Monday, July 20, 2009

Hi. I'm Tiffany.

Hi. I’m Tiffany. I am one of the bloggers & the official interviewer here at RRCH blogspot. I thought I might should introduce myself (& my family) since I’m nosing into everyone else’s business.

My husband, Tim, & I have been married for almost 7 years. Together we have a very blended family: His, Mine & Ours. Altogether there are 8 of us: Tim, Tiffany, Tiya, Taylor, Tyler, Tucker, Trevor, & Truman. I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom & have been homeschooling our children for about 4 years now. Tim is a police officer in Denton a few days a week & farming around our home in Forestburg the rest of the time. Tiya is our only child that does not live with us. She will be a freshman this year at a public school in OK, where she lives with her mom. Taylor is almost 11 & will be starting the 5th grade. Tyler is 8, starting 3rd grade. Tucker is 4, Trevor is 3 & they are PK/K4. Truman is the baby, just 2 months old.

Our family lives on about 800 acres so most of our hobbies include the outdoors (excluding the winter activities for me). We like to spend our time fishing, riding 4-wheelers, gardening, & working on projects together. Tim is the ultimate handy man, but seldom completely finishes any project. I have a very long “honey do” list for him  Taylor loves being a little momma to her brothers & fits right in with all these boys; however, she enjoys her girl time with her friends & loves to scrapbook. Tyler is our ball player – he loves baseball. Tucker is following in his big brother’s footsteps & played T-ball for the first time this year. Trevor can’t wait to “be big enough” to play next year. On my personal time (late at night) I enjoy scrapbooking, blogging, and working on school activities for our homeschool.

Something about me that most people in this group may not know is that I was a single, teenage mom until Tim & I married.

My dream vacation with kids would be Disneyland & the beach in California. WithOUT the kids I would love to go somewhere tropical, sit on a beach with my hubby & enjoy the sun.

Our homeschool . . .

Our homeschool changes from year to year. I found myself homeschooling & not even knowing I was homeschooling, to homeschooling b/c I wasn’t impressed with the PS system, to homeschooling a child that needed the extra help. All these reasons I feel have been at the hands of the Lord. I truly believe a childs classroom is their mothers heart.

We have a small schoolroom (& are getting a BIG schoolroom soon!), but for the most part we school all over the place: My room, their room, the living room, the kitchen, outside, at the park, in their tree house . . . you name it, we’ve probably done school there. My desire is not to school at home, but to homeschool. The schoolroom is more of a central location for having everything in one spot & not strung out all over the house.
Pinpointing our method to one style is difficult. All in all, it is very electic. I love Charlotte Mason ideas & look to her teachings for inspiration, but I tend to use more Classical curriculum. However, I’ve found that curriculum I love isn’t always curriculum my children love. Seasons change in homeschooling, just as they do in nature. When I see it is time for a change – we do just that – find something that will work. This year will be my first year to use a computer based program for one of my children.

Tapestry of Grace
Winter Promise
Math U See
Easy Grammar/First Language Lessons
Writing with Ease
Heart of Dakota
Handwriting Without Tears
Switched on Schoolhouse

My favorite subject to teach? I love PK/K!! Just love it! History & Geography are my favorite subjects with my big kids. Which is funny b/c I did not like these subjects when I was in school.

A schedule: Oh yes! I am totally Type-A, planner, overly organized. That’s me 100%. We have a schedule(s); however, life is life & we rarely have a typical homeschool day that the schedule is actually followed. It is a great plan though. A normal school day for us is:
School (start by 9)
- PK/K with mom while big kids do their independent work
- PK/K with a big kid while I spend one on one with the other
- Snack time: Picture study
- Free time or “center” time for PK/K guided/independent reading for big kids
- LUNCH: memory work, classical music
- PK/K quiet time, Group study & activities with big kids

School is usually done around 3-3:30

It looks so simple all typed out. This does not explain that we are a REAL family. I do clean up at least 10 spills or messes a school day. I do have to stop a lesson to deal with a character issue. We do play hookie. If grandpa shows up with a watermelon we will stop & eat it – even if it’s not “Snack time.” I do have unscheduled teacher appreciation days for days they drive me crazy! The schedule exists, is constantly changing, occassionaly is completely followed, but something I would still say is necessary.

Benefits of homeschooling? There have been many. I love being the one to share the experience of learning with my kids. It is a wonderful feeling to see them excited about a topic or finally accomplish a goal. The little things are such a blessing; however last year God showed me another side of the benefits. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer & only given 3 months to live (she did just that). Once we realized how short our time was with her everything was put on hold & the kids were able to spend as much time with her during the last 3 months as they/she possibly could. The time with her homeschooling gave them was a huge benefit. After she passed away they also had plenty of time to grieve. They didn’t have to go back to the normal hustle & bustle of school life. They were able to truly mourn as much as they needed.

Keeping it Real . . .

Bad days? Yes, we have them. We even have bad weeks & bad months. We’ve had a bad year too!

How do I handle bad days?
It depends if it is me, the kids, a kid, or just life’s circumstances. If it is me – I just have the kids do their independent work & then have free time OUTSIDE. If it is the kids – I scream & pull my hair out. If it is a kid – I send them to daddy! If it is life – we stop what we are doing, accept it for what it is & return when we are refreshed & ready.

Challenges in homeschooling?
It is difficult homeschooling in a blended family. Not all the parents always see eye to eye. Being a Step mom & a teacher has its own challenges, but the good far out ways the bad.

Separating from being the mom & the teacher. I can’t; however, there are times I wish I could. How nice it would be to just send a note home. Lol It is impossible. We homeschool – mom is the teacher. There is no role playing. It is what it is.

Subjects I haven’t enjoyed teaching
I hear a lot of homeschooling mothers say they love to teach their kids to read – Not me. It tends to be a lot of pressure & I just worry so much that I’m not doing it right. Science is fun, but not really my thing, so my husband usually does life lessons in science & I throw a little curriculum in here & there.

Many. I have chores, they have chores, we all have chores & none of us get paid. We are a family, we live on a farm & we all have to pitch in to make it work. We reap what we sow.

I don’t’ know if I’ve hit the “Burned Out” time of schooling, but I have experienced the “Worn Out” times!

When times get difficult I whine. I pour out my heart & soul to the Almighty. Okay, honestly, I’m human . . . First, I try to handle it. I can fix it – I’m a mom after all – that is my job – to fix things, make them better. Then I usually make a bigger mess, realize I can’t fix it, in fact, it isn’t my battle to fight – it is God’s. He is not surprised at the situation, He makes no mistakes, & chances are He is trying to teach me something through the difficult times.

Advice for newbies. I don’t quite feel qualified in this area yet; however, I will say – don’t compare yourself, your children, or your homeschool to others. Homeschooling doesn’t mean perfect. We all have our own struggles & battles to give the Lord. Lean on God for understand & guidance – He will direct your path. While your waiting for direction – read Educating the Wholehearted Child & if you are still waiting when you are done with it then read Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 picks.

That’s all folks. If you enjoyed my interview & would like to hear more about our homeschool visit my blog Rockin' C: Teaching 2 Many Diligently

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, Tiffany. I am learning so much about everyone.
    You are an inspiration. I am looking forward to your next interview. Thank you for all your work to our homeschool blog. I love it!
    Kari - sorry the identity says Liberty but it is really me.
    Kari Davidson