Interview with Katie Turner

Katie Turner

Age: 49
Number of Children: 6 children, 1 grandchild
Ages of Children: sons – 23, 20, 18, 9, 5, and daughter  8
Location: Tennessee

Why and when did you decide to homeschool your children? 

Way back in 2002, my husband and I decided to plunge into the unknown-to-us world of home education. I had taught third and fifth grades before serving as a 60-hour-a-week day care director. In both capacities I had become increasingly frustrated with the government’s drive to test well, early and often. Some specific events occurred which caused me to draw the line and realize there must be a better way for our children to learn and grow academically. Our goal for our children was not to produce excellent test-takers but to do our best, by the Grace of God,  in producing followers of Jesus who would pass the Ultimate Test. We greatly desired that our children would become best of friends and continue these relationships into their adult lives. Our purposes and goals have certainly evolved throughout the past 14 years. We now realize what a tremendous and amazing duty and privilege we have to educate our children at home in the ways of the Lord.  We appreciate the freedom to teach and train while simply just enjoying living and learning and loving as a family.

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What would you say to someone who may be contemplating homeschooling?

Homeschooling is as unique as each family. Don’t compare. Don’t compare yourselves to government or private schools and their standards. Don’t compare yourselves to other homeschooling families. Do take it one step at a time. I recently advised one young mother to commit to just one year if that helped her ease the pressure. Yes, it is true that your child’s entire academic education rests on your shoulders.  This can be very daunting if you sit and contemplate the weight of it.  However, and in reality, our children’s paths to Christ and salvation rest on our shoulders, whether we home educate or allow someone to take care of the academic department. This reality is rather jolting and nothing in comparison to teaching math or science (my weaknesses!). Confession: I still allow myself to become overwhelmed when I consider it all.  My husband grounds me and I can begin to take it one step at a time.  Reward: When the graduate stands on the front porch and delivers his graduation speech to a small audience of friends and close family, our hearts smile.

What’s the best homeschooling advice you’ve ever received?

When we removed our two older children from public school, the director of our Umbrella School (CRS), advised, “Mrs. Turner, just get to know your children the first few months or year.” Wow! What? But sure ’nuff, that wise man was right on. I didn’t even know that I didn’t even know my sons. How could I when I had loaded them on a bus to experience the most alert and pleasing hours of their day? I love now that I know my children–often better than they know themselves.

What was your biggest misconception about homeschooling prior to becoming a home educator?

I always welcome this question in the hopes it will help others! This was me in 2002: “I know what I am doing,  after all **I** am a teacher“-snap-snap-snap fingers all confidently and smartly. This is me since 2003: “Oh my word, how utterly foolish and prideful to think I knew it all. What in the world am I doing??” Well, I don’t exactly feel lost but I do regret being so prideful and confident in my elementary education degree. While the degree is indeed beneficial (no education is wasted, says my hubby), it was certainly a handicap before I realized the purpose of homeschooling was not to replicate the public or private school’s classroom.

How do you balance homeschooling and finding time for yourself?

In an attempt to be honest and real here, I will admit that this is an area that I have not focused on and my health has suffered. I would love to encourage homeschooling moms to take time for themselves and their relationships with their Creator and their husbands, if they are so blessed. My husband is entirely patient, attentive and helpful. He has urged me to take time for myself for years. I am just now catching-on to that and have let go of the guilt of doing so.

How has your homeschooling approach changed since you began?

We began homeschooling to avoid so much testing and so that our children would have the time and opportunity to become best of friends. These two goals have become reality, thank God. However, our approach most certainly has changed. In fact, it changes with the seasons of life. We treasure the freedom to teach them what we believe is important.

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We appreciate the flexibility in scheduling. We love the freedom to travel anytime of the year, especially in off-seasons when locales are less expensive and crowds are fewer. Most importantly, we take advantage of the flexibility to fulfill what we believe God is calling us to do and model for our children. In 2011 the number of children in our home and hearts doubled-literally overnight. This was probably the most amazing (and exhausting) time in our family’s timeline and in our homeschooling career.  Our three oldest sons learned how to love others according to James 1:27, how to care for a newborn with medical issues and how to love younger siblings who needed that as much as they needed food. Honestly, our academia suffered during that season. Would we do it over again? Yes! Our sons learned much more about passing the Ultimate Test during that season than in any other. God is Good, Faithful and Good.

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How can we connect with you?

Instagram: @homekeepingbook

More about Katie:

Katie is the former owner of a catering company. Her sons are the owners of Turner Leather – Handcrafted Leather Goods.

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