Making a decision about what your child is going to do this year for school is getting a lot more complicated than any of us ever expected. As schools move to virtual learning and parents see the struggles of entire school systems unprepared for virtual learning, more and more parents are turning to homeschooling. It makes sense. If you are going to be at home, in charge of making sure your child is staying on task, and actually learning, it will be of great benefit to also be in charge of the curriculum, the schedule, and have actual choices about how the day unfolds. For parents who’ve always relied on the public school system to take care of education — I know the struggle is very, very real.
I’ve been homeschooling by choice now for seventeen years and I thought it might help your decision-making process to read about some of the benefits we have realized by taking the home education route. I will be the first to admit that homeschooling is not for everyone. You may end up choosing to keep your child in the virtual public school system and be happy there. If you are weighing out your choices, I think you will find our homeschool experiences helpful.
You will also want to take a look at my list of Homeschool Pros and Cons, As I wrote that piece, I was thinking more about the types of things you may or not consider when making the choice about whether to homeschool. It wasn’t supposed to be a comprehensive list of the benefits of homeschooling. But I got huge amounts of feedback from people telling me about all the “pros” I forgot. The benefits of homeschooling. Enough that I decided it was worthy of a second post. These are the benefits of our homeschool, shared to encourage you on this journey.
- Lots of time with your children. Instead of sending my kids to the bus stop and welcoming them home eight hours later, we are together. Eating lunch together, cuddling over a science lesson or phonics lesson, heading to the park together before school gets out. I definitely spend more time with each of my kids because we homeschool.
- Lots of opportunities for character training. Homeschooling together provides you with plenty of opportunities to teach conflict resolution, the value of hard work, teamwork, personal responsibility, obedience, polite behavior, and more. I know that many people are teaching these things in spite of a choice of public school education for their children, but I have eight more hours in which I spend at least a portion of each day on character training. I’m also just going to say that having your kids at home all the time definitely reveals all of my flaws as a parent and the areas where we all need work.
- Tailored learning. When something doesn’t work, we try another curriculum. When the curriculum doesn’t work, we bring out the games. When that doesn’t work, we look online for videos. Each of my children can learn in ways that best suit their style and personality because we have the freedom to explore several different options.
- Getting to really know your child. I mean seriously, nothing brings out your child’s strengths and weaknesses more clearly than homeschooling – especially when you begin to expect independent work. Once your child is spending forty hours a week at public school, bonding with your child and knowing each child on a deeply personal level gets more difficult. Possible, but more difficult.
- I’m learning all the stuff I was never taught in public school. Do you know – I did not have any idea about world history until I read it for myself in preparation to teach my children? I was never required to read or study world history in any year of elementary, middle, high school, or college. It was all variations on US History. Yikes. I also have a sadly large list of classics I have never read.
- I get to keep God in the equation. I can teach all subjects from a Christian Worldview, and have plenty of time to teach my kids apologetics. I’m not squeezing it in in the evenings and weekends. Your religion does not have to take second place to whatever the public school currently teaches or leaves out.
- We can go deep. What I mean by that is, when my kids get a specific interest we can really focus in on that interest and provide them with plenty of information and tools to explore that area. Rabbit trails are a new positive in homeschooling, because following those interests can really inspire and motivate your child to learn more, go deeper, dig into the research, and hone skills.
- My kids get plenty of time to play. No 20-minute recess here! We don’t get outside as much as I’d like, but they spend plenty of time with their LEGO® bricks and army men when lessons are done. When you have no need for lines, transitions between classrooms, bus rides, or busywork, school learning can be finished much more quickly and efficiently.
- My kids get plenty of sleep. The growing teens and tweens either sleep in or take naps as needed. A benefit of homeschooling they surely appreciate!
- Our kids aren’t exposed to every.single.cold.or.virus. I mean we still get sick, and we still hang out with other kids – but no one here is forced to drink out of a public water fountain after gym class. That alone has to save us at least a couple of colds a year!
- We can do school on sick days. Unless my kids are very sick, they can do some of their lessons in bed or watch educational television programming for a bit during a common cold.
- We don’t have to do “homework.” For the most part, my kids get their lessons done during the school day and do not have to spend evenings over their books.
- We can travel whenever we want. Which is why our “Spring break” is happening at the height of the snowy season at the perfect sledding location. Or I can line up our travel with a trip my husband is making. Or we can go visit Grandma just because we want to.
- We take everything at the child’s pace. Learning to read at age ten works out just fine when you homeschool. It might stress Mom out a bit, but your child will catch up quickly once it clicks. Children who struggle with reading can use audiobooks. Children who struggle with math can move at their own pace
- My kids have a say. They provide input on the curriculum choices we make and can directly impact their path of learning in certain subjects. If they have a problem with a curriculum choice, even mid-year, they know we can regroup and figure out a new solution. All of my daughter’s electives in high school are tailored to her interests. No stupid filler classes or study halls here.
- Nobody here gets made fun of for poor clothing choices. At least most of the time. I do have one that occasionally shocks us all into laughter with her choices. But for the most part, my kids can wear a costume 24/7 or walk around in cardboard armor all day and it’s all good. My kids can, and in fact, often do, wear pajamas all day if they so choose.
- None of my children have ever been humiliated on a school bus. No lollipops or gum purposely stuck in her hair. No one refusing to share a seat. No strangers getting a hickey in the back seat. No dirty music playing that you can’t ignore. No basketballs to the head. You’ve been there, right? But your kids don’t have to. These are definitely homeschool benefits. All of them.
- None of my kids will ever be shoved into a locker. Ever. It’s not that my kids never experience bullying — they do. But they don’t experience bullying where the adults around them are turning a blind eye and call it socialization. Unless you’ve been the kid being shoved into a locker — you have no right to say it’s an important experience kids need to get used to and deal with. Not true. Bullying is not okay, and with your children at home, you can teach both sides of that equation.
- None of my kids will ever have to eat cafeteria pizza. Until college. Which is fine. Sometimes I crave it, to be honest. But not really.
- None of my kids will be forced (as I was) to shower in a locker room full of naked girls staring at each other and poking fun.
- We have ultimate flexibility. We can fix what doesn’t work. Tailor our studies. Work extra on weaknesses. Explore any subject. Take random field trips. Spend a day a the beach. And my kids will still do well on tests and in college. (I have two in college right now, so I can say this with some confidence!
Are you still thinking about whether or not you want to homeschool? You can lead more about homeschooling right here on this site. We have an honest list of Pros and Cons for Homeschooling that might be helpful. And you might also like to read The Surprising Truth About Homeschool Socialization since that is often a concern for moms and dads who are considering whether or not to homeschool.
We have a nice long list of homeschool information and helpfulness if you want to keep reading!