threadTALK Blog Series 13: Thoughts of a Homeschooling Mama Of Eight with Julie Kreke
Homeschooling can hold a lot of pressure for parents, let alone homeschooling 8 of your children. This month, we interviewed Julie Kreke, a mother who was also homeschooled herself until she entered university. Read more to find out how Julie was able to navigate through the growth and learning of all of her children, and how finding out each one’s unique learning behavior is key to guiding them toward their lifelong education journey.
Q Tell us a little bit about yourself and your YouTube channel. When did you start and what made you want to start creating videos?
A Our family has always lived a little differently from the norm, and at one point several years ago, people I knew started making comments about wishing they could be a fly on our walls so they could see what day-to-day life was like in our home. I had been watching family vlogs on YouTube, and it got my wheels turning. I began a channel and started posting weekly videos. I enjoyed the accountability it gave me in documenting our life so that I would have these videos to look back on and enjoy with my family one day.
Q Tell us about your homeschooling journey. What are some important changes you have made and things that you have learned along the way?
A I had personally been homeschooled during the high school years, and that was followed by a successful experience at a university. I married my husband Jason during this time and soon after graduation we had our first child. At that point, I already knew I wanted to homeschool our children. I soon discovered that even though I had been homeschooled myself, it is a very different thing to be a homeschooling parent. Every child is very different, and as our family grew I found that I needed to be flexible to adapt the way we did things so that each child was being educated in the way that worked best for them. The biggest thing that I have learned in this journey was to trust my children. It’s really easy to fall into homeschooling from a place of fear, worrying that you are teaching your children everything they need to know. I finally came to the understanding that children are like sponges! They naturally learn and absorb things so easily, and are excited about learning. My job was to foster that excitement and not squash it. If I could just teach them *how* to learn, then they could continue the journey of education for their entire life.
Q What has been the biggest struggle and biggest blessing of homeschooling 8 kids?
A The struggles that I face as a homeschooling mom of many are mostly related to basic logistics; making sure that I am managing our time well each day. It also can be challenging to *figure out* each child, but this becomes one of the biggest blessings as well. Homeschooling allows me to be with my kids all day long, observing them and coming alongside them to help discover and pursue the things that interest them. Rather than their days being filled up with a lot of educational busy work, homeschooling gives them the freedom to focus more heavily on the areas that support their future plans. As my kids are getting older I’m beginning to see a glimpse of this and it is so exciting to be a part of it! Having kids is such a privilege, and having a front-row seat to their life is even more amazing.
Julie is wearing House Is Full Relaxed Crew Tee - Charcoal
Q You mentioned “figuring out” each child’s learning behavior. Do you mind elaborating on that and what kind of changes you had to make in order to best support their learning?
A Even as adults, all people learn in different ways. Homeschooling gives us the freedom to slow down and observe each child. Since we aren’t trying to manage an entire classroom of kids, we have the luxury of tailoring each child’s education to them. Some of our children learn best through independent reading, others are more auditory learners. As they get older we are beginning the conversation about what they envision their life as an adult looking like. Our two oldest are very driven toward what they see their future becoming. This enables my husband and I to work backward from there when planning their education, and try to help them focus the majority of their learning on things that will support their future goals.
Q You mentioned that your family lived a little differently from the norm, what’s a typical day in your life like?
A In this season of life we start the mornings slowly and individually; each person spending some time in the Bible, doing their morning job, and getting themselves ready for the day. I have a list on our whiteboard of what I want each person to accomplish that day. This way my children know what’s expected of them, but they are also given the freedom to make their own schedule. Some of my kids like to get right to their table work (like math), others would rather go spend some time outside or doing an activity of their choice before they begin that school checklist. We keep daily subjects to a minimum; with math, writing, reading, and Bible being the only topics that are done every day. This allows lots of free time for each child to explore their educational interests. Subjects like history and science are studied together as a family. Once my husband is home we eat dinner and then usually will have time as a family, reading aloud from whatever book we’re in the middle of and doing a quick kitchen cleanup. Kids all go to their beds around 8:30. We read to the youngest children and they go right to sleep, while the older ones are free to stay up reading a little longer. My husband and I then can enjoy a couple of hours together before we head to bed as well.
Q Lastly, we love that you were able to relate your story with our designs. If you were to give a title to your life story, what would it be and why?
A “Living Large with a Simple Focus” My husband and I are best friends who try to live life to the fullest and share some pretty huge visions for our future, but our one simple focus is to make sure that we are glorifying God and loving people. It makes things straightforward and uncomplicated when you approach life this way. I am thankful for the amazing journey we are on.
Follow Julie's journey on her YouTube Channel