Interview with Katie Westenberg

Katie WestenbergAge: 35
Ages of Children: 10, 7, 5, 3
Location: Washington State

Why and when did you decide to homeschool your children?

My husband and I decided to homeschool after our oldest son completed preschool at a local Christian school. We had always kind of assumed we would send our children to school there, and we really had no complaints with our preschool experience there. However, our third baby was on the way at that time and as we began to take a look at what tuition would look like in the upcoming years, it caught our attention and we began to seriously wonder if this was the best way to steward our finances. From there we took a hard look at homeschooling and many other factors came into play, but that is what first caught our attention and we have never looked back.

What’s your proudest homeschool moment?

I’m not even going to pretend every moment of homeschooling is a joyride. Sometimes it’s just plain tough to temper attitudes and distractions and, well, spelling, but I think my proudest moments are the simple interactions between my children. When my 7-year-old reads to my 3-year-old. When my 10-year-old wants to help my 7-year-old with a math problem because those are “his favorite”. Those interactions, that bonding, is something they wouldn’t be getting in a traditional school setting and it just melts my mama heart.

How has homeschooling changed you?

I once had an older mother tell me that God gives us kids to refine us more than for us to refine them. I think homeschooling may magnify that times ten. I’ve had to face my own selfishness (when I want to demand a break), my own lack of self-discipline (when I don’t feel like doing school today either), my own pride (when I want my kids to show the world, or at least their grandparents, how smart they are) and my fears (that my kids aren’t doing enough, that I’m not doing enough). There really has been no other facet of my life that has caused me to fully depend on God in the manner that homeschooling has. And He has been so faithful in leading me through every tough moment (or month!). So homeschool has humbled me, while making me more confident, it has strengthened me, while revealing my weaknesses and, ultimately, it has required me to trust God like never before.

What do you find most difficult about homeschooling?

In general, I find balance to be tricky when homeschooling. Balance between driving educator and fun mama. Balance between discipline and grace. Balance between staying focused and making time for healthy distractions. It’s usually not until I’ve swung too far one direction that I notice we are a bit off kilter. Thankfully re-grouping is always possible, but balance does feel like a bit of a moving target at times.

Which Bible verse helps you most with homeschooling? How?

I have two. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “…my grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness…” I’m not sure there is any greater gift to a homeschooling parent than those words right there. And Psalm 139:5 “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.” The visual picture of Christ hedging me in and laying His hand upon me as I seek to teach these little people for His glory is pure comfort to me.

How has your homeschooling approach changed since you began?

I think time and comfortability in my role as an educator has minimized some of the fear and trembling I started out with – and with that comes a host of freedom.

What’s your goal as a home educator?

My goal as a home educator is inextricably linked to my goal as a mother – to raise children who seek to serve our Lord and glorify Him with their very lives. Beyond that, I hope to give them a well-rounded education. I seek to entice a life-long love for learning, and I am committed to helping them discover and hone the individual talents God has given them in order that they may bravely use them to honor Him.

Westenberg 2015

How can we connect with you?

www.ichoosebrave.com

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to share, Angel! Answering questions as to why I homeschool is such a great reminder to myself as much as anyone. Sometimes amidst the every day struggles, we forget the bigger picture of why we are doing this and you have helped remind me of just that. Thanks for all you do here!

    • Angel Thompson Angel Thompson says:

      You’re very welcome!! I really enjoyed learning about your homeschooling journey. You’ve articulated so well many of my thoughts. Thanks for being an inspiration!

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