Welcome!  
I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Confessions of a Homeschool Convert: Meet Gretchen Ronnevik

Confessions of a Homeschool Convert: Meet Gretchen Ronnevik

Written by Gretchen of Gretchen Ronnevik


Confession

Walking hand in hand on our way to meet our pastor for premarital counseling, my guy and I each carried a little marriage workbook. We had each written under the question: “If you plan on having children, where do you intend to send them to school? Public, private, or homeschool?” the answer:

1st choice: Public school, because we want our kids to not live in a bubble, but help them learn how to live their faith in the real world. 2nd choice: Private Christian school, but only if necessary and if our child wasn’t thriving in the public schools. 3rd choice: We are against homeschooling.

3 years earlier, I was in a freshman speech class at Moody Bible Institute, where I gave my first speech: “Why Christians Shouldn’t Homeschool.”


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Talk about an unlikely homeschooler.

God gradually eased us into the idea. Our oldest child started out in kindergarten in public school—a good school. But after 1 year, as they tested her at a 5th grade reading level, and she started hiding her love of books to try to fit in, we started dreaming of other options.

We were sure we would just homeschool her, because she was way ahead. Our other kids were certainly going to public school.

I brought our second child to his preschool screening to get his kindergarten placement. He scored terribly. They suspected he was either ADHD or on the autism spectrum. They suspected some learning disabilities. They said we needed to have him medically evaluated so he could get a proper diagnosis, be put on medication, and so we could get set up with IEPs for his classroom, and most likely an aide to help him through school.

Everything about the whole thing sat wrong with us. It felt like we were handing our son off to an environment that worked against everything about him. With very little discussion, we both understood he would be homeschooled as well.

Once we had 2 kids homeschooling, it became a part of our family culture and all the kids followed. It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey. We’ve had to consult with specialists on occasion, and I’ve wanted to quit several times. By God’s grace, we are still here. The benefits of homeschooling have been so great, I cannot imagine what our family would be like without it.

Making introductions


I have 6 children now.
(In our handy-dandy premarital counseling notebook we had agreed upon 3. Oh, how God must have laughed!)

Our oldest is 12, and our youngest was just born July 2016. We have 3 boys and 3 girls. One of my kids has ADHD, dyslexia, and this last year he developed a severe case of an autoimmune disease called alopecia. What I should say is I have an energetic, passionate (and very bald) boy, who learns and eats differently than all my other kids, and has a the biggest heart and strongest work ethic you have ever seen.

We homeschool using an eclectic blend of classical, Charlotte Mason…well, basically we read a lot of books. I just keep throwing books at my kids. (I’ll let you decide if that’s a literal or figurative expression.)

In an ideal world

An ideal day in our house looks like this:

  • 7am: My family wakes up and heads down to breakfast.
  • 7:30: We each do one of our assigned household chores.
  • 8am: The kids feed their animals in the barn.
  • 8:30: Morning Hour. We do devotions, history, geography, grammar, everyday, and then rotate through art, music, poetry, etc. 
  • 9:30: The older kids start rotating their instrument practice, and their 2 computer classes (math and computer coding). The younger kids stay with me and work on reading, writing, and math. 
  • 10am: Tea-time. (our fancy word for snack time.) I read to them aloud from a book aimed at the smaller kids’ age while the kids eat a snack so their mouths are full and I don’t get interrupted as much.
  • 10:30: The older kids finish up any music practice, and computer time. We only have one laptop, and one piano, so they trade off. Sometimes the kids take a break and sometimes they start their afternoon assignments. Sometimes if the snow is good outside our house, they will strap on their cross country skis and get some energy out in our yard. My children are odd. They hibernate in the summer, and come alive with the outdoors in the frigid winter. They get that from their father.
  • 12:30: Lunchtime
  • 1pm: The older kids do a household chore. 
  • 1:30: Family Quiet Time. Everyone in the family has a spot for some personal devotions, a nap, read a book, or just chill out.
  • 2:30 -whenever: My younger kids are done. My older kids do their reading, writing, and science. Many times, they have gotten this done earlier during their morning time, but other times they need my undivided attention to help them through an assignment. 

Confessions of a Homeschool Convert: Meet Gretchen Ronnevik

Glad to meetcha  

Ideal days never/rarely happen. 

Parts of this get done every day. I stubbornly prioritize capturing character building opportunities and building relationships over to-do lists and checked boxes. I plan on a longer school year so if we need a break to sort things out, we can. Since my husband’s work is seasonal, we will often interrupt our day to spend time with him when we can.

Our late afternoons are filled with music lessons, volunteering, and Tae Kwon Do. My oldest now has youth group and confirmation as well. This year, we are starting something new, and are joining a Classical Conversations group.

The younger kids go to bed around 8pm. The older kids get to stay up and listen to me read aloud a book, as they quietly play with Legos, or knit.

We didn’t start out this busy. 

It was built over time. I struggle and fight against the chaos. I write a lot from that desire. I’m so honored to be contributing here, and can’t wait to get to know you all better.




18 comments:

  1. How lovely to "meet" you. I like your ideal schedule. :) I look forward to reading more from you.

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    1. Nice to "meet" you too! I saw you have a blog too. I love your adoption insight. One of my best friends finally got an adoption date for one of their foster boys, and it's been such a long road, and so interesting to walk it beside her. I love your heart.

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  2. Strange, but fun to read about you on another blog! I have to laugh at your "against homeschooling" position. When we visited you seven years ago, Chris and I left and said, "They are totally a homeschooling kind of family." We were not surprised at all when you started and are glad to see it grew on you! I still believe it is not for everyone, but I am glad when people look into it with an open mind and are willing to let God teach them more patience. Looking forward to continue reading your posts. - Heather Krupa

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    1. Thanks for giving me the nudge to contact Jamie! She is so much fun to work with. I'm glad you and Chris had a chuckle about us. I think so many people saw what God was doing before we did!

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    2. Yes, Heather, thanks for nudging her! She's already made such a great addition around here!

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  3. Thank you for your introduction and letting us know what your schedule looks like. I was in the same boat, except all four of my children started in public school, but found out down the road they were not getting what they needed. So first it was my oldest, than my middle two, and finally my youngest. I would love to learn more about which Charlotte Mason materials you use with your children. I am finding out over time that my youngest does a better job with this...

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    1. I'll have to write about that down the road. Like so many homeschoolers, I use such an eclectic mix. I get in the most trouble on the "Simply Charlotte Mason" website, especially their art picture packages. I love teaching art with their resources. Also their book and seminar "Laying Down the Rails" is excellent.

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  4. Hi! I loved your post! I would love to know what curriculums you use!

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    1. I can tend to be a curriculum hoarder, so that might be a very long post! I started out with Sonlight, and now we use such a hodgepodge, and I actually pull from different curricula for different kids as well. But we all use the same "spine." I think the longer that I've homeschooled, the more confident I have become in just piecing things together to suit our needs. I hope to share more in the future. Nice to meet you!

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  5. Thank you for a wonderful post :) I'm sorry to hear you have a child with alopecia - I just wanted to say that my husband got diagnosed with alopecia 2 years ago and after 8 months of a strict diet he is overcoming it. He has hair growing in the bald patches, and while it is thin, he is slowly regaining his health. You mentioned your child eats differently to the others so it sounds like you are on a journey to health - it is not easy!! For the child or for you. God bless you as care for your children. And if you would like to know more about what we are doing I am happy to chat XXOO Love from New Zealand :):)

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    1. I love New Zealand! I spent a summer there there when I was 14. It will always be in my heart.

      Yep, our son started a very strict diet about 12 months ago. There were a few paths that we could have taken with his diagnosis, and we felt this path was best, though not the easiest for sure. It's been a long, hard road, and he's handled it so much better than I have. About a month ago, his eyebrows and eyelashes started growing back, and he has a thin layer of peach fuzz on his head. The peach fuzz has remained unchanged for a month, but we have to believe that's a good sign! His health has improved this last year in so many areas that we have no regrets.

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  6. Welcome to Jamie's blog site! It's lovely to meet you and your family. I've been a follower of Jamie's blogs for at least a year and look forward to them as a kid waiting for a letter in the mail. I will look forward to hear more about your homeschool. Congratulations on your little one. Blessings

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    1. I can totally relate to waiting for another post to be published! Jamie has some great resources and encouragement on here, I feel so fortunate to be a part of it. Thank you for the welcome!

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    2. Thanks for the kind words, ladies. I'm so glad we have such a wonderful community of homeschool moms here.

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  7. When you think about it, you're really not that far off of your childhood dream of being a missionary. You moved to an unfamiliar territory and are a disciple to your children, who I am certain at times speak a language you don't understand:)

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  8. When you think about it, you're really not that far off of your childhood dream of being a missionary. You moved to an unfamiliar territory and are a disciple to your children, who I am certain at times speak a language you don't understand:)

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  9. We may end up homeschooling our 5th grade daughter. Currently she is in private school and exceling, but she has an allergies and last year had severe stomach pains. We now we can control her environment at home so we thought homeschooling would be a good fit. Was wondering how I would start.

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    1. Teresa, start with this post. It will give you some links about how you go about starting in your state and what steps to take to launch well.
      http://www.theunlikelyhomeschool.com/2014/12/my-big-fat-list-of-100-resources-for.html

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