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Meet Joyful and Successful Homeschooler Terri Johnson

Posted May 18 2009 10:44pm

Joyful HS copy

Terri Johnson is joyfully homeschooling and mentoring new homeschooling moms! Terri founded Knowledge Quest, providing history resources, after making blank outline maps and timelines for her own six children. I met Terri when I received her online mentoring course, Homeschooling ABC's to review and realized you would like her as much as I do.  Let's get to know joyful and successful homeschool mom, Terri Johnson.

Terri_pic5 (2)Meredith: Terri, you mentioned that Susan Wise Bauer's The Well Trained Mindinspired you to make blank outline maps for your own children.Are you a classical homeschooler?

Terr i:  No, although we do implement some classical concepts into our homechool. Actually I would consider myself an eclectic homeschooler. When we started out, we pursued unit studies. That was a blast! Then I discovered Charlotte Mason and our studies took on this flavor until I stumbled upon The Well-Trained Mind. I became convinced that the classical method was best. I was only schooling two of my kids and they both fit into this mold very well. However, as my next two daughters became old enough to join us in our school studies, I realized that I needed to alter some of the ways that I taught in order to accommodate them. We have gone back to Charlotte Mason methods and unit studies to bring some flair back into our school days. I even use textbooks for a few subjects. I truly am an eclectic homeschooling mom!

Meredith: What led you to homeschool?

Terri:   Our oldest daughter learned to read a few weeks before she turned four and this put me in a conundrum. We were afraid that she would be terribly bored in school with the major emphasis on phonics instruction for the first couple of years. So, we decided to begin homeschooling and put her into school around 2nd grade when the rest of her peers would be reading and the emphasis would shift into other subject matters.

However, when second grade rolled around, our son was entering kindergarten and  wanted to homeschool just like his sister! So, we decided that if we were teaching one at home, we might as well do both. That was the last year we considered putting our kids into traditional school. In the early years, we just took it one year at a time, a good way to approach homeschooling, because it is the Lord that leads us on our path. We will see all our children through school in this way, as long as the Lord continues to make a way for us to do so.

We are finishing up our eleventh year of homeschooling this year.

Meredith:  Please tell us more about your philosophy of home education?

Terri:  This is a bold statement, but I believe that every Christian parent ought to consider the option of homeschooling right alongside their choice of public or private schooling. That said, I do not believe that homeschooling is the best, nor the easiest choice for all families as many factors come into play...One-on-one tutoring within the family setting is a tested and proven method for educational success, producing children and young adults with strong academics and strong moral character.

Meredith:   Do you adapt your teaching for each different child? (Terri's children range from 16 months to 15 years)

Terri:  Absolutely! My oldest two children are primarily independent learners. I now direct most of my teaching techniques toward my seven and eight-year old children, who learn very differently than their older siblings. The classical approach worked very well for my oldest two, but my middle two thrive in a more Charlotte-Mason -style approach to learning. It is gentle and interesting, but not rigorous.

Also, I try to use the same texts and resources for each of my children to manage both money and time wisely, but when I find that a certain approach is not working, I'll try something else. Spelling is a perfect example.  I have used Spelling Power successfully with my kids, but one doesn't learn the same way. She is much more auditory than visual. I began using All About Spelling with her this year and her spelling ability has taken off! She just needed a different approach that suited her learning style.

Summer 2008 201 (2) Terri JohnsonMeredith: Where do you feel most successful?

Terri:   I know my kids well, their strengths and weaknesses, what frustrates them and what makes them swell with pride, when they are having a rough day and when they might need a little time to themselves or alone with me. I am successful in studying my kids and helping them to grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I love spending time with my children and enjoying them for who they are.

Meredith:   What is your biggest challenge?

Terri:   Housework, hands-down! I am the Mary (vs Martha) who would rather read, talk, listen, and play. Dishes can be piling up in the sink and laundry in the hamper and I am content to read another chapter in the gripping novel we are engrossed in.

Meredith: In your homeschooling journey, what has given you the greatest joy?

Terri:   My greatest joy has been watching my children succeed after hard work. When a child gets an A on a test or lands a lead role in a play, my heart leaps for joy. Yet, these are not the most important things in life. Real learning moments come from failure and disappointment. Some of my most satisfying moments have been times that I have come alongside one of my children and encouraged him after a difficult disappointment. These are the moments when real learning and growth take place, strengthening our relationships with our kids. They need to know that it is not their success that makes us love them; it's just who they are!

Meredith:   What inspired you to create this amazing course, Homeschooling ABC's, for new homeschooling moms?

Discover Terri's answer. Read Friday's review of Homeschoolings ABCs!

Thank you so much, Terri. Read the full interview on Terri's blog, Knowledge Quest News or on my website, Joyful and Successful Homeschooling.

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