Tricia Goyer & Kristi Clover share Homeschooling Basics
Seasoned homeschooling moms Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover worked together to produce their latest book, Homeschooling Basics, which gets real about homeschooling and offers practical tips and advice to make homeschooling a reality. They recently took time to answer some questions for us about their book and message.
Hope for Women: What led you ladies to write Homeschooling Basics?
Tricia Goyer & Kristi Clover: After years of homeschooling and blogging for the homeschool community, we saw the need for a book to encourage homeschool families, especially moms. Moms who are thinking about homeschooling or have been homeschooling for any amount of time need help and inspiration on so many levels. There are a lot of misconceptions and feelings of inadequacy. They are overwhelmed! We wanted to pull together all of our best advice as a resource.
Homeschool Basics covers some of the most frequently asked questions and provides encouragement and practical ideas to homeschool with more grace and peace. We want to help homeschooling moms overcome their fears to “get started, keep motivated, and bring out the best in their kids!”
HFW: What is the main inspiration you hope people take from this book?
TG & KC: We want moms who’ve either chosen to homeschool or who are considering homeschooling to feel confident that they really can provide their children with a quality education through homeschooling. But even more than that, we want them to know they can also disciple their children in a very unique way. What a unique opportunity to walk with our kids on a daily basis, teaching them that God can inspire and impact every single part of our day!
We also hope to encourage homeschooling moms to remember that they don’t have to homeschool with their own strength. They must lean on the Lord and trust Him to provide the strength they need to make it through each day. We both are proof of our weaknesses and God’s strength!
HFW: Why homeschool?
KC: What a great question! This is the very thing that we challenge families to think through and write down. The “why” for most families is usually very personal. Both Tricia and I have our own reasons for homeschooling, but at the heart of most Christian homeschool families is the desire disciple their kids and to provide them with Christian worldview through the various subjects being taught.
TG: Yes! Also, our reasons for homeschool can change and expand. I originally started homeschooling in 1994 because I wanted close relationships with my kids and I wanted to raise them with a Christian worldview. My purposes have expanded and my husband and I have adopted seven more kids, including four pre-teen and teen girls. I’ve discovered that homeschooling has helped us to bond as a family and has given me time to mentor these girls into beautiful young women, especially since I’ve already missed so many years with them. I’m thankful for this time we have together, not just with the schooling part, but with the life-together part, too.
HFW: What are three rewarding things about homeschooling?
1)Closer Relationships: I love the family unity we’ve experienced through homeschooling. My kids’ ages are pretty spread out. My husband and I really wanted our older kids to have a close relationship with their younger siblings and vice versa.
2)Christian Worldview: I love having the opportunity to teach my kids to learn and view the world through the lenses of our Christian faith. I want them to see His fingerprints throughout history and creation.
3)Re-Learning for Me: Ha! That has been the hidden treasure for me as we’ve homeschooled. I have a bachelor’s degree, yet I never realized how many holes I had in my education. History has been my favorite subject to teach, since I’m finding that I’m learning the most in that area.
Ditto to all the Kristi said. Also:
1) The ability to leave our home and “school” in our world. Over the last year we’ve been to many national parks, including the Grand Canyon and Mt. Rushmore. We’ve watched fish being thrown at Pike’s Place Market and explored caves in Missouri. We love learning about the world … in the world!
2) I love all the books we read together as a family during our school time. I’ve been able to enjoy all my favorites with my kids. We finished the Little House on the Prairie series this year, and it was fun to see my children get excited about the stories, just as I did as a kid.
3) I love being able to target our learning according to my kids’ unique talents. We have time and space to study the things they’re truly excited about.
HFW: In what ways have you pursued your passions?
KC: My passion has always been to write and speak. Although my writing career is just getting started, I’ve been speaking for over 10 years. I am one of those weird people who doesn’t mind standing up in front of people or talking to a camera. It’s been really fun to see how so many different opportunities have popped up for me to pursue those passions, namely through live streaming. Years ago, I had a vision to encourage families in their faith and inspire them to find ways to eliminate unnecessary stress in their lives. Hence my tag line to help families “find simple solutions for a more joy-filled life.”
TG: Since I was a young mom I wanted to write books, mostly inspirational fiction. I started writing during my kids’ naps or after the homeschooling day was done while my kids played outside. The 30-minute segments added up, and soon I was getting published in magazines. Next came book contracts! I now have over 70 books in print, and I’ve written all of them while homeschooling my kids. It’s been a great example to my kids of what can be achieved with small steps in the right direction and lots of determination. It’s been great to see my older kids following in my footsteps and following their dreams, too.
HFW: What challenges have you faced in chasing those dreams?
KC: I’ve had to learn that there are seasons for dream chasing. Sometimes I’ve had to step back or slow down in pursuing opportunities in order to put my family first. That’s always hard to do, but so worth it. My kids are growing up too fast.
TG: I’ve had to learn how to work in the fringe moments of life. I don’t have large blocks of time to work. Instead, I squeeze in work as I am able. Sometimes I wake up early. Sometimes I write while also watching cartoons with my kids. (They don’t mind me also working if I still laugh in all the right places.) I’ve even written a large portion of a book in the front seat of our van as our family drove to and from Florida on vacation. It’s a challenge, but I’ve learned how to work whenever I have the opportunity.
HFW: How have you overcome these obstacles?
KC: I’ve learned to really trust God to give me discernment as to what to keep pursuing and what to accept as Him closing a door. He has been so faithful and has really blown me away with amazing opportunities through the years – even when I’m having to slow down due to the demands of motherhood and homeschooling.
TG: I’ve had to ask God to give me the wisdom and strength to get my work done. Since writing happens in the “extra” time after homeschooling kids (I’m currently homeschooling seven), I’m usually tired and have little brain power. Yet when I ask God for strength He always provides!
HFW: What is your favorite thing to share with others who’ve decided to homeschool their child(ren)?
KC: To get excited about homeschooling. I love being a cheerleader for those in the thick of things, especially to moms who are homeschooling with little kids in the house. That is one of the most challenging seasons of homeschooling.
TG: You’ll get some things right, but don’t worry if you’re not the perfect homeschooling teacher. (No one is!) I LOVE to read and learn history with my kids. Math isn’t my favorite subject, which meant sometimes we’d skip math for the day to start another story. (Confession time!) My daughter had to take some basic math classes in her first year of college to get her caught up, but that still didn’t stop her from graduating with her bachelor’s degree at age 20. It’s important to do your best and don’t stress—it’ll all work out!
HFW: What three tips would you offer them?
KC: For families just starting out, I encourage them not to sweat the small stuff, focus on the big picture and draw their strength from the Lord. Sometimes taking a day off to have a little fun is just what they need to find refreshment and recharge their batteries.
TG: First, follow your kids’ lead. If they want to learn more about a topic let them continue on. Don’t feel as if you have to stick to the lesson plan if they’re excited about learning. Second, start with God’s Word first. Sometimes we need to jump right to the important schoolwork, but knowing God’s Word will build a strong foundation for their whole life. Third, take time to serve others. A worthy education is not just head knowledge. It’s also about teaching our children that they can impact the world for good.
HFW: What’s next for the both of you?
KC: I’m currently working on a new book focused on home organization for moms. It’s been my long time passion project, and I’m finally finding time to work on it. I also have a few new online courses on home organization and meal planning coming out. Other than that, I’m enjoying producing my Simply Joyful Podcast and encouraging the homeschool community through videos and live streaming. Tricia and I also have some fun things up our sleeves for the homeschool community.
TG: I’m excited about my new book, Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time. I’m currently working on a Bible Study and DVD study to go with this book. In addition to that, I’m also writing a book for parents dealing with kids and anger. My husband and I walked through some hard times after adopting kids from foster care, and my prayer is that the methods I’ve learned to help our kids overcome their anger will help other parents too.