In my last post I explained how I came to the decision to homeschool and my biggest reason why. If you missed that and would like to read it you can do so here.
There really are so many reasons, and I am going to talk about some of them, but not necessarily in order of most important to me.
One thing I have loved ever since I started homeschooling, is that I get so much more time with my kids. These kids are mine. God gave them to me. And I want to raise them and watch them grow, and thrive, and be there through the struggles and victories and learning. Homeschooling has really brought us a special bond.
We get so much more quality family time. After a long day of school a child is exhausted. And now a days, even very young elementary aged students are doing homework throughout the weekend. We still have so much time once our schooling is done, where we are rested and happy. I remember Charlie coming home from school when she was in a public kindergarten, and she was too exhausted to enjoy the rest of the evening. So much of the ‘schooling’ we do isn’t even actual book work. It is exploring and playing and learning on the go, therefore we have so much time to be together.
We have so much more time to instill values and morals and good behavior and loving attitudes into the kids. All day, every day, we get to work on these things. Now, that does not mean I have perfectly behaved kids, because I do not. But I get to spend the time they would be in a school with a teacher, instilling my own values and morals and the things that are so important to me to pass down to my kids.
Another one of the reasons and goals I have for homeschooling is to nurture a love for learning. I don’t want learning to just be something that they check off of a to do list. I want them to explore and find their passions and interests, and then I want to dive into those with them.
With homeschooling, I am able to meet them where they are at. If they are excelling in reading we can work in a higher level and if they are struggling with math we can take it slow and not be rushed to be in the ‘right place’. Their education moves as fast or as slow as needed for that individual kid for that specific subject, and this flexibility is so great.
Homeschooling can be done anywhere, at anytime. I love having ‘spring break’ at a different time than our local public schools. We avoid all the major crowds. The flexibility of homeschooling is so great. I love being able to pack my kids up during the week and go to Bend to visit my sister, or to Vancouver to visit my cousin’s family. We can take school with us or just decide to have school by exploring there.
The kids aren’t doing ‘school’ for 6+ hours. Our actual book work takes about 2 hours if we don’t take a lot of breaks. (But we do, we like breaks.) When Charlie was in kindergarten they had close to a 7 hour school day. She had less than 30 minutes to eat lunch and also play. And she had one other 15 minute break. A 5 and a 6-year-old, heck, a 10-year-old… NEEDS more ‘breaks’ than this. We over diagnose kids with ADD or ADHD because we expect them to sit still for too long. There are many kids that can handle it, sure. But that doesn’t make it healthy. Nor does it mean you need medicated because your body needs more time to get energy out. And then, these kids that just can’t sit still and are disrupting class… guess what their punishment is? Missing recess! It’s so sad. I recently watched a video talking about how kids these days have less outside time than prisoners. Something has to change.
My younger kids learn from the older. I see this modeled so much with Charlie and Rienn. Rienn wants to be like Charlie and loves to learn from her or just sit around and listen to what Charlie is learning about. She has picked up on so much stuff.
While I do depend on the curriculum we use, that’s only one aspect of school. The more important thing is getting out in nature and letting it be our ‘textbook.’ This is something I love but it’s honestly been a stretch for me. I get anxiety when everyone is muddy and the baby is eating who knows what from outside and we have to go home all gross and get cleaned up and bla bla bla. But I’ve been stretching myself more this year and it’s been the most healthy thing for the kids. You can learn so much from nature. Along with that, I’m able to teach my kids practical life skills as part of ‘school.’ The stuff they will actually need for the rest of their lives. The kids can help with cooking, they can learn parenting skills, time management, money management… much more than they would if we weren’t homeschooling.
The kids have plenty of time with kids of all ages, thanks to the co-op we are a part of. They get so much socialization, and still have to deal with the ‘real life’ kids not getting along scenarios… but with kids whose parents I know and like, and want my kids around. We get to do this together, and help our kids figure out relationships and respect and caring for one another together.
Honestly, the more I homeschool, the more reasons I find for wanting to homeschool. People ask me how long I plan to do this for… the answer is that I don’t know. I don’t have any plans for quitting. If it became better for my child to be sent to a brick and mortar school… then I will do that. But as long as this is what is best and right for my family, I am going to continue doing it. I have learned and grown more than my kids during this journey, and I am loving it more and more as time goes on.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.