Chris and Shala LaTorraca, also known as The Homeschool Architects, are a husband and wife team who have been homeschooling for nearly a decade. If you ask them, they would say they are just ordinary parents who want extraordinary things for their children. Chris and Shala also have a heart to help other parents navigate through how to provide home education for their children – the goal is to help kids enthusiastically become lifelong learners.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the LaTorracas had no idea they would be writing a book. Early on, Chris casually mentioned to Shala over coffee that on the other side of this crisis homeschooling would be strongly considered a viable option for education by more parents than ever before. Many families would be desperate for a change.
Chris and Shala’s story probably begins similar to yours. Get married, have children, and decide what course of education for them. And that may be where the similarities stop for you. Or you may have a desire to homeschool and that is where your stories can now intersect.
As it would happen, homeschooling is something which Shala wanted to passionately pursue, while Chris hadn’t given it any thought. It wasn't something that they initially sought out because of many events in their lives. Check out this course of events. In 2009, Shala adopts a girl from Ethiopia. During this time, she meets Chris and they begin dating. Three months after the adoption is finalized, they get married in November 2009. Shala moves from Oklahoma to Connecticut where Chris’ family is. Upon their wedding day, Shala was terribly sick with mononucleosis and shortly after the beginning of the new year, when she was finally beginning to recover, they find out she's pregnant with their youngest. In addition, they decide to begin a local newspaper, which has now transitioned into a town wide magazine. Add in there several moves, training to become foster parents, fostering several therapeutic children, and then having a family member with dementia live with them, their life has been anything but boring and stagnant, and they haven’t always known what to expect.
So for them to consider homeschooling during all of these ups and downs is something about which they had to have a solid conviction. They made tough choices – from giving up a two-income lifestyle, to living out of faith rather than familiarity. The end result has been worth it and it has been rewarding. It is something you can’t put a price tag on and they would do it all over again!
Back in the beginning of their homeschooling journey, the possibility of home educating their children seemed exciting and also overwhelming. Shala remembers talking with and seeking out mothers who had been homeschooling for a longer time. Just listening to their choices of curriculum almost caused her to think that they could never do it – some used a specific pre-boxed curriculum that had everything in it while others picked and chose specific subjects from various publishers that they thought were best in the field of study. Oh my…where does a family even begin? With the first step. And that’s just what they did. And now, nearly a decade later, they continue to take daily steps to educate their children.
Neither Chris nor Shala have a degree in teaching; however, each one has a desire for truth and knowledge, and they want to pass that along to their children. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UConn, while Shala holds both a bachelor’s degree in outreach and a double master’s degree in church planting/growth and Christian leadership from Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma.
As The Homeschool Architects, their goal is to come alongside you, the parents, and help you design and build the homeschool life that you desire and love.