Hear Me Roar
August 2022 Issue
Photography by Mike Force Photography
Darien mama Ann Mason drew our attention with her stories of the adventures of her two "marshmaids," Mason and Danner. The trio seem to be having a terrific time on their homeschool journey together! We're so glad Ann agreed to answer our questions.
Tell us about your children.
My girls are fun to be around and funny. They are hard-working and get focused on and excited about whatever they’re doing in the moment. I have always loved that about them. They are helpful and kind, and are so much braver and more confident than I have ever been. They often have me feeling awestruck and awkward in comparison. I credit their homeschooling experiences thus far with so much of this, as they have been encouraged to blossom in their own ways as they grow and learn.
What inspired you to homeschool?
On a general level, the decision to homeschool seemed to develop naturally from our decision for me to stay at home with the kids during the earliest years. We asked ourselves, and each other, “Whom do we want raising the girls?” We wholeheartedly wanted to be those people, so we took steps toward homeschooling, a little at a time, a year at a time, reassessing regularly to be sure everyone was getting the most out of the decision. On a more specific level, we wanted to provide the kids with more time in the natural world, less time confined to desks and wanted to make sure their educational experience inspired curiosity and a true desire to learn.
What advice do you have for those considering homeschooling?
I think the best advice I can give is to not try to reproduce “school” as you currently know it at home. Home education is, and in my opinion should be, a vastly different experience than conventional school for both student and teacher. I often suggest that new homeschooling families try a few weeks of “de-schooling” to transition between what they know as school, and what they want to create in their homeschool.
What three words inspire you and why?
Do it now! My mother was a freelance writer, reporter and author, and a little placard with these words was on her desk when I was young. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. Back then, I read it, and I guess I thought I knew what it meant, but I had no idea. Now I understand. And, I don’t turn to these words only to be productive and cross items off my ever-present to-do list. I often need “Do it Now” to inspire deliberate self-care.
Who is your greatest role model?
There have been so many different role models to appear in my life exactly when I needed them. And those people, known to me personally or not, became my greatest role model for that particular chapter of my life. I notice a role model when she or he has something I want or need: joy, health, peace, a particular job, or success in something that challenges me.
I am most at peace when ...
I have checked all the boxes for the day, or when there is a thunderstorm, whichever happens first.
What is your favorite subject to teach?
This is a tough question because my favorite subject at any given time is greatly influenced by our individual levels of interest in or excitement about a subject. On one hand, it’s fun to teach something the girls love to study and are already inspired by, on the other hand, it can be so rewarding to take something they’re initially not crazy about, present it in a new way, and make the experience engaging for us all.
What is your least favorite subject to teach?
This varies as much as my most favorite. I can say that I find teaching math the most challenging overall, mostly because we do it daily, and it may not consistently be my girls’ favorite thing to do on any given day. That said, one thing I adore about teaching math is when I have a chance to show the girls how they’re using what they have learned in everyday relevant ways.
I am roaring about...
Our local public libraries! I don’t know how I would homeschool without the books, movies, children’s programming and quiet peaceful spaces offered by the libraries in our area. And the PINES catalog, which allows me to search for and request books we want and need from all over the State of Georgia, is my most favorite thing! Putting holds on books and movies is just as much fun as shopping on Amazon, and it’s FREE!