Monday, April 20, 2015

Meet em' Mondays ( The Echols Family)

Welcome to another week of Meet em' Mondays! 

This week I have the pleasure of introducing to you:

Family Name: The Echols Family

Location: Flagstaff, AZ

Ages of your children: 17, 13

How long have you been homeschooling? 9 years

What state do you live in and is it a homeschool friendly state? "Arizona is very homeschool friendly.  We are blessed to educate our kids here." 

What is homeschool to you? "The ability to customize our kid’s curriculum to their learning style and to be able to go at their own pace.  For us, homeschooling is more than just a great education.  It’s about character and relationship building and discipleship. There have been times when we've had to set school aside for the day in order to work on a heart issue." 

"Public speaking has been a big part of our home school training. My wife and I speak at home school conventions and my son has had many opportunities to speak in public."

What made you initially decide to start homeschooling? "We were not happy with the direction the public school was going." 

How do you choose your curriculum? "Based on what our kid’s needs are, we stay away from curriculum that appears to have a lot of 'busy' work.  We work towards mastering a topic and then move on from there. We started with the curriculum in a box approach and over the years have moved to an eclectic approach. We utilize Math-U-See, IEW, Apologia, Explode the Code, and various other curriculum."

Do you stay with a schedule or are you more flexible? "We are very flexible, which reduces stress and allows us to speed up or slow down with a particular subject or topic. We set a start date in August and a date in May that we want to be done with for the school year.  During that time we work at a pace that is appropriate for each subject/topic. Some move faster than others and it always ends up working out.  In fact, we usually end up finishing school a week or two early." 

"We live one hour from the Grand Canyon and we love the outdoors. Our home is at 7,136 feet in elevation and we get about 100 inches of snow per year."

How do you handle the family schedule? "We use a family integrated calendar that we can all see on our devices.  This allows everyone to know what is happening that day and how to best manage their time.  Before our kids had their own devices we used a large monthly dry erase wall calendar with each day's schedule on it."  

" Prepping for a day of home school."

How do you make sure your child has regular interaction with peers? "Our kids play sports with a local charter school as well as little league. We are also involved in co-ops.  Our kids are very socialized and have close relationships with their friends who are fellow homeschoolers and public schoolers." 

In your state, how does a homeschool student go about getting a diploma? "It is up to us as parents to issue a diploma."  

What has been the most surprising part of homeschooling? " The ability for our 17 year old to be able to take college classes as a junior in high school and keep a 4.0.  He's going to be able to shave a year off of his college education. This will save a lot of time and money." 

" Homeschooling when it is cold!"

John Echols also has a blog at You can also find his musings over at Homeschool Mosaics.

The Echols Family also runs My Home School Grades the premier planning, grading, and tracking program built with the features and tools your family needs to create a safe and secure web-based record of your educational journey. You can also find them on Facebook

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