unschooling: an interview

Happy Monday, friends! Thanks to everyone who has bought my new e-book. As of the writing of this post, y’all had bought 49 copies on Amazon. THANK YOU! I would love to get to 50 today. (And then 75. And 100.).

Today I’m handing the blog over to my online friend, Kim. Take it away, friend!

Me: Hi, Kim. Tell us a little bit about yourself (including how we got connected online).

Kim: My husband, Mark, and I have known each other most of our lives and have been married for 25 years. We worked together with Youth for Christ, started an Awana club at a large church and directed that for several years, then went into foster care for the next 5 years. We play in our church’s orchestra (he on viola, me on bass guitar) and just love to be together as much as possible. Years ago, when performing with other magicians in Tucson, we met Marla’s uncle and his daughter. Through the Facebook connections with them, we discovered Marla, who shares many of our passions and philosophies.

I live with chronic pain and fatigue due to a genetic connective tissue disorder…my birth children struggle with it as well. Due to that, and my husband’s own health challenges, we live on a whole food, gluten free, mostly organic diet, and we avoid toxins in our environment as much as possible. They call me the “whole food evangelist” and I run a huge buying club to get the best prices on good food and other safe products for our families!

Me: Now tell us about your kids (their names, ages, etc.).

Kim: We have 3 birth-daughters: Jordan, 22; Moriah, 17; Bethany, 15. And 2 sons adopted via foster care: Daniel, 9; Joshua, 7 (full sibs that we’ve had since birth).

Here are the girls’ blogs where they share some tidbits of writing, sewing, nutrition, photography, music, spiritual insight, and other passions… Jordan’s blog. Moriah’s blog

Me: When did you start your homeschooling (unschooling) journey?

Kim: We like to say that we’ve been homeschooling for 23 years! Everyone starts “schooling” their children shortly after conception as they talk and sing to their babies in utero and after birth. They teach them to walk, talk, and experience their world. At some point most people hand over all that learning and fun to someone else who works at a school, but some of us just keep going and teach the next thing.

We didn’t set out to homeschool for their whole educational lives, but that’s what happened. We tried to use miscellaneous curriculum but found they excelled best when the learning was “delight directed”. (Or as with our stubborn, redheaded first-born, “what was HER idea”!)

Me: What are some of your thoughts/philosophies about how/what kids learn?

Kim: Our philosophy might be called lifelong learning. We don’t want our children to be buckets full of facts, but motivated, humble, teachable organisms who continually take in and efficiently process the information they need to excel in their current given sphere of influence. We want to inspire them to spend their lifetime taking in information and synthesizing it for the greatest good in their families, churches, workplaces and world.

We are also Jesus followers, and the most important thing we want them to leave our home with is the desire and ability to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We teach them everything through the filter of the Bible–a Christian Worldview. And we teach them to think for themselves by not spoon feeding them tradition and the status quo…we want them to reason through the knowledge and issues to come up with their own convictions and understanding. Always pointing them to God and His Word, because He is the great giver of all wisdom.

Me: What advantages/disadvantages do you see to your kids’ education (compared to a more traditional one)?

Kim: Our children are all so different….one was a homebody seamstress who won a national competition and was featured in Threads magazine, while another travelled to Africa when she was ages 10 & 13. They can focus on honing their respective talents, gifts and callings while they pursue knowledge to support their interests.

Math wasn’t appealing until it was needed in real life for sewing. Those skills were used to construct historically accurate garments to wear in civil war time reenactments. Geography became less abstract as world travels were mapped out. The science of botany came to life via colorful vegetables from the backyard (no small task when you live in the Sonoran Desert!) Musical skills were used for leading worship and choreographing performances. Study of anatomy led to nutritional adventures as we learned how good bacteria in our guts is so beneficial to our brains and bodies (and is easy to get in via food fermented on the counter!) etc …

Me: Thanks so much, Kim! Anything else you’d like to share with the class?

Kim: Yes, here are two key Scriptures for us:

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV) “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Our minds have been transformed and renewed by God so that we see life from a different point of view than non-Christians (and many Christians for that matter!). It’s hard to go against societal norms and American culture, but we try to hold up the Word of God as our standard, not any common core, scope and sequence, or other worldly definition of education. What He asks us to do, we will do, and I guess that would include any school setting He led our children to, be it seminary, college, tech school or whatever.

At this point, our only adult child is an intern with the pro-life group Justice for All. She’s learning valuable skills on the job (mentoring, teaching, administration, etc), getting to travel all over the U.S., and meeting new people who can enrich her life. She’s far from home, lived with a family for a few months, and is now transitioning to a roommate situation. She desires to marry and run a household but is willing to spend her single years serving God in whatever way He puts before her. There is no greater joy than seeing your children walk in truth…

Me: Thanks so much for sharing your story, Kim. It’s good to hear from someone a lot further down the road than I am.

For the rest of you: What questions/comments do you have for Kim and/or her girls?

2 thoughts on “unschooling: an interview

  1. Jordan

    I just want to say that Kim is an amazing unschool mom. I didn’t always appreciate her, but that was my fault, not hers. I am so blessed to call her my mother.

    –Jordan

    PS If anyone has questions for an unschool graduate, feel free to ask 🙂

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