. The only subject I struggled in was math…never have been able to get a good handle on math!
4. (Tonia) Overall – what were the biggest advantages/disadvantages?
The biggest advantage to homeschooling for me was that I learned at an early age that learning is something I enjoy doing, and that every moment of your life is a learning moment. It doesn’t just happen for six hours of the day…all of your life experiences are teaching you something, if you pay attention. My childhood years were not rushed, and I was able to mature and develop at my true pace, instead of being required to fit into the “standard”. I am extremely close to my family, largely due to how many amazing years we had together as a close-knit unit, learning and living with one another.
I have been trying to think of disadvantages, but honestly, for me, there were none. My parents did an outstanding job being my teachers, and I would never have had it any other way. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by being at home. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Thank you Terry and Tonia! Be sure to check out Itty Bitty Impact, and leave your homeschool comments below. Love it or hate it – I want to know!