For Aislynn Holt and her family, the homeschooling journey began before the beginning — of official schooling, that is. “My husband and I had made the discussion to homeschool our children when our first son was a year old,” says Aislynn, who at that point made plans to attend the FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention. “That first year at the Convention I went to each curriculum geared towards elementary curriculum, wrote down pros and cons, and narrowed the list to my core needs. After having that sorted out, I geared our preschool work to that.”
The Holts have been homeschooling for the past three years, but this is their first year having registered with their local school district (their older son is now 6). They are also beginning preschool with their eager soon-to-be-3-year-old son.
At this relatively early stage in her homeschool journey, Aislynn sees herself as her biggest challenge. “I forget that I have a 6-year-old in first grade who has already done first-grade material,” the Wauchula resident observes. “I let my planner of expectations get in the way of his natural learning. When my checklist hasn’t been completed, I start thinking, Did I teach enough? Did we cover everything? I’ve also learned that the 2-year-old I once thought would be too busy to do school early is a boy eager to do it. I’m learning to readjust everything I originally planned. Planning this year has changed our method of homeschooling altogether.”
That’s when Aislynn reminds herself of the basics. “My philosophy is simple, really,” she explains. “I want a home that nurtures our boys, in that each thing I plan is geared to who they are. I thought my 2-year-old would hate sitting at a table seeing his brother do school, but he loves the school day and wants to be involved. Our philosophy is to nurture them individually, and homeschooling allows this.”
Besides the annual Convention, Aislynn draws support for the journey through a homeschool cooperative group she helped form last year. “We saw the need with the growing numbers of homeschoolers in our area,” she says, “and we have been planning classes and field trips since. The beauty of my co-op mommies is that we have had great times to share what works and doesn’t, how we aren’t sure about this and that, and that we appreciate one another.”
She describes her FPEA membership as “a place of security, peace, and confidence. I have more confidence as a mom to do what I know the Lord is calling us to do. I also have a desire to give this same confidence to new homeschooling moms. The FPEA has created a strong advocate in homeschooling in me.”