I’m Ashley, a home educating mom from just outside of Baltimore. My husband Brandon and I have five kids from eight years old down to a sweet baby. Aside from home educating, we also own our own residential remodeling company and have a hobby farm, where we raise our own pastured meat, laying hens, and pet goats. God’s plan for my life has been full of pleasantly unexpected things, from marrying a boy I’ve known almost my whole life (we met when we were six and fell in love at fifteen!) to having five beautiful kids and a farm full of animals. His plans are so much better than mine ever would have been!
Bran and I both graduated from Rockbridge Academy, a Classical Christian private school. Once we had kids of our own, though, we felt a strong call to home educate. We are both grateful for the wonderful education we’ve been given, and we are confident that we can take what we learned at Rockbridge and improve on it. Early on in my home education career, I came across Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and fell in love. Here was a philosophy of education that kept the rich depth of Classical but also had the gentle, grace-filled, simplicity that we both craved for our kids. I’ve been studying and implementing Mason’s philosophy ever since.
Connecting with other home educators is one of my favorite things! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More About Me: My 20 Principles
- My only hope in life and death is that I am not my own but belong to God. I am a Christian and believe that anyone who believes that Christ died for their sins is saved. (Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that!)
- You may have heard that Charlotte Mason said, “children are born persons” but I take that idea a step further, and say that children are conceived persons. To read more about the importance of personhood, I highly recommend the book Love Thy Body. I’m listening to the audiobook right now and it is so good.
- I’m a person, too, and I need to treat myself with the same respect and love I have for my family.
- True self-care is essential for my mental health as a full-time home educator.
- Homeschool sounds too much like school-at-home for me, so I’ve started calling myself a Home Educator, and I treat it just like any other career.
- We home educate because it’s the best thing for our family right now, and not because we are afraid of the world or other educational systems.
- We take home education a year at a time and are open to the idea that there might come a time when it isn’t the best fit for us.
- Education is forever. This is another spin off of one of Mason’s ideas (she said, “Education is a life”). Because education is forever, I don’t need to worry about checking a certain number of boxes before my kids graduate. We’ll learn what we can together, and then they’ll continue learning on their own. This relieves the pressure to leave no gaps in their education; there will always be gaps, and it’s not my responsibility to fill them. I get to fill the gaps in my own education.
- Technology is a great tool. Our family uses screens for learning and entertainment, but we don’t depend on them for either.
- I’m not responsible for the souls of my children. It’s my job to teach them the truth, and to model what it looks like to love God and obey him, but if they fall away from my faith, I haven’t failed as a parent. If they fall away from the faith and I don’t continue to love and encourage them, then I’ve failed as a parent.
- I’ve learned that I can’t do it all, so I’m all about outsourcing. Right now this mostly means I have a lady that cleans my house for me every other week and it’s amazing.
- A strong marriage is so essential. If your relationship with your husband is suffering, everything else will suffer, too.
- My kids are allowed to say anything they hear me say. This means they say things like butt and an occasional “holy crap” and I’m ok with that.
- Having 5 kids is hard. Having 1 kid was hard. Be gentle with other parents – parenthood is hard.
- Relationship is the most important part of education.
- It’s more important to me that my kids know how to have an intelligent discussion about something and be open to changing their opinion than it is for them to have an argument ready to defend everything they believe. I think there are certain First Thoughts that should never be compromised (as in, the truths laid out in the Bible), but beyond those I hope they value relationships over opinions.
- For me, routine is more important than a schedule, and my favorite days are the ones when we scrap our plans and just have fun.
- Having lots of young kids is hard and exhausting, and while I know there are things about this season that I’ll miss, I don’t feel the pressure to try and enjoy every minute. Someday they’ll all be able to cut their own pancakes, and I’m looking forward to that!
- Laughter is wonderful, and sometimes forcing myself to smile can make me feel happy even when I’m not.
- When we release ourselves from worldly expectations, we get to enjoy true freedom.