An Interview with 4 Second-Generation Homeschooling Moms!


What do you get when you have two sets of homeschooled sisters who are now homeschooling their own children? Well, you have a terrifically informative blog called NextGen Homeschool and a whole lot of homeschooling “know-how”, that’s what!

Lets Homeschool High School was THRILLED to get to pick the brains of Renee, Rosanna, Elizabeth, and Cristina about their lives as homeschoolers AND currently homeschooling moms. And we know you are going to benefit from their interview responses, and enjoy getting to know these lovely ladies.

Let’s get right to the interview!!…….

LetsHSHS: First of all, could you each tell us a little bit about yourself?

Rosanna: I’m a wife of 20 years, have 4 children, I was homeschooled from 1984-1988 or 8th grade to graduation. I started ORU at 16 and graduated in 1997 with a B.S. in Recreation Administration. We started homeschooling our own children in 2004. My older 2 have graduated. I have an 8 year old currently being homeschooled and also a 2 year old. The older 2 were girls and the younger 2 are boys – quite a change! Our family owns 2 Daylight Donut shops.

Cristina: I was homeschooled from 6th grade through high school. Before then I attended the local public school. I am the second oldest of 8 children. My first feelings about staying home were positive because I hated getting up for school. I was a good student, even “gifted” in the public school system (mostly because I just did my work and my mom was involved), but was shy and usually had one friend I stuck by. At home, I did most of my work on my own and by 10th grade a attended the local jr. college for elective type courses and started working at a restaurant when I was 17. Back then it was kinda weird to say you homeschooled, so I always just said I went to the Christian school we were affiliated with. My friends were mainly through church youth group or eventually through the jr. collage or work. By 10th grade I clearly had an art bent so I took classes like ceramics, painting, drawing and photography. I continued at the jr. college and working to pay for my education until I was a junior in college at which time I transferred to Point Loma for Graphic Design (p.s. I did not take the S.A.T) and even got scholarships. I ended up not staying at Point Loma for personal reasons back at home, but went to a bible school for a year, then the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA and was finished with school in 1999 with only an A.A. Soon after I was recruited by the Gap and moved to San Fransisco.

I have 2 kids, 7 and 4. We live in Concord, CA, 45 min from San Francisco. I’ve lived in the bay area for about 13 years. My husband grew up here. I moved up from LA in 2000 when I landed a job at the Gap Headquarters in the Marketing department. After we got married in 2004, my husband and I spent 2 years in Nicaragua, where I became a stay at home mom with my first child, Elijah, and he (my husband) worked at an American school there while we also helped with a church plant. We moved back to the states in 2008 and I had my second child, my daughter Arielle. My husband is currently a high school teacher at his old public high school. We both feel that homeschooling is the best option for us right now, though one income in the bay area keeps us living in a cottage behind my in-laws!:)

Renee: I am a wife of 18 years, writer, entrepreneur & home-educating mother of three daughters: Audrey, Claire and Elise. I was homeschooled during my last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010, when my eldest two daughters were starting 2nd and 4th grade. Prior to homeschooling, they attended a Catholic elementary school in Durango, CO and private Christian preschool/kindergarten in Portland, OR. A former journalist, I am currently editor of NextGen Homeschool (http://nextgenhomeschool.com) and I blog on personal topics at A New Chapter (http://reneegotcher.com). My family lives in Castle Rock, Colorado. I love outdoor sports, living near the mountains, hobby photography, writing and traveling with my family.

Elizabeth: I am Elizabeth Thomas, and I was homeschooled my entire school life other than college. I have 5 daughters and I am currently homeschooling 4 of them – – the youngest is 5 months old – –  all girls. I swore I would never homeschool my own children I also said I was only having 1 child and it would be a boy….lol… but anyway, when I realized my middle daughter Faith was struggling, and the small town public school she was in was doing very little to help her, my idea of education changed and now I understand more then ever that “social” skills are not learned in school. In fact, unless you’re a “self-motivated self-learner” not much is learned in public school, and if you have a different learning style you may not even learn to read or do simple math!  Like my parents I realized this, but was angry that I had to do “someone else’s job….oh wait…duh it’s MY job!!!” Anyway, it’s been hard, and I have weeks where I feel like this is just too hard to do, but honestly I love my children more than myself so I use that as motivation and find joy in watching them learn…I did not wake up one day wanting to be a teacher, that’s for sure! I know now that.I was born a teacher and my children were born students and it’s not as hard as I make it.

LetsHSHS: In your personal experience, what has benefited you most from BEING a homeschooler?

Renee: Although I was only homeschooled for two years in high school, the experience opened up my eyes to what was possible for my children once I became a mother. At first, I was uncomfortable with the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling because I was so used to the structure and standards of traditional school. I constantly thought my mom wasn’t doing “enough” because school only took a few hours, we didn’t cover all subjects every day, and we did so many different projects that didn’t feel like “school” to me. However, once I entered college, I quickly began to see the value of opportunities to learn “outside the box” that I had received in those two years of homeschooling. I realized my mom was able to customize our learning to each child, and more importantly, help us strengthen our faith and values before leaving home for college.

LetsHSHS: In your personal experience what has benefited your CHILDREN most from being homeschooled:

Rosanna: Independence and being able to think and learn for themselves. My daughters could go out right now and run a small business or be hired and be a huge asset for another business. They have a great work ethic and they know how to think efficiently and independently.

 LetsHSHS: How do you choose homeschool curricula? What criteria do you use?

Cristina: It’s terrible to say this. As much as I am grateful that I did not have to attend high school (I know this because my husband is a high school teacher and I often chaperone with him on field trips and footballs games and am appalled by what is happening socially with the students),  I avoided homeschool books I saw on my mother’s shelf during our homeschool years and reached for something I had heard of but didn’t know much about. That’s when I read “For the Children’s Sake” which led me to a Charlotte Mason inspired curricula. Some of my favorite resources: simplycharlottemason.com, queenhomeschool.com and ambleside.com. I do not follow any of these directly, but use them as a guide for planning and choosing the best of what works for us. I avoid the conventions because I fear my own tendency to spend money i don’t have or just get something that looks amazing but we don’t need. Most of the above is downloadable or library resources.

 LetsHSHS: As homeschoolers we learn so much from each other. What is one “secret” to successful homeschooling that you would be willing to share with us?

Renee: It’s hard to choose just one! I think the most important thing a homeschooling mom needs to know is that she is uniquely created by God to homeschool her children. Comparing yourself to any other homeschooler, or applying someone else’s standards of success (especially traditional school standards!) to what you do, leads to destructive self-doubt and can completely sabotage your homeschooling mission. If you’re thinking of homeschooling or already homeschooling and don’t know what the heart of your homeschooling mission is, it’s time to pray and come together with your spouse about it. Trust in the Lord for the success of your homeschooling, let God and His word be your guide, and do not hold yourself to unreasonable expectations that God hasn’t placed on you. When you know exactly why YOU are homeschooling, then you will have confidence in making the decisions that are right for YOUR homeschooling family and peace about your role in educating your children.

 LetsHSHS: What role does your husband play in your homeschooling life:

Cristina: My husband supports all my decisions in what I choose for curriculum. I bounce ideas off him. I ask him to help me prioritize my outside activities. He reads aloud whatever I ask him too:) He gives me a lot a grace for not having a perfectly clean and organized house, more than I give myself.

LetsHSHS: Did you personally graduate from high school? If so, what would you say was the key advantage of your high school homeschooling experience?

Rosanna: The key advantage for me was independence. I am a voracious reader and I was able to move at my own pace, do school when I wanted and read the rest of the time. I am definitely a lifelong learner – always learning new things.

LetsHSHS: Did you personally discover any disadvantages of homeschooling in the high school years?

Renee: The hardest part about being homeschooled in high school was leaving behind the social norms of high school, such as proms, being a cheerleader, school plays, etc. I had been very socially active in high school, and I had a hard time letting go of that social circle. However, my mom did her best to keep me active in other ways, such as youth group, choir and church plays, missions trips, and interning with local businesses. Two of my closest friends today, 25 years later, came from my high school youth group: We even ended up attending the same Christian university together. Personally, I believe that my mom’s decision to homeschool me literally plucked me off the wrong social path and placed me in a new path where my relationships strengthened my faith and gave me the lasting support I needed.

LetsHSHS: Do you plan on homeschooling your children through high school? If so, what plans have you made (will you make) toward planning for high school homeschooling?

Rosanna: Yes, I have already had 2 graduate. I kept a notebook/portfolio with their credit classes and curriculum syllabi and any tests or special papers. ACT/SAT test prep should have been more of a priority – both my girls did fine but were very anxious and are smart enough that they could have done better but hated the experience too much to want to try it again.

LetsHSHS: What is your favorite feature of the LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com website, and how will it play into your high school homeschooling plans?

Renee: My favorite feature is that it’s a comprehensive, one-stop shop that is easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for quickly. The printouts are valuable, the article topics are very relevant, and I believe that anyone with questions about homeschooling through high school would find the support, resources and guidance they are looking for at this website.

 For more info from these terrific moms, don’t forget to drop by NextGen Homeschool!


April 23, 2013

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