Finding joy in education by turning learning into lifestyle
A local mother’s journey through home education
Homeschooling opens the door for families to form strong relationships founded on asking questions, encouraging creativity, building community and engaging in open and consistent conversations about life and faith. These were the factors that motivated Amanda Terlecki, local mother of two now fully grown daughters, to start into and continue in her journey of schooling her kids at home.
“Starting to homeschool was like opening a window for me to be with my kids,” says Amanda, reflecting on her first years taking her daughters out of campus education, “to be at home with them, to laugh with them, to sing together, to learn together, and have so much more to life than just waiting on a clock. It opened them up to experience an actual joy of learning.”
Amanda first began homeschooling because she found her daughters were slipping through the cracks of some elementary school subjects. As an avid learner herself, with a Bachelor of Political Science from the University of Calgary, she didn’t want to see her children lose out on the joy of education just because they weren’t getting the hands-on involvement they needed to suit their own unique learning styles. She never imagined that she would form such a strong relationship with the community as a result.
“When you first start off in homeschooling, you think that it’s going to be a small world and you’ll be alone, but it’s actually such a supportive community,” she says. “We did swimming, karate, archery, tennis, arts, and museum tours, to the point where we even ended up having to say no to things, because we filled our schedule with so many activities.”
When the girls reached high school age, they made the transition to an online school, which gave them the opportunity to advance their academic knowledge while still maintaining the family relationships formed at home. According to Amanda, her experience with online school was even better than homeschooling all the way through, because it opened the girls up to an even wider social network, while also preparing them for post-secondary studies afterwards.
“The self-initiative that homeschooling brings, especially when you move online, teaches you the practical skills of planning your day, preparing for exams, and setting timelines and deadlines for yourself,” Amanda says, “but it also instills this love of learning, because you aren’t just sitting there for six hours. You’re diving into the topics. That self-initiative is more easily cultivated when learning is a lifestyle, not a chore.”
Amanda doesn’t believe she gave up her place in her girls’ education by putting them online, because while she was no longer the primary teacher, she says she transitioned into the tutor instead, always remaining involved with their education and ready to support them when needed.
Reflecting on her experience as a whole, she says, “Homeschooling allows you to have the time and attention for not only your kids, but also yourself. You grow as they grow.”
While her children are now grown, Amanda still spends much of her time visiting with her oldest daughter Alena, an Ambrose University graduate, and facetiming her younger daughter Maresa, who is currently living abroad in Ireland after graduating from SAIT in 2018. When she’s not speaking with her daughters, Amanda volunteers with her church as a tutor to help young refugee children with their homework after school.
Written by Micah Jansen
Photo by Suzanne Nolan Photography