Kiwi Homeschoolers: Life on Their Terms

January 10, 2021 Updated: January 11, 2021

Daniel and Naomi Morris work together as online business owners and as homeschooling parents in New Zealand. They both grew up in the city, but since meeting and getting married, they’ve lived on a hobby farm in a small country town while homeschooling their daughters, now age 3 and 5. They blog at OurKiwiHomeschool.com.

I asked Naomi about their homeschooling journey and what advice they’d give to other parents thinking about taking the same leap. Here’s what she said.

Morris family
The Morris family lives on a farm in New Zealand. (Courtesy of the Morris family)

The Epoch Times: What made you decide to homeschool your children?

Naomi Morris: We wanted to homeschool so that we could spend more time as a family and have greater freedom. This is also the reason we started online businesses so that we could work online together. The flexibility of being able to travel, to learn alongside our kids, to spark their curiosity, and to encourage a love of learning within them were other big reasons for choosing to homeschool.

We want to teach them about entrepreneurship, and to encourage and facilitate their individual interests and passions.

We wanted to homeschool so that we could set the curriculum, rather than the state. There are so many great resources to choose from that we think are far richer than what is offered in the school system.

Education shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach, as many state-run systems make it. We can tailor our curriculum to the child and emphasize those areas they really enjoy and excel at.

Morris family
Visiting a kangaroo. (Courtesy of the Morris family)

The Epoch Times: There are a number of various styles of homeschooling that are popular. How would you describe your homeschool approach?

Ms. Morris: We love the Charlotte Mason approach to learning and use a curriculum that is inspired by that method. With that approach, we include a lot of art and crafts, poetry, language, and nature study in the early years.

Inspired by the Charlotte Mason method, we love to read “living books” aloud to the kids. We love the natural learning that takes place through reading a lot of different, rich literature.

As we live on a hobby farm in the country, our children are often outside in nature. They play alongside us as we work to take care of our large garden, animals, and land.

We want them to have plenty of time and freedom to play, be creative, and make up all kinds of imaginary games.

We also really love incorporating a lot of Montessori inspired, hands-on activities as part of our homeschool curriculum.

The Epoch Times: What have you found to be the biggest benefits of homeschooling?

Ms. Morris: The biggest benefit is being able to spend a lot of time together as a family and do life together. I love being with my kids and seeing them experience and learn about the world. Our daughters are each other’s best friends!

It is a joy to learn alongside them and see their curiosity and interest in different subjects. I love that I can give them the resources and time needed to support and facilitate their interests.

We really appreciate the freedom of homeschooling—to travel when we want, to spend more time with extended family and friends, to explore any subject that captures the children’s interest.

We enjoy being part of our local homeschool community and meeting up with other homeschool families each week for sports, field trips, play dates, and dinners.

We love that we can encourage and foster a love of learning in our kids.

Morris family
The Morris family. (Courtesy of the Morris family)

The Epoch Times: What challenges have you faced along this journey?

Ms. Morris: One of the challenges we’ve faced is that not everybody is going to be on board with our decision to homeschool, and we must be OK with other people not being OK with it. It comes with the territory.

Another challenge early on was being overwhelmed by homeschool curriculum choices. But after envisioning what style we really wanted for our homeschool, it wasn’t hard to find a curriculum that matched that vision.

The only resource we struggled to find was a kindergarten-level French workbook for beginners. The answer was to make the product ourselves! (OurKiwiHomeschool.com/product/kindergarten-french-workbook/)

The Epoch Times: What advice would you give to a parent who is considering homeschooling their children?

Ms. Morris: My advice would be to try not to feel overwhelmed or pressured by the decision. First just focus on enjoying time with your kids, reading with them, and going for walks. Give them time to explore their own interests, to be creative, and to just “be.”

You will be able to provide the learning environment and type of education tailored to each of their needs. Figure out the goals for your homeschool and what you’d like it to look like. Then find a homeschool curriculum to match those goals.

You want your kids to love learning, so above all, have fun and enjoy the process.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza