Welcome to Day One of Amy O’Quinn’s 6-day NWFCC March Specialist Showcase Tour and gain special insights into the world of Homeschooling.
Amy M. O’Quinn began her ‘career’ as an elementary classroom teacher, but in 1997 her husband accepted the pastorate of a small church in south Alabama, resulting in a household move. At that point, they had six-year-old twin daughters and a newborn son, and after much research and deliberation, they decided to take a leap of faith into the world of homeschooling. So Amy ‘retired’ from the classroom scene and began educating her first-grade daughters at their new home, combining and utilizing resources, strategies, and ideas from both the Charlotte Mason and Classical methods of education, especially including lots of great literature!
After moving two more times and adding three more children to the mix, the O’Quinn’s now live on the family farm in south Georgia, where Amy’s husband pastors a local church and is also a department supervisor for a utilities company in a nearby town. Fourteen years later, the family is still enjoying the homeschooling lifestyle to the fullest. Amy’s twin daughters are now almost twenty years old and finishing up their second year of college with honors.
In addition to trying to pull together a rich, well-rounded curriculum for ‘her’ family (one size does NOT fit all), Amy encourages her children to pursue their interests and talents. They are very involved in their local homeschool group and county 4-H program, participating over the years in talent shows, music lessons, state fair contests, sewing, poultry judging, District Project Achievement, art, spelling bees, photography, and writing competitions—although not all at once! They also spend time outside playing and learning about nature. Because even though they challenge their children to reach high academic standards, Amy and her husband want them to enjoy and appreciate the simpler joys in life as well.
In addition to being a homeschool mom, Amy is also a part-time writer, specializing in children’s non-fiction and educational writing. Although her family and homeschooling take priority, she tries to find little bits of time here and there to jot down ideas for further exploration. She finds that homeschooling actually opens the door to all sorts of interesting facts and information that she can use in her writing. In fact, several of the manuscripts she has sold to children’s or educational magazines started with a topic she assigned to her children for school or some fascinating fact they unearthed during their studies!
Being a writer has also had an influence on Amy’s children. She found that they began using their free time to model what she was doing—writing! From a very early age, writing was a natural extension for them, and instead of having to coax them to write more for school assignments, she had trouble getting them to stop! When children voluntarily want to learn good writing (and research) skills, it is a big plus.
Although Amy would never say that it is ‘right’ for everyone, homeschooling has been the perfect choice for her family. However, it is not something they do from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm every day. Rather, it is a lifestyle choice—a 365/24/7 mode of learning and discovery. And it’s just right for them!
Follow Day 2 of Ms. O’Quinn’s tour tomorrow at www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com. Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.