What would you include in a list of homeschool benefits? Have you ever thought about them? Would your list include health and safety? Or pajamas and blankets? Pajamas didn’t make it onto my list. Most of the time, I made my kids get dressed. Blankets? That one I could have listed – who wouldn’t want to do school under a fleece blanket?
We chose to homeschool our children when our oldest was ready for kindergarten. And I am so glad we did! When we made that decision, homeschooling was still very much on the fringes of the education spectrum. Like, only the radicals and extremists would go that route. And there was little support for homeschoolers and minimal resources and curriculum available.
Was I a radical extremist of some sort? I don’t think so. I just wanted a good, solid education for my children in a safe and comfortable environment. Along with traditional learning, I wanted my kids to have good character, not to be stressed out about school. We couldn’t afford a Christian school, so we went the homeschool route. It helped that my sister-in-law was an early leader in the homeschooling movement. In fact, she was the only one I knew at the time who homeschooled her children.
Nine children and 30 years later, here I am. Our youngest is in his last year of high school. All his older siblings have finished college and moved on with life. I homeschooled them all from kindergarten through the end of high school.
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Am I glad I did? Absolutely! Did I love every minute of it? Are you crazy? Of course not! My kids were not perfect. They fought sometimes, made huge messes they didn’t want to clean up. They were not all-star students, always eager to complete and excel at their schoolwork. It is not easy to teach algebra while dealing with a crying baby and fighting toddlers. But overall, I am so glad we chose the homeschool path. Here are several reasons I am glad we went this route.
We did not have to get up at 6:00 every morning!
I am not a morning person. Never have been, probably never will be. I keep trying, hoping, thinking someday that might change, but so far – not happening. As a homeschool mom, I could set our own schedule; work out a routine that worked for us. If we had a late-night, we could sleep in a little longer. No one had to follow someone else’s schedule. And that was fine with me!
Do the schools in your area require uniforms? Our local grade schools and middle schools adopted uniform requirements several years ago. I am so glad we never had to deal with that! I did make the kids get dressed – no pajamas all day. My mountains of laundry were big enough without the addition of school uniforms!
I never had to shop from school supply lists.
Have you ever noticed all the frantic parents walking through the school supply sections of stores every August? Here are these poor moms, supply lists in hand, trying to find the exact items mentioned on three or four different lists; a separate list for each child. Meanwhile, all her children are begging for this kind of notebook, that particular lunchbox, and so on. When homeschool parents go school-supply shopping, it looks different. 25 spiral notebooks in different colors, one massive pack of mechanical pencils, a few packs of notebook paper, several folders, maybe some crayons, and colored pencils.
Life brings enough stress and pressure. School does not need to add to that.
Growing up is hard for kids sometimes. Learning new skills, trying to adjust, learning to control themselves. Why add the stress of going to school? You know, trying to fit in with those around you, keeping from being bullied, wondering if you have the right clothes, the right friends, the right grades. Let your kids enjoy the freedom of just being a kid – learning new things, exploring new ideas – all without added stress and pressure.
By keeping my kids at home for school I did not have to worry about their safety.
Maybe I should rephrase that – I didn’t have to worry about their safety except for the random things they might do to themselves or their siblings. (Getting stuck in a tree, falling off the bunk bed, climbing out the windows to run around on the roof) Perhaps if we lived in a rural area, school safety might not be as big of a deal, but we don’t. We live in a major metropolitan area, quite close to a big urban center. School shootings, knife attacks, gang fights – I don’t need those to think about during my kids’ educational day. Keeping them home protects them and keeps me from thinking about the “what-ifs.”
My kids didn’t have to sit still and be quiet all day.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine were not born calm, quiet, and sitting still. Kids are made to move around. They are pre-programmed to ask questions, to be curious. I don’t want to stifle that. Granted, they need to learn to take turns talking, to sit quietly when necessary, but that is a learning process. And it is not meant to be an all-day behavior pattern. If they want to snuggle on the couch while practicing their reading, let them. Sit on the floor while listening to the history lesson? Why not? Are they excited about what they are learning? Let them share their thoughts and ideas.
We are not required to follow a rigid schedule.
How is following a rigid schedule conducive to learning? If a child is at the point of really grasping a concept, why should the clock bring that to an end? Another 5-10 minutes could make the difference between him getting the idea or having to repeat the entire lesson another day. Sure, have a routine, a general plan for the day, but be flexible. Let learning happen!
Younger children can learn from your older children.
You might be surprised by how much your younger children learn by hearing what the older children are doing. Even when they are playing, kids still soak in information from what is happening around them. Your younger children absorb far more than you imagine!
Flexibility and adaptability are bonuses of homeschooling.
As a homeschooling family, you have advantages! Schedule vacations during the off-season to avoid larger crowds and higher prices. After days of lousy weather, you can declare a “Glorious Weather Day” and go for an unplanned hike through the woods. Has your family’s schedule been crazy for several days? Readjust, relax, and cut back a bit on the schoolwork. Then, when everyone is rested and recovered, you can all go back to work efficiently. Surprise everyone with a lunch picnic and a nature scavenger hunt.
My Biblical worldview influenced my children’s education.
Isn’t that the way it ought to be? Shouldn’t parents be able to instruct their children according to their worldview? All education is taught through some worldview. Because I believe God’s Word is true, I wanted my children to learn from that Biblical perspective. Facts are truths; facts don’t change. But the way we view the facts, the perspective through which we see facts, our worldview; those things put facts into context. What worldviews or perspectives do you want your children to adopt? What lens do you want them to use to view the world around them?
Homeschool parents can teach based on their own worldviews. I choose to teach my children from a Biblical perspective; other homeschool parents may have completely different worldviews, and that’s ok. Most importantly, we need to teach our children to think and analyze information, weigh it against what is known to be true, process information according to their worldview, to make informed decisions.
Homeschool parents recognize that learning can happen everywhere.
Learning is not limited to a classroom. Life is filled with learning experiences. Physics at the playground. Math on the shopping trip. Mechanics in the driveway. Nutrition in the kitchen. Sure, we need distinct learning times, but learning is not limited to those times. Learning opportunities are everywhere!
We could optimize field trip times!
I am not a fan of big crowds. If I am going somewhere, I would much prefer fewer people around than more. What fun is it to go to the zoo and not get close enough to any exhibit to see the animals? So, as a homeschooling mom, I figured out that the best times to visit the big attractions, like museums and zoos, is early afternoon. Or maybe late morning. By early afternoon most school groups are preparing to leave, and the crowd size diminishes significantly. So if we planned a museum trip, we would usually leave mid-morning since it takes at least an hour to get to the museum. We might see a few less popular exhibits, have lunch, watch all the school groups leave, and have a much less crowded experience through the rest of the afternoon.
Oh, and here is your bonus field trip tip – purchasing a family membership to a zoo or museum might be almost the same price as paying for daily admission. With a membership, you can return for a future visit without additional cost. Also, many museum/zoo/garden membership passes offer reciprocal benefits at other places. Example: If I purchase an annual membership at a nearby botanical garden, that same pass allows me entrance to a local arboretum, as well as gardens around the country.
I know who my kids’ friends were.
Friends are important to kids. But as parents, we need to know who these friends are. They will have some influence over our children; we need to know who they are. Part of the “parent” job is guiding them to have the right friends. As a homeschool parent, I knew the friends my kids were hanging out with. We had a policy that our kids did not roam the neighborhood or play at other kids’ houses, but all their friends were welcome to come to our place. So they did.
We had random kids here all the time and got to know these neighborhood kids and their parents. We still have connections with many of them. Even when my kids went off to college, I still made an effort to know their friends. And their friends were always welcome here.
I loved seeing my children learn something new!
It is just so cool to see your child grasp a new concept, to see that “lightbulb” moment! What is better than seeing your child finally get the idea of putting sounds together to make a word and to grasp the ability to read? You are there to share their achievement, to participate in the excitement of learning something new!
I believe homeschooling helped us stay healthier.
Anytime kids gather, the germs and viruses seem to hang out there also. And then your kids collect them, bring them home and very nicely, share them with all the rest of the family. Homeschooling helps to avoid some of that. No one needs that going on!
My kids are friends with each other.
As a mom, that makes me so happy! They routinely connect, talk to each other, interact, plot, and plan. Homeschooling kept them together; either they were going to be friends or enemies. They made friends with each other and continue that friendship. When our youngest was born, our oldest was ready for college. She chose to stay home for an extra year, partly so she could connect with her youngest sibling. All of the older kids work to have a relationship with their youngest sibling.
Homeschooling gave us the opportunity to incorporate service to others into our routine.
Because we had flexibility in our schedule as a homeschooling family, we could participate in a variety of service opportunities. From afternoon nursing home services to evening activities at church, our non-rigid schedule allowed us to participate in different service activities. We could arrange our schedule to help others as needed. Service opportunities do not always fit into afterschool hours; we could adjust our schedule to include service to others.
Homeschooling allowed us unique opportunities.
My husband worked with a man who hosted tours for Chinese businesspeople touring in the US. They were always interested in meeting an American family, seeing an American home, and learning about a homeschool family. Our flexible schedule allowed us to meet at least a couple hundred Chinese men and women in our home. They would ask us questions about homeschooling, our children would sing for them, and personally give each one a Chinese New Testament. Many of these people were high-ranking Communist party officials. If our children had been in school, we never would have had those opportunities.
Remember, homeschooling is more than just school at home. It is more a lifestyle, a recognition that life and learning go hand-in-hand. If we teach our children a love of learning, provide them with a foundational education, ensure they can read and comprehend, and teach them how to think, they can go on and learn anything they need to learn in the future.
Leave a comment or send me an email and tell me what homeschool benefits are on your list. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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