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Elizabeth (Beth) Ahlers

Episode 036

A Linguist Homeschooling

Elizabeth Ahlers speaks on the topic of “homeschooling” and family life after nearing the end of 25 years of home education and raising six children.

Her message is “It CAN be done!” and “Family relationships are worth investing in and sacrificing for.”

Though a survivor and fighter for life and freedom, she focuses on the redemptive qualities of life’s difficulties, the good that comes out of the bad, the growth, and the joy that is the reward of wisdom, sacrifice, and perseverance.

Because Elizabeth approaches life from a Christian worldview, her perspective on humanity and human growth is grounded in confidence that we are not left alone to struggle in life, but rather there is a loving Heavenly Father who is glad to help us succeed. 

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Elizabeth (Beth) Ahlers Quotes

  • “Redemption is more than getting over it. It’s bringing something beautiful out of what looks like a disaster.”
  • “My grandmother was one of fourteen kids. They had a front house and a back house, one for the boys and one for the girls.”
  • “We took Charlotte Mason’s motto, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.”
  • Elizabeth Ahlers speaks on the topic of “homeschooling” and family life after nearing the end of 25 years of home education and raising six children.
  • Her message is “It can be done!” and “Family relationships are worth investing in and sacrificing for.”
  • She thinks everyone can homeschool their children and help instill a love of learning in children that will serve them for the rest of their life.

You’re a mother, an educator, and a linguist. Which one do you identify with the most?

I still see myself as a mom. I have six kids! Five are living in my house still, one is married and on their own, and we have three in Heaven that we’re looking forward to meeting and raising.

Are you originally from Southern California?

I was born in Hollywood and lived in LA. When I was three, we moved to Glendale, and now we live in Montrose.

Were your parents born here?

They were born in Los Angeles. My great, great-grandmother was born in Canton, China. We’re Cantonese.

They started an American-style restaurant in Los Angeles and had fourteen kids. My grandmother was one of fourteen kids. They had a front house and a back house, one for the boys and one for the girls. They fed them all through their restaurant.

What was your childhood like in Southern California?

My neighborhood, school, and Church were all Caucasian, and I didn’t feel like I looked different than the other people in our neighborhood, but when I went to school, people would say things.

Where did you go to college?

I went to UCLA, and I studied Linguistics.

Are you still doing linguistics?

I use parts of it all the time. A lot of it is communication. Linguistics is a combination of solving puzzles and putting clues together for communication.

You look at words, sentences, sounds, and grammar to see how to communicate.

You start with phonetics, the sounds, to morphology, the building of the words. You then go to grammar, the building of the sentences. Then you look at semantics, the meaning.

Linguistics was really fun, and watching my kids grow and develop their language abilities.

What is etymology?

That’s connected to morphology and more about the meaning and the parts of the words. You can look at the history of the word. Maybe three letters go together, and they’re from Latin, and then you have another three letters that come from French, which can create a whole new word in English.

How do you use linguistics on a daily basis?

Lately, language has been changing a lot, and people are using words in new ways. As I listen to my kids’ usage of language is very interesting. They’re taking words that Noah Webster put in his dictionary in 1928, but they use them in a totally different way.

Did you always want to have kids?

I read a biography about Susanna Wesley, and she inspired me because she had so many kids. The stories of how she ran her household and raised her kids I found inspiring.

I only had one sibling, and my husband only had one sibling. We both knew we wanted to have a big family.

With such a big family, how do you find peace and tranquility?

We can’t control what the outcome is going to be, which can make your life full of anxiety. So it comes down to faith in God and knowing that my life is in His good hands and that He loves me and has the best in mind for my family and me.

When God and I work together, I know he’ll have my back.

What I mean by redemption is bringing something beautiful out of disaster.

Have you homeschooled all of your kids?

Yes, I did. From birth, I believe that they start learning and forming that bond with them.

Did you always know you were going to homeschool your kids?

I happened upon a church seminar about homeschooling, which made me think about what a great idea that would be.

So, when I had my own kids, I began researching homeschooling, and I read a lot about Charlotte Mason and how she had homeschooled and trained governesses.

How would you describe your version of homeschooling?

We took Charlotte Mason’s motto: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” It’s very holistic, about being at home together as a family and learning through living your life together.

Our homeschooling is to instill that love of learning in our children.

Do you think everyone can homeschool?

There are a lot of resources for people to use if they want to try homeschooling.

I have a very relaxed style, but there are different curriculums that guide them all the way through.

Do you think we should change the way schooling is done now?

I think school is very stressful, and the kids aren’t learning very much or very well. The pandemic has changed a lot of the way kids have learned, and it’ll likely take a generation for the changes that need to take place.

It may even be the kids who went through the school lockdowns and online learning who bring about the change in the system.

What do you say to people who say that homeschooled kids miss out on socialization?

I would show them the examples of my daughters, who went to UCLA, joined the sorority, and became the social VP of the sorority.

I think because we are in a family unit, they are able to relate to adults, grandparents, and younger kids.

You also get a lot of socialization through Church groups and homeschooling groups.

What I really wanted them to avoid was negative socialization, like bullying.

How did your children do academically?

My first daughter was ready to move on at 16, so she graduated from high school and went to Pasadena City College from 16 to 18.

She then transferred to UCLA for her junior and senior years. She then went on to get her Master’s in teaching at UCLA and taught in eighth grade at a charter school.

My second daughter followed a very similar path, but at 19, she did a study abroad program for a year in France. Now, she is the head media librarian at a school.

My other daughter, Victoria, is a production assistant for the wonderful podcast The SGV Master Key. She went to UC San Diego and studied psychology.

Priscilla is preparing to go to Marine Officer Candidate School and is working on completing her junior year at UCLA in geography.

Ben is 17 and is waiting to hear from Patrick Henry College in Virginia if he has been accepted.

Johnny is 14, working on his Eagle Scout, and taking the Constitutional Literacy Class online.

Picture of Elizabeth (Beth) Ahlers

Elizabeth (Beth) Ahlers

My house. I’m so thankful to be there. I call it my promised land.

The Ambassador Auditorium. It’s the home of the Harvest Rock Church, and God has met us there in so many ways.

Tea Rose Garden, where Victoria serves at. During the pandemic, they were the only place we could go and sit and have a cup of tea.