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Homeschooling: Changing the Narrative (Part I) – with Karlyn Sullivan & Kathryn Brannan

September 12, 2023

Introduction

Today, we dive into the intriguing and ever-evolving world of homeschooling. In Part I of our series, titled “If You Know You Know – Homeschooling: Changing the Narrative,” we are joined by two incredible guests, Kathryn Brannan and Karlyn Sullivan. These remarkable women have been homeschooling their own children for nearly two decades and have become experts in the field. 

Join us as we explore their personal journeys, the challenges they faced, the unique benefits of homeschooling, and the valuable resources available to parents who embark on this educational path. We also discuss how homeschooling has become more socially acceptable over the years and debunk some misconceptions surrounding it. So, grab your headphones, get comfortable, and prepare for an enlightening conversation that just might change your perspective on homeschooling. 

Stay tuned for Part II next week, where we delve into college admissions, specialized tutors, and the all-important topic of socialization concerns. Let’s begin this educational adventure together. 

Maren

So, I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, homeschool kids were always seen as weirdos. I mean, I’m just calling it how I see it. It was because it was different, right? But now more than ever, this style of learning is becoming more socially acceptable. 

For some parents, it’s because they want more control over the curriculum that their children are being exposed to in their education. Others want the flexibility of time to travel and experience life together more.

Or it could be because they live in a state that has specific mandates for inoculations that they are not giving to their children. Whatever the case may be, we’re seeing a popular rise in homeschooling, and despite only having an 18 month old baby, I am extremely open to the idea myself. 

While I personally love the idea, I’m quite the novice at all of it. So I decided to interview two experts on the subject and get their perspective. This is a lengthy interview, but truly one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever done to date. It opened my eyes to so much this week and next, you’ll hear from Karlyn Sullivan and Kathryn Brannan. 

They have been home educators for nearly two decades, and not only homeschooled their own children, but work as consultants to help students and families navigate the homeschool process, including the college admissions process. 

I had so many questions about curriculum, socialization, how it affects recruiting for sports, especially since I was a Division 1 athlete, and coach and so much more. There isn’t anything that we didn’t cover, and I’m so glad that they were open to having this conversation with me. 

Let’s dive into part one. All right, ladies. So, homeschooling, obviously, everyone has their AHA moment of why they want to take on homeschooling for their children. Some people, it’s just the way that they grew up, and they want to continue that culture within their family. Other people, it’s a breaking point where they are just over the system. 

In general. Some people are traveling all over the country based on their occupation, or maybe they’re in the military, whatever it may be, and so it’s just a better fit. But I would love for you to tell the audience what made you get involved with homeschooling and then also create this whole consulting firm to help other families.

So, Karlyn, why don’t you go first and introduce yourself and tell us a little background on yourself? 

Unveiling the Secrets of Successful Homeschooling: Insights from Karlyn Sullivan & Kathryn Brannan

Karlyn

Well, thanks for having us. We love talking about homeschooling, so this will be an exciting conversation. So my husband and I have four children. Three of them have graduated from college and are in their careers. 

Our fourth child is a sophomore in college, and we finish here in a little bit. And they were all four homeschooled all the way through, through high school. And our story came well for me. I started off all through public school, public university, so homeschooling was not on my radar at all until we started having children. 

Kathryn and I were part of a homeschool co-op, homeschool, preschool, little things like that. But there was a small christian private school that was starting in our community, and although I had this itch to homeschool, I didn’t have the courage to do it.

My husband was on the board of directors for the school, and so we just kind of got on that train of doing what all of our really close friends were doing. 

But I remember distinctly sitting in my family room, and Kathryn was over, and she was so excited about our children starting kindergarten. It was her oldest and my oldest, and I just had a pit in my stomach because I knew I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing, but I didn’t have the courage to do it. So we went to the school. 

The school was wonderful and amazing. There was nothing wrong with it, and it’s hard to leave something. I always say that’s not broken, and it wasn’t broken, but it’s just, you know, in the pit of your stomach, you’re just not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And I had no rest with it. 

And we had some health challenges with some other children we had to get through, but became evidently clear that we were to home school. So I remember the day my husband called and released the second grade position for our oldest.

Our second child was entering kindergarten. So our first child did go to school for two years, and he said, okay, that’s it, we’re homeschooling. And I wanted to throw up. I’m like, what in the world have I done?

Who am I to think that I can homeschool? And he’s, no, no. You’ve been pushing for this for two years, honey. This is what we’re doing. And so that’s how it got started for us. So, Kathryn, you want to share your background?

Kathryn

Well, mine is similar in some ways and different in others. So Karlyn and I have been very close friends for a long time. Our children are kind of like siblings. I have three boys. Her first three were girls, so that was their experience of brothers and sisters. And then Karlin had a boy. We stopped. 

First of all, we live in a neighborhood or an area where the public perception is that the public schools are wonderful. We live in the coveted school district, if you will. So that was always our plan. That was what we were going to do. 

When our eldest child went to kindergarten, he was going to go to the neighborhood schools like all of his cousins had, and then this school opened up in town that just had a different pedagogy in the way that they taught children. 

It was a classical school, and I made the big mistake of going to the open house, and I realized I wasn’t fleeing anything that existed in the schools, but I was drawn to the excellence. I also was a product of public school education. I did go to a private university, but the options for the excellence in education just really hit home for me. 

And so we started our eldest at the same time Karlyn did in kindergarten. We loved the school, we absolutely loved it, and it introduced me to a whole new way of educating a child that just really hit home to me as being healthy and right and good and rich and lots of connections. 

And it just was very well thought out. And so when it was time for our second child to start, we had some financial constraints with paying for the public school, and so I decided to start teaching there part time to help alleviate that.

And I did it for a period of time, and for me, this was the way that the Lord shut the door. It just didn’t work. I still had a two year old at home, and so we kind of got pushed into it. 

Like, I didn’t plan on doing this, but it became evident that if I wanted to continue this style of education, I was going to have to do it at home. It just wasn’t working for our family and our personality. 

And so we literally pulled out of the school, which we loved mid year, and started homeschooling in January, which seemed so scary at the time, but I had Karlyn there in my hip pocket. She had already been doing it for what, six whole months or four whole months. She was the expert at that. 

So she even though she was scared to death, she gave me a little courage to step into that space. And we went into it knowing, this may not be forever, we’re just going to try it, we’re going to see if it works. We’re going to see if this fits with our family, if I’m equipped to do this. 

Are the children flourishing? We’ll take it year by year. And so we jumped into it when I had a second grader, a Kindergartner and a preschooler, and we ended up year by year with lots of adventures along the way of trying other options that appeared within our community. 

We continued through the 8th grade for each of our boys, and then they all attended public high school. And so our story was a little different from Karlyn’s in that sense, but what it did was between the two of us, we tried just about every permutation of schooling options that were available. 

Some were a good fit, some were not. We learned by doing, and we made a lot of connections in doing so. And the end result, I do believe, was a healthy and rich education for all seven of our children combined. But they all looked very different. And would I change some things? 

Maybe a little bit. But all in all, just super grateful for the way that that experience helped to create these seven wonderful young adults that we’re now so excited for. And so we had this wealth of information. 

It was just… we tried a lot of things. We connected with a lot of people. We made mistakes. We figured out how to do things. And so Karlyn was the brave one, and she can tell you a little bit about why we started the business, which really she started and I joined. So why don’t you explain that, Karlyn?

Maren

Well, one of the things that Karlyn said that was heard before is you didn’t feel like you were equipped. You felt like what am I doing? You said you wanted to throw up at the thought of homeschooling your children. And to be real with you.

Lot of moms feel that way. And the reason why they feel that way is they think, well, I didn’t go to school to be an educator. Maybe they don’t have a four year degree. Maybe they went into some line of work where they’re in the service industry or they’re an aesthetician or whatever it may be. 

They have this misconception that I’m not educated enough to educate my children. And I don’t know if that’s a feeling that you had, but I know that I hear that a lot. Like, who am I to educate my kids? But at the end of the day, I believe that, and I pray for this every night, that God please equip me to be the best mom that I can be for my baby. 

And I believe that God does equip us as mothers to know what our children need. So my first question is, is that what you are feeling? And how do you help moms navigate past that negative thought that they have and go through the process and equip them to know that, hey, you can do this?

Karlyn

It’s funny. At the risk of sounding braggy on paper, you would think that I would have confidence in educating my children. I had an elementary early childhood degree from a four year university. 

I started a preschool and took it a national accreditation. Everything on paper would say, oh, she can do it. None of that prepared me or qualified me to be a homeschool mom at all. I think what is the biggest roadblock, like you said, is people feeling confident in doing what they’ve been called by the Lord to do. 

And if you’ve been called, you will be equipped. You do not have to have a college degree. You do not have to be educated as a teacher, you have to have a desire to provide a rich learning experience with your children. 

And I always say for multiple children, if you can somehow make the chicken, the rice and the vegetables get on the dining room table within about ten minutes from each other, you can homeschool multiple children. 

It’s a juggling act and it’s not sitting around the table for 8 hours and your children calling you blessed. And it doesn’t look like school at home. And so it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect and lovely at all times. 

But if you have a strong desire to do it, it is very possible, whether you have a college degree, whether you like what you said in the service industry, school doesn’t have to happen from 08:00 A.m. To 04:00 p.m. 

It can happen on Saturdays, it can happen in the evenings, you can take the morning off and you can homeschool in the afternoon. If you are a somewhat organized and disciplined person, you will provide a rich environment. 

And now, having even said that, it doesn’t mean you have to be so type A. I’m kind of type A, and so is Kathryn. And we have worked with clients that love the Charlotte Mason and the More Montessori approach. 

That’s not what we chose, but that doesn’t mean that what we did was right and what they’re doing is wrong. So every personality style out there can find a rich homeschooling environment for their children. 

Yes, they will continue their education if they choose to. Yes, they will become successful, self-sufficient products in society. It’s not the backwards saying it used to be thought of. It’s a very mainstream trade industry. 

Colleges are very much looking for homeschooling students as well. It’s no longer this weird stay at home because the truancy officer is going to come get you. That doesn’t happen anymore.

Maren

No, for sure. And I feel like especially now, given the state of the world, people are clawing at the idea of and to Kathryn’s point about cost, I’m in Florida and I’m in Palm Beach County, which to be real with you, the public school systems around here are trash. 

Most kids are going to private Christian schools. And to kind of put that in perspective for people, that could be anywhere from $12,000 a year per child up to there are certain private schools around here that are close to $20,000 a year. 

And I know people that are so invested in their children, obviously, and their education, but they feel also it’s not just a feeling, it’s just time constraints too, where they can’t physically be at home to homeschool. 

But so they have taken those jobs in the private schools in order to pay for their child’s education, because they’re not one of these Palm Beach Island people where they can afford to send 20 kids. 

If they want to go to a private school, they have to be the golf coach. They have to be teaching a science class. They have to be whatever it may be so that their child can go to school there for free. 

So one of the things you mentioned, Kathryn, was the different modalities that you use and the different styles. And we all know that every child, because a child’s just like us as an adult, like different personalities, and they gravitate towards different styles of learning. 

So how does a parent navigate that as far as their older child? Maybe go towards a Montessori approach, right? Very structured. Take it out, put it away. Or this is when you start, this is when you finish. And then you have maybe your youngest child is more free spirited and wants to do the homework, like Karlyn said on a Saturday and wants their Monday.

How do you do that? Balance of the different personalities. But also you have to have some sort of structure so you, as the mom, don’t go crazy.

Kathryn

So, Maren, first of all, I would say as a parent or a husband and a wife making a decision about their school, I do think it needs to be parent led. So one of the challenges of homeschooling is the relational part of it. And you are going to be with your children a lot. 

And that’s wonderful. And it’s a joy to be with your children, but you’re going to be dealing with different personalities, different challenges. You’re going to need to keep short accounts with your children. You’re going to be doing a lot of apologizing and asking for forgiveness because you are living close. 

You’re living life close, and that’s its own set of challenges. But there has to be an establishment of a family culture. We’re in a team. This is our home school. So we are doing this so that all the children can flourish. But as a parent, you know your children better than anyone else, and so you are able to make decisions about how the day looks. 

Now, I would say caution is required in just allowing a child to do whatever a child wants to do, right? That’s not good for children. Children, they need challenges in order to grow and they need boundaries so that they can feel safe and feel like somebody is in charge and somebody loves me and I might love parts of it and not so much love other parts of it. 

That’s good for their character, for them to grow in those ways. That being said, I think we as parents, if we’re homeschooling, have the responsibility and the freedom to choose particular ways of learning for our children that suit them well. 

So I think it needs to be a blend of what their natural personalities are, applying it to their natural personalities, but also challenging them to grow in other ways because we want our children to be able to function well in society. 

We want them to be able to, first of all, have a foundation of strong academic skills because they will need those skills as they grow. And we don’t know what’s ahead. So we need to prepare them for, okay, what if we homeschool for two years, but then my child is going to be going and might go into a school two years from now.

So we want our children to be equipped. So we need to make a solid plan for them to develop appropriate developmental skills. So they’re going to need math. And if they don’t like math, you know what? 

But there are different curricula for math. There are computer driven math courses. There are hands on with younger years math courses where you’re doing a lot of play money and manipulatives and things like that. 

But your children are going to need to learn their multiplication tables. And that might not be comfortable for your child, but there are lots of ways to make it fun. We can do it with a game, we can do it with a song, we can do it with manipulatives, we can do it marching around the house so you can adapt. I recall that. 

And this was one of the beautiful parts about homeschooling multiple children is we would study a particular period of history and all three boys were different ages and different ability levels, but it involved a lot of reading aloud. 

As long as they were quiet, I would let them build with their Legos while I was reading aloud to them. And so for those children who need busyness, they need to be doing something with their hands or they would be coloring or whatever. 

But there was always a mixture of sit down work and this was when we were in the home. Sit down, work, reading, work, active things that we would do together and then going outside. And you can just mix all of that in because you are in control of your schedule.

Maren

So when you talk about subjects, right, so say not so much math, because obviously math for a five year old is going to be different than math for a nine year old. Of course, right. But let’s just pretend you were doing some sort of liberal arts where you’re talking about artists, right?

Pretend you’re talking about Van Gogh. I don’t is that I’m assuming right? That is something that there are certain subject matters, I would assume, whether it’s nature, maybe certain things. If you’re discussing animals or biology or whatever it may be that you could be doing simultaneously, like for your five year old and your nine year old so that they’re learning together as opposed to Johnny’s nine and Tommy’s five, that he knows this information and the little guy doesn’t, that you could do things together. I think about my mom. She was a teacher, right?

So my mom taught for 45 years. So I’m very skilled in understanding the public education system, and I myself used to substitute teach to make extra money when I was in college and beyond that. So I know that for her, she’s very old school.

She loved teaching different subjects. She didn’t love when it was the same thing, like preparing them for a test. She wanted to really enrich them. But with that being said, she didn’t care that they were only in fifth grade.

She was teaching them the classics. They were reading Treasure Island. They were reading… what else did she read? A Christmas Carol. They were reading Charles Dickens like you couldn’t believe. Tale of Two Cities, all of the things they weren’t reading, like, I got what is it? Diary of a wimpy kid. They were not reading that in Joan Crowley’s class. Okay.

Karlyn

Trust and believe

Maren

But I just think, is that something that’s possible? Because then it kind of takes the weight off the parent in a way that you’re not having to come up with these different, for lack of better term, lesson plans for your child, that you can kind of mold it together and take the weight off yourself, but yet your children are learning together, too. It kind of makes a stronger bond for everyone, I would think.

Kathryn

Karlyn, you want to chime in on that? I could chime in a lot.

Karlyn

We did most of all of what we’d call it anything that wasn’t reading, writing and arithmetic. Those were very much based on the ability and the grades that the child was working in. 

Clearly, the kindergartner is not doing the same math. So those were very segregated. But anything other than that, we did it together. The geography lessons, the history lessons, the science lessons. 

So I’ll go with the Van Gogh thing. So you decide that you want to do a unit study on Van Gogh. So you study Van Gogh, you pull up pictures, you pull up coloring sheets. You’re reading a biography out loud to them as they’re coloring.

Now, this would be like a younger elementary. So again, the four year old, the six year old and the eight year old, everyone’s happy coloring Van Gogh.

They’re not doing math, so they’re thrilled. It’s a break. Then if you have an older child, after you do the read aloud for Van Gogh, then you can have them write a paper on the history of Van Gogh. 

Someone else can do an art project on Van Gogh. You can study the area where he was. Again, you just base it on the interest of the children and different activities. As far as lesson plans go, I’m glad you brought that up. 

There are no written out lesson, it’s not that formalized. Some people do that. But good heavens, I think you’d pull your hair out after like, the first month. And I think another problem is people buy these packaged, all inclusive curriculum just for a child. 

So you’ll have the 8th grade and the 6th grade and the fifth grade. Well, they’re all on a different science. They’re all in a different history. And for me, I was like, I did that the first year, and I said, I cannot do this any longer. Way too much micromanagement.

The three Rs, you separated everything else. We throw it in together and learn as a family. That creates family bonding. 

Dad would read aloud. We were all doing everything together, which, like you said, increases relationships, learning. And even the five year old listening to the history of Van Gogh, are they getting everything? 

No, but they’ve heard the word Van Gogh. They know the type of art they might learn: Impressionists or Monet or something like that. So I think that’s a wonderful way of doing it and not being tied down to this curriculum.

COVID-19 challenges not representative of homeschooling

Maren

And they feel included with their siblings. Because I read this book, it’s called Outliers. I actually have it on my shelf somewhere. I forget who the heck writes it. But anyway, the Outlier, I’m looking for it and I can’t find it. Or maybe it’s The Talent Code. 

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. It’s one of those two books. Either way, you should read both of those books. But the whole point I’m trying to make is that they did this study where they found that the youngest sibling actually made these advances a lot faster than the first child because the youngest one is watching, and all they want to do is keep up and be included with big brother, big sister, whatever. 

So I bet a lot of parents end up surprising themselves that the little five year old can kind of keep up with the nine year old, and it doesn’t have to be this black and white like you said, all these different materials. 

And I think that’s why a lot of parents, quite frankly, are nervous about homeschooling, because their first experience with it for a lot of people was during COVID and during COVID they were getting lesson plans, right? 

So they had because what is your typical public school? If you have three different kids in kindergarten, third grade, fifth grade, are going to have totally different books that they’re reading, sciences that they’re learning, they’re going to be learning about different parts of history, right? 

Which is always mind blowing to me. I love watching homeschool kids learn history together. Like they get it. You could be five years old and understand who Betsy Ross is, and you can be ten years old and learn who Betsy Ross is. 

You know what I’m saying? So these homeschooling, these public school parents, I think they’re tentative because they got burnt out during COVID and they’re like, I can’t do this. And to your point, earlier they were at home with their children for the first time for very long extended periods of time. 

And not only was there no reprieve, so to speak, with the school work, but they couldn’t go anywhere elsewhere. Like homeschooling, parents can travel, they can go to the zoo for an experience, they can go to the library. 

And because everything was shut down, your options, especially if you were living in a cold weather state, were very limited. And so I think that that’s something that we really need to understand, is that our time period in COVID is not what homeschooling has to look like.

The Importance of Homeschooling:
“That was not an exposure to what homeschooling is and can be… So that would be a very unfair and inaccurate picture of the richness and joy of homeschooling.”
~Karlyn Sullivan

Kathryn

You are correct. That was not an exposure to what homeschooling is and can be. There’s no control. You’re completely at the mercy of what someone else is choosing for your child to do, and there’s no accommodation for family schedules and all the points you brought up. 

People had very limited options. So that would be a very unfair and inaccurate picture of the richness and joy of homeschooling.

Karlyn

I did another podcast during that time, and we called it Crisis Schooling. Everybody was in crisis mode, and one of the worst things that the parents experienced was they didn’t have access to the teacher’s manual. 

I mean, let’s just be real. Sometimes math, if you haven’t done algebra one in a very long time, that teacher manual is really helpful. So a lot of them were expected to teach their children and they’re like, I don’t know what any of this is anymore. 

And then we feel inadequate, we feel dumb. So we throw our hands in the air and say, forget it. And no, it was not a good representation at all.

Homeschooling schedule: flexible, organized, focused, independent.

Maren

Now, you mentioned the structure, right? So people are used to dropping their child off at whatever, 7:30 in the morning, kids done at 2:30 or 3:00, whatever it may be. Right? 

But let’s be honest, as someone who obviously I went through all of public schooling, my mom was an educator. The child is not learning that whole time. No. And I think that’s what a lot of parents are thinking. 

They’re like, oh my gosh, I’m going to have to be on, I’m using air quotes on for these 8 hours. I know every family is different, but let’s just say let’s try to have an average or a typical homeschooling family. 

What does their day probably look like? I know there needs to be some sort of structure, but as far as curriculum, where you need to be obviously making sure that your child’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing and having your boundaries, I believe wholeheartedly in boundaries. 

What does that look like? Because you and I both know that it’s not 8 hours. So what does that look like for parents? Let them have some ease because I think they’re really worried about this.

Kathryn

So I would say one of the really great things about homeschooling is that we did not have to get up at the crack of dawn so we would get good sleep. Based upon what happened the night before, we would be up and moving around between seven and eight in our family. 

Some of the boys, as they got a little bit older, so we always worked off, because I’m a very organized person, we tended to work off sort of a checklist system for the boys. So they knew every day the things that they needed to get done. 

So if they wanted to get started early, sometimes they would get up early and they would start their math right away when they began to be more self directed, like in mid to later elementary school. 

So as they got older but we would get going, we would have breakfast, we would have typical time at the table, might have a morning devotion. That was part of our family’s routine. And then we had different things because we were following the classical method. 

So we had a history timeline that we did every day. And we would start small and add to it. And so we were moving around doing motions and reciting, chanting a history timeline. We had different memory work that we were working on all the time.

So we would do that together and then we would kind of break apart and we tended to make the mornings, if possible, our focus, let’s get through most everything that we can get through. 

And so we had sort of a loose schedule. There were certain things that I might do together with two boys at a particular time and then they would go off and do the stuff that they could do by themselves. 

But I was very on in the morning. And so when a child, if it’s a first grader and it’s math, then that child needs me to focus on him for a particular period of time to go over and explain the concept. 

And we might have manipulatives, and we’re working with math. And then I get him started on doing his independent part, and then I turn to another boy and say, okay, let me check what you just did, because he’s been working, and he needs something to be checked. 

So we’re just kind of juggling going back and forth. When I had a really little one, I will say this. When I started homeschooling, the one who was in pre k, he went to preschool in the morning a few days a week. And that was helpful for him to be in a preschool so that I could kind of get through the three r’s… the reading, writing, arithmetic with the other boys, and then that child would nap in the afternoon. 

And so there were a few other things that were a good time to get done in the afternoon. So we just kind of looked at our schedule, and we had goals for what we wanted to get through. And again, I’m not inventing anything. I’ve got a spelling curriculum, and we’re working through the spelling curriculum just a little bit every day. I’m not creating it. 

I have it. It’s right here. But I also have the freedom to go, you know what? That extra lesson, that’s busy work. I don’t think that’s important. I’m going to skip over that lesson. I have the freedom to do that.

Maren

And say, I want people to know that you’re not expected to just go on pinterest and instagram and come up with these lesson plans on your own.

Karlyn

Not at all.

Kathryn

And there is so much out there, and there’s stuff on there that you can do on the computer, and there’s curriculum out there, and it’s not that expensive. And there are people out there like, we have people come to us, and they’re like, we don’t know where to start. 

And we’re like, okay, well, here’s a couple of math curriculums you might want to look at. This one’s pretty easy to implement. Here’s a good spelling one. It’s simple. Here’s a vocabulary here’s. Oh, we love this literature based history program. 

You can just read excellent books to your children, and they’re doing a little journal to go along with it. I’m not inventing this stuff. It’s out there. And so you pick and choose, and you find the things that are excellent that work for you. 

The Joy of Relearning:
“One of the things I want to kind of circle back to for those parents who do not feel equipped, I want those parents to know that it is such a joy to go back and relearn stuff as an adult. It’s a journey. We are learning alongside our children.”
~Karlyn Sullivan

And just in the same way that we might introduce a concept to a child in elementary school, maybe something about science, well, then they’re going to circle back, and they’re going to take a science class of some sort in the 7th or 8th grade, a physical science, a general science course. 

So they’re going to kind of loop back around, and they’re going to hear things they’ve heard before, but they’re going to go deeper into that subject, and then they’re going to move into high school, and they’re going to start taking chemistry and biology. 

They’re going to go even deeper. So they’re understanding it grows. So you expose them to it in the younger years, and then you repeat they get exposed to it again in their middle years, and they have a different set of skills then and then again in high school, and then they figure out what they like, and then they go to college and pursue their interests. So the pressure is off.

Flexibility and individual attention in Homeschooling

Homeschooling allows for flexibility in scheduling, giving your family the freedom to incorporate experiential learning opportunities and cater to your child’s personal interests. Additionally, the one-on-one attention homeschooling provides can foster a deeper understanding of subjects and promote academic growth.

Maren

Right. And I think what’s important, too, you mentioned about the curriculum and that you’re in control because what we’re seeing in society is that history is being erased. So children are not learning what I learned, what you learned. They’re not even getting to read the same books. 

So I think that that’s very empowering for parents. Is that, like I was mentioning about my mom, you can give your child the classics, and obviously it’s written in a form that a fifth grader can understand with the vocabulary, but they’re not having to read these books that are influencing them in ways that maybe don’t align with your family’s values. 

And I think that that is huge. Now, do either one of you and do you do any of your children play sports or Kathryn do they play sports at even or not even sports, too, or like an instrument or something like that?

Kathryn

All of the above for both of us.

Karlyn

My oldest daughter, even though she was home schooled all the way through or they all were, they took classes at the public high school, and then they also ran and played sports for that public high school. 

So we allowed them to do that because our oldest one in particular wanted to experience high school. So we let her take, like, math and chorus and driver zip, and then she came home and finished her classes. We didn’t want her to take the literatures and the histories and sciences for the reason that you said for the material that was being taught.

Maren

So what does that look like? Karlyn? So would she just go in for the first half of the morning or the afternoon?

Karlyn

Yeah, so we met with the principal, and they said we couldn’t do it. So I went in knowing my law. I’m also from Florida, and it is allowed. So I gently educated him that, yes, we were allowed to do this. 

And so it was challenging to get on the same page, but we did. And so she went in and did first, second, and third period every day and then came home and then she just left campus and came back. 

And then she went and did dual enrollment and then our second daughter did it for a year, and the third daughter did it for a semester. Fourth son, again, like you said, how they watch their older siblings. He goes, I’m not getting up at 6:30 in the morning to go take some dumb math class. I’ll just do it at home, and get the same benefit. So they do learn from each other.

Maren

Because I’m thinking of being in Florida, right? And my husband and I are both golf know that’s an individual sport, but it can be a team sport as and you know, they have teams in high school and obviously in college, but being in South Florida, I would rather have my kid, like, if they’re going to be playing, taking a lesson, playing, practicing early in the morning and then come home and do their schoolwork or vice versa, get all their schoolwork done. 

And then when it’s cooling down, eventually it does cool down here. Not in the summer, but later in the afternoon, or I just even think about the daylight, right? So you would want your child practicing earlier in the morning when they have the daylight, and then when it’s getting dark around five, they’re maybe finishing up their schoolwork and then getting ready, boom, going into dinner, so to speak. 

So I like the flexibility that homeschooling provides. The other thing that I was thinking of is, I remember because my mom was a teacher and she was a teacher for 45 years, so she could only go on vacation, so to speak, when every other kid in America was off. 

And that was so frustrating because now you’re paying for premium prices on airlines, you’re booking hotels, every, every kid in America is off, so to speak. But now when you have homeschooling, you can take that vacation whenever.

It doesn’t have to be on this strict schedule of hey, it’s February break, or hey, it’s spring break here, or whatever it may be. I think that’s really cool as well, or even starting school. 

I loved what Kathryn said at one point during the interview. We are learning alongside our children. As you know, I believe that each and every day we need to be growing. It’s what makes us renaissance people. 

I love that the opportunity of homeschooling provides us with this chance to learn or relearn subjects alongside our kids. Next week’s episode, we will dive further into homeschooling with Karlyn and Kathryn. 

We will learn how to successfully set kids up for the college admissions process. What it looks like to have tutors for your children who want to become more advanced in a particular subject, such as a foreign language or a science, and the question that everyone seems to worry about the moment you tell them that your children are going to be homeschooled, but what about their socialization? 

We will squash your fears on that topic, too, so make sure you tune in next week for part two of the interview. Thanks for listening to the If You Know, you know podcast. I hope this episode resonated with you.

If you want to get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast next. See you next week. And remember, if you know, you know. And if you don’t, well, you’re about to.

Interested in learning more about homeschooling from Karlyn and Kathryn? Be sure to check out their website https://homeschooluconsulting.com/

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