Jody Hanson and Craig, her husband, moved to Chaska in 2014. They have been married for 15 years and have four children. (Ashlyn-13, Sam-10, Emily-8 and Caleb-6.) Jody's warm smile and infectious laugh light up every room. I had the amazing opportunity to visit with Jody about Homeschooling.
"Ashlyn has gone to school at Chapel Hill Academy in Chanhassen since 4th grade (going into 8th this fall). Sam will also attend Chapel Hill for the first time next year for 5th grade. I still teach Emily and Caleb at home, and may teach Ashlyn and/or Sam again at home at some point, depending on how the Lord leads us and what is best for each of them and for our family each year."
"I started homeschooling in 2012. We have run the gamut of school options with various kids - private, public, and homeschool, and had good experiences with it all. I had a lot of friends who homeschooled during the years that my kids were really little, and I was sure I would never do that! But when my oldest went to 1st grade and for the first time was gone all day AND had homework in the evenings, I realized that the rhythm of a traditional school schedule was not working for our family well in that season of life. My husband was also serving in the military then, and he was gone a lot, plus we moved every few years. When we made a move across the country after that first grade year, we decided to try homeschooling as a way to find a rhythm that would fit our particular family better, and as a way to provide educational continuity to our kids. We were also excited about the opportunity to spend more time with our kids and focus on their moral & emotional development as well as academics."
"My biggest challenge when it comes to homeschooling is probably the weariness I often feel about two-thirds of the way through the year. It’s not always easy being the teacher and being mom, not to mention all the other roles I play in my life. And it’s hard to get time to myself! But the longer I homeschool, the more I’ve learned how to integrate all those roles, and how to arrange my schedule and seek out support from my husband or from other homeschool moms who have been there."
"Hands down, I love getting to be with my kids! They are wonderful people, and I enjoy discovering who they are along with them. It’s amazing to have a front row seat to their learning, and to know everything they’re studying and be able to help them apply it to their life outside of school. And it’s exciting to look back at learning objectives - academic, social, emotional, spiritual, physical - and see the progress they make over a school year. My oldest child has had the privilege of attending a great private school for the last few years, but the years she & I spent homeschooling together have had a lasting positive impact on our relationship, and on my ability to ask the right questions about school so we can have that same ongoing dialogue about her learning."
When asked what she would like the People of Carver County to know about Homeschooling, "No one homeschooler is representative of all homeschoolers. We are all unique, with our own stories of how & why we do it. There are many ways to homeschool, and lots of resources out there to draw from. On the whole, homeschooler's experience excellent academic outcomes and lead well-rounded lives with extracurricular experiences and community involvement. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but it is a great option for education! I would encourage anyone who thinks they might want to homeschool their kids to start asking questions and do a little research so they can make a well-informed decision. Know that it is never too early or too late in your child’s academic career to choose to homeschool . . . And the choice doesn’t have to be forever. You can take it one year at a time."