“Back to School” Being a Homeschool Mom | By Christina Lopez
When you hear “back to school” you may associate it with funny pictures of moms posing gleefully in front of their kids who are wearing their new school outfits and tired faces, but “back to school” is different for me. I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. I don’t get the “Yes!” Feeling of relief knowing that my kids will be out of the house Monday – Friday and I get some much needed “me time”. School is everyday for me and “back to school” only means back to a more formatted schedule. (Although, I do admit, we do still partake in the fun of “back to school” shopping.) That feeling of relief that most moms experience at the beginning of every school year only comes at the end of mine, with “Yes!” We made it though another year, and “Yes!” I know that my kids are graduating grade levels. And let’s be honest I am definitely not one of those mom’s that just gives an A+ on every assignment to make life easier. My kids have to earn their grades and I definitely make them live up to their potential, so making it to the end of the year is sometimes a struggle in itself.
While my kids do have a unique educational structure I certainly can’t take credit for it. They are enrolled in a public charter school called The Classical Academies where teachers format lessons to fit the learning style of each of my kids. My daughter, Rebekah, is an independent learner and takes online high school classes. She only goes to school once every four weeks to meet with her teachers and the rest of the time her progress is being monitored online. It is up to me to make sure she’s understanding the material and completing her assignments on time. This is great for a teenager because she loves being able to work at her own pace and even has the opportunity to get ahead in class so she has more time to spend with family and friends. My son, Nathan, only goes to school two days out of the week as he enjoys being more social and loves group activities and teamwork. The other three days he’s home with me as his teacher to make sure he is learning and comprehending his lessons. Although a little atypical, they do have the same core classes like any school (math, science, history), and have to meet the same state requirements, but there’s obviously a lot more focus catered to their specific needs. What’s great as well is the electives offered to them are far more extensive than what you’d find at a traditional school. My son, as a sixth grader, loves to take computer programming as an elective and has for three years! Some might say they have a “different” school life, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but it fits for our family and I love being such a big part of their continued growth.
I chose this path for my kids to be more involved in what is being instilled in their lives as I want it to be God centered, and I truly feel like I’ve found the best of both worlds. The Classical Academies has a strong community across their multiple campuses. The teachers are always there to lend a helping hand and you always have support and encouragement from other parents, especially when faced with struggles of homeschooling because, let’s face it, as much as I love it, it can be very hard! The school does a wonderful job of keeping a balance between public school life and homeschool life and they off an array of extracurricular activities for the kids to participate in. Both of my kids have been involved in school through ASB, Musical Theater, Yearbook, and Karate among others. Some of my favorite memories are our family prayers in the car as I’m taking them to school or dropping them off at school functions. We are a huge family of prayer and always pray on the way to our outings. More often than not our prayers are centered around living in God’s light. I want my kids to know how beautiful God’s love is so that they can spread it to others.
One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is the flexibility! We love to travel and cantake our lessons with us anywhere. What is normally the kitchen counter spread with laptops and workbooks, or in my daughter’s case, the comfort of her room, turns into airplanes, trains and automobiles. Our world has so much to offer and there are many life lessons and opportunities that our kids get to experience early on.
Rebekah loves to bake and one of our favorite traditions is to stop in at local bakeries wherever we’re traveling to taste their special desserts and pastries. Nathan, on the other hand, loves archaeology and we were able to visit Seattle to see the traveling King Tut Exhibit when it passed through. (I love being able to pour into my children by investing in each of their interests.) Our favorite trip thus far, and I think we’d all agree, was our Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera. My husband, Mike, and I especially enjoyed it because the kids were able to see first-hand the culture of our ancestors. We loved that the kids were able to experience the language and got to enjoy traditional Mexican dishes among locals. Kids aside all of this amazing flexibility also allows Mike and I to grow closer and take vacations without them. It’s wonderful knowing we don’t have to feel guilty about having to pull our kids out of school because we can always leave them with a relative. This allows Mike and I to take time for ourselves. The freedom we have with homeschooling has brought our family closer together and we are able to enjoy life a little bit more.
I feel so blessed to be able to spend so much quality time with my family because I know not everyone can. My hope is that I was able to shed some light on what “back to school” as a homeschool mom means to me, as well as many other moms in our TFH family. Although my experience is unique to me, I hope to encourage you to find out each of your children’s learning style, and explore places that cater to their interests. Nothing is better than being able to see your child’s light shine in an area that they enjoy. Our beautiful city has so much life to offer and it’s always better when experienced with close friends and family.
Christina Lopez and her husband, Mike, have been married for 18 years and have two children together, Rebekah, 15 and Nathan, 11. Christina is a stay-at-home mom and has homeschooled her children though The Classical Academies for eight years. As a family they enjoy traveling to places old and new and love spending time with family and friends. They have been attending The Father’s House for three years and serve in Children’s Ministries, Worship and Life Groups.