Have you ever wondered, after you thought you knew your children so well, why they behaved the way they did? Were you ever baffled, after years of guiding them, when they chose a different path? That’s why I decided to do a formal “end of unschooling year” interview with my four children in my husband’s studio in a professional setting.
Through this interview, I understood my childrens’ perspectives, hopes, and dreams. I was able to assess their process of unschooling and know what to plan next. Most importantly, I was able to figure out if unschooling was a good fit for each of them.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you:
- The benefits of interviewing your children
- How the results & experience of the interview help with planning & decision making
- Our interview questions with my children’s answers
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Table of Contents
I’m an unschooling mom of 5 children who has taught them 24/7 since their birth. I’ve witnessed their first tooth, first step, and have celebrated all their milestones. I can even tell who is walking in my room by their unique steps.
I know them well.
But sometimes, I am still not sure if I fully understand them, especially my pre-teens.
Doing interviews with our children is a shortcut to learn more about them in one setting.
5 Reasons to Interview Your Kids
Observing our children is a great way to get to the surface. Interviewing gives us the details and information to make changes in their lives.
I strongly encourage you to try it. Kids have wonderful ideas and unique ways to think, and most of the time it’s very entertaining.
An interview makes me actually listen to them
With five children constantly asking for my help, I have learned to tune out and nod for an answer, so I can move on.
Did I really listen to them and understand their needs?
Nope. Not until I completely stopped what I was doing and gave them my full attention.
While I was asking questions during the interview, I actually learned a lot from them.
For example, I’ve learned:
- What is their favorite activity and subject to learning
- What they think is the most important thing to do every day
- Some have changed their favorite animals
- Some have changed their dream career
An interview makes them feel important
I felt the same whenever I was interviewed on Podcasts or TV.
During the interview, when we asked them questions, our children were able to speak up.
They became the star, and we were the audience.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to show our children that they are important and valued. We love to listen to and hear their adventures, dreams, opinions, and thoughts.
An interview gives us information before any decision making
- Does homeschooling work for our children?
- Does the curriculum or schedule work for them?
- Should we keep homeschooling or go back to school?
- What subjects should our children learn next year?
There are many decisions we have to make for our children, such as what after-homeschool classes to take, which co-op to join, or even what subjects to learn.
Individualized education is one of the beauties of homeschooling.
I would like each of my children to be able to choose for themselves, so they can follow their passions. I want each of them to grow their interest to see the world.
All the answers and insights I received from our interview are perfect references to guide our children. Especially because they did not come from me, but from my children.
An interview teaches great social skills
What better way to teach our children how to talk and respond to people than doing an interview with them?
They may make mistakes and not reach our expectations. But that’s okay! We can discuss these social & interview skills while replaying the interview on the computer.
First they may laugh at each other, and then we can pause at the place where we would like them to make changes in the future.
It’s also great to watch other children’s interviews as well, so they can learn from kids their age.
An interview is a fun family bonding activity
Especially with younger children, it’s so fun to listen to their answers.
You can learn so much about what TV shows they are watching, books they are reading, or what things they’re concerned about.
Maybe it would be fun to let them interview their parents too, and make it a family tradition before the new year.
About our interview
In this interview, I interviewed four of my children.
- 4 years old (preschooler)
- 7 years old (2nd grader)
- 9 years old (4th grader)
- 11 years old (6th grader)
My goal for this interview is simple – to understand them better.
I would like to know:
1. Do they know the difference between homeschooling and public school?
2. Do they enjoy being homeschooled?
3. What are their current interests and dreams?
4. Are they happy?
Our Interview Questions
These are the questions I asked them during the interview.
I started with some basic and simple questions to warm them up, and then I went to some deeper questions.
- What grade are you in?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What are your favorite animals?
- What is your favorite food?
- What are your favorite subjects?
- What makes you happy?
- What kind of person would you like to be?
- How long have you been a homeschooler?
- Do you like being homeschooled?
- What are your 3 favorite homeschooling activities?
- What’s your favorite lesson to learn with mom & dad?
- What’s the difference between homeschooling and school?
- What do you think you miss out on because you’re homeschooled?
- What would you do if you were in charge of the homeschooling day?
- If other people are considering homeschooling, what would you tell them?
- Give me 1 word about our homeschooling
If you have any suggestions or questions for our next interview, feel free to leave me a comment below.
Watch the Interview here
Valuable information I have learned from the interview
They like my cooking, and they like our schedule and routine so far.
They also like me to be their teacher. What a relief! I often think about all the subjects and skills that I don’t have, and worry I’m not good enough for my children. But through this interview, I’ve learned I should not worry about it. I’m what they need right now.
I heard all their interests, dreams, and things that they want to accomplish. Because of this, I learned what kind of homeschooling co-op, classes, or field trips I should sign up for. Now we don’t need to waste time and money to try everything. Instead, we can focus on the activities that will enhance and motivate their learning.
In addition, I will increase the time to get outside. I will sign up for wild school and have lunch outside more often.
P.S. They actually don’t get to do whatever they want all the time. I’m still pretty strict with their use of time. But many people tell them that unschoolers can do whatever they want all the time. And that’s where they get the ideas.
My Advice for all Parents
You don’t have to be a homeschooling parent to interview your kids.
You can do it anytime and in any setting!
Giving our children an interview creates a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn about them in more depth.
For a lot of problems and concerns I have for my children, I received inspiration and answers from interviewing them.
It helped me to:
- Change my perspective and expectations
- Humble myself and open my eyes
- Strengthen my trust and faith in my children
Most importantly, it gave us some solid answers about our children and their wants and needs.
Let’s Get Ready for the Interview
If your heart is pounding while reading this blog post, that’s your answer!
You want the same thing, and you want to know you are making the right decision for your family and your children.
Let’s do it! It can be very simple and easy to do.
Here are 4 steps to start preparing for your interview
1. Brainstorm a list of questions that you want to ask your children. Write down all of them even if you may not ask them, because you can use these questions later.
2. Pick no more than 20 questions and put them in order: make sure to start with some warmup questions and then go in depth.
3. Schedule and block an hour next week to do the interview
4. Grab your phone with a tripod and start interviewing your children one by one.
Please tag me @fortunecookiemom or message me when you finish interviewing your children, and tell me how it was.
I’d love to hear from you and celebrate with you.
Do you have any other questions about homeschooling/ unschooling? Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know, I’d love to chat with you and support you.
You Might be Interested
- How to Write a Year-Long Bilingual Homeschooling Plan
- An Interview about My Homeschooling Life in Hong Kong
- [Free Survival kit] 13 Tips for Surviving Both Homeschooling and Working from Home
- From Homeschooling To Unschooling from A+ Parents (podcast)
- Unschool Multiple Ages from My Little Homeschool (podcast)
Other Resources to Support you
- How to Start Teaching Chinese at Home
- Teaching Chinese with Theme-Based Approach: Chinese Theme Packs
- How I Motivate my Children Reading in Cantonese and English
- Resources and Activities to Teach Young Kids Reading in Cantonese
- 6 Best Chinese Children Books to Read Aloud for Babies and Toddlers
- Writing Chinese Characters: 10 tips for teaching young children how to write Chinese characters
You Are Not Doing it Alone
Join my Facebook support group to meet and get connections with parents and educators with the same goals.
After being a member, you can attend all the special LIVE training, events, and activities together.
身为职业妈妈的我,常常牺牲睡眠来自作教材。版主全方位学习的新年教材真让我省下不少宝贵的时间找资料。四岁的女儿对中文学习有点抗拒。我们善用版主提供的迷你故事书和生字卡来增强她对语文的认识。版主的中文单词棋盘游戏更让女儿投入学习, 因为她想赢嘛！版主的教材可让小孩边玩边学, 太棒了。
This is the second 5-Day Challenge that we have done with Fortune Cookie Mom. Both have been very beneficial to our family. I am a homeschool mom of three little kids. We are not Chinese and do not speak any Chinese. With the help of Fortune Cookie Mom, we are slowly learning! The challenges have given me fun activities to do at home with the kids. Each one has reignited my kid's interest in learning. It has been a fun experience for everybody!