Judy Arnall is a Canadian Certified Family Life Educator, best selling author of 3 books on non-punitive parenting, professional speaker and homeschooling mom to her 5 children. With years of experience as a parent educator and personal experience raising and homeschooling her 5 children Judy offers knowledge on home education, the power of letting go, and respectful parenting.
“We are homeschoolers that never really got around to homeschooling.”
Judy talks about how their homeschool journey began and why she originally wanted to homeschool and why her husband did not. After struggle in grade 2 with her oldest son who had learning disabilities and her youngest son completely not happy with grade 1 they tried homeschooling for a year.
The first lesson from the first year- You have to find your groove. Find your parenting style, teaching style and what your child’s learning style is. Most important are your values for education and your goals for your relationship.
As a certified family life educator Judy teaches parents how to be non-punitive and live respectful parenting practices. Homeschooling was a harder experience because as the “teacher” she didn’t want to use rewards and punishments. Instead she focused on building relationships.
Second Lesson – The main factor in homeschooling is the parenting relationships.
How did Home Education work for them?
Her family started out structured in their homeschooling and then slid into unschooling. She gave her children the option to work towards a diploma for high school. She feels once they reached high school age they were ready for more structure because they had lived 10 years of unstructured unschooling. So far 3 out of 5 have graduated from university and adjusted well socially and academically. One child plans to head to university in the fall after completing high school requirements and the other is just entering grade 10.
“Play allows passion to reveal themselves”. Each of her children have followed their playful passions in school and career paths, with 3 of her children focusing on STEM paths.
Judy discusses socialization and why she feels home education is excellent for socialization. She describes what opportunities are created for socialization that school cannot offer.
To her, she sums up homeschooling in this quote;
“It’s like a bank. You put in the savings and you reap the rewards later on.”
Judy also talks about the difficult days that happen and gives great advice on what to do for those inevitable days. Preparing ahead, having a support system on hand, going to the mountains, or packing a picnic and practicing self care. Model to your kids that you can and need to be good to yourself.
Judy was honest when I asked what her major challenges with home education were. Her answer was a similar struggle to what we have in our home. Screen time. Her viewpoint on screen time is insightful and she gives honest, personal examples. The struggles with setting limits, and why she gave up the guilt.
What is one thing she would do differently? Her answer surprised me. She talked about how this affected her children in post secondary studies but how it may no longer be as important 10 years down the road.
What is Judy’s advice as a seasoned parent and home educator? She wishes she relaxed sooner, but explains it’s a learning curve for every parent.
The number one factor is the caring adult relationship. “If they are not getting something- don’t stress. Eventually they will get it. Your relationship matters so much more.”
Judy is also president of the AHEPS- Alberta Home Education Parents Society. The AHEPS represents parental choice and provides advocacy and a voice to parents.
Parenting books on non-punitive parenting