Ask Us Anything – Taking Your Homeschool (and other!) Questions

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This year is going to be one of change in our family.

Our oldest graduates from college. The youngest graduates from our homeschool. My husband and I are entering a new phase of life. We will officially now be parents of young adults – we are coaching and mentoring them rather than actively tending to their basic needs.

Of course, this causes us to reflect upon our son and daughter’s childhoods. They were HONEST childhoods, full of learning, exploration, joy, beauty, and so much goodness.

The decision to homeschool them wasn’t one we thought we would ever make. Ultimately, however, that decision was the first of many important, life-changing decisions we would make for our family.

As I wrote over 13 years ago…

I started to feel the grave disconnect between what the “job” of a public school is and the reality of what a child needs. The two didn’t match. I knew we needed to make a change.

We made that change, and the next 12 years were full of more changes – changes that I am fairly certain were inspired by the courage we gained from making the decision to homeschool!

After we left the public schools, we gained the confidence to start saying NO to other things that weren’t working for us. We gained the confidence to swim upstream. We gained the confidence to be different.

Because my children and I were able to achieve a level of freedom with our time through homeschooling, it inspired my husband to first seek a job where he could work at home, and ultimately to come home to work in the Homegrown Learners/SQUILT business.

A little background – when we were first married my husband worked for a nonprofit debt counseling agency. It was his passion to counsel people about wise use of their money, and to specifically get out of credit card debt. As the years went on he moved up in the agency and took on a software development role.

Then, after several years of consulting for a private technology firm, he decided to make the leap to come home and help me with Homegrown Learners and the SQUILT Music Appreciation curriculum. We are a perfect fit working together because I handle the creative and marketing arm of things while he handles the finances and technology.

We found ourselves owning our own business, schooling our children in an untraditional way, and just not caring one bit about following the crowd. In fact, if the crowd is doing it, you can be pretty sure we won’t be!

If you’ve been a reader here for a while you might know that in the past five years my husband and I have lost three of our parents. They were hard years, but they did bring us a deep appreciation for family and a clarity about what we want our older years to look like.

Life comes full circle, because my husband’s passion for financial security and living debt free kicked into high gear during these years of loss. We began saving aggressively and really watching where our money went.

On my husband’s 50th birthday we sent in our FINAL mortgage payment and we now live 100% debt free. The peace, freedom, and MARGIN that being debt free brings to our life is hard to describe.

We now live life on our own terms. We are free to live, give, and grow as we see fit. We are able to pursue our passions, contribute our time and resources generously to organizations that matter, and I KNOW we sleep better at night.

So now it’s time for the next chapter in our lives – working in the homeschool community to help YOU achieve these same things. I will continue to work in the homeschool and music end of things just like always.

My husband, Hal, has started a new business – another service under the Homegrown Learners umbrella. This business marries his passions for wise stewardship of money and education. He has spent the past year becoming a certified You Need a Budget (YNAB) Coach and is now coaching individuals, couples – and even young adults (think high schoolers and young adults getting ready to “launch”) to help them achieve financial margin in their lives.

He’s been the steady husband and father who has helped me grow a business, cared for our aging parents, supported me schooling the kids, taught finance classes to homeschool high schoolers, and given so generously of himself to everyone he knows.

You know ME because I am the extrovert of the family – but now I want you to know him because he is the one who keeps the ship afloat!

You’ll be hearing more from Hal in this space, and our focus will change from that of parents in the homeschool trenches, to parents who now want to mentor and equip homeschool families.

We want to help YOU school your children at home and live a life with margin. Homeschooling turned out to be so much MORE than a way to educate our children. It turned into a different (and we think better!) way of life. We would love to chat with you about all of these things, and will be having an “Ask Us Anything” webinar.

When you register for this webinar you will have the chance to visit with us, hear more of our story, and ask us anything you would like! (If you cannot attend live, don’t worry – sign up for the webinar and we will send you a link to a recording when we’re all finished!)

When I started Homegrown Learners, blogging was just a little way of keeping a daily record of our days. Well, we all know how the internet has changed and how our world has changed – and I am thankful to still be here advocating for homeschooling – and now advocating for things beyond homeschooling!

Be sure to register for our webinar, and leave any questions you might have for us in the comments below – or email them to me at mary dot prather at gmail dot com.

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