Welcome to part two of my interview with homeschooling gurus Karlyn Sullivan and Kathryn Brannan. This week, we’re going to dive into the social skills that are built with homeschooling, talk about the benefits of the flexible schedule it provides, and how all of this learning translates into a positive college experience.
I know one of the biggest hurdles parents have to overcome is the judgment of others, which can oftentimes lead to guilt. Am I depriving my kids of a normal childhood? Are they getting enough time with their peers?
Is this the right decision for our family? Listen to this episode and be encouraged by Karlyn and Kathryn’s personal experience, as well as the lives they have been impacting with their homeschooling consulting business.
Obviously, parenting and educating your child is a 365 deal, but I mean more of the quote schooling.
I think. Again, it’s based on the families we chose and Kathryn did as well. We kind of followed the traditional schooling calendar because our children were involved with sports and you just kind of had them on the same track as their friends who were in the public or private schools. I know some families who will, particularly in Florida, like to go to school during the summer because it’s so blazing hot. But when? Florida. I always say when?
You know, September, October, November. That’s their break. They take those three months off and it works well for their families. So you definitely have that freedom to choose when you do it. We would school till may have an end date, but then we did typically do math, a different math curriculum.
Kathryn, I did basically the same thing throughout the summer just to kind of keep their hands in it just a little bit because we didn’t want these brains to come back in August and go, what’s two plus two?
So and that gave some structure to our summer days as well, particularly because it was hot. And one thing I wanted to talk about before Kathryn chimes in about that as well, when, you know, getting to take I’ll just use golf as an example. Golf lessons in the morning versus midday when it’s hot.
What people I want your listeners to realize is that when schooling is done for the day, there is no homework. So traditional, we call them brick and mortar. So the brick and mortar students are gone from 7:30 to 3:30. And how much on task educating was accomplished in those hours? Maybe 3 hours, maybe three and a half if that. Because there’s just a lot of downtime changing classes and all that stuff, or waiting for Johnny to understand the concept and stuff like that.
So they come home and then they have these hours, sometimes 3 hours in high school homework. And now you have sports. So by the time you’re getting dinner, you’re saying hello to your child at 9:45 or 10:00 and they fall into bed.
So I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m saying that’s just realistic. If that works for your family. It didn’t work for our family when we were done in our high school classes. Now, granted, it was eight to three, so we were taking college classes. It was a lot of work. It’s high school, it should be. Now, that wasn’t continuously on task, but come 03:00, we’re done. So when they went to cross country practice or lacrosse practice or played on the golf team at a private school, there was no homework.
They would always come home and say, oh my gosh, they all have to go home now and do 3 hours of homework, mom. And I’m like, I know it stinks, but yeah. So there’s just a lot of flexibility with that.
And again, when you talked about using the morning time for golf when my children were young, we had a child in swimming lessons at the YMCA. So we would just take the youngest who would be in swimming lessons, which means that child is under the care of someone else for 45 minutes.
So I had the other two boys in chairs by the swimming pool, and we were doing math. We just took it with us and we got those swimming lessons taken care of in the morning. And again, that was a younger child who was then going to be napping in the afternoon.
And so you just find these windows of opportunity and you use them well. And we had the freedom to accept an invitation to go to the zoo or to an animal park or go to the beach one morning with other homeschooled friends when it’s lovely weather in Florida, and then you can do what you need in the afternoon.
You also have this freedom, and it grows as you begin to get more comfortable with your role. But you have this freedom that, you know and I remember a very wise woman, a mother of six, who encouraged a bunch of us when we were all starting out with homeschooling.
She said, you know what? She said, if you spend some good time reading to your child and maybe doing a little math, that’s a productive day. And in the grand scheme of things, they’re going to be so much better off than having spent hours and hours with things that aren’t fruitful and beneficial.
You are teaching your children how to work out their differences. So we have to kind of expand our understanding of all of the different types of learning that we want to be going on in our home. And many of them have to do with character, morality, interpersonal relationships, how we work things out, just learning to grow and struggle in areas where things don’t come naturally to us.
There’s so much learning, but there’s academic learning as well. But that’s not all of it. And we all have different goals in our homeschooling, but for us, that was a part of it. We had this opportunity to help mold our children’s characters and really invest in them and listen to them and allow them to speak. And we learned how to get along on a team.
We’re a family. We’re a team. Academics is important. Don’t get me wrong. It was super important. But we had to learn to recognize when a moment, these teachable moments were coming, when our children were making connections, maybe between something going on in the culture and we’re able to stop and have a good conversation with them and say, you know what, we’ll do spelling tomorrow.
This is important. And those are some of the most privileged moments in homeschooling, when we were able to really speak into our children’s lives, really hear what they were saying to us.
And so in speaking of interacting with one another and handling certain situations differently beyond the scope of your own home and siblings, maybe not necessarily always getting along.
I just want to talk a little bit about some of the pros and cons of a hybrid schedule versus a home school pod. And did you ever have other children in your neighborhood that were part of this too?
Or was it because a lot of people are doing it when they have these pods? It takes the weight off of that one mom for let’s just pretend she does it Monday through Friday, but she’s splitting it up with, say, another mom in the neighborhood where maybe they’re alternating days of teaching. So how does that work and then what does that look like for families?
I don’t know that we necessarily did pods per se, but we definitely did cooperative learning. Like, Kathryn and I ran a thing called Brain Day, and it was a Friday extracurricular type enrichment day for kids.
That was the day that they did art and dancing and acting and a sport or something like that. So we did organize that for our community. Those days, we might do math at home, but it was a day off really much for us, and we had sweet fellowship with other moms, and that was a really sweet thing to do.
We would take turns teaching classes. Kathryn and I did that a lot. She would do a geography lesson, and I would do history, because we kind of did the same curriculum with our children. So the boys would come to my house, and then my children would go to herds, and they would learn cooperatively, and they absolutely loved it.
We did something at our church one time, and then as they got older, even in my home, I had actually, from your neck of the woods, Palm Beach Atlantic University taught freshman comp one and two in my dining room. So we had a professor, and they were earning college credit from PBA for free.
We paid the professor maybe $200, $300, and they came out of there with six credit hours, all the freshman English done in my dining room. And we had probably 15 students. And then after English was done, we had three rounds of science, chemistry, biology, and then physics.
We had a science teacher come in. So one day each week, my house was just a revolving door. So there’s just a ton of different ways you can organize that. And there’s certainly co ops out there that we participated in, where they would go. And in high school, I wanted my languages taught by a certified teacher.
I really didn’t want to do the chemistry labs. I did very poorly in chemistry when I was in high school, so I definitely outsourced a lot of those types of classes.
I was wondering about outsourcing because we understand the importance of learning multiple languages. And I remember when I was pregnant, I had two students, they were both parents, and they spoke multiple languages.
One spoke five, the other spoke three, and they were teaching their children. But they said to me, marin, it’s very difficult if let’s just use, like, I can speak Spanish, I can converse with you, but let’s be real.
I’m not writing, and I can read it, but it’s not my first language. So she was explaining to me, it’s challenging when it’s not your first language, because you’re not talking it in your home.
When you’re speaking in your home, it’s easier for the child to pick it up at a younger age. So that’s encouraging that parents can outsource foreign languages. They can outsource chemistry.
I mean, I’m like you. I did not do well in chemistry. I do not want a lab in my home. And that there’s resources for that. Because I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that a twofold A, the child is not going to have the resources, education wise, of, say, foreign language or arts.
On physics, chemistry, things like that, which obviously you already spoke about and you negated by saying, hey, my daughter wanted to do it. Course I can’t sing worth a lick. I’m going to get my kid in the hands of someone that is going to school her. Right.
But on the other side of it there’s all sorts of resources education wise, but the biggest misconception I believe that people have about homeschooling is your child is not going to be social.
Is that the thing that you hear the most? Because I know full transparency. So like I said, my mom, she’s all on board with our daughter being home schooled. The kid’s 13 months, and I swear my mom’s already coming up with lesson plans because she’s so geeked out about because A, it’s something she’s passionate about and it’s someone she loves and that she’s passionate about as well, right?
But when I brought this up to my mother in law, she was like, what do you mean she’s not going to school? She has to go to school. She has to have friends. And I’m like, okay, first of all, some of those kids out there, I do not want my kid interacting with, okay, let’s be real.
I don’t want my kid exposed to that as a parent. For me personally, and I’ve talked about this with a lot of my friends who do homeschool, is that I’m trying to protect in a world that is every single day on every single platform and medium, trying to take my child’s innocence.
I am trying to keep my child’s innocence for as long as possible. And I find it very frightening that and remember, I teach junior golfers, and I’ve been teaching them for a long time, and I can see the difference.
And when these nine year olds have phones and they can open up Snapchat and these build a block games where they’re having these weird conversations with people, they’re posing in photos, I’m like, you’re seven, how do you know how to pose like that? That’s weird.
Their innocence is being stripped from them, and I want to try to protect it within these walls of my home. But yet people think I’m a freak because my kid’s not going to be social.
Well, that’s the first thing we hear all the time. We kind of teasingly say, there’s not many social skills I want my eight year old to learn from another eight year old. There’s just not a whole lot there.
But of course we want our children to have friends. Of course we do. And Kathryn and I, neither of us homeschooled to shelter our children. We weren’t afraid of what was out there. Obviously, she sent her kids to public high school, I sent mine to a public university. So we didn’t homeschool to keep them from the world, but we wanted their exposure to the world to be in the confines of our home.
My children and Kathryn’s children went to college knowing everything most of the other kids know, but we would talk about it within a biblical framework. And I think parents just need to know that there’s so many different opportunities.
Again, you’re at co-ops, you’re in church, you’re in a community group. We don’t sit at home. You’re with other parents, like minded parents. And again, you put two little eight year olds in a room together, they’re going to fight regardless whether it’s in a classroom or it’s in someone’s family room.
So you’re still able to work through all those conflict resolutions and things like that, but you’re teaching them how to do it appropriately. You don’t have to worry about bullying and just some of those things that don’t necessarily make a person stronger. But it doesn’t mean our children also went into the world weak.
They’re very confident adults and doing well. So if parents choose not to homeschool again, and we’re also not in the mindset it’s a sin not to homeschool, we don’t believe that. We do believe that God calls families to different things.
We just beg brick and mortar parents to be aware of what their student is being taught. And I think that’s the scariest thing. There’s something happening in our country right now where they’re reading through the library books that are in our library illegally.
And it’s incredibly graphic pornographic material, step by step, very extremely explicit sexual acts. And that’s being read and available to your fourth grader. So if you aren’t aware of that, parents need to be aware of what’s happening in our public schools. Again, I don’t think you should throw the baby out with the bathwater.
There are some teachers like your mom who are doing amazing things and some wonderful things happening out there if they choose not to homeschool just to be aware of what their child’s being taught.
And often we just trust that it’s good and right. A lot of people don’t know that history is being completely rewritten. Our founding history of our country is being completely rewritten.
Terrifying college prep for kids, homeschooling resources
And it’s terrifying, actually, now with your children going to colleges and things like that, because that’s my next question, right? In high school especially, it feels like as soon as you hit 10th grade, 11th grade, they’re just hammering you with ACT, SAT, you feel like all your child is doing is standardized tests.
And then if they’re doing advanced placement classes, like, that’s what I did in high school. Basically, that’s what you’re doing too. You’re prepping for those advanced placement tests, so you can obviously get the college credit.
And there is benefit to that, especially for me, as an athlete going into college and already having, quite frankly, half a year, having a full semester under my belt, so to speak, with credits, it allowed me to have less on my plate.
That allowed me more time to be a college kid. Because when you are a student athlete, it’s a job, right? So you’re not a typical student. So it allowed me more freedom, those Advanced Placement classes in high school. But it was just preparing for a test. Preparing for a test, that’s what it felt like.
So with your children, this is a twofold question: this is an education side and then a social side. One is, how did they prepare for college to take those tests and prepare for and I know this is what your agents, your consulting firm does.
I know they help. So don’t feel like plugging yourselves. But as far as when we’re in high school, we have a guidance counselor telling us what classes to take, how to write a resume, what our SAT scores need to be to get into University of Florida, to get into Harvard, whatever.
Listen, folks, don’t go to Harvard, right? Go be a gator. Say no to the IVs. If you know, you know.
But the guidance counselors know what the metrics are, so to speak, right? So as a homeschooling parent, what resources do we need to make sure our children have the same looks, so to speak, if you will, as typical private school, public school kids who are submitting their applications and then on the social side of it.
So you guys can split this question up if you want. How did your children react once they were in college? Right? I’m curious to know. Like I said, I know every kid’s different, but socially, how did that feel for them and as well as academically, did they feel like there was a delta between them and other children that went a different path? That was a really loaded question, but my brain was just like, oh, my gosh, I have so many questions about this.
Advice for high school students preparing for college
Remember, my children were in public high school, so my path looked a little different than Karlyn’s. So they had the support in public high school. But I don’t feel like, and again, a little time has passed. I don’t feel as if they spent all of their time preparing for a test.
They did some review courses. They took the SAT and the ACT each once to decide which one they liked the best. And then they focused on the one they liked the best and then took the test several times until they got a score that they felt like was satisfactory with students that we advise.
We kind of advise them to do the same thing. We meet with them and the earlier you start, the better. Just to make a plan so that it’s not overwhelming and it doesn’t have to be, but you just have to keep good records. In Florida, students know you need to write down your activities. You need to think about the activities that you choose if you want to get into certain colleges.
You need to demonstrate growth and leadership and initiatives. So a lot of times that can be done with volunteer hours in the community. So we help students begin to think about that early, as early as the summer before 9th grade, because they can begin collecting their volunteer hours, which can either be volunteering with a particular community need or it’s been changed now.
And it can include a part time job that a student has during high school that can count as their community service hours toward getting in Florida. The Florida Bright Future scholarship that can be used at a public university in you know, we advise students to begin thinking about the test .
They’re going to take a PSAT at school, but you can sign up to have a homeschool child take that PSAT at their local high school. And then they begin to move toward in the 10th and 11th grade, thinking about those tests.
And we have tutors that we can recommend that can help troubleshoot particular skills and areas where students need to grow and learn how to take that test better. So it’s important. But again, many colleges are making those tests optional these days and that would be the case where having a solid resume.
Just what have been your activities during your high school years? What have you been involved in? What have you given your time to? Where have you demonstrated leadership and initiative? Have you started your own business? Have you been an assistant volleyball coach for a younger student’s team during your high school years?
All kinds of ways that students can demonstrate those kinds of skills, for sure.
And I think, too, I’m grateful that they are doing that because I don’t know about you all, but I always found that I would freak out with standardized tests. And meanwhile, I had kids in my grade that legit got perfect scores.
And at the end of the day, those scores are not a reflection of who you are as a person. I truly believe that those qualities that you’re talking about, the leadership qualities, the volunteering, understanding the world and how it works, are so much more important than a simple test.
And when you look at the people who sometimes are the brightest people, like socially inept, right? They don’t thrive in that. So I’m grateful that they’re getting rid of it. I wish they did that 18 years ago, but whatever.
Maren, let me chime in on one thought though, that I do think it’s important for parents of homeschooled students to be aware of. Colleges are growing in their understanding of the value of welcoming home school students into their student bodies.
But that test does still remain as if a college is unsure about the rigor, perhaps, of someone’s homeschool curriculum. It’s a legitimizing test for a college. If a student has maybe a little bit of an unorthodox homeschool journey, if they couple that with a strong resume and a test score, then that can go a long way toward legitimizing the student’s potential to flourish as a part of their student body.
Because how does that work when you’re in brick and mortar school, you’re taking tests weekly, biweekly, right? And you’re getting a grade. How does a homeschooling student have a grade? When I graduated high school, right, I had a class ranking. I had grades in school.
I either hit whatever for AP classes, like if you got fours and fives, that’s how you got your credits for college, things like that. So in homeschooling, how does that work? Because if you’re the parent, how are you grading your, like, what’s the benchmark?
College Preparation: Homeschool students can enjoy the same opportunities as students in traditional schools when it comes to college admissions. By planning early, engaging in activities, seeking tutoring if needed, and building a strong resume with leadership experiences, homeschoolers can stand out in the college application process.
Good thing is your student’s always valedictorian. So that means they said, mom, what’s my class? I mean, surely the people looking at it figured it out. But the common app is not written for homeschoolers, so we had to put in something like, well, you’re top of your class. Congratulations.
We definitely graded our children’s work absolutely. In high school. Well, we’re pretty type A. We graded it in elementary and middle, but definitely in high school. We kept grades, and it’s an honor system. And then when they took classes at dual enrollment and at the local high school, then we had transcripts for those so there was no fluffing.
And we create transcripts for homeschool students that show all their classes, all their grades, and that are accepted by colleges. We’ve never had one rejected, which is great.
So, yeah, definitely. Definitely have grades. And back to what you were saying, Kathryn, about the SATS and the act testing. Something to think about as well. If you know that you’re not a good test taker and you’re a homeschool student and you don’t want to submit your test scores coming from someone who my test score was so low, I told someone, they said, well, did you finish it?
I’m like, oh, yeah, I finished it, and I wrote my name, and I got 200 points for that. But I graduated from college, and I’m doing fine in society. So, again, I’m one of those people that really struggled.
If it were me, and knowing that I was a poor test taker, I would encourage someone to do dual enrollment courses because that’s going to show that you’re taking a more rigorous class load and that you’re able to do college work.
If you are a good student, then you’re not going to submit your test scores. We definitely would want to talk to someone or any parent for them to really think about what type of leadership activities and how we’re going to build up that resume, because that has to be a little bit stronger than someone with the 1470 on the SAT and have them in dual enrollment courses to make them a more well rounded so that the college would trust their ability to complete the schoolwork on their campus.
My other question is, I’m assuming these standards are also the variables. Change state per state, I’m assuming. So is it different in Florida than New York versus California versus Texas?
Yes. Most states follow a similar path, but there are some nuances. So we always encourage families to go on HSLDA – Homeschool Legal Defense Fund Association – and then they list what the requirements are for each state.
Like, Georgia has to keep track of attendance. You have to have a certain amount. You have to keep a log of how many days you actually homeschool. Florida doesn’t have to do that.
We have clients in Oregon, so we’re always researching different state laws. But yeah, they’re very different in each state.
Okay. And that was my follow up question. Your consulting firm is national, so you can work with people who are not just people who live in Florida, but people who live in Alaska, Oregon, whatever. Like you’re helping kids across the country. Correct?
Yes. We actually had a client one time in Dubai. I came home and told my family, I was like, we are now international. We have one client, Dubai, for 1 hour. But no, we’re typically in the United States.
Yeah, wherever. Because it’s all the same. It’s all the same colleges, and it takes us five minutes to figure out their homeschool laws. And the transcripts look the same. It’s the same SAT. It’s the same. So we do everything through zoom, unless you’re in Tampa, Florida. We’ll meet with you in person.
You asked about our children. Did they feel like they were prepared? Since we had homeschooled all the way through high school, I had two different things happen. So we did a program called Classical Conversations where they would go to class one day a week, and we’re given the assignments for all their subjects.
And the rule was, See you in a week. Better have it all done. So there was no daily handing out, do this for tomorrow. This is what you have to do in a class. It wasn’t that daily distribution of work, so they had to become very adept in, this is my schedule, and planning out what had to be done each day in order to have all their work done by Tuesday. They all also dual enrolled at our community college.
So, again, you have class on Tuesday. The professor doesn’t text you on Wednesday to remind you of something that’s due in three weeks.
Figure it out. I’ll see you at the exam. And so they had to really plan out their schoolwork. So when they all got to college, I feel like they told me that they felt very prepared.
I had trained them, even with their dual enrollment professors, to walk in, introduce themselves, sit in their front row, ask questions, go to them before and say, this is what I’m studying for my test. Is there anything else they need to be adding?
Nine times out of ten, the professor would say, oh, don’t worry about chapters ten through 15. I’m not even going to cover that. Professors want to help, and so it’s just giving them this life skill. So they felt very prepared for it.
And then as far as, like, homeschoolers actually going to college and I don’t tell this story as public as I’m about to, because it does sound like I’m bragging. I’m not. I just want people to know the possibility.
So, at Auburn University, our daughter did very well in her Sat, completely self study, just did tests on her own. And we got invited to this weekend. We thought, oh, this is interesting. We didn’t know what it was, so we went up there for a scholarship weekend thing.
She was one of 15 out of the entire freshman class chosen, and they wanted to meet with her and the other students, and they had to go through four or five different interviews, a whole interview process with different boards of trustees and all these people.
The only thing they wanted to talk about in her interview was homeschooling and the fact that she did a gap year. She took a year off and did internships internationally and locally, and she delayed her college entrance for one year, and they gave out one full ride scholarship, and she got it as a homeschooler.
Now, is she a brilliant child? No, she worked really hard. She’s a hard worker, but she’s not naturally brilliant. She didn’t get into Wake Forest or UNC Chapel Hill. She didn’t get into the Ivy Leagues. So it just shows that the opportunities out there for homeschooling are really.
The Benefits of a Gap Year for Students
Well, that’s very encouraging, too, because as an athlete, one of the struggles that I personally found in college was it’s funny. So when your daughter went on these interviews and they wanted to talk about what made her unique, and that was her home school experience, it was the same thing for me when I was graduating, and I’m going on interviews on Wall Street.
They couldn’t care less what my GPA was. They just want to talk to me about golf. That’s all they wanted to talk about. Like golf. Golf. So, folks, grades, yes, they can do great things for you and open certain doors and legitimize I’m using air quotes, certain skill sets that you have, but it’s not the end all, be all.
But that gap year that you just mentioned, the reason why I think that is so cool is because as a student athlete, golf was actually two seasons, and most sports are like, yes, they have one competitive season, and then they’re practicing for the other half of the year. But golf, you’re actually competing in both seasons, fall semester and spring.
And so what happens is you’re continuously playing, because when you go back to home for the summer, you’re playing, you’re practicing, you can’t take your typical internship like other students who aren’t athletes.
And so I felt like, okay, cool, great. At least I’m doing a sport that they care a lot about. On Wall Street, I was a finance major, but I think about those students who don’t have that opportunity, they’re missing out on these internships, and they’re not getting the jobs, because it’s all about who you know and getting your foot in the door.
So that gap year, I think, is so cool that she could travel, or even as a student athlete as well. I couldn’t travel abroad. Like, I couldn’t study abroad because I had to be at school because I was a paid athlete.
So your daughter had that opportunity to do things like that as well. I think that that is so cool. The flexibility that homeschooling gives, I don’t know how you can match it. I really don’t.
Part of her gap year, we kind of all benefited from it because my brother worked for a company who had headquarters in Madrid, Spain, and so we actually moved to Madrid for a couple of months.
We took all the kids with us, packed up their schoolwork, and were able to rent an Airbnb over there while Bailey did her internship. So we all benefited from Bailey’s gap year, which was wonderful. And it’s so funny.
She was a dedicated runner like you, but she didn’t run in college. But she’s working on Wall Street as well. She’s a finance major. So y’all have that in common, which is fun.
Active community involvement benefits homeschooling children
Maren if we were to back up just a little bit to discuss the social question, because I think parents have that concern when their children are young and they’re thinking, this is how my child is going to learn how to interact with others and be in a group and act appropriately, all of those questions. So when I think back to our children’s elementary years and their socialization.
Were at the ball field six days a week. What a slice of the community for our sons were all on baseball teams. They were all playing baseball.
We had groups that we were involved in in the home school community. We were active in our church, and they had children’s programs, so it wasn’t as if they weren’t around. You know, some of the things that this opportunity or this group that Karlyn mentioned called classical conversations.
So our children were there once a week. They were having to give a speech every week in their class. And so they were benefiting from not being in an age segregated environment where they were around students of all different ages.
The baseball teams were close to their ages, but many of their opportunities were in groups that had lots of adults, and then they had children of different ages, which to us was a benefit. Our children learned from older children. They learned to self direct. They learned to manage themselves in a group when they were on sports teams.
You don’t have any choice about who’s on your team. You get put on a team with a bunch of different boys. They come from different schools, different backgrounds. They’re learning to navigate there.
And I’ll be honest, in the years when we were doing that, sometimes our boys would get teased by their teammates for being homeschooled because they didn’t really understand what it was all about. But then when they learned that our sons had no homework and that they already had all of their work done and we’re going on a camping trip in October to the apple orchards of North Carolina, and you’ll be in school now, there are so many lessons that they could learn.
I did it a little differently. They went to public high school. And so it was really my husband’s conviction that making that transition for them, he wanted them to make that transition from the home school environment to a structured school environment.
He wanted them to do that while they lived in our home so that we could be available to help them navigate that. And so that’s what we did. And they have told us in hindsight that there was a little period of awkwardness because a lot of the children who were in that school had been going to school together for years.
So they had to find friends, they had to integrate. And so what a wonderful opportunity that was for them to make wise decisions as they sought out friends and learned how to be part of friend groups that were already established. So it’s challenging for them.
But in terms of academics, they went in, they could write better than anyone, and their teachers would say, who taught you how to write?
So they went in so well equipped to manage that situation, and they learned the social skills and were able to put their social skills to work in figuring it out, and they figured it out. And so then they were very well prepared when they went to college, because they had done that.
They knew some people at school, they’d played baseball with them. They’d been in the community with them. It’s not like we locked the doors and kept them at home. They were out in the community learning how to manage relationships. And so in no way were they unsocial.
No. And I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m an only child, so I was exposed to adults primarily. So for me, I understand as a kid being looked at like, well, what do you mean?
We had certain rules and values within my family. Like, I didn’t attend sleepovers or I was traveling with my family a lot, so I wasn’t running amok in town during the summer months. I did have more structure.
And I will say that I’m grateful as an adult that my parents were parents and not friends. They knew what was best for me. And I’d like to think that I’m a normal person, and I just think that we sometimes are letting society and what society thinks dictate what is right for our children.
But deep down, you know, how many times does a child act perfect in your home, right? I mean, look, they have their moments, but then when they start getting exposed to other children who maybe’s families don’t have the same values, right, because that’s such as life. They get influenced.
And your child needs to be a very strong child to not be influenced by that behavior. And I believe that when you have your child in your home, when your home like Karlyn was talking about how her house was a revolving mean, I wasn’t homeschooled, but that’s what my home was as a middle schooler and highschooler… is that my house was the house where everyone hung out because my parents wanted to know where I was, who I was hanging out with, and what we were doing.
And that’s the beauty of this community, is that you know what your children are getting education wise socially, what they’re being exposed to, and it doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be exposed to bad things.
That’s life. But you know that they have the values instilled to them so when they are faced with these decisions, as they will be when they go into college and things like that, that they can make the right decision, or at the very least, sometimes they’re going to make the wrong decision.
But they are so tight knit with you that they can come to you and say, hey, Mom, I screwed up. I need help. And I think that creating this foundation for your family at an early age sets them up for success when they are in their twenties – thirties.
And beyond that, you know, all your children, your boys, your daughters, that they come to you and say, hey, I need help. Because I think that’s what a lot of kids get themselves into trouble with is that they don’t know how to ask their parents for help. And then it just obviously snowballs from there.
Oh, my gosh, this conversation was so fire, I can’t even handle it now. My last question, I promise it’s my last one. My last question is, my baby is only 13 months, but you already have my wheels spinning.
But if I’m a parent who maybe has a four year old, five year old, whatever it may be, I don’t even know what age you can start this. Obviously we know kindergarten, but how do I start? Obviously, I want them to reach out to you two ladies, but what do I do? Where do I go?
Oh, my well, again, I would say if you have friends who are already homeschooling, they will be a wealth of information to you, and there are different ways of doing it. Marin some people register under an umbrella school in their community who does all the record keeping for them.
But from our perspective, we’re in Florida. It’s an easy homeschooling state. You basically register with the county that you live in in Florida. You go online. There’s this online form you fill out and you say, I’m starting, and then you get started.
And you don’t have to start it all at, you know, talk to your friends who homeschool, what curriculum do you use? What do you like? What do you not like? What are you looking for?
Reach out and find out if there are any particular websites for types of educating children. If you already know you want to go classical, there’s a wealth of resources out there in Curricula.
If you want to do Charlotte Mason, if you want to do a Montessori approach, you need to think about what your goals are and start small. I mean, you literally do not have to say, school starts on August 15, and we’re going to do seven subjects that day.
If you have a young child, you’re going to instinctively read to them a lot. They’re going to become curious about letters, and you can start teaching your child to read whenever you think that child is ready.
There are wonderful books out there for teaching your children to read. I personally sort of started when they were between four and five. And you can just tell by the things they talk about that they are ready.
They recognize letters, they begin to recognize sounds. Start with that probably curriculum. You don’t really need to start a curriculum probably till they’re kindergarten years. You can start with math and then you can add on some literature. It’s very organic. It’s very much about what you want to include.
The resources out there are remarkable. Get some advice from somebody like us or someone who’s done it and try some things, some you’ll like, some you may not like. You might say, this doesn’t seem to be working for my child. What else is out there?
So our website is https://homeschooluconsulting.com/ and our Contact Information, Intake form and everything is on there.
And we kind of joke, we sort of need to change our name because we also, in addition to working with homeschool students, we work with brick and mortar students and homeschoolers, keeping them on task with their schoolwork. We call it executive functioning.
And we also take students brick and mortar or homeschoolers through the entire college prep process as far as admissions, Sat prep, writing their resume, completing their transcripts, deadlines, handholding.
A lot of times parents don’t want to be the heavy on helping their child through that process and maintaining their schoolwork. And so we say we are the gracious naggers, but we enjoy all sorts but everything’s on the website that we offer.
Awesome. Well, ladies, I cannot thank you enough. This full transparency, I was like, I’m just doing this episode for me because I have a lot of questions. But I appreciate you taking the time to come on and share your wealth of knowledge.
I can’t wait for people to listen to this because I truly believe that homeschooling is an opportunity for families to really get closer and make sure that their children are enriching the world because we certainly need it. So thank you so much and I will catch everyone on next week’s episode.
Meet Karlyn Sullivan and Kathryn Brannan
I’m a homeschooling mom who gets excited about helping people organize their lives around the people they are passionate about. And sometimes, as my family can attest to, this excitement makes me a little too loud. How can it not? I love to share when I discover something is excellent and oftentimes, this includes homeschooling.
I’m a mom who tried a variety of educational choices for my three boys, including private Christian school, homeschooling for 11 years and public highschool. With a love for a well-chosen word and for accurate grammar, I am passionate about encouraging students as they pursue their educational goals.