Meet Jason and Emily Cowden and family! The Cowdens are the newest members of the MPE Board of Directors and are actively involved in homeschooling in Kansas City.
Tell us about the Cowden kids.
Caroline (our experiment) is starting 7th grade.
Canaan (our one and only son) is starting 5th grade.
Evelynn (our protestor) is being pushed on into 3rd grade.
Alice (our eager beaver) is sailing into 1st grade.
Samantha (our forever youngest babied child) is not so patiently still doing preschool.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
We started our homeschooling journey as a trial. Jason is an Air Traffic Controller and typically has a shift that includes working on the weekends.
We realized, when our children were preschool age, that it was going to be complicated with his work schedule. In order for us to take a weekend trip somewhere, either the kids would have to miss school or Dad would have to miss work. So, we thought, maybe we should try homeschooling.
Have you homeschooled the entire time with all of your kids?
Yes, all of our children have only been homeschooled up to this point, although we have always said we will take it one year and one kid at a time.
Each year we seek God’s nudge or push to continue. Although there are days that Emily is ready to throw in the towel and send them to the school down the street.
What does a typical day of homeschooling look like for your family?
Ha! That’s funny. Jason is an Air Traffic Controller, which means his schedule is not consistently the same. That also means that our family’s schedule is never consistently the same.
We really value family time and we also value serving others, so things change on a regular basis for us. We really try and do most of our school during Dad’s work hours.
So sometimes that means we are up at 7 a.m. so that we can have family time together when he gets home. Some days we have family time in the morning before he goes to work, and then start our school day after lunch. Yet other days we grab our books and do schoolwork in the car because we are going on a field trip as a family.
It’s a little bit crazy, and maybe even a whole lot of crazy, but we make it work.
Tell us about your homeschool calendar. Do you school year-round, follow the public school calendar, etc.?
As we said, our schedule is crazy and changes day to day. We do what works best for our family rhythm.
Some years we have had a traditional summer break, but other times we just continue schooling year-round. However, we do always try and take the month of December off so we can focus on celebrating Jesus coming to Earth.
What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
We get to spend all of our time together as a family and be flexible to go when God calls. What is the most frustrating? We spend all of our time together as a family and have no good reason to say no when God calls.
Any tips or tricks on how to survive homeschooling older kids with younger kids underfoot?
To be 100 percent honest, not really. We are just getting to the point where the olders’ learning is much more time consuming and we have multiple littles needing help with school.
Our eldest daughter and Emily are both night owls, so they often work on school when the littles have gone to bed. Which means Caroline sometimes sleeps in and Emily is left burning the candle at both ends, hoping to get a nap with the littles in the afternoon.
As far as who does the teaching, do you share the load or does one of you do all of the teaching?
Emily does the majority, but Jason helps with math and spelling. He also picks up when we are running behind and Emily has other time commitments to attend to.
What area resources have helped your homeschooling efforts?
MPE has been our main resource until we got involved with Legacy Christian Academy a few years ago. The friendships we have made there with other families have been so encouraging!
What advice would you give to other homeschooling parents?
God is creative. He created us all differently. Each mom, each dad, each child, each marriage, each family, is completely unique and unlike any other.
Do not compare yourself to another family. Your homeschool should fit your family and no one else’s!
Our advice is simple, just a few words, but there is huge depth and meaning to it. And one must truly understand themselves and have an intimate relationship with God to be able to know your calling. Do what God calls YOU to do. Nothing more. Nothing less. Period.
About this series, Faces of Homeschooling…
You have heard them before – the stereotypes that some people believe about homeschoolers.
You know, like when people think that all homeschooling mothers wear homemade denim jumpers or that all homeschooled kids are shy, socially awkward geniuses who are not ready for the world. Maybe you have even heard people say that all homeschoolers are conservative Christians and that we all think alike.
As fellow homeschoolers, we know that these stereotypes do not represent reality. We also know that there is plenty of diversity within the homeschooling community, not only in demographics but also in why and how we homeschool.
In short, homeschoolers do not all look the same, think the same, and act the same.
At MPE, we want to highlight these differences by introducing you to some local families enjoying their unique journey of home education.
We hope these interviews will encourage you as you homeschool your children in your own special way!