By Caitlyn Watson.

Visiting the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Exploring the mysteries of science and history with Mom and Dad. Getting acquainted with baby Sawat owls in a field trip setting. What do all these events have in common?

They’re all part of the homeschooling adventure!

Meet Ray and Carrie Boyd and their children Jack (12), Reagan (8), Bridgette (8), and Tommy (5), from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. They’ve been homeschooling from the start, with a big emphasis on the 4Rs. “A typical homeschool day at our house is very structured,” said Ray and Carrie. “But it works for us!”

The kids are involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities, with hockey near the top of the list. But there’s also youth group, piano lessons, and Awana club! The twins especially enjoy competitive gymnastics. “Homeschooling has definitely given them the time and opportunity to really focus on their interests,” said Ray and Carrie.

The kids also enjoy exciting field trips with their local homeschool group! Some of their fondest memories include meeting some baby Sawat owls, visiting the Air Traffic Control tower in Saskatoon, and touring a Hutterite colony! That covers zoology, career exploration, and sociology for the day. But none of those field trips hold a candle to the best field trips of all—flights with Dad!

Ray’s work as a pilot means a hectic work schedule, but nothing gets in the way of their special family tradition. “When the kids turn 7 or 8, they get to follow Dad to any destination he’s going to for 24 hours. They’re fun — and exhausting — trips, and at the same time we try to make it educational for them,” said Carrie. Jack and Reagan headed to New York City and visited the Empire State Building, The American Museum of Natural History, and Central Park. Bridgette opted for Maui instead and loved snorkeling and searching for exotic ocean life. And Tommy is counting the days till it’s his turn!

One reason that the Boyds love homeschooling is that it gives them many opportunities to bond as a family. “Since Ray’s job often takes him away from home for multiple days in a row, it’s nice that the kids can be with Dad while they’re working on school,” said Carrie. “And even though our kids squabble a bit through the day, they have such a tight relationship with each other.”  

The Boyds also appreciate the foundation that HSLDA provides as they educate their children in a way that works for their family. “Not only do we have legal protection with HSLDA, but they also provide a wealth of knowledge, including updates regarding provincial laws in education. They keep us current on any changes that apply to us,” explained Ray and Carrie.

So would they do it over again? “Homeschooling isn’t the easiest road to take,” acknowledged Ray and Carrie. “But we love the family bonds that homeschooling has created! It is such a gratifying feeling to be beside the kids when they read their first words. The discussions we have with our kids during school time are also a treasure. These are cherished years that we don’t take for granted, and we wouldn’t trade them for anything.”