Monday, April 12

Hidden Gifts of Homeschooling

  • Living Life Together
    • Traditional schooling usually means an early morning wake-up call, followed by a mad dash to get to school dressed and fed, a full day in a classroom, an afternoon of extracurriculars, an evening of homework, and bedtime.  Rinse and repeat.  The family becomes more like a group of people who share the same dorm!  Switching from traditional school to public school can be daunting for some parents because suddenly they are together all. of. the. time.  And it's a transition.  However, once you get through that (usually short) transition, there's nothing like it!  You are there when the concepts click.  You get to see the milestone successes.  You get to snuggle as you learn to read together.  You get to play with the manipulatives right beside them during basic math.  You are the educational light, mama!
  • Getting Social
    • But what about socialization?  That's a question homeschoolers often hear.  What folks don't stop to consider is that true socialization doesn't look like a group of 100+ peers, all the same age, sitting in a tin can classroom.  That's a petri dish.  Socialization is a mix of ages, races, and cultures interacting in real time out in the real world.  I would argue that homeschoolers can be better socialized than their traditional school peers!
  • Siblings as Friends
    • Having a close sibling relationship doesn't mean that there aren't an old married couple, any time you have people who spend that much time together, there are bound to be ticks.  Getting to spend this much time together, rather than separated by different grades in school and mounds of homework in the evening, is a beautiful benefit that your kids won't recognize until they are older.  They are working together, growing together, and helping each other develop.  On those days when you want to beat them with a broom - from the personality conflicts - remember that they are smoothing each other's edges!
  • Not 8-Going-On-21
    • How often have you seen a seven year old girl who is dressed and acts as though she's going on twenty?  One beautiful aspect of homeschooling is that our children have the opportunity to really BE children.  They don't have to pretend to act grown up, or grow up too fast, in a worldly environment.  That doesn't mean that we're sheltering them, but rather that we keep things age-appropriate...allowing time for reading, exploration, free play, and boredom (one of the best gifts of childhood!) well past kindergarten. 
  • Child-Led Learning
    • Unlike Common Core, and even schools who don't abide by that, homeschoolers have the opportunity to jump down bunny trails!  What do I mean by bunny trails?  When your child develops a sudden interest in space, you can study the history of space, the science of microgravity, etc etc etc...your whole school day can revolve around the topic of space, OR you can simply take a day off of school for in-depth research, following a trail of topics as the child explores his interest.  No matter the age of the child, this is a valuable asset to your homeschool!
  • Parent Influences
    • Everybody's got an opinion...but as homeschooling parents, we have the option of introducing sensitive topics, often at the time we see fit, and discussing them with our children.  That's not to say that we don't discuss different worldviews, but we're able to be the first opinion they hear, to help guide them through difficult issues with our morals.
  • Flexible Time
    • While there are still appointments, co-ops, and other time commitments, as homeschooling parents we have the flexibility to plan our own schedules.  The school year (9 month or year-round?), the school week (4-day or 5-day?), and the school day itself (start at 8?  start at noon?  take a 2 hour siesta?) are all places where we can tweak the schedule to suit our families' current needs.  It also allows us the opportunity to build in times of rest, which is so important for both physical and mental health!

If you're new to homeschooling, and need a bit of time to get your feet under you, come by the Homeschool House and chat with us!  You can also check out SchoolhouseTeachers, which has tons of full courses that are taught by experienced teachers.  (We wouldn't recommend it if we hadn't used it ourselves quite a bit!)

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