Up next in our series of Adventurous Educators is Yvie Field and her rollicking blog Homeschool on the Range. We met Yvie through a couple collaborations, and again, though on opposite sides of the world an instant connection was formed. Her passion for education was palpable, and her many projects impressive in their scope and aim.
Educator… road schooler… humanitarian… entrepreneur… and most importantly a proud mama.
What follows is a Q and A with Yvie (over another virtual cup of coffee) where she helps define roadschooling and also provides an overview of her new material-sharing non-profits as well as other projects.
What inspired you to launch your site Homeschool On the Range?
Back in 2014, we were travelling quite a bit, and I wanted a way to share our family’s adventures with friends and family, so my aunt suggested starting a blog. Five years later, it’s morphed into a way to not only share our adventures but encourage other families who are considering homeschooling and / or roadschooling. I’ve had the opportunity to meet other families out on the road and connect with homeschoolers worldwide, and it’s been an amazing journey!
What sort of stories and information do you like to share?
I usually share homeschool posts (mostly aimed at middle and high school age, as that’s what we have), animal husbandry and gardening posts, recipes, and the occasional book review. Since our family is really into history and geography, the novel studies tend to fall a bit heavier on that end of the schooling spectrum.
For someone who is unfamiliar, how would you describe roadschooling? What do the lessons look like?
Roadschooling is less a curriculum style than a way of life. It’s a form of homeschooling that involves traveling, allowing the places and experiences to drive learning. For many years, we travelled with my husband’s job and were able to show the kids the vast majority of the United States. Our lessons were geography-based, meaning that I’d find out where we were heading next and build history, literature, writing, science, and geography lessons around that location. Typically we’d have a field trip each morning, followed by a few hours of school in the afternoon, and then family reading at night. For example, when we visited San Antonio, we read “We Were There at the Alamo” as our read-aloud and did a week-long Texas history unit study.
Since the kids were in elementary and middle school when we travelled full-time, it was easier to get away with only a few hours of school each day. Nowadays, when we travel, we have to budget more time for schoolwork. This means that we might have a full-day field trip followed by a few hours (math, in particular, needs to get done) and then the next day is a full day of school.
What else can you share about your homeschooling style and philosophy?
We tend toward a blend of Charlotte Mason and unit studies – using literature and life-learning as the basis for education. As we began high school, however, that shifted some into more traditional schooling. We still definitely prefer the former – and I still read aloud to my teens daily – but with college on the horizon, we wanted to prepare for the transition using something with a classical bent.
Congrats on launching your non-profit! What is the Homeschool House, and what are your plans for it?
The Homeschool House is a place to freely share homeschooling resources and support! Our website currently features homeschool encouragement, free resources, help for special needs families, and high school consulting, and we will continue to add material as requested by homeschooling families.
Through the upstairs Book Shack, we share used homeschool books, materials, supplies, and other resources with homeschooling families, while the lower level areas host classes, workshops, and events for homeschooling families. Our lower level is utilized primarily locally, while the Book Shack mails out materials to families all across the country. We just try not to do it all on the same day anymore…because the mailman doesn’t like that!
How can people learn more or even help the cause?
People can visit our website at OKBookShack.org to learn about the organization. Folks can learn about receiving help here. If they are interested in donating, they can learn about that here. Aside from books, some of the things that we need are a person who is good at marketing (to get the word out to other homeschoolers that we are able to help them), a social media guru (because our announcements never seem to be shown on Facebook!), and a Tardis (to make more hours in the day for our volunteers). J
For anyone just interested in helping in general, we have an Amazon affiliate account that accrues small commissions (just click on the link to start shopping – you’ve probably seen it on other blogs & organizations)….that money goes toward covering expenses such as liability insurance and electricity.
What other projects are you currently working on?
The biggest project our family is tackling right now is fixing up the house from where it flooded back in March. It has been seven months, and we’re finally able to start putting things back in that space! We also are still finding a new norm after losing a family member this past summer, which is part of the reason it’s taken us so long to get to the flooding.
Please let us know your:
Go-to resources for lessons – Science isn’t really my forte, but I stumbled upon Kristin Moon Science earlier this year, and it’s been a great resource for the kids to learn. I definitely recommend her for anyone with older kids that need a boost in the sciences. Some of the other bookmarks we frequent are the Boy Scouts’ Merit Badges (great for unit studies!) and TalkBox.Mom (one of the best foreign language programs we’ve tried). (Use coupon: REFGSZXRLU9KL)
Favorite website or YouTube channel – I like Mike Rowe’s channel – particularly The Way I Heard It. I could listen to him all day… But the boys are fans of How It’s Made – they watch episodes on how things are made, and then I’ll find them tinkering, taking things apart and trying to sup them up….it’s a #boymom thing.
Suggested resource for prospective new homeschoolers — The Homeschool House actually put together a list of some of our favorite books for new homeschoolers earlier this year. The one thing I’d remind new homeschoolers of, however, is not to fall into the comparison trap. Everyone’s situation looks different; everyone’s school is different. And folks who tell you that they’ve got everything 100% together are either lying to you or to themselves!
Educator who has inspired you — It would be difficult to narrow this down to one person. I can think of at least three or four folks that made a huge impact on my life. Of course, my teacher relationships were a little more personal than most students, since my dad was a principal, my mom a teacher, and we pretty much grew up inside the school buildings. If I had to choose one, though, it would be my mom. She not only inspired me to become a teacher, but is still only a phone call away when I have a special needs or language arts question (her specialties).
Inspirational book – I read about fifteen books each week, not counting whatever we’re reading aloud together as a family. So it’s really difficult for me to pick one inspirational book. Some of my favorite authors, however, are Sarah Sundin, John Heldt, Melody Carlson, and my son (who loves to write WW2 themed stories!) I keep a rolling tab of books on Mom’s Bookshelf…
Guilty pleasure – Super dark chocolate. My friends love to poke fun at my dark chocolate addiction…there really is no better word. J
Source for a needed boost (type of coffee, song, snack, etc) – Music feeds my soul. Whether I need an upper or a downer, there’s always a playlist ready to inspire me. I love pretty much any type of music and think there’s a perfect place for it all!
If you are interested in learning more about Homeschool on the Range or would like to get in touch, here is how you can reach Yvie online:
Academic Adventurers is our project that introduces renegades in education. We hope to profile educators who are shaking things up, changing paradigms, and contributing new ideas. By sharing their stories, we hope to pass ideas on, start a discussion, and inspire other educators.
Please let us know if you would like to be featured or if you know someone who should: firstname.lastname@example.org