Thank you for checking out our new series: Living the Homeschool Life, where we interview a different homeschooling mom or learner, past or present. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing my mother-in-law, Susan Rabinowitz. She is a mom of 5 and grandmother of 12. Her children are now 25, 27, 33, 35, and 37 and her grandchildren range from newborn to 16 years old. When she is not enjoying quality time with her grandchildren, you can find her studying the word of God and creating “Scriptures in Pictures” in her home in Pennsylvania. Susan homeschooled all five of her children in New York City, in the early 90s and 2000s, with the exception of the one year they served as missionaries and homeschooled in Venezuela. I hope you are blessed by Susan’s story of how she homeschooled 5 in NYC.
Susan, her five children and their spouses, and a few of her grandchildren.
Her Journey to Homeschooling
Can you give us a little bit of background on how and why you decided to homeschool your children?
My oldest two were attending a Christian school and it wasn’t meeting their needs.They were both advanced and the school didn’t really cater to them. My oldest daughter was given work to do at home on her level. I thought, “Why am I paying all this money for school to do all the work at home?”
After that, we put them in a church school that my husband and I worked in. We got to see the curriculum that was used, and each child was taught individually, at their own pace. About a year or so later, our Father impressed upon my heart to homeschool, so we purchased The Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) School of Tomorrow curriculum they had been using and began teaching them at home. God, then, led us to be missionaries in a foreign country for a year. I was able to then take that curriculum and go without disrupting their education.
A family picture in Venezuela.
Related article: My Homeschooling Journey
I love how your obedience made it easier to follow his next step.
Well, I had no idea we would be going to Venezuela as missionaries. But our Father knew the plans he had for us.
Exactly, he was preparing you. That’s beautiful. So, what was your experience in school growing up?
I went to public school and was always in above average classes. In 3rd grade I was put in an Intelligently Gifted Children (IGC) class. In high school, I remained in gifted classes. I didn’t feel so comfortable in reading but was always great at math. I had really good teachers, too.
How were you able to teach 5 different students of various ages?
I never really taught five at once. The oldest was finished when the youngest started. But it was challenging when we decided to have the last two. Having to teach the older three with a toddler and an infant needing you can be difficult.Thankfully, they could all read and were independent learners. I mostly just monitored them, tested them, and taught them new mathematics concepts. Then,moving to a foreign country also added to the difficulty.
Did your teaching style change throughout the years?
Not really. We were a little stricter in the beginning years to acclimate the older children from just being at home to being at home doing school work. So, the first few years they had to wear uniform and when school was over they were able to change. The two youngest ones never had that experience since they grew up in a home-schooled family.
A Job Well Done
What are you most proud of?
Hmm, well, I try not be proud. But I’m happy they all graduated early. One went to Bible school, the next went to a trade school, and the younger three graduated from college and had been accepted into the honors’ college of their respective schools.
Her children are positioned from oldest to youngest. The youngest sibling graduated a few years later after studying in Rome, Italy but everyone wasn’t able to attend his graduation.
That’s wonderful. So, through all of these years of homeschooling, what’s one thing you couldn’t live without or one thing that made your life easier?
The Bible. We started our day with that and did our studies together. The Accelerated Christian Education curriculum also used the Bible.
I agree that the Bible is what keeps me going as a homeschool mom and something I certainly want my kids to turn to, as well. A lot of homeschool moms are doing it all on their own but there is beginning to be a shift of fathers taking on the role of homeschool parent or at least becoming more involved. Was your husband involved in the homeschooling process?
Not really. We were always done by the time he got home from work. But if he happened to be home, he could test or help with their studies since he understood how the curriculum worked.
Related article: 6 Ways to Involve Dad in Homeschooling
Words of Wisdom
If you could give us rookie homeschooling moms one piece of advice, what would it be?
Know your children and what they can do. You can push them in certain areas; but, if they can’t do something don’t be upset. Work with their strengths. Each one is an individual. Also, as a mother you know what your children are dealing with and you get to decide each day how to best work with them. You know when they are having a tough time or not feeling well, and you can adjust accordingly. Public school teachers don’t know what’s going on in your child’s life unless you tell them. Even then, there’s only so much they can do.
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That is so true. I must admit, as a public-school teacher, I always tried to be in tune to what was going on in my students’ lives. I had no problem getting all up in their business. But unfortunately, we can still miss the signs, especially in the beginning stages of getting to know a child. And once we have formed that relationship, we are limited by time and being responsible for so many children. Thank so much for your time and sharing your story with us.
If you have any questions or comments for me or Mrs. Rabinowitz, feel free to comment below or email me at [email protected]