Let me introduce you to this week’s Smarty Mom, Dawn Hamilton! Dawn and I met years ago – she was the brave soul who asked my friend and I if she could join our running group. We weren’t an intimidating pair but it takes guts to ask to join a group – LOVE that about her!
So after that one fateful day, we’ve been running together from the Harris Y . The same route. Same pre-dawn time. For SEVEN YEARS (we think – we’ve kind of lost track and try to gauge it based on what babies were born when – that’s how mamas keep track of time isn’t it? We have 8 kids in between us so it gets a little confusing). That’s a whole lot of miles covered and minutes spent getting to know each other. (You might see us on your way to work or school trudging along Sharon Road…honk if you pass us!)
Dawn and her husband, Graham, have four beautiful daughters ages 4-11. She first started contemplating homeschooling when her oldest daughter (who is now 10) started kindergarten. She opted to go the public school route back then, but has always had the feeling deep in the pit of her stomach that homeschooling would just be a better option for her family. After much thought and discussion, Dawn took the plunge this past fall and pulled her older two girls (4th and 5th grade) out of public school and is now homeschooling them. Her 2nd grader is still in public school, and her 4-year-old is in preschool.
Think her days are busy?
I’m SO proud of her for taking on this challenge. The decision to homeschool is a huge one – I know that more than ever after discussing the pros and cons over miles and miles of Sharon Road – but for some families it’s the best decision.
Dawn is an incredibly fun, loyal, and beautiful wife, mama, and friend. I am so excited for the rest of you to get to know her!
Smarties, meet Dawn!
Dawn’s Smarty Mom Stats
Married to: Graham for 12 years
Mom of: Addie, 10; Amelia, 9; Aubrey, 7; Ava, 4
Years in Charlotte: 9
Hometown: Saginaw, MI
What has been the biggest surprise about homeschooling? It’s been a bit of a learning curve – I’m really surprised by how easily my kids can learn – and how willing they are – but I had no idea how hard 4th & 5th grade math is to teach! I’m sure every homeschooling parent would say there is a certain concept or subject that is more challenging than others – math just happens to by mine! I know that since this whole thing is so new to us, it’s just a matter of time before we really get into our groove and never look back.
What’s the best part about homeschooling? I’ve LOVED watching the relationship between my girls blossom. And I’m getting to know my girls on a whole new level and spending precious time with them that I really feel like we’ll never get again.
What’s your biggest challenge? I’ve had a hard time knowing when to stop – homeschooling is constant. I have to give myself permission to relax because I feel like there are always opportunities to be teaching them something.
What has been your best resource as a new homeschooling parent? My goodness there is almost too much out there – that is what initially stressed me out! Fortunately for me, I have some family members (2 sister-in-laws) and some seasoned friends that helped guide me with curriculum options and support. I am not sure I could’ve dove into this without knowing they had my back.
There are also associations out there to assist in the guidelines for state requirements, offer support and other things, like HINTS and www.nche.com.
And, there is a great bookstore in Matthews called The Homeschool Room – it sells new and used curriculum so you can get your hands on and look at curriculum you might be considering.
What advice would you give other parents who are considering homeschooling their children? Make sure your spouse is on board, consider it a lifestyle and give yourself grace.
Now for the fun stuff…
Celebrity crush? Brangolina (Brad Pitt)
Best date night spot in Charlotte? Cowfish – love their tuna nacho and tropical rolls.
Best weekend getaway for your family? Beach trips! We have family in Wilmington, NC, and we all love to head down there for a little R&R. Some of are best family memories have been made there.
Guilty pleasure? Anything with cheese
Family’s favorite home-cooked dinner? Pan-fried salmon & couscous; or homemade pork BBQ. Luckily my girls are pretty good eaters!
Favorite place to find a deal (any deal!)? Concord Mills outlets & Marshalls. I can’t walk away from either place without buying something at a major steal.
Favorite place to run in Charlotte? (You better say with Cheryl from the Harris Y) – As I consider myself a social runner, anywhere as long as Cheryl Perry or my Stonehaven running girls are with me – even if that means at the “butt crack of dawn”:)
Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your family with us this Saturday morning! I know I speak for all of the Smarties in saying good luck with your new homeschooling life!
So proud of you Dawnie! You and your family are my favorite people!!!!
Dawn, I always knew that you were “special” – right from the time you were that darling little girl. Now you’re not only a wonderful Christian Wife and Mom, but a Teacher, too. That’s awesome!
Wow! Didn’t know you were home schooling again! Good for you. Miss ya and loved the article! Nice to be “the friend” Cheryl was running with all those years ago when you asked if you could tag along behind us on our morning run. LOL!
I am so proud to be the sister-in-law and aunt to this beautful family.
You’re a wonderful mother, Dawn!! Love you guys!! 🙂