Meet Josh and Jennifer DeLuca and family! The DeLucas are the creators and managers of the vastly popular Homeschool Hookup group on Facebook. We hope their story will encourage you as you homeschool your children in your own special way.
What led you to start the Homeschool Hookup?
I was making my son’s bed one day when I found a post-it note under his pillow.
It read, “Dear God, Please bring me friends,” with a sad face drawn on the bottom.
It broke my heart. I thought he was doing okay socially, but I knew that I had to do something.
I didn’t want him to be lonely, so I started The Homeschool Hookup Facebook group that day. I added the few families I knew that homeschooled from my church, and it blew up from there.
After our very first Park Day, he told me that he had prayed for friends and now he had more best friends than he could have ever imagined.
Tell us about the DeLuca kids.
We have 2 sons and a daughter. Jaxon DeLuca is 15 years old and a total extrovert who makes friends everywhere he goes. He has an amazing servant’s heart and loves to make people laugh.
Jordan DeLuca is our 13 year old with an old soul. He is our more quiet one and has a huge heart for the Lord. He was definitely the calm before the storm.
Jillian DeLuca is our 11-year-old strong-willed, free spirit. She has been adventurous since day one, and brings so much life to our family.
What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
The total freedom! We can school where we want, how we want, and when we want. I can teach them based on their individual learning styles, and the best of all is they have Bible lessons every day.
What is the most frustrating?
That we don’t have the money to RV school! I would love to be able to teach the kids about something and then go see it in person. I also wish I could clone myself sometimes. When all three of my kids need me to help them at the same time, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Is your extended family supportive of homeschooling? If not, how have you handled that?
My parents were supportive. Thankfully, my older sister paved the way for me by homeschooling her four boys.
My in-laws were not really on board at first as they had only known one family that had homeschooled, and they didn’t think it went well. So they were a bit jaded by that. Over time they changed their minds, though.
I think it helped that my sister-in-law started homeschooling a few years after I did, and they saw the benefits firsthand. Now my mother-in-law actually plays a big role in homeschooling my sister-in-law’s children.
Biggest blessing you didn’t expect when you began homeschooling?
I love that if my kids are struggling with something, we can stop what we are doing and focus completely on that thing for as long as we need to.
Same goes for if they have mastered something. We can move on and don’t have to waste our time going over things.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
There were a couple of reasons. The first was that I had gone to our school district’s website where you can review the school’s curriculum for each grade.
I saw that my son already knew everything they were going to be teaching him, so I was worried that he would be bored and act up since he was an energetic little guy.
The second reason was that we didn’t like what we were hearing about Christians not being able to share their faith at school.
At the time, my niece had made an ornament at school with a cross on it and wrote something about Jesus on it in art class. The teacher told her that it was not allowed on the class Christmas tree because not everyone shared her belief.
That, along with several other stories we had heard, sealed the deal for us. We wanted our children to have the freedom to talk about Christ all day long if they wanted to. We wanted to teach them what we believed and incorporate that into science, history, etc.
Have you homeschooled the entire time with all your kids?
Yes, and we plan to homeschool all of them through graduation.
Typical day of homeschooling for the DeLuca family?
Honestly, it has changed so much over the years. I used to schedule our entire day out, but, now that we are on year 11, I am much more relaxed.
We wake up, eat breakfast, do our morning chores and such, and then head to our school room. We usually break around 12:30 p.m. for lunch and then back to school.
Some days we are done around 1 p.m. and other days my slower one goes till 3 or 4. All the while, I am throwing in a load of laundry or something on the side.
Then we relax a bit, and soon after the neighbor kids start ringing the doorbell and I start cooking dinner.
What advice for homeschool moms struggling to find a community to encourage them?
Get plugged in! You have to be proactive, and sometimes that means stepping out of your comfort zone.
I used to walk up to total strangers at the grocery store with kids out during the day and ask if they homeschooled and then we would swap numbers.
Go to MPE events like Women’s Encouragement Day and such.
Go to Park Days and Moms’ Night Out!
All of these events allow you time to get to know other moms in your same situation. I know it can be awkward at first, but that awkwardness will be gone in no time and it is so worth the support and friendships you will develop.
Seek out homeschool groups on Facebook. There are so many local groups to plug into.
Three pieces of advice for families at (or near) the beginning of their homeschool journey?
- R-E-L-A-X. You are NOT going to ruin your children. They will turn out GREAT!
- Get plugged in. You will need support. Finding a great group of women to cheer you on when that yellow school bus is looking pretty nice is so important!!
- Put your kids in a position to make friends. Take them to homeschool parties, park days, field trips. Even if you don’t want to go.. GO.
What area resources have helped the DeLuca homeschooling efforts?
- MPE’s annual homeschool conference is always AMAZING! Every year I walk away feeling so refreshed and full of new ideas to improve our homeschool!
- The local library is pretty much every homeschooler’s best friend.
- The homeschool learning opportunities at the Kansas City Zoo, Mahaffie Farmstead, Ernie Miller Nature Center, Prairie Fire, and so on!
- The Internet is an awesome tool to find local educational activities.
- Wild + Free KC Facebook community has great nature field trips in the KC Metro planned for the school year.
- Obviously, the Homeschool Hookup ladies are a great local resource too.
Thanks so much, Josh and Jennifer DeLuca!
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!