By Charlotte Roi and Valerie Milano
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/19/20 – “We both wanted to help inspire those we knew personally who have been on the fence about homeschooling and who were now experiencing the benefits of it to go ahead and make the switch with a community of support behind them,” says Amy George, one of the creators of Love-Centered Learning.
The pandemic and stay at home orders have changed all our lives- some people are struggling, some thriving and we all are learning to adapt to the new normal. While a lot of people have found it easy to switch from physically working at their offices to showing up casually dressed for their Zoom calls, there’s definitely a huge group of people who find the new ‘virtual reality’ a little overwhelming- parents with children that are continuing their education online.
Kim Maycock and Amy George’s creation Love-Centered Learning is a new online community (primarily via YouTube) with the goal to help support home-schooling families as well as those who are considering home-school. Additionally, they wanted to provide extra support for all families who are home-educating during this period of quarantine since there may be many considering making this a long-term lifestyle choice for their family.
Highlighted videos specifically with encouragement and resources for Quarantine home-schooling can be found in the introductory mini-series:
Charlotte: How did you come up with this idea?
Kim Maycock: It had been on my heart for some time to share the lessons and experiences I was having with home-schooling. I have found such joy and fulfillment in this lifestyle that is often misunderstood and undervalued. I wanted to make the resources and insights I’d found easily accessible to others. This desire grew exponentially as the quarantine launched so many public schooling families into the situation of overseeing education from home. I thought what a great time to share my story and others stories to help make this time easier, inspire families to enjoy this time together more, and even consider making home-school a long-term lifestyle. With all these thoughts swirling in my mind and heart, I awoke the morning of April 4th with a burning feeling to start some sort of online presence and reached out to my dear friend, Amy George about it.
Amy George: When Kim asked me to join her in this venture I was hesitant. I had so much going on in my life at the time with personal health issues, my ever changing homeschool schedule, and just life in general. However, her enthusiasm was contagious and even though I didn’t have the physical strength to do this alone I felt a peace come over me and I was reminded of how frequently the thought to share my story has come to me through the years and how powerful a shared experience could be in the lives of others. Needless to say, I took the plunge and went all in.
Both: We both wanted to help inspire those we knew personally who have been on the fence about homeschooling and who were now experiencing the benefits of it to go ahead and make the switch with a community of support behind them.
Charlotte: What are the benefits of homeschooling?
I have found that there are many benefits including:
- The ability to give children 1:1 individualized attention
- Kids socialized by world experiences, family, and community
- The ability to be a part of “aha” moments when concepts ‘click’
- To be able to pray for God’s direction in education
- Kid-paced learning and activities
- Daytime extra-curricular courses freeing up family time in evenings
- Ability to protect more from negativity and bullying
- Flexibility for outings, travel, learning environment etc
- Flexibility of curriculum, books, courses
- Going on field trips/travel while school in session -less crowded!
- Quantity of time leading to quality time
- Many hybrid and part time options available (schools, co-ops, etc)
- Families can instill their individual values and culture
- Adapt to needs of gifted children
- The family can learn together
- Sibling closeness/friendships
- Enjoy more frequent educational outings/field trips
- Enjoy more varied social experiences with varied age groups
- Enjoy reading/discussing together
- Less stressful/ hectic mornings
- Can take an active role in holistic child/family directed education
Amy: Initially, I was terrified to home school. I thought for sure I would be the worst teacher for my kids because I wasn’t certified or trained. I worried they wouldn’t learn the social skills necessary for life and that they would be awkward borderline recluses who were just bizarre. One day, I decided to check out a local home school group to see if we “fit”. It was a beautiful spring day and there were about twenty-five home schoolers and their moms playing at the park. The home schoolers ranged from babies to 18-year-old’s graduating high school and going off to college. I moved through the group learning that each family had a unique style of homeschooling that fit their individual families and then I witnessed something that caused all doubt to dissipate. A seventeen year old young man called to all the children to come and play soccer. He gathered every child, carefully watching for any that might need extra encouragement to join and after confirming that all were participating he gently lifted one of the youngest boys onto his shoulders and happily led the group of all ages in a boisterous game of soccer with few rules and buckets of laughter. This was what I wanted for my children. I wanted them to be able to interact comfortably with all ages. I wanted them to value the contributions that all different stages of life had to offer in a positive family centered setting.
Charlotte: What have been the biggest issues so far?
Amy: I have suffered with chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and countless other unexplained physical ailments that have made homeschooling feel impossible. For the first few years homeschooling happened on my bed and during the first five years I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and struggles as I attempted to keep things simple while feeling the pressure of wanting to give my children more than I could give them.
Finally, five years after I started homeschooling, I took a vacation from guilt for four blissful hours and realized how miraculous it was that I was still functioning well enough to teach, clean, cook, and patiently nurture my family on top of what I was dealing with personally. I decided that day that I was doing ok. We were doing fine and my kids were happy, intelligent, creative beings with opinions, and a desire to learn. Finding the right curriculum and schedule that consistently work has always involved constant tweaking and improving. Sometimes, when you have complete control over what is taught, how it’s taught, and when it’s taught, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Kim: Being the mom to two strong-willed little boys and having them around most of the time, it can definitely get exhausting. They have a lot of energy and determination. Sometimes our agendas or personalities clash and I have to take a step back and re-evaluate…like almost daily I’m re-establishing what our schedule will look like and adapting it to the mood, health, and behavior of my kids. When I lose my cool or get frustrated, I try to remind myself to choose love even when it doesn’t come naturally or my emotions have been triggered. It definitely keeps me on my toes. These struggles challenge me to be a better person than I otherwise would be without the opportunity to work on my own issues and work to overcome them.
Both: We also find it difficult when our lifestyle is judged or misunderstood. It is also difficult when we are excluded from groups and conversations with other traditional-schooling moms. It can definitely be hurtful- so we’re grateful for a community of home-schooling friends and others who are respectful and supportive.
Charlotte: How would you describe this ‘program’ to someone who’s never home schooled before?
We are an online community (via YouTube primarily) with the goal to help support home-schooling families as well as those who are considering home-school. Additionally, we wanted to provide extra support for all families who are home-educating during this period of COVID-19 since there may be many considering making this a long term lifestyle choice for their family. For those who have never homes chooled before but are considering it or are curious about the lifestyle, we invite you to SUBSCRIBE to our channel to get a glimpse into the lives and hearts of real home schooler’s.
We also want to provide a platform and invite others to share their stories or questions on our channel by submitting videos directly to us so you can be considered to have your footage edited into quality content and featured on future videos. This idea of an online YouTube community sets us apart. There are many wonderful home-schooling YouTube channels from individual families and companies, but (as far as we know) we are unique in providing the collaborative open-platform, quality video-editing, and willingness to feature anyone who will share!
We want people to see that every home school family is unique. By featuring many different moms with different backgrounds and home school lifestyles we hope to offer a one-stop where people can connect with the mom that speaks to them, follow their story, and be able to directly ask the moms they connect with questions that apply to them.
Charlotte: What is personally your ‘new normal’?
Kim: Prior to the pandemic, we would be considered “Part-time” or “hybrid” home schooler’s as my boys attended external schools/ programs a couple days a week. So our new normal during quarantine is definitely different as we’re now together ALL the time… but it has been wonderful. We’ve been able to refine our home school schedule and define what we want to do next year. It has given me the confidence that I didn’t initially have when we were “part time.” I now know that I can home school full-time (still utilizing external extracurricular classes and co-ops) and find joy and fulfillment in it. We have loved being together more as a family, since my husband started working from home prior to the quarantine, it’s been wonderful to all be safely at home and learning from each other. It’s still been hard and frustrating at times and definitely an adjustment, don’t get me wrong- but overall we’ve grown closer and are enjoying this simpler time together.
Amy: As a family, we have loved being “just us.” We look forward to our peaceful days together, learning, reading, creating, sometimes arguing, but quickly reconciling over a game of Uno. This quarantine has reminded us to keep life simple, keep our focus on our God and family and just enjoy each day.
Charlotte: How do you think the current situation will change the education system in a long run?
Amy: For years people have asked me about homeschooling and confided in me how deeply they had considered it for their family, but fear held them back. I think that because of the current situation many have been thrust into a lifestyle they feared and are finding it much less insurmountable then they initially thought. They are realizing that they CAN do this and are asking for help and advice about getting started because they are ready to jump right in and start this full time next year. After helping many families begin homeschooling through the years I agreed with Kim that it would be much more efficient to create a channel that answers the questions our friends ask so we can just send a link and share the videos rather than saying the same thing over and over.
Kim: I’m hopeful that this will increase the number of families who choose to home school and/or improve understanding among families regardless of their educational choices. I think that for families who continue with traditional schooling models, that this time has opened up parents’ understanding as to what their kids are being taught and some of the challenges they may be facing. Hopefully families have identified the way their children learn and any additional support they may need moving forward to reach their full potential.
Charlotte: What are your backgrounds?
Kim: I am a Registered Nurse with a passion for the Performing Arts. I have enjoyed performing in various lead musical theater roles as well as studio recording/performing in bands and as a solo singer-songwriter. In my prior nursing career, I worked primarily as a geriatric and corporate nurse and served humanitarian missions to China, Peru, and Haiti.
I also served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Budapest, Hungary where, alongside teaching others about Jesus Christ, I acted as mission medical specialist and toured in solo concerts nationwide. I am married to my incredibly supportive sweetheart, Eric who has given me two beautiful boys who I adore.
Amy: I grew up in Fresno, California. I attended ten different schools in the same county by the time I graduated high school and two different universities. I experienced the best and the worst of public education. My experiences ranged from attending wealthy schools, G.A.T.E. Schools, performing arts programs, Tech schools and impoverished schools. What I learned from my experiences at these schools was what made a good school. It was the parent involvement. If the parents were fully invested in their child’s education then no matter what school their child attended they would succeed. Keeping these experiences in mind, when the thought to home school presented itself years later, I was reluctant, but knew that this was the best way for me to be fully invested in my children’s education and to use all the skills and lessons I had learned in my life to teach and guide my children as they developed their personal strengths and explored their interests.
I attended BYU, Provo, UT and California State University, Fresno, CA where I focused on two very different majors. At one, I studied Family Life, which has helped me immensely in my current stage in life, and at the other I was privileged to delve into one of my passions for a time as a Vocal Performance major. I have been married for 17 years to an incredibly patient loving man and have been gifted with four rambunctious yet insightful children. I am a singer/songwriter and have taught voice privately on and off through the years, but my main focus and purpose in life has been my family and homeschooling our children. Our methods are forever changing and evolving as the children grow and progress in maturity and mental capacity, yet my focus remains the same to be consistent and nurture a love of learning through mastery and a hands on education.
Although I am constantly learning and applying my knowledge to my children’s success, they are not always keen on succeeding and there have been countless days of difficulty when I have wanted to curl into a ball and cry and many times I have! However, due to over 26 years of debilitating health issues I know the blessings that can come from sacrifice and dedication and am now experiencing those blessings in the form of renewed health and healing. I never imagined this healing to be possible and attribute this to the journey God set for me in schooling, loving and growing my family side by side with my husband. I wouldn’t change my life for the world.
To learn more about Amy and Kim check out their introduction video HERE
Charlotte: What are the biggest life lessons you’ve learned during these times?
Amy: The first lesson I learned while homeschooling was how selfish I was. For many years I needed an afternoon nap after our morning schooling, but over time it had extended to two hours of “me time”, while my parents watched the kids. I felt I had lost part of myself by becoming “the home school mom”. So I was hiding out trying to rediscover my passion for life. Eventually, I realized that what I needed to maintain my sense of self and identity wasn’t alone time to do the things I enjoyed, but to do them and share them with the people who loved me the most; my kids. I began scheduling activities with the kids that were things I loved and enjoyed during those hours and grew to love sharing my talents and hobbies with them. We grew closer as a unit and haven’t gone back!
Kim: To let go, be flexible, and allow my kids to have more of a say in how we spend our time. I’ve also found more ways to incorporate the things I love into our home-school which has made it that much more enjoyable for me. I’ve learned the centrality of families and how it is the most important unit of society. I’ve learned to rely on and turn to God and not give into fear, He is aware of all of us and our needs.
Charlotte: What’s your advice to parents who aren’t experienced in home-schooling?
Amy: You are enough. You received an education, you know where to go to seek new learning and knowledge; you can do this. No one on this earth will be more invested in your child’s success then you are. No one knows your child like you do. You have been uniquely prepared to parent your specific children and if you look beyond yourself in order to take this leap, I know you will find yourself in the joy and the struggle that awaits you as you choose this lifestyle. If you have children you have struggled to connect with or who have disciplinary or behavioral issues I guarantee that through consistency, patience and a desire to understand them you can begin to form a bond unlike any you could have had otherwise. This lifestyle provides you with a unique opportunity to learn, love, and grow together.
Kim: Remember to be patient with yourself, this is a journey and we’re all learning along the way. Additionally, I’d definitely recommend finding a community. You need a community whether in person or online to bounce ideas off of, come to with questions, find resources, and share life with. We’d love to be a part of your community, join us HERE!
Both: Regardless of your educational choices, our mission at Love-Centered Learning is to “Empower families to love to learn and learn to love.” If you’re not feeling those things, then it’s OK to stop, re-evaluate, and change it up so love can be the center of your home life!