As we come to the end of another school year, I thought I would write about why I like homeschooling. I get asked why I homeschool and how we got started. We started homeschooling 3 years ago out of practicality. At the time, I had two boys in the charter school where my husband works. They were doing well there. My third son Joshua was in a special preschool program for kids with special needs. So that was two drops offs and two pickups every day. I spent 3 hours in the car at that point. My fourth son Elijah was going to start preschool the next year and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get him there and back. And then our daughter would need yet another school for her special needs. That would be five kids in four schools. There was just no way I could do that, practically speaking. I was trying to figure it all out. Not to mention trying to juggle all the school related stuff like meetings and school activities. I just couldn’t do it. So, we decided to homeschool my two oldest sons, as well as my then youngest son, who was in preschool at the time. We kept the two special needs kids in their schools since they were doing well there and I found out I could get bus transportation for them and because they had special needs they could be dropped off at my door by a special bus. I felt comfortable with that, and so that was where we started. When we started my oldest two boys were in 5th and 2nd grades. I had some experiece with homeschooling because I did homeschool my oldest son in Kindergarten. My plan was to continue homeschooling him but then my husband started working at the charter school and it was a good fit for us at that time. My husband also homeschooled all through school so he knew a bit about it. The hardest part was deciding on curriculum. There are SO many choices. Truthfully it’s just trial and error to find one that fits your teaching style and your child’s learning style. We still don’t have it all worked out completely and it’s been three years, but we are pretty close. So, why do I like homeschooling?
- Flexibility: When I had my youngest son Luke we were able to take a month off school while I recovered and then made up the time later in the year. We take a week off at Valentines and Mother’s Days each year to work at our families florist. You can adjust your schedule as you need to. You can teach year round if you want to. It’s totally up to you. We generally stay on the same schedule as our local schools because we have two kids who go to those schools and it’s easier that way for us.
- Adaptability: When my youngest son was in regular school for the first two grades he struggled with reading and writing. He has some ADHD and school was challenging for him. Now that we homeschool I can adjust things to help him with his challenges. If he comes to me and doesn’t understand something I read it out loud to him and usually that helps. I know that from experience with him. I can give him extra time with some things and use certain curriculums that I know will work better for him. We don’t need an IEP or 504 plan because I already know how to address his issues. It works for us.
- Outside Growth: My oldest son works at our family’s florist one day a week. It is a wonderful opportunity for him to learn real world skills he would not otherwise be able to learn. It will give him an advantage when he is an adult and gets his first job. It has also given us an opportunity to teach him money management skills. He took a finance course last semester and now keeps his own budget to be able to pay for the things he wants and save for a car when he’s older. My younger son, Jordan, works by taking care of his great grandmother, by spending time with her and feeding her meals and small chores. He also works with his grandmother doing chores around her house for her. These are such valuable skills and he gets to know his grandparents better.
- No homework: I can’t tell you how thankful I am to not have to do the homework routine with my kids. I already have it with my Kindergartner who is in public school and believe me that is enough. I can’t imagine doing that every day with the others as well. Kids have so much homework these days, and I am so thankful not to have to deal with it.
- Independence: What I discovered when I met my husband was that he had a skill I didn’t have. Because of his homeschooling he was a self learner. He could dive into a textbook and learn stuff himself. He didn’t need the teacher to spoon feed it to him. That is how we homeschool. I don’t sit around and teach my kids everything. Now the Kindergartner I homeschool I do have to sit with a teach, but only because he cannot read independently yet well enough to be on his own, but by about 2nd grade he will be able to. With my older boys, I give them an assignment sheet for the week and they do their work. They come to me if they need help and I help them find the answers but I don’t “teach” them, they teach themselves. That will give them a leg up in college.
- Quality time: I like my kids. Not all the time, but mostly. I like that I get to spend all day with them everyday. We have a good relationship and that is valuable, especially as we enter the teen years. I also like that I am the greatest influence on my kids, not a school or their peers. This world is a messed up place and I don’t mind saying I seek to shelter my kids from some of it, if possible. I am married to a Middle/High School Principal so I am aware of what goes on even in a good school. I don’t want my kids apart of that stuff. Homeschooling provides a way to keep them away from most of it. I am not sure who decided sheltering your kids was a bad thing, but I think they are wrong.
- Relationships with one another and with others. My kids spend time with each other all the time. They do have outside friends at church but mostly they are together. Do they always get along? Nope! But overall I think they are forming good relationships with each other that will last a lifetime. I am thankful for that as I sit here and watch my 7th grader and toddler play. I also love the relationships they are forming with adults around them, grandparents and such. We get to spend time with people of all ages and in different contexts that we might not get in regular school. That is what the real world is all about and I think homeschooling provides them with a great skill. People are always worried about socialization with homeschooled kids, but when in your life are you as an adult spending time with other adults who are your exact same age? Pretty much never. You interact with people older and younger than you in the workplace and otherwise.
I really appreciate homeschooling at this time of the year when other kids are racing to finish end of year testing and projects and stressing themselves out. I know people out there are thinking, “oh my goodness, I could never homeschool my kids”. Really though, don’t knock it till you try it. There are many advantages.