Interview with Kristin Madden, Part 2

Adrienne: How would you describe your homeschooling philosophy/methods? Have they changed at all as you’ve gone along?

Kristin: My methods have not changed but my comfort level and trust in the process have increased quite a bit as I have seen the learning happen naturally and those Ah-Ha moments occur. 

I do a combination of school-at-home and unschooling. We homeschool year-round and use a variety of workbooks, text books, home-made worksheets, and experiments. But we also use a lot of games, field trips, movies, computer CDs, and taking advantage of “teachable moments”.  When my son accompanies me on book tours, I make it a point to find interesting and educational moments and locations on every trip. The combination seems to work very well for my son.

Adrienne: How old is your son now?

Kristin: He’s 11.

Adrienne: So you’re in the middle – several years in, several years to go. How are the regulations in your state? Have you ever had any issues working with them or the school district? (One hears so many horror stories….)

Kristin: Indeed! Right in the middle, since he’s in 6th grade now.

New Mexico is one of the easiest states in the Union to homeschool. We are one of the poorest states and therefore have limited funds for tracking and regulating homeschoolers. But the homeschooling communities in NM are extremely active, particularly the powerful anti-government-influence Christian homeschool lobby. I obviously don’t agree with everything they want, but they have been generally good to the NM homeschooling community.

Another point in our favor in New Mexico is the fact that we have one of the worst public school systems in the country. A surprising number of public school teachers have spouses that homeschool.

Albuquerque Public Schools offer a special program designed to attract homeschoolers.  It’s called Family School. Kids register for multi-age classrooms and go to school 4 hours a day for 4 days a week. Parents are required to do varying degrees of homeschooling for an additional 15 hours a week. It doesn’t appeal to the hardcore homeschooler but it does offer an alternative to the traditional compulsory school.

Personally, I have never had a problem with a local school district and, in general, most NM homeschoolers have a pretty good relationship with their districts.

Explore posts in the same categories: Eclectic Homeschooling, Interviews, Pagan Homeschooling, Secular Homeschooling, Unschooling

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