When Mom Teaches

MIDLOTHIAN, TX —  Just like most moms, Linda Hachat maintains a home, loves and cares for her children, prepares meals, completes chauffeur duties and is chief budget maintainer, as well as many other chores. However, unlike most moms, when it is time to send Caleb, 11, Lindsay, 8, Rachel, 7, and Joel, 5, off to school, she does not send them out the door but through the family room to their special classroom. Since the beginning of August, class work is in full mode. “Class starts at 9:00,” Linda stated. “We eat breakfast together, do our devotion time, and then we start our subjects. Because Caleb is getting older, he has more subjects and needs a lot more time with me. This coming school year, to his chagrin, he will have to get up earlier. That way we will have the teaching portion done by the time the others get up. He can then focus on his class work, and I can focus on the other children.”

Families choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons. For the Hatchet family, it began as a temporary solution because they were not planning to stay in Texas long term. When Caleb was in the first grade, he was already reading at a third- and fourth-grade level. Leon and Linda wanted to continue that progress. And probably the simplest reason they decided to homeschool was, “We just like being together as a family!” Linda said with a smile.

Having to homeschool four children of different ages and abilities can be a daunting task. It helps to have a support group surround you. Linda explained, “So we met up with our current homeschool co-op, and it has just been…” Caleb interrupted to add, “Awesome!”

Smiling, Linda continued, “The co-op meets at the Methodist church in town. There are about 25 families. With the Midlothian co-op, we meet at the end of the school year and decide what subjects we are going to cover the next school year. Homeschooling is something you can do really cheap and buy a lot of used curriculum. Or, you can do it real expensively where you buy a huge curriculum that comes with all the bells and whistles. We do a little bit of both. Some families choose one curriculum that works for the whole family, and that’s great. I pick curriculums that are tailored to each individual child.”

During the Hachats’ school day, many times they work together. Bible, history and science are topics they share as a group. Sometimes, they will work together with the other families in the co- op with the moms rotating to teach the lesson. “We teach the science curriculum with other families, and it’s broken down by age, Linda explained. We do every style of learning in there. You can help kids who need that hands-on work. They  can be cutting, pasting, drawing, gluing and putting it all together in one book about your subject.”

One-on-one time with her children is necessary and welcomed by Linda. As Caleb grows older, his subjects become more complex. “With math, Caleb and I work together, and he has a math tutor,” Linda shared. “He has reached a point in math where I say, ‘OK, I’m done.’ I have another homeschool mom, and we trade off. I teach her high school daughter science, because that’s my strength and what I have a degree in, and she teaches Caleb math.”

Lindsay and Rachel do much of their schoolwork combined. Technically, Rachel is going into second grade and Lindsay into third grade. They did language arts at the same grade but stopped when Rachel began to struggle. Because of that, Linda said, “Lindsay is moving on, and we are going to camp out where we are with Rachel until she is ready to move on. That is the glory of homeschooling, we move along when we want to.”

As the youngest, Joel sometimes feels frustrated if mom does not get to him  fast enough. “Last year, he wanted to do more in school,” Linda explained. “Once he brought books to me and, in a stern voice asked, ‘Is it my turn?’ It’s not easy to manage four kids when they all want your attention.”

Subjects are taught with the child’s comprehension level in mind. When Joel studied science, they made trash. “We watched our trash for a couple of weeks to see how it recycled itself back into soil. We got to see banana peels turn back into dirt and watched pieces of plastic,” Linda said. She asked Joel, “Did the plastic turn back into dirt?” Joel shook his head for a definite no. Through their studies, the children learn about respecting the environment and the things that live in it. For example, when studying endangered  species, each child had to research his or her own endangered species, make posters and do a report on that species in front of their peers.

In learning about other countries, they take a unique approach. “We do Voice of the Martyrs. It is a curriculum designed for anyone. We can do a study on different countries throughout the world. We make crafts, read about the kids and learn about the religion in the different countries. Caleb has learned about Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s great for geography purposes but also for social studies. They also learned how the Christians are persecuted in other countries. They realized that America is a great place and that freedom in other countries is very limited,” Linda said.

This past summer, the family hosted an exchange student named Sara. Coming from Spain, she brought an entirely new culture into the home. “Our kids are getting to learn about her culture, and she is learning about ours. Sara is teaching us Spanish, and we are teaching her English! It has been a fantastic experience,” Linda said. Taking Sara to Costco was a great revelation for her. She wanted to know
if all supermarkets in America were like that. She had stated that there was nothing like that in Spain.

When you homeschool, the education of your children is completely in your hands, and they will succeed or fail by your efforts. “It takes a lot of motivation and prayer to homeschool,” Linda stated. “There are days when you get up and you think, Oh, I have to go face this again. Other days you get up and you are just thrilled to do it — days like when reading clicks and the lights go on in their eyes, or when they look at you, and they are reading a book by themselves! You think, This is why I do it.”

Written by Betty Tryon.