We’re sharing our homeschooling journey to help you make the most of yours
For our family, homeschooling means the freedom to learn anytime, anywhere; to enjoy exploring and discovering together through books, videos, and real life experiences; to follow our children’s interests and cultivate values and knowledge that will contribute to a successful future; to take advantage of learning opportunities when they arise; to make learning meaningful and a lifelong part of our every day. It’s an amazing privilege!
Our goal is to share ideas, knowledge, resources, and our own experiences so that you can feel empowered to enjoy homeschooling, too. We know that some people aren’t sure what homeschooling might look like for their families or how to get started. Others have been homeschooling for a while but are tired of buying expensive curriculums and barely using them or feel overwhelmed with trying to complete all of the workbooks. You may see your children resorting to video games and boredom instead of exploring with a hungry curiosity. We’re here to help you change that.
Dare to dream about the homeschooling life you wish your family could have and gain the confidence to make it happen!
We never intended to homeschool. We really didn’t know much about it at all. As our daughter began to approach school age, though, Jill started hearing people mention it and wanted to know more. At first, it was really confusing because other moms rattled off lists of curriculums and didn’t really share how homeschooling actually worked. Finally, though, Jill found someone who sat down with her and shared about different methods of homeschooling, various ways of scheduling and designing learning activities, and legal requirements.
At this point, a vision began to take shape of what homeschooling could mean for our family. We loved the idea of our children being able to enjoy childhood longer without being trapped in a single room for most of their days. We were captivated by the possibility that we could tailor learning to our kids’ interests, explore the world around us together, and be part of their education.
As a licensed teacher with seven years of experience in public school classrooms, Jill had a pretty good idea of what lay in store for our kids if they headed off to kindergarten. While many school teachers are incredibly knowledgeable about how to teach and care very much for their students, they are limited by class size, funding, testing, standards, time, schedules… We decided we wanted to try something different, and it wasn’t just buying a curriculum of workbooks and doing school at home. Jill began using her skills as a teacher to engage our kids in educational activities to build their understanding. We found groups and friends with whom to play and learn, and they showed us so much more about the world of homeschooling and how it can be done in many different ways to fit a wide variety of families, lifestyles, and learning styles.
We love getting together with other homeschooling families and going to classes and co-ops, but trying to include these gatherings in our schedule too often makes things hectic. We wanted to be able to connect at convenient times from our home or other locations, so we started thinking about how to develop a place for collaborative learning online.
The more we thought about the idea, the more it grew, and the more we liked it. We decided that since homeschooling involves the whole family, we wanted resources and a dedicated space for every member of the family – parents, teens, and kids. We realized we wanted to go beyond standard curriculum and offer practical tools for real life (“Hey, we should call it Homeschooling 4 Real Life!”). We were excited to provide a place where homeschooling parents could learn how to teach without being dependent on workbooks. After hearing so many of our friends lament that they wish they had known more before choosing their careers and watching teens we know head off to college, only to come back home to figure out their futures, we knew we wanted to create a comprehensive prep course to help teens develop informed paths to success. We kept dreaming, and this is the result.
While typical high school courses cover material that students are expected to learn before admission to universities, we realized that there are some important skills and topics that are often overlooked but can have a great impact on their future happiness and success. So we’re creating practical courses such as career exploration (ready and waiting for your teen!) and how to manage personal finances (coming soon) to help prepare teens for real life.
Homeschooling can seem overwhelming when you’re thinking of trying it out. We understand, and we’re here to help. We provide information about what’s required and the various approaches different families use. We’ll help you identify what might work well for your family. When you’re ready, we even have videos showing you how to teach and activities you can use with your children!
We want you to feel free to teach and explore in ways that work for both you and your children, without feeling overwhelmed and trapped by expensive curriculums that aren’t a good fit or take too much time. One of the joys of homeschooling is helping your child learn in ways that best suit them and enhance your family’s life rather than complicate it. We’re building a library of training videos that give tips on how to teach reading, writing, and math. We’ll also be sharing ideas for how to explore various topics in science, history, and world geography and cultures. It’s all coming soon!
We understand that parenting and teaching are both challenging roles, and homeschooling is a unique combination of both. This can be exhausting, and there are times when we need support or ideas to address issues or adapt to new age levels and circumstances. Our goal is to provide you with knowledgeable advice and a supportive community to empower you to thrive through difficulties and inspire others with your successes. Whether you’re stressed about teen anxiety, an uncooperative kindergartener, or feeling like you’re not doing enough, we don’t want you to face it alone.
In addition to a community for parents, we think it’s important that students have opportunities to connect with peers. Teens can get to know other homeschoolers in the forums and talk about career exploration and goals for the future. Kids of all ages can share their work with their peers. With a real, responsive audience, motivation increases and when they see the ideas and abilities of other students, kids begin to think about things in new ways and challenge themselves more than before.
Finally, it was important to us that all of these resources be offered as one package deal. Homeschooling brings the whole family and all aspects of life together, so why should the resources you need to do it well be offered separately? We wanted one membership to benefit the whole family across all areas of family life. Welcome, everyone, to Homeschool 4 Real Life.
Jill has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education with a focus on literacy. Licensed in Ohio, she taught sixth grade in public schools for three years and then taught fourth grade for four years. She has been homeschooling since 2015. Jill is a National Merit Scholar and was awarded a University Fellowship for graduate school. She loves working with children and learning new things, so teaching comes naturally and is very fulfilling. Jill is fascinated by how the brain learns and how uniquely each individual is created. She likes nature, animals, hiking, reading, a cup of hot tea, cooking, and playing games.
David has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He has worked for a well-known company and research institute since 2005, developing innovative solutions to complex problems. David excels at applying complicated mathematics and scientific concepts to practical, real-world machines and systems. However, David’s passion is more related to helping others find success in their lives both through their career and living out their purpose. In his free time, he has done a lot of research in the area of career and financial planning and has had experience coaching both individuals and groups of teenagers through the process of developing a career path and educational plan that will lead to long-term success and fulfillment. David enjoys hiking, taking outdoorsy vacations, football, and time with his family and close friends.
Bill (Jill’s dad!) is a retired Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with 30 years of experience working with families, couples, and individuals. He no longer maintains his license but is pleased to share some of the ideas and perspectives that he has found to be most helpful and effective. Many of those ideas are based on the ways in which our thoughts impact our feelings, beliefs, and behaviors as well as strategies we can use to lead healthier, happier lives. In Bill’s courses you’ll find expert advice on parenting such as raising emotionally healthy kids, tips for dealing with everyday challenges, and how to set your kids up for success. You’ll also find insights in areas of wellness including establishing healthy boundaries and managing emotions. He’s working on preparing these topics and more so they can be added to the site soon! Bill enjoys woodcarving and turning bowls on a lathe, watching football and basketball, walking his 8 year old puppy, spending time with his two wonderful grandchildren, and eating apple pie.