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Episode 059. From Classroom Teacher to Homeschool Mom: Reframing Education with Monica Erwin

Episode 059

There are hard things in life, but should education be one of them?

The perspective of a classroom teacher turned homeschool mom is pretty interesting…and very insightful. Monica Erwin is with us today to share more about her experiences, shifts in perspective, and compassionate approach to education and parenting. Her honesty is moving.

There are stigmas surrounding homeschool in general…and we don’t skirt around them in this conversation. Monica shares how she went from believing the old stigma that homeschool meant kids stayed home, fell behind, and couldn’t measure up to traditional education school kids to advocating for connection and the power of an individualized education. She walks us through how was so involved in test scores and assessment and loved the structure and accountability of an institution, but then stumbled upon homeschool because of a family need. She once believed “(her) kids would never perform for me at home like they do for their own teacher”—but not anymore!

Education reform and reframing learning are happening all around us—we are in the middle of what I believe will be a pivotal point in the history of education. This is a long episode, but I followed Monica’s pace on this one and I’m so glad I did. There is a LOT to unpack when it comes to education reform.

Monica’s Bio: Monica was an elementary teacher who unexpectedly became a homeschool mom of 3 kids. She lives with her family in San Diego, CA. Her vision is to encourage parents as they navigate the home education of their children by sharing her journey and pointing them to helpful resources.

In this episode, Monica and I talk about:

  • Her school experiences as a child and how they shaped her decisions as a mom and how they led her to pursuing her teaching degree
  • How she reframed her “school is tough—toughen up!” mentality to
  • How the switch to homeschool reduced stress levels by slowing down when she needs and picking up when it’s called for
  • Getting over societal stigmas that are false (especially as it relates to modern homeschool)
  • Taking the time to slow down and get it done
  • Homeschool styles
  • Modern homeschool is NOT like it was in the 80s and 90s…how homeschool has transformed
  • Upgrading our ideas about education
  • Answering the question: is homeschool more parenting or teaching?
  • Do you need a teaching degree to teach your children? And if you have one, do you use it? (Do I use my degrees?)
  • What is an “expert” really?
  • Cool stories about the Wright brothers and a 19-year-old immigrant that will challenge how we view education
  • What disheartened her most as a teacher/mom
  • Personal responsibility
  • Encouragement & praise
  • Respectful approaches & how we show up for our kids
  • Organization and lesson prep
  • Adjusting as needed
  • A reluctant reader story that will warm your heart
  • Distraction…consuming vs. creating
  • Learning is happening anyway!
  • Organic learning
  • **A simple test to find out if your child is an auditory learner, kinesthetic learner, or visual learner.**
  • Why studying our kids is more important than curriculum
  • Understand that you are unique. Your family is unique. Which means there is no room for comparison
  • How there is no standard—parent, teach, and homeschool from that unique pace

Interesting mentions from today’s episode: Episode 043 with Jeff & Amy Olrick

Monica’s Instagram: @sweetwaterhomeschool

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Homeschool Explained: I used to teach in-person workshops here on Maui that helped families get started on their homeschool journey feeling resourced and confident. To meet requests from parents on other islands and on the mainland, I turned that workshop into an online resource for you!

If you’re thinking of homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin or you just got started and still have a ton of questions, I’ve got you. I put over 10 years of homeschool experience into a 3 hour video that you can start and stop at your own convenience. I go over all of the most common questions I’ve gotten from parents and workshop attendees over the years…I share with you about curriculum, homeschool styles, when to start, subjects to teach, planning, schedules, cost, state laws, umbrella schools, testing, record keeping, community, socialization, and more. My goal was to over share so that when you finish the course, you’ll feel resourced and ready to go.

Discount Code: Use the code LORIBETH50 for 50% OFF of my how to homeschool course Homeschool Explained! This offer will remain open as a thank you to my amazing Elevating Motherhood listeners.

For more info on homeschool, head over to

Primally Pure: Thanks for Primally Pure for supporting today’s episode. Primally Pure, is one of my favorite companies. They excel at creating safe, natural skin care products made with quality ingredients. Primally Pure has become my go-to brand for clean, non-toxic face cleaners, creams, and serums. They’re also the makers of my favorite all-natural (& effective!) deodorant. (I love their blue tansy one). They’ve generously offered a discount code for listeners: be sure to use the code: LORIBETH10 for 10% OFF your first order. For my personal review of their products, head over to


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