We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Monica, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
As a parent, I strive to be a positive role model and guide for my children. One of the most important thing that my husband I have done to impact our children was to have made the decision to homeschool them. We are both educators by profession. Teaching online allowed me to have the flexibility to be home. My husband’s job as a math resource coach in the public school system also allowed for some flexibility. Experiential learning was our focus. We did this by basically traveling for school (Washington D.C. for U.S. History, Grand Canyon for Geology, traveling up the coast of California to visit every mission for California history, etc.) When the kids were 8 and 10, we moved to Costa Rica for two years. Giving them this gift (immersing in another culture, becoming bilingual, etc) I believe has had the most impact on them and who they are becoming (now 16 and 18).

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My name is Monica Lynn Kelly. I have 20 plus years of successful experience in teaching, curriculum development and support of new teachers in various communities and at various grade levels. These communities include both the military and civilian sectors as well as in Central America. Grade levels include elementary, secondary, and graduate. I homeschool my children as well. I currently am an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses for teacher preparation and Master’s programs at National University and University of Phoenix. I am an educational facilitator for Dimensions Charter School. I consult with families that are considering homeschooling and want to find the best program / path for their child. I also teach supplemental classes for younger students via Outschool. These are classes that I designed for my daughter at some point and want to extend the gift of her learning thru these classes. I offer History thru the eyes of American Girl Dolls and Young Ocean Explorers. My story begins with the “nagging” desire to homeschool my children. I was excited to have them in school so that I could actually get work done during normal hours. The “nagging” continued and after dropping my son off at school, my husband and I begin to realize that I could give our children life experiences that would outmatch a classroom. So, homeschool we did and have done ever since. My children are 16 and 18. Experiential learning was our focus and our goal for them k-5, was to instill a love for reading and a curiosity for learning. We accomplished that. Our goal for middle and high school was to create independent self-directed learners who have a vision of what their education should look like. We are in the middle of shaping that. One of our “experiential learning” experiences was a two year adventure in Costa Rica where I have had the opportunity to get back into the classroom as an English /Science teacher, develop courses for students coming in from the states for short term learning, and develop a curriculum map for both years of our stay. Here in San Diego, my husband is a math resource coach for the San Diego Unified School District. This keeps us both communicating about education and collaborating on the newest research. While our hearts are in Costa Rica, living in San Diego, California has proven to be a well-rounded adventurous place for our family that allows us to pursue our dream of traveling and returning to Costa Rica for summers and homeschool “month long field trips.” I wanted to offer all of what I have learned with homeschooling my children and to offer other families my tips for simple living. Therefore, Simple Solutions by Monica came about.   CHALLENGES; Juggling my many “hats” can be challenging. I have worked out strategies in how I offer my services. For example, on the days my daughter is home, I offer a study group at our church. Anyone that is homeschooled, can come and work. It is a safe environment and an opportunity to socialize and get support as well. Another challenge is that there are not a lot of homeschooled students in the La Jolla area in which we live. Or, if there are, they might attend a specific charter school that provides a site to go to. Therefore, attending my study group might not be located in a convenient area. I also find that many parents are not sure what is involved in homeschooling. They are hesitant and don’t know where to start. There are so many options out there and web based chat groups where parents can go (it is free and so paying for a consultant might not be appealing). However, it can be very overwhelming if you are not sure what you are looking for. I can provide specific support and face to face contact.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
If my best friend was visiting my area, there would be so much to share!!! I live in an amazing city with so much to offer. These are very “tourist oriented:” SeaWorld San Diego Belmont Park San Diego Zoo San Diego Natural History Museum San Diego Air & Space Museum Reuben H. Fleet Science Center San Diego Zoo Safari Park USS Midway Museum Coronado Island LEGOLAND® California Museum of Making Music Birch Aquarium Off the ‘beaten path: https://www.travelzoo.com/blog/off-beaten-path-san-diego-11-spots-whole-family-will-love/

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a shout out to Izzy and Coco Tihanyi, owners of Surf Diva Surf School and Boutique. I have known Izzy and Coco for the past 25 years. They are a true inspiration with women in small business. Izzy is the one who encouraged us to move to Nosara, Costa Rica (she runs surf camps there). She is a pioneer and advocate for women in the surfing world. They have also been an integral part in being supportive role models and mentors to my daughter, Jordyn in both surfing and giving back to the community. Surf Diva DROP IN ON US: Surf Diva Boutique | 2160 Avenida de la Playa | La Jolla CA 92037 | Phone: 858 454-8273 OPEN DAILY MON – SUN 8:30AM – 6:00PM​www.surfdiva.com www.lajollasurfcamp.com www.americansurfacademy.com www.menehunesurf.com Follow “Surf Diva Surf School” on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram! Quoted “The Starbucks of surf schools” by Newsweek Magazine, Surf Diva Surf School is considered the pillar of women’s surfing and offers surfing and standup paddleboard(SUP) lessons year-round for women, men, and children. Located in La Jolla, California with operations also in Costa Rica, Surf Diva is actively involved in charities and outreach to support both the local community and to raise awareness to protect the environment. The Surf Diva Boutique was awarded #1 Women’s Retailer of the Year in the US 2013 by the Surf Industry Manufacturers​ Association (SIMA)

Website: simplesolutionsbymonica.wordpress.com
Facebook: kellymonica97@yahoo.com