Growing up, instructing my neighbors while playing “school” was an everyday occurrence for me. I even cut one of my student’s hair. Thankfully, someone advised against this practice, when teaching became my profession over 25 years ago.
In the late 80’s, I landed my dream job teaching first grade in a public school classroom. Districts from all over the state and country visited ours regularly to view our cutting-edge language arts program. I grew by leaps and bounds, soaking in many brilliant ideas on the writing process and promoting literacy in the classroom. It truly was a glorious learning curve, that became a crystallizing experience in drawing out my passion for children’s books.
There is just nothing like holding a beautifully illustrated book in your hands while engaging a young learner in the story. Whether it is one child in my lap, or a whole group of wide eyes, my heart sings when I’m reading out loud. When my first child was still in the womb, she overheard many, many books I read aloud to my students. I guess you could say that was the beginning of my own homeschooling journey.
I was so passionate about books in our home, that my daughter played with them as an infant, rather than with toys. Another child and a few years later, when we officially decided to take the leap into home education, I put my Early Childhood Education degree to good use and began with preschool and kindergarten.
When the time came to buckle down and get serious with first grade, I was of course, drawn to my old roots from my beloved public school placement. But after reading, The Well-Trained Mind, the progression of study through the four eras of history drew me in. Spending his lifetime as a high school history teacher, my dad instilled a rich love for reading and an interest in history. Many of our family vacations were spent at historical places, like Philadelphia, Gettysburg, or Williamsburg. And my mom’s work ethic, which could win her a gold medal, was deeply grounded in me. So the rigorous classical approach to home education molded our journey.
I structured my home school with a classical approach, but added in plenty of children’s literature and hands-on experiences. If you ask my grown children about our years at home together, they will laugh at how there was a break down in the math department, oh, about 7th grade. But I did teach them to write. They started writing in preschool, and I marched them along into high school, writing across every area of the curriculum.
When my children entered high school, it was time to prepare the financial pot for college. This landed me in the private school arena. At first, I taught middle grade students etymology, grammar and writing. Currently, I teach all the 3rd grade lessons at Northpoint Classes, a school for home educated children. It’s a beautiful partnership with families.
Engaging students in a weekly biography of a notable American, guides the course of study for history and reading throughout the year. Both creative writing and expository writing are a daily focus. And no day would be complete without a read aloud.
When I’m not teaching, I serve at Grace Church, in Noblesville, Indiana, in the food pantry, prayer ministry, and writing team for The Way of Discipleship for Young Families. My husband, a pastor at Grace Church, and I have three grown children, two biological, and one adopted from Liberia.
B.S. Early Childhood Education, University of Delaware, 1988
M.E. Elementary Education, West Chester University, 1995