Friday, February 8, 2013

Homeschooling with American Girl Dolls

Today I would like to share with you and interview about a wonderful homeschool family who have added American Girl Dolls to their Education. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Cindy and her family and I asked her to share a bit about her family and their love of dolls and how she uses American Girl Dolls as a part of her daughters education.

How long have you been homeschooling?
Cindy:We are midway through our 7th year.

How old are your children?
              Cindy: Paul is 11 and in the 6th grade. Valerie is 8 and in the 3rd grade.

What motivated you to homeschool?
              Cindy: God changed our hearts toward homeschooling.  We didn’t have enough money for private school and public was out of the question after I took a tour of the one Paul would have gone to in Kindergarten.  We were adamantly opposed to homeschooling, so when God changed our hearts, we just had to accept it and move forward.  It became funny to us too since we had been so against it. Paul had been in preschool since he was 2 to prepare him for public school.  We had bad experiences in the Pre-K class he was in when he was 4. This led us to question where he would go for Kindergarten.  The public school I saw had things that bothered me.  I didn’t sleep for 3 days after that tour. Then God brought homeschoolers out of the woodwork to answer my questions and led me to books about it.  I found out that we aren’t stuck in a small room all day and there are plenty of opportunities for socialization, etc.  

How do you use American Girl Dolls in your learning?
             Cindy:  I would have to say so far the only way we have used American Girl in our homeschool is with Reading, History and Math.  Valerie has read 90 AG books so far (and that number will probably be higher by the time this article is seen), the history aspect of it has led us to research different things according to the book she is reading and math is used when she budgets her money to save for AG items and dolls.

What outside groups are you involved in online and in your community?
            Cindy:   They attend a school for homeschoolers and we absolutely love it!  Paul is in the STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and he also takes English there.  He goes one day a week and then does his homework at home.  I cover the history curriculum at home.  Last year Paul was in the Robotics club and he really enjoyed it, but his schedule was too full to do it again this year.

They don’t start STEM until 4th grade, so Valerie will start that next year.  She is in the Science Club and goes one day a week.  I cover all of her subjects at the house with her club being an enrichment class.  She can’t wait to start the STEM program next year.

Paul and Valerie took Korean classes for 3.5 years.  We had to end that this year due to the intense workload.  They learned to read, write and speak Korean.  They also learned Korean history. Paul took Taekwondo and table tennis there as well.  Valerie took art classes and Korean singing classes there. 

              Cindy: They have also taken tennis, swimming, basketball, etc. at some point over the years.

               Paul was in Royal Rangers for 6 years and was Ranger of the Year every year.  He has been in Boy Scouts for 5 years and is excelling in that as well.  At this point he is ranked Second Class and his goal is to be an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow.  He stays VERY busy with Scouts and his dad is an Assistant Scout Master and is very dedicated to it as well.

               Cindy:Valerie is in Girl’s Club (similar to Girl Scouts, but it’s more Christian based and there’s not as much fundraising).  She has been in it for 4 years and has been Girl of the Year every year!

What is your favorite part of homeschooling?
            Cindy:   I love having my children home with me and being able to tailor their education to their specific learning styles. I also love being able to teach them from a Christian perspective, while still teaching them what others believe so they are able to witness to others.

What advice would you give someone wanting to homeschool who did not know where to begin?
         Cindy:      It can be VERY overwhelming if you Google homeschooling!  Thousands of homeschooling articles, curriculum, etc. will come up and a lot of people get discouraged because of that.  A lot of women also think that they can’t do it, they aren’t qualified or that they are holding their kids back from a real education or socialization.  I only know all of this because I felt the same way when I started (and of course have questioned myself many times over the years-it’s normal).  I had opposition from family members and complete strangers!  That just made me more determined to homeschool!

               When I realized God was calling us to homeschool, my thoughts and beliefs toward it slowly changed as I researched it more.  I talked with other homeschoolers and I read a book by Lisa Whelchel, “So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling”. This book was instrumental in helping me make my decision. There are many different styles, circumstances, etc. written about in the book.  Also, starting with a Unit Study would be good.  Pick a topic your child is interested in and from that you can combine all subjects under that one topic. 

Tell us about your dolls and your doll collection....
           Cindy:    I have one very special doll that my mom gave me about 32 years ago.  I named her Elizabeth, even though I had named everything Samantha up to that point! LOL!  Anyway, she wasn’t a Cabbage Patch doll, but was handmade to look similar to one, but she was so much better than that! I still have her and I gave her to my daughter.  I didn’t get into American Girl dolls until 2012.  My daughter has been collecting for 4 years.  I bought Rebecca first, who I re-named Autumn Nicole, and she’s a Messianic Jewish girl.  After that I added, in no particular order, McKenna, Marie-Grace, Molly, Emily, Willow Elise (#24), Addy, Cecile, and Mildred (used to be Ruthie but I changed her to Mildred after my Great Aunt Mildred and gave her hearing aids just like her). I love all of them very much!!

               I can’t forget my mini dolls either!  I have Cecile (my favorite), Kaya, Samantha, Felicity, Caroline, and Ida Bean (yes, I consider her a mini doll).  My mini’s get into all sorts of trouble and Cecile is the ringleader! 

Tell us what your doll goals are this year
           Cindy:    Well, my first goal is to not spend as much as I did last year! My second goal is to make that happen by being choosier about my purchases.

Tell us what is on your wish list for dolls this year
         Cindy:      I would like to add 1-3 more dolls this year!!  I can’t say who, because my choices may change!

Tell us what your Daughter thinks of her mom's love of dolls
            Cindy:   She was embarrassed at first, as was I, but she has come to accept it and we are both more comfortable with it now. She enjoys having this activity to do with me.  I really do believe that it has brought us closer and I treasure that more than anything!

Your best piece of advice for homeschool moms
           Cindy:    No homeschool family is perfect and no one sits in a small room and never leaves the house!  We don’t sit around holding hands singing Kumbaya and have every subject done in record time without fighting.  That never happens and if you have heard otherwise, they were lying!  If you are starting homeschooling after your kids have been in a traditional school, it will take everyone time to adjust.  Also, it is OK to change curriculum if one isn’t working.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling!

What do you do for fun?
            Cindy:   I enjoy hanging out with my family, visiting the mountains, reading, doll collecting, and watching movies. I also enjoy crocheting and attempting to sew without staples! 

Thank you Cindy for sharing your ideas and your answers with us today. I hope some of you find inspiration in today's post.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at 

1 comment:

  1. Cindy is a great mom.. She understands her kids needs and isn't afraid to go out of her way to fulfill them.. Good interview... I loved the ending where I had to decode the message..