Why one mom homeschools
Just like most moms do on a typical school day, Kristi Tsering rises early, gets ready, and rouses her two sleepy girls for school. After waffles and their daily devotional, instead of bustling out the door, Kristi, thirteen-year-old Lyndi, and nine-year-old Amelia head upstairs. The next six to seven hours are chock-full of history, grammar, math, writing, and science.
“All children are born with a natural and insatiable love of learning. If we don’t manage that correctly, we can kill it,” says Kristi. She and her family represent a growing number of families in Georgetown who choose to homeschool.
Why homeschool? When Lyndi was a toddler, a dear friend encouraged Kristi to attend a homeschooling conference. After researching and discussing homeschooling with her husband, Cullen, they decided that homeschooling provided the kind of education they want for their children. The challenge in a traditional classroom setting is that teachers must address many students and teach to a broad range of levels and learning styles. Homeschooling allows Kristi to teach her children at their levels, accommodate their learning styles, and focus on their personal interests.
Kristi can, for example, adapt the curriculum to Lyndi’s and Amelia’s individual interests. When Lyndi was in kindergarten, she was obsessed with dinosaurs. Colossal brontosaurs, spiny triceratops, and dinosaurs with well-nigh unpronounceable names held her imagination. Kristi went in-depth, giving Lyndi broad coverage of the subject. Together, they devoured many books and immersed themselves in a prehistoric world where Lyndi learned reading, writing, and other essential kindergarten skills.
Kristi knows that one criticism of homeschooling is the potential lack of socialization with other children, but in fact she finds herself fighting to protect school time. Along with church activities, local theater productions, and dance classes, the Tsering family enjoys a busy social life. In addition, they belong to the Georgetown Christian Home Educators, a homeschooling support group with about a hundred member families.
According to Kimberly Uyechi, the group’s director, the GCHE “provides an opportunity for fellowship and exchange among homeschooling families through moral support in educational matters, exchanging resources and curriculum ideas, field trips and group activities, networking for communication of political and legal information, and prayer support.”
“The GCHE fills the gap,” Kristi says. Lyndi and Amelia, along with nearly 250 other children of various ages, meet once a week for P.E. and participate in spelling bees, history fairs, science fairs, and art fairs. The support group even boasts an athletics program and hosts library days and field trips to major amusement parks that feature homeschooling day discounts and to educational venues where they learn behind-the-scenes information about how things work.
And at the end of the day, when all their school activities are done, Kristi and her girls gather in the family room with their tea and cookies to read a Betsy-Tacy book. Sitting in her floral armchair, Kristi knows that choosing to homeschool not only prepares her daughters for the future but also fosters their love of learning for years to come.
By Tiffany R. White
Photos by Shelley Dormont