Imagine a household of independent, self-determined and cooperative beings, where everyone understands their role and embraces it with pride. Today, we hear from three working mothers, one of them widowed, all of whom have multiple children with different learning styles and power traits, and whose children have engaged in multiple forms of education, from site based schools to homeschooling to hybrid learning. How did they manage it all? What tips tricks, resources, and strategies help in raising independent, self-determined, and cooperative humans? Let's find out.
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Joseph Porter 0:07
If humans are naturally drawn to learning, why doesn't everyone enjoy school? If everyone has unique gifts and talents, why do some people feel dumb, depressed and insignificant? If you want something different, you need to do something different. Welcome to the element is everything podcast where we discuss real world experiences, research and strategies around finding your element, what it is, how to do it, and how to support others in developing it. Please welcome your host with over 30 years experience in public education and independent learning, Terri Novacek.
Terri Novacek 0:49
Imagine a household of independent, self determined and cooperative beings, where everyone understands their role, and embraces it with pride. Today, we hear from three working mothers, one of them widowed, all of whom have multiple children with different learning styles and power traits, and whose children have engaged in multiple forms of education, from site based schools, to homeschooling to hybrid learning. How did they manage it all? What tips tricks, resources and strategies help in raising independent, self determined and cooperative humans? Let's find out.
Terri Novacek 1:34
Thanks, ladies, so much for joining us today. I know you guys all have very busy schedules. And I really appreciate your willingness to share your expertise and your experience. So my thought was, maybe we could start with Traci with the oldest children of the group, because you are proof that it, it can actually be done. All three of your kids are adults right now. I think.
Traci Lockman 2:04
That is right, Terri, thank you so much for inviting me today. Yes, I've been reflecting on my homeschool journey, which started back in 1994. And it was all because I read a book about a family that educated their boys at home in the 1970s. I don't even think homeschooling was really a word back then or, but they in that book, they allowed their boys to take ownership of their learning. And I thought it was such a novice idea. And it sounded so appealing to not have to go into a classroom and learn what the teacher is feeding all of the children. So I have three, three children, two girls and a boy. And each one of them have their own educational journey. All of my children began at home, homeschooling because I believe that those early years, a child's mind is just ready to absorb whatever information. They're, they're being fed or they're around. And so we spent our days reading and exploring and traveling, and just creating hands on activities for every subject, and allowing them to take lead and whatever books they were checking out at the library, we would delve into that on the subjects that they they enjoyed learning at that time. All three of my children have experienced some public and private school. And my oldest daughter and my son took community college classes and were ready for that when they were in high school. And those community college classes ended up counting towards towards their college or university credits. So that was great for them. My girls are graduated from college, my oldest has her master's and my middle daughter is in the process of getting her master's right now in the state of Montana. And my middle daughter also, after she graduated from college, spent years working in Africa and Spain. And what's so interesting about that is she would have been the least one that we thought would go out exploring since she could barely go in and borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbors. And she received her master's degree and received a job in the field that she was working with. She's a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and works with autistic children. So she enjoys that. And next month, my son will graduate from Community College and is heading to Cal State Fullerton in the fall. So I spent 20 years homeschooling and now I get to work at this wonderful school where I can share my experiences with others.
Terri Novacek 4:38
So Tracy, I'm going to do devil's advocate here. And I'm I think the first question or even statement that comes to mind is, but you have a background in education. That's why you were able to do it. Can you tell me how that may have helped or hindered and maybe observations you've seen of others that don't have the background in education. That have been able to do it.
Traci Lockman 5:01
Okay, so I do not have a background in education. Of course I do now with my job. But when I started homeschooling, I had graduated from Long Beach State University with a degree in recreation and leisure studies is what my degree was in. And I worked at the city of Anaheim and some different city parks and rec programs, which was, was so fun and right up my alley. And of course, when I began homeschooling, I didn't have a teaching credential. And I think that that raised flags for many people, family members and community people that didn't know how I could do this. And I guess I just felt like it was a natural thing is because I knew my children, and I was allowing them to take lead. And so to me, it seemed natural. Like it wasn't something I had to figure out. Of course, I did end up getting my teaching credential when my son was about in second or third grade, because I actually got my teaching credential because I knew that when the kids were older, I wanted to work at a charter school. And I wanted to work with families that were homeschooling, because I felt like it was what I knew. And so that's, that's how that went, went down.
Terri Novacek 6:13
And you you mentioned your, between your three kids, they have had different learning environments. Can you elaborate on that?
Traci Lockman 6:23
The funny story with and many people, maybe that are listening to this podcast, and might have had this happen. You know, you begin to homeschool. You're so excited those early years. And then your kids have the kids in the neighborhood that are at the local brick and mortar school. And they think maybe that's where they would like to be. So my oldest I sent her in third grade, she wanted to go so we sent her to the local school. And she happened to get a teacher who was going to be retiring that year. And most of her work was Xerox worksheets back in the day. That's what they were called. They were Xerox worksheets. And she lasted one semester, and it was her choice to come home because it wasn't what she wanted to do. So she, you know, so they,you know, shecame home and, and then my son, the year that I was student teaching and getting my teaching credential, he needed to attend the local school and my story there is that he was so excited walking up to school that first day. And I think at the time, he watched the little show, Arthur and Arthur was always off to school and had this teacher, and my son truly, as a second grader thought that's what it was going to be like. And that lasted about three days. And it really broke my heart because then he was like, I want to come back home. And he couldn't. And so he spent second grade there. And then honestly, was the rest of the time homeschool, community college classes with Dimensions graduated with Dehesa at the time in 2014. And, and had a wonderful experience with that.
Terri Novacek 8:06
Well, and what's nice about that is he had that experience. So he wasn't left wondering, you know, the rest of his life, what would it have been like, and maybe even coming up with his own stories of what it would have been like, which may not have been real accurate?
Traci Lockman 8:23
Well, and Terri, and sometimes when parents really resist that, and I feel like I've talked to parents that want to resist, you're not going to school, you're not going to school, the brick and mortar public school setting, I want to do it at home. Sometimes just a little taste of it is what takes care of that. And so sometimes I share that with with people.
Terri Novacek 8:45
Right? So Shannon, you have a high school senior right now, isn't that right?
Shannon Reingold 8:51
Correct? Yes, I
Terri Novacek 8:55
For one more month. Tell us your story. Okay, so
Shannon Reingold 9:01
My homeschool journey actually began. When I was first introduced to homeschooling, which was when Noah was six months old, my first son, I was raised by traditional school teachers. I always thought that that was just the way that you did it. I wasn't even familiar with homeschool at all. I had my son and when he was I finished my credentialing three weeks before he was born. And I had him and I thought I am never leaving this child. I am not going to work but I needed to work. So I found Dehesa Charter school which was the best of both worlds. I could stay home with my child and I could use my credential for a career. I started doing that and I fell in love with the homeschool and the homeschool world and environment and I had a complete paradigm shift. But I have to say I had my second child and I thought to myself, I'm not cut out for homeschooling. I'm not a homeschooling mom. I don't know I'm going to do so I started looking at preschools for my children. And I found a Montessori Preschool that I just absolutely fell in love with. And I enrolled my children in a Montessori Preschool. And after doing more research, I discovered, this is what I love. This is the best of both worlds. It's home school in a controlled environment. So to me, I felt like the children could be themselves, it's multi age groupings. And the children are at they have the freedom to move freedom with responsibility, hands on materials, all of these things that I wanted for my children that felt like homeschooling, but wasn't completely homeschooling. So I homeschooled Noah, for kindergarten, and, and then he started at Community Montessori which was Dehesa Charter school at the time, and in the Montessori program, and he was there through the eighth grade. And that was a hybrid program. So it was wonderful because he was there four days a week, and then one day home school. And then my daughter, Gracie started that program as well in the kindergarten, and did kindergarten through sixth grade there, and then move to a different environment, which was still a hybrid program. But it was, it was more of what she needed at the time. Because it was a program that was a little bit more directed, and she needed that at the time. My son is a senior in high school, after graduating from the Montessori program, he went to a traditional High School, which was like Traci said it was kind of like he tasted the water. And it was not all it was cracked up to be. He chose to go there because he played soccer competitively for very many years. And he wanted to the high school experience of playing on a soccer or high school soccer team. And interesting thing about that he played for two years, and then decided he was no longer interested in playing soccer. So his 11th grade year decided not to play soccer and then COVID hit. At that point, we both knew that sitting in front of a computer on zoom meetings was not going to be the best thing for him. So thankfully, he was able to get back into dimensions charter school, and is now rounding out his senior year as a dimension student and graduating from the school that he started at. So I'm super grateful for that opportunity. My daughter is now 16 years old, and she's a sophomore at a hybrid charter school as well. She loves the program and is doing wonderful there. But is also considering now transferring to a traditional high school for a dance team because she's a competitive dancer, and she wants that experience. I've really taught my children that life is circular, as is the smallest particle in the universe. We don't do things in a linear fashion. It's all about looking at something reflecting pivoting, turning, readjusting mistakes are opportunities to learn. And that is true education. So that's where we're at right now. So we've been doing a lot of deciding about this possible transfer to a traditional school for my daughter, because it's This is so funny, but I just keep telling her. Can you imagine going to school five days a week, you've never done that? Yeah. So anyway, that's where we're at right now.
Terri Novacek 13:28
Have you given her a deadline for thinking about it? Or what's? What's the plan?
Shannon Reingold 13:53
Yes. So. So she does have a deadline, she actually needs to know by tomorrow. I know. And that's because she tried out for the high school team made the ensemble and but the varsity coach told her if she wants to try out for varsity, she needs to have made the decision prior to trying out for varsity. So she's done a lot of research. She's very independent. So she's done a lot of research reaching out to counselors, looking at her transcripts, what it would mean for her a-g requirements, what it would mean for transferring and then you know, really looking at her social, and then also understanding that nothing set in stone. And that is the dance team experience really exactly what she's looking for. So she's, she's definitely, definitely reflecting and making a lot of choices with the understanding to that. She's only in 11th grade, she can always switch again if she really needs to.
Terri Novacek 14:55
Right. You know what you're saying? That makes me so excited as I keep hearing you say she's doing this. She's doing that she's doing this. And it's pretty common for parents to be saying, well, I've been looking at her transcripts, I've been talking to counselors, I've been doing this, I've been doing that to try to figure out the best place for her. And what you're doing instead is you're saying, Okay, Gracie. So you do that, and you decide, it's, it's your life. And I trust you to make the best decision and ask me.
Shannon Reingold 15:29
Thanks, Terri. And I, what I'm really trying to get her to understand and to reflect on is the long term, you know, like really kind of looking at over the long term, because for her, it's just immediate, like, oh, the dance experience. I want that now. You know,
Terri Novacek 15:47
Especially at the age of 16.
Shannon Reingold 15:49
Yes. So we're really kind of trying to reflect on that. Okay, let's, let's really tear this apart and look at it holistically.
Terri Novacek 15:57
That's great. And then Elisa, you have three, I can't believe how old they are getting.
Elisa Hilliard 16:05
You met me when I had no children?
Terri Novacek 16:07
Elisa Hilliard 16:09
Yeah. So that was kind of how our journey started is I had the privilege of working with amazing homeschool moms like Terri and Tracy and even Shannon and other women who, who were kind of showing me what it could be like to homeschool your children. When my husband and I got married, and we even when our daughter our first daughter was born, we weren't thinking that we would end up homeschooling. I don't think we had ruled that out. But it wasn't something that we had said, Oh my gosh, this is what we're doing. We actually didn't decide that we were going to homeschool our oldest until she was ready to start kindergarten. My kids. My two older girls both went to preschool two days a week. And we had picked our preschools, they were very much hands on non academic, like those kinds of things were were easy decisions. And we found the right preschool that that fed into that philosophy of life that we had. And so that part was fine. But then we were getting ready this, our oldest, Ashley was getting ready to start kindergarten. And the state of California had changed the dates for for kindergarten, the birth dates. And so then she was going to have to do something that they had introduced, which we all know now as transitional kinder. Ashley had taught herself how to read at age three, with I mean, we've always exposed our kids to reading stuff through PBS. And you know, different TV shows. And we would, you know, sing the alphabet and stuff. But we were never doing direct instruction for reading at a young age. We were never, you know, doing flashcards or anything crazy like that. It just was a natural gift that she had, that she could hear stuff and then make connections quickly. And so to her sounds come real easily. And she's a singer, she plays the piano. And a lot of that is because she has this talent and this gift of sound. And she can take sound and you know, connect with it very quickly. And so she started reading at age three. So by the time she was getting ready to start kindergarten, she was about four and a half to some November birthday. And so it was one of those things where I'm like, we were already having hesitations about how kinder was going to go. Because she was really inquisitive. She wanted to know everything. And from experiences from other friends who had kids in kindergarten, they're like, Oh, no, the teachers don't like the kids asking that kind of questions and they might tell them. No, we can't do that right now. Because we're doing this and I was like, Yeah, I don't know how that's gonna work out for her. She's, you know, do Is that really what we want. And at that point, I had been working with homeschooling families for a while, and I knew what that could look like. And I had, like I said, these other families that I had been able to see the progress they were doing with their children. And I looked at my husband and I said, I really think we should homeschool, I really think this is gonna be the best. And she can just work at her pace. And we don't have to worry about, you know, what is going to be presented because we're going to present whatever she's interested in and ready to do. And so that was kind of how we started homeschooling her, which was totally different than our second child who had, you know, a completely different experience. And we've looked at each child, and dependently and made decisions for that child based on their needs. And then for our third daughter, at the end of the day, it was like, this is kind of what our family has settled in. We've been doing this for all these years. Do we really even as a family want to break up our schedule and have to drive you somewhere and pick you up? And how is that going to disrupt the rest of the flow in our family life. My husband works a crazy schedule that sometimes night shifts, sometimes day shift their 12 and a half hour long day. Sometimes he's off on the weekends, but sometimes he's not. So one of the things that as things progressed in our homeschool career that we realized was that he got to spend more time with our kids, because he was home on Mondays and Tuesdays, and so were the kids at the same time. And so he was able to be a more integrated part of our family life, that way, he could be part of more things than he could have been, if the kids were going to a traditional school setting where they were going to be gone all day. And if he worked night shift, they would be gone. And he wouldn't see them until maybe the next day or something like that. So our family life kind of just meshed in with the homeschooling and, and it really became how how we wanted to be as a family, and it was more of a lifestyle. And then the education part just happened to also fit in really nicely. And my husband loves science and space and things like that. So he explores a lot of those kinds of things with our kids. He's taught them woodworking, he's taught them all kinds of hands on type, stuff like that. And, you know, we've tried to integrate all of our education stuff with our life stuff. So our kids are probably more versed on personal finance, and most kids their age, and we have middle schoolers, and I'm an elementary school student, because that's important to my husband and I, that was a education, we felt we didn't have even as adults, and we had to kind of learn it ourselves. So we were like, well, we don't want that to happen to our kids. And so we've made sure that they have that knowledge from a young age. So we've been able to curate the interest of ours, of our kids, our family life, and our personal family values into what we call our educational, you know, plan for our kids. And with my girls ended up getting introduced to musical theater, and they absolutely love everything about it. So they've learned a ton of history from watching musicals like Hamilton, or, you know, Hairspray or things like that, where we can explore historical events and things that have happened through musicals, and really tapping into the things that they love. So yeah, that's kind of what we've been, we've been up to,
Terri Novacek 22:08
You know, you mentioned two things. The personal finance, you know, I've heard parents say, Oh, they don't teach this in schools. And so it becomes something extra, that they feel like they need to teach. And so Okay, let's get, let's get through all your homework that you have for school, so that we can work with you on this thing that is really more of a real life, daily skill. And then the musical theater, you know, again, that ends up being something that, okay, you've been in school all day, now let's go to musical theater, and, you know, we'll get home and we'll probably drive through somewhere and shove some food down our face for dinner, because you know, your days just get really long when you're trying to incorporate other things that you know, are important to your children or important to your family that fall outside the school.
Elisa Hilliard 23:04
I think even our girls have have mentioned that, you know, oh, you know, where we've just finished a show, it's 10 o'clock, they're just coming home from a long day of work at a show. And then their friends have to get up and go to school the next day, early in the morning. And they're like, we can have a more leisurely morning, we can still get our schoolwork done, but without the pressure and the stress of having to be there at a specific time because we can adjust and tailor our schedule as we need to, to fit in all these other things. And I mean, for us, it really is about what do you really want to learn? And what what do we think is important for you as an adult, I remember my husband and I saying, you know, we don't want our kids to have to go to adultign one on one, when that was really popular. And people were like, all these college students are wanting to learn how to make eggs and how to like, do simple things and adulting. And I was like, No, if I'm a parent and I did a good job, you shouldn't need adulting 101 that should have been my job. Or at least that's how we saw it in our family. And so those were important things our kids have been in the kitchen in the kitchen since they were probably three years old. with various interest levels, you know, we have a child who loves to bake and cooking and that kind of thing is her jam. Another one who's like, let me just learn the basics. And as long as I can fend for myself, that's good enough. And then our youngest is just now learning but she's our salad chef and she makes all the salads in our house because they require the least amount of chopping so she can tear lettuce and things like that is the safe thing to do right now. But yeah, so we've just kind of layered things in and I when I think of how we homeschool our kids, I say it's in layers. We're adding responsibility as you go, adding skills as you go and building on those skills little by little so that we're not all of a sudden going well, why can't you make your own lunch? Why can't you cook your own dinner? Well I build those skills And little by little, so that now both of my middle schoolers could cook a full meal budget a meal for a family, go shop for a family meal for a whole week on a budget and do it successfully. But it's it didn't happen overnight, because people are like, I didn't do it. And I always say, well, it started when the kids were three. And we took them to the store. And we showed them the scales, and they weighed the apples. And we said, Oh, this, this week, we're only buying, you know, one pound of potatoes, or one pound of apples. And that's the end, here's how we're going to use them. And here's how we're going to split them up and what half of those apples I need for this. And that's how we learned fractions. And you know, my kids go to the grocery store and look at unit pricing and try to figure out what the best you know, and that's math that we've taught them. Oh, no, let's find out how much it costs per ounce. And if it's not broken down at the store for you, because a lot of times it is, you know, bring a calculator, and then you can figure that out. Now we've been teaching them online shopping as far as groceries and services, and how can you automate that? And how can it be done quicker. But yeah, this all of the layers Little by little, and that's just one example. We've done that with everything with math, with history, with all the things that they've learned, it's been layers of introduction of American history through, you know, TV shows, like Liberty's kids. And now my daughter is going into eighth grade and is going to be doing the American Revolution. And she's like, Oh, I already know all the main players. I don't know all the details and depth. But I know the main players from watching Liberty's Kids when I was, you know, in first and second grade, and so then the informations more easily absorbed. So we've slowly build the layers for them, so that then when the time came, they were like, Oh, yeah, I have some background knowledge. And I'm ready to deep dive deeper. When they watch Hamilton, they were like, hey, that guy was on Liberty's kids. I remember the history. Remember that? And they're big fans of Hamilton. And they, my daughter has some plans. She's been we've been talking about what do you want to do for American history next year for eighth grade? And one of the things she said she's like, Well, can we use Hamilton? Can I dissect the songs in Hamilton and the RAF. And she's been learning some of the Hamilton music on piano, because that's kind of exciting for her. And so that's some of the plans that she's creating for herself. Now she's going I already know some of this, how can I continue to learn from it in a different way. And definitely, they have way more control over their choices now than they ever had. They also have their own emails now, because they're middle schoolers. And so that gives me freedom to say, oh, you're working on this project with this other mentor or adult, go ahead and email them, go ahead and reach out to them, teaching them how to do professional emails, and have those interactions and build those relationships with people that might be helpful to them in the future. My oldest wanted to do some research papers for English. And so I said, you know, maybe a good idea could be researching some careers you're interested in. So she made her own list of career, she wanted to research. And then she reached out to different people to find mentors in those careers to interview. And so that was part of her English assignments for this year, was doing some career research with different people in different fields to see, you know, if that's something that she's interested in.
Terri Novacek 28:17
So you're, you're tapping into different resources, different mentors and experts, getting help from others. I just like to open it up to all three of you as far as resources that you have found. Very useful. I mean, we all know that, thanks to the internet, you know, knowledge is so easily accessible. Of course, that brings us the new challenge of just because you read it on the internet doesn't mean it's true. So that's another skill that we have to add to our list of things to make sure that our kids know is how to evaluate resources. But But what are some things that have worked really well for you, with your kids. And
Shannon Reingold 29:12
I can't speak to one for my son for Noah. He started the San Diego Fire Department cadet program at 16. It's a program that you can enroll in when you're 16. And it's available to you, to you until you're 21 and it's a hands on program. But there's also a lot of memorization as well. But it's they go to the stations and they they work alongside the firefighters. They work through assessments until they're ready to get there right along status and then they're able to actually ride along with the firefighters. they graduate from that program and it gives them a little bit of a lead into the department. So that's been very helpful. Um, no, it is not an academically driven child. I mean, I don't know how you wanted to find academics. I don't know if that's the right way of saying it. But he's not a pen and paper kid. Right. So. So this program, I mean, he had to memorize. I think San Diego has 30 something stations, he had to memorize the cross streets of every station, every apparatus that they have at that station. And something else anyway, he memorized like all 30, like, within like three days, and it's because He cares. It was he likes it. So it, it's been a phenomenal resource for anybody looking into that industry. And even if you don't go into it, it's just great skills to have a lot of great leadership out there. And it's free, easy to access, and actually, their induction is next month in June. So that's been great for him. Another thing I would say, for Noah and not necessarily a community resource, but just something I wanted to mention as a homeschool parent is that he wasn't academically driven. And when he got into traditional high school, he did well, but he didn't do really well. So I could have had him sitting at home doing homework, which would be absolutely torturous. So what I did is I took him surfing every day, he surfed every day, and my friends and some other people, it's like, he's, he's getting C's that you're letting them surf every day. I said, that's what my son needs. That's what he needs. He needs to serve. That is how he self regulates. That is how it gets wet like that, you know, and, and he Yeah, and, and he does better when he has those opportunities, you know, and so you see things improving and children relaxing, and really getting in touch with their, you know, their neurological system and being able to connect all those things. So for him, it was his therapy. Another community college resource is the EMT program at Miramar college also takes high school students, it's a great way for students that want to get started in the EMT program, I get high school credit for that if anybody's looking into that career. And for Gracie. Gracie is really adept at kind of working around the system as well. So not working around the system, but knowing what her options are and how she can kind of move forward. So for like taking a foreign language, for example, she's taking Spanish 3 this summer. And she was deciding whether or not she wants to take it through a community college or through an online high school like BYU use curriculum. She's looking at which one's fastest, which one is, of course, which one's fastest? Which am I going to get more credit for which one's more difficult. So she's you know, she she's reaching out, she can, you know, read the reviews, you know this. But I would say those are some great resources. And, Tracy, if you have things that you'd like to add, I don't have any agenda
Traci Lockman 33:09
My fallback is is partly because back in the earlier years, and as I said before, or we were talking, you know, people would ask how are you going to teach chemistry? How are you going to teach French, she's got to go to school for those things. And that is when we did concurrent enrollment with our local community college. And I remember my daughter went when she was 14 and wanted to take a Spanish class and was not able they she was too young to remember walking back to the car, she was crying because she so much wanted to take a community college class. The following year, she was able to take English at our local community college, and she got an A in that class. And then her next class was chemistry. And she got an A in that class. And it was with my oldest that when the family members or neighbors or whoever was questioning, you know, what are you doing? They need to be in the local brick and mortar High School, that those questions started freeing up. And I was able to say, Well, she's over at Riverside Community College and she actually did really well and, and so for me, personally, I really used the community colleges, that is the resource that I use. I mean, of course, my my oldest was in the at the airport, she got her pilot's license when she was 16 at the local flea block airport. And again, I kind of almost look back and I don't know if I feel bad, but it's like you have to prove yourself when you're homeschooling and you're, you're not in this traditional setting that everybody sees you know, they're not walking out the front door and you're not getting that first school they picture which of course we still did. Just not because they had the backpack in the lunch, you know, we might be in our pajamas or whatever. Ever. Um, so So anyways, we did that my daughter was, you know, they did Habitat for Humanity, they built houses and, you know, we'd send them on different adventures that the kids could go on when they were old enough that and of course, they chose which ones they wanted wanted to go on. So that was a really positive thing.
Elisa Hilliard 35:20
I think one other thing to note, as you ladies were talking, I was thinking about, you know, what are we taking advantage of is that you have more time to dedicate to these other programs that are really of interest to you, or that are helping you build these career interest or other types of interests. I have a daughter who's really into art, I know she's going to be an artist, she's going to make money some day doing art, don't know quite how yet, they're still, she's still figuring that part out. But she's grown a lot. And she does history through art. So she has a paint by numbers course that she does online, where they paint, and then the instructor is talking to them. And they're discussing historical landmarks at this time. That's what she's working on. But they're also painting the landmarks at home. And so that gets her interested that gets her there. She's like, all right, I can do the history part that isn't maybe the my favorite part. But because I can do the art and learn about artists in that in that area, or whatever. So you know, really tapping into the interest and how do we connect those things to make them meaningful for that student. So she's going to have the same historical background as other students that she's tapping into it from an art perspective. And she's the one who's like, I want to travel to see the art, to see an art installation here to see something else. You know, my other, my oldest daughter is all about literature. And she's like, well, I read about all these places, and I want to go see them. So different people will get motivated by different things, and just being able to provide those opportunities. Our girls have learned a lot of leadership skills through Girl Scouts. And that has been a great place for my kids to make friends, to socialize, and to grow in their leadership skills and have access to adult mentors, which for our family is a big deal. We want you to have other adults around you who can show you the things that we can't show you. Because like Tracy said, I'm not a chemist, I can teach you chemistry. But if we can make contact, I know my girls, both of my older girls have been in a summer program at Cabrillo National Monument. So now they have female biologists and female marine biologist who they have access to because they were part of the summer program that if that is an interest of theirs, they have these other women to contact and reach out to and say, hey, how did you do this? Or, you know what sequence of, you know, science should I do? What other internship programs might might there be for me, and when Shannon was talking about the fire cadet program, that cadet program has many different branches. And so there's a border patrol program that my sister did way back in the day when she was in high school that she was a part of, there's a law enforcement line. And so that those are great places for people who want careers in those fields, who, you know, they don't require as much College is a different thing. But they can, you know, make really good money and support families and make a career out of it, if they really do love it. So that's definitely some great, there's great stuff out there. And like I said, when you homeschool your children, then you have that freedom to explore and go spend that time. Because your seat time at school isn't, you know, determined by someone else, you can manage that. And okay, I'm going to do my schoolwork at this time. And maybe you know, if you're a gymnast or something, maybe you're going to be at the gym super early in the morning and then come and do your schoolwork in the afternoon or vice versa, you're going to do your schoolwork really early and go to competitions on a different day. So this being able to tailor your schedule to your true interest in the things that are going to really guide you and direct you to find what you want to do or to find your element. And what you're going to be doing right for the rest of yourlife is really great.
Terri Novacek 39:06
All right, so you guys, you've got me all fired up. I'm thinking maybe I can do this. But I'm one of those parents that says I just want to put my toe in first rather than diving in next fall. So I have this summer to try it out. What are your suggestions for me to do with my child or children this summer? to test whether or not this really is a good fit for them in our family.
Elisa Hilliard 39:36
Ask your kids what they want to learn. Start with your children. What do you want to learn this summer? Is there something you want to learn and it doesn't have to be academic? That's the other thing. Sometimes the non academic things will lead to the academics eventually you know if you want you know marine biology is gonna you want to go spend time at the beach and you want to go look at tide pools like that's gonna lead to science. There's no other way, there's no other place that's going to go. So ask your kids what they want to learn. And even if it's non academic, just let them have choice, let them have the freedom to decide what they want to learn. Because eventually some academic learning is going to come out of it, but just let them decide.
Traci Lockman 40:18
I would say on that note, Elisa too even maybe as opposed to asking them is to take them to the library and, and allow them to choose books, and then see what kind of books they choose at the library, because that is interest led, when they I know rule of thumb is however old your child is that that's how many books they check out at the library, which is fun. So your eight year old gets eight books or whatever, and I've had homeschool moms say, you know, they pick them out in the different, you know, aisles of the library of biographies or science or history. And, and so sometimes without even asking, you can glean those types of things from your child,
Terri Novacek 40:56
You know, along those lines to is go to Barnes and Noble in the periodical section, you know, the magazines? Yeah. See what magazines they get drawn to? and Shannon , what would you do this summer,
Shannon Reingold 41:09
I would recommend positive discipline to the parents should look at that book and philosophy in terms of just thinking about I know, some parents get scared because of routines. You know, how am I going to fit this all in? What routine am I going to create for my family? And I think starting with family meetings and really being able to get input from all family members on what their interests are, how are we going to work that how are we going to work together in a community to make this happen would be very useful. And then also, just learning the skills, one of the activities that we present is actually creating a routine chart for homeschooling. And it's all student led parent directed input. And I think that really empowers children and parents to work together. So that would be my suggestion is to really kind of look into that.
Elisa Hilliard 42:08
Yeah. And along those, those lines, Shannon, I was thinking to leading by example, I always pick something that I want to learn in the summer that maybe I happen to have a schedule where I don't work as many hours in the summer. So that's the time where I can learn something that I want to learn. I you know, I spent a lot of time in the garden and learning about gardening because I didn't know anything until my daughters decided they wanted to grow some plants. And I was like, Okay, I guess I'm gonna have to learn how to garden. But yeah, just leading by example, you know, sharing sometimes you don't even have to ask them, what books do you want to read by sharing? These are the books I want to read this summer I I've already got them, you know, are you planning to read anything and this leading by example, and really showing your kids if we're like, lifelong learners as adults, that gives them permission to Oh, this is something people do. This is what people do they plan, they look they revisit, I'm like, Oh, I really want to learn about this type. You know, I'm I love cooking. And that's one thing that we love to do at our house. And but there's still things I haven't learned. I've never made puff pastry. I'm like, that's something I want to do this summer, I want to make puff pastry from scratch, just because I want to and I want to learn how to do it. And then my kids are like, Oh, well, maybe I should pick something and I'm they're making decisions about what they want to make. Definitely leading by example, is another great way to get started with your kids.
Terri Novacek 43:33
Right? Well, it helps them realize, and get comfortable with the fact that mom and dad don't know everything, even though you think they do. They don't. And that's okay. And mom and dad make mistakes. Or we think we know something and then we find out later that we're wrong. And life goes on. And we're all okay. And that's just a part of life. And that's called learning.
Elisa Hilliard 44:00
And they learned so much from how we react to our mistakes.
Terri Novacek 44:04
Elisa Hilliard 44:05
Right. And how what a valuable lesson that is as to see adults reacting to mistakes in a positive way, in a way that embraces the fact that, hey, I'm still learning. And there's nothing wrong with making a mistake. I'm just going to do it better next time. And I'm going to try again and resiliency and this determination to learn different things because I'm pretty sure the puff pastry isn't gonna come out right the first time, but that's okay.
Terri Novacek 44:31
All righty. Well, thank you again so much for joining us today and for this conversation. And I'm going to reach out to each of you and ask you for maybe some sample like templates of things you've used, you know, Shannon, you're you're talking about the schedule, and those things that we could put in our show notes for our audience to have access to and and tweak as you know, they see fit for their family.
Terri Novacek 45:01
And there you have it from the experts permission to explore new options, make mistakes, change course, and put learning into the hands of the learner. Whether it be you or your children, ask yourself or your children or your students or your employees. What do you want to learn? Lead by example, as a lifelong learner, be comfortable showing others you don't know everything, but you're willing to take the initiative to learn it. And if you are a parent, or work with children, check out Positive Discipline. I didn't read this book until my children were nearly adults and I still found it useful. Change is not always for the better, but you don't know unless you try it right. Who knows? Change might just lead you to your element.