Come say hello to Emily Iapic from Beaver, Pennsylvania! Emily sounds like so many moms that I talk to. She’s got kids ranging from 13 years old to 10 months and is trying to embrace the chaos while still living in the moment. Emily and her family also have such a fluid and interesting attitude about home schooling vs. public schooling for their kids. So many parents are passionate about this issue and I love the way Emily and her family are open to both options for different kids at different times. I think you’ll really like getting peek inside her home.

Welcome, Emily!

Hello! I’m Emily. I am blessed to live in this wild and crazy home with my Husband Jon and my four children Anna (13), Abram (11), Nora (8) and Judah (10 months). We have 6 family pets, two wild and unruly wire-haired dachshunds, two beta fish, a cat, and a bunny.

My husband and I have known each other since third grade. I’d like to say that it was love at first sight, but we’ve had a love/hate relationship since we’ve met. We have very different personalities, with some core similarities. I am more of an introvert and homebody. He is a definite extrovert and busy body. We started dating in college and have been married for 14 years.

I am a stay at home mother and my husband works from home in sales. Both of our families were/are owners of small businesses — mine an ice-cream shop and Jon’s a winery. We both have that entrepreneurial spirit and hopefully, one day, we’ll own our own business.

We teeter back and forth between homeschooling our children and public school. Currently they are in public school. We try to take things year by year, as the needs of our children change.

I love the stillness of homeschooling. We don’t have to hurry off in the mornings or devote our evenings to homework. I liked that I had a hand in everything that my children were learning. I liked seeing them grow. 

If I could, I would selfishly keep them home year after year. However, my oldest thrives in a competitive setting. She likes being around people all of the time. Being at home, for her, stifled her spirit. My middle two learn more independently. They feel stressed by the competitive nature of school. My son, especially, tends to regress when he is in a highly stressed environment. So, some years one may be home while the others are in public school.

My one piece of advice would be to relax. Don’t try to keep up with public school. Some things will come easy and other may take time. Only measure your child by his or her individual progress.

Nine years ago we moved to the small town of Beaver, PA. We chose Beaver because of the family-friendliness of the town. The main street runs right through the center of town.

You’ll mostly find small businesses, but we do have (gasp) our very own Starbucks. There are boutiques, gift shops, florists, jewelers, salons, cafés, restaurants, a supermarket, and a toy store all along the main street. Anywhere that you live is within walking distance of the main street, the post office, the library, parks, and schools.

People walk and ride their bikes around town regularly. We try to take the baby for a walk every morning and grab a cup of coffee. And as long as the weather isn’t too bad, we take walks at night along the river, which runs the length of town.

Beaver is located about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh, PA. So, we also have the benefits of city museums, sporting events and cultural events. There are numerous places to go or see, and plenty of things to do.

The home prices in our town are on the higher end of towns in our county. There is a nice mixture of homes that are renovated and pricier, and options that you can get for a bargain and fix up. Most of the homes are older, as this is a historic town.

Our home was built in 1968 and left completely original. I would have preferred an older home, but this house was within our budget and there wasn’t much to choose from at the time.

Over the years we have renovated most of the house. The only original feature that remains is the cement tile in the main bath. We are currently working on the nursery and fixing up the master bath. We have a ton of odds and ends to finish up: hanging the floating shelves in the kitchen, trim and quarter round, and railings outside.

When we moved in, the previous owner left a scrapbook of the house being built. When we tore down the wallpaper in the kitchen we found someone had written “Coras my girl” on the wall. I hated to paint over it, but couldn’t find a way to incorporate it into the room. There was a lapse in time between tearing down the wallpaper and painting so, we let our kids draw and paint all over the walls. If you push the clothes aside in Noras closet you will find a drawing of hers. We have a lot of memories in this house.

We’ve furnished our house over the years with a good mix of vintage furniture, antiques and a few new pieces here and there. I’m not one to buy an entire set of furniture or fully decorate my house as soon as I move in. I tend to only but things that we will use and keep things that are sentimental. I try to keep things minimal.

I wish that I could say that our house was peaceful, but that’s not true at this time in our lives. With one teenager, an emerging teenager, a wannabe teenager, and a fussy baby, it’s loud and full of sass and attitude at times. We are working on it. 

In time, I’m certain that the sass and attitude will fade and my fussy baby will grow to be independent. In those times I’m sure I’ll long for them to be young again. For now, I’m trying my best to live in the moment.

I think I’m pretty good at teaching my children to love themselves exactly the way they are and to realize that we are all different and filled with purpose. I hope that my kids remember the feeling of being loved. I hope that they forget all the times where I lost my patience, and all the long lectures in the car.

I wish that someone had told me how hard motherhood is. That it’s the hardest and most important job that you will ever have. That you will selflessly give everything that you have, yet feel like you haven’t given enough. (Editors Note: Emily told me that she wrote this essay while her husband was out of town and she was dealing with a baby who had a flu and then croup. So I am 100% positive that she is giving enough as a parent.)

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Thank you, Emily! I think even if I didn’t know that Emily homeschooled her kids sometimes, I would be able to tell just from the photos that this is a family that loves learning. The chalkboard walls, the maps, all the books and musical instruments. It’s very clear that this family enjoys spending their time trying things together and exploring.

And I really love the “we’ll see what each year brings” kind of attitude about home schooling vs. traditional schooling. Some kids are going to thrive in a structured, competitive school environment. And of course other kids are going to thrive with a little more flexibility in their schedule. And those needs may change over time. I think being open to what makes sense each year is so smart.


Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram too.

Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at features@designmom.com