I think that there is a misperception out there that because I homeschool, I judge those who don’t chose to homeschool. I don’t. In fact, our oldest two kids are in school this year. But homeschooling really, really works for me and here are 10 of the many, many reasons why:
1. I like my kids! I really enjoy getting to know my kids and spending time with them. That’s not to say that there aren’t days when I don’t consider how nice it would be to go to the grocery store without kids in tow, but I really do like having my kids around! I miss the two that are in school this year.
2. Flexibility – We can homeschool when we want to and where we want to. We can move through curriculum as quickly or as slowly as we want to or need to. We can stop in the middle of something and decide that if a program isn’t working for us, we can ditch it and try something else. If the kids decide that they are super interested in something mid-year, we can add in a unit study about it at the time they are actually interested and will better retain what they learn. If we have friends or family visiting from out of town, we can set the schoolwork aside and work on relationships, which are far more important than book learning any day. If the opportunity comes up for a mid-week, mid-year family vacation, we can go without a second thought.
3. It works for my kids. A comment that we get often about our younger five kids is “you have such happy kids!” That says a lot I think about whether or not homeschooling is working for them.
4. Relationships – Homeschooling allows us to have the time to get to know our kids as individuals and form strong relationships with each of them. It also allows them to form strong sibling relationships. And it has allowed us to form relationships with other homeschoolers and homeschool moms both in person and online. It also allows more time for extended family relationships as at least once a month one of my kids will go and spend a day with their Oma and Opa…making memories that they will treasure for a lifetime.
5. The kids get to be kids – I love that with homeschooling, the kids don’t feel pressured to grow up before their time. They play with toys longer, climb trees longer, and don’t become interested in things like brand name clothes, members of the opposite sex (as more than friends), popular music, etc. until much later than their school-ages peers. (note: this is a generalization and I can only speak for what I see with my own kids and the friends their same age who are in school)
6. Daddy time – The Husband’s work schedule is somewhat flexible and homeschooling allows him to spend as much time as possible with the kids. This is a very good thing.
7. Unique needs of our family – Our family has some unique needs. We have a daughter with a chronic lung condition that requires a lot of care, appointments, and even occasional hospital stays. Homeschooling allows us to take time off when we need to, work around her schedule, and homeschool through the summer if we want to make up for lost time.
Our family has five children who are adopted and with whom we want to make extra efforts in terms of attachment and homeschooling allows us the time and ability to pour into them.
Our family includes some kids with special needs including one with Aspergers (a form of autism), several kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, two kids recovering from trauma, two kids whose first language was not English, one with a cognitive and speech delay, and two with a neurodevelopment disorder. I cannot imagine any school that would be able to meet their needs in the same way that I can. Homeschooling allows me to incorporate their therapy, sensory needs, and tailor what we do to how they learn best. I can also tailor things to allow their natural gifts and strengths to shine. Homeschooling allows my kids to be who they are without being concerned about what others think of them. Instead of an environment where they are comparing themselves to others and therefore feeling “less than” or “different”, they are in an environment where they are comparing themselves to only themself and feeling confident. I love seeing how wonderful their self-esteem is! They are also fairly encouraging of each other.
8. Faith and Character– I feel that it is our responsibility to instill our values and morals into our kids. Homeschooling allows me to weave faith into almost everything we do. If we are studying science, I can talk about God’s creation. I can use the Bible as a textbook. I can model the relationship I am building with God and am able to see the fruit when I hear the kids turn to prayer in the middle of the day for praise and petition.
I can offer opportunities for my kids to really learn about the world, about the needy, the orphans, the persecuted and as a family, we can try to make a difference in our community and the world. Through our years as foster parents, our work in the adoption community, and our travels to Ethiopia, our eyes have been opened and we want to pass along that compassion and willingness to serve to our children. (The Husband is actually helping to build a home with Habitat for Humanity today.)
9. Love of learning – I am a learner. I love to learn and for me, school almost took that out of me, but now as an adult, I have found that again and zealously pursue learning about things that interest me. Homeschooling has taught me at least as much as it has taught my kids. I want my kids to love learning too! I want them to love books and reading and wondering and for their curiosity to never end. I want to nurture their imaginations and their desire to know and understand.
10. They grow up too fast! – As we have witnessed first-hand with our older boys who are now 15 and 17, the years go by way too fast! Though when they are young, the days may seem long, before you know it, they are grown and you can never get those years back. Having my kids gone for 40 hours a week during those precious years just isn’t something I want to do. I want to cherish this time and use it to make their childhood full of family memories!