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Real Moms, Real Talk:
Marlee-I Mystic

On Homeschooling

In these parts, Homeschooling is as widely accepted as public, private, charter and magnet schooling.  However, that's definitely not the case all over!  
Read on about this Amazing Mom's real journey of partnership, balance, transition, and her most creative ways of wearing her many hats.
Like all of the other Amazing Moms out there, she is TRULY an inspiration!
1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I am a wife and mother of two darling daughters ages 9 and 6. I met my husband in college and we married 4 years after graduation. We have been through many transitions over the years in terms of our family structure and employment. We began as 2 full time employed parents who then transitioned to a full time working dad and a self employed (daycare provider) mom. I thought childcare would be my business for as long as my children were preschool aged but due to health issues I closed my daycare and became a stay at home mom. Due to my educational background I have always focused on education with my children. After my eldest daughter attended Kindergarten and 1st grade I pulled her out to begin homeschooling. It has truly been a rewarding experience. 
2.  How did you come to decide on homeschool as the best way to educate your children? 
Homeschool has always been something that I imagined I would do for my children. Growing up I had a top notch education but I felt that something was missing. So as I matured I really begin to think about the possibility of homeschool. After running a daycare for 2 years I found myself really worn out and in need of a break of the 12 hour days. This was the point that I enrolled my eldest in our neighborhood public elementary school. This was a great transition for me because the school was only 2 blocks away and I could be very involved. I joined the PTA, volunteered in class, and became a presence on campus.
Before her 2nd grade year started my family and I moved to a farm. There were other children on the farm who caught the bus to the local school. My eldest joined right in and became a part of the "school kids". Unfortunately we encountered blatant racism in the small farm town and I made the decision to pull her out of 2nd grade after less than a month of attending. It was one of the best decisions I've made. I have had the privilege of directly observing the way in which both of my daughters learn, their academic and extra curricular strengths, and we have formed a family bond that is stronger than ever.
3.  What sort of family and lifestyle maneuvering did you need to make in order to make it work for you? 
Thankfully, when I began homeschooling we lived on a farm and every aspect of life was a learning experience. After leaving the farm and moving to San Francisco there was a bit of lifestyle changes that had to take place.
First, I wanted to incorporate more outings, field trips and events to truly enhance their experience. Sitting around the kitchen table with workbooks could only teach them so much, but getting out into the world teaches them priceless lessons. To accommodate this we configured a schedule of 3 days sit down work and 2 alternative education days. I also began to incorporate homemaking skills into their curriculum. My girls help with the meal planning, grocery list making, and shopping. They help cook and clean and maintain our environment.
As far as my husband and I, we have worked out a system to help us equally contribute to the homeschool curriculum. He gathers the teaching materials and designs the lesson plans, and I teach. It has been a beautiful partnership.
Due to only having one income we have become very frugal and very intentional with our spending. Our once vacations are now extended field trips, and our family visits are now featured instructors. It has really changed our perspective, yet our lifestyle is very similar to what it has been.
4.  How do you manage your many roles as Wife, Mom, Teacher, Chef, etc. while still being YOU and being true to what’s important to you?
My many roles are all interrelated and connected. Looking at them as separate causes too much stress. The only differentiation is when I am instructing, the girls call me Miss Mommy and this helps them to view me with the same respect they view their extra curricular teachers. Otherwise I am just me, the same mommy who cooks is the mommy who chauffeurs them to their activities. The mommy who preaches and sings at church is the same mommy who does skip counting while playing hand games. My girls view me as a well rounded individual.
I know a lot of parents say, "my children are my life," and I love the sentiment, but my life is my life and my children are a huge part of it. Their lives influence my decisions and I consider them in almost everything I do. But I never wanted to just be a mommy and a wife. I have always had high aspirations and a calling on me to inspire people to live spiritually holistic lives. Through homeschool I am able to teach this life to my children, and through all my other endeavors I can teach the same lesson to all I encounter. 
5.  What advice do you have for stressed and overworked Moms who are considering homeschooling their children? 
I suggest that anyone thinking about homeschooling be truly realistic. The first thing to consider is "Do you like your kids? Are they people you want to be around 24/7?" The second thing to consider is "Are you organized? Do you have the capacity to lesson plan, organize field trips, and engage with your children?" If you answer yes to both of these questions then move forward with sure steps and take the leap into the deep. Understand that homeschooling (especially in elementary school) is not rocket science. Everything you do already is a lesson to be learned. Start with what the children are interested in and build the lesson around that. Be consistent so that your children know what to expect and can look forward to each day. Teach your children self care by caring for yourself. And remember you have been teaching your child since they were born.
6.  Please share anything else you’d like us to know.
You are capable! Love is supreme and will supply you with everything you need to succeed. The resources available online and at local museums and centers truly help to enrich the process. Don't get caught up on following preset curriculums. Let you child take part in the planning process. And most of all, be kind to yourself. It takes a while to get into the swing of things, but once you find a rhythm that works for your family, you'll be swinging. 
Homeschool is not a new idea and it is gaining support each year. Statistics show that homeschooled children excel in college and in the workplace. Girls who are homeschooled in middle school maintain or increase in their self confidence. So give it a try and remember, traditional school isn't going anywhere, it will wait if you decide to change your mind. But your child won't wait to grow up.
Marlee-I Mystic is a San Francisco native with a strong holistic and spiritual background.
She is a devoted wife and mother of two daughters, whom she instructs in homeschool. 
Her highest aspiration is to inspire others to practice a spiritual holistic lifestyle. 
You can read more at her poetry blog www.mysticmarleei.wordpress.com
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