10 Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling

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There are a lot of benefits of homeschooling that I expected going in – one-on-one teaching, lots of hands-on learning, and a customized education, just to name a few. However, I was surprised to discover a lot of unexpected perks. Some of these apply to the kids or our family, but there were also some unanticipated personal benefits as a result of homeschooling.

Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling

1. Learning with My Kids

I expected to teach my kids. I never thought I’d be learning alongside them. If I had to choose just one area in which I’ve learned the most, it would be history. I thought history was boring when I was in school, but as I study it with my kids through biographies and great literature, it fascinates me.

2. Learning from My Kids

I’ve discovered that my kids are rather insightful little beings. I have learned from their unique perspectives on the world.

There have been a couple of particularly memorable times when Brianna has made very insightful observations about a Bible passage or a parallel between current events and history. I love those moments that remind me that there is much more than Dr. Who and Facebook status updates floating around in that girl’s mind. {grin}

3. Becoming a Blogger

If we weren’t homeschooling, I would most likely be working a typical 9-5 job in the insurance industry, the career field I fell into when I got my first real job. Through blogging, I met some amazing people.

4. Higher Self-esteem

I have two kids with dyslexia. Reading and spelling have not come easily to them. Because we homeschool, they haven’t had to deal with constantly feeling stupid because they weren’t catching on to those things as quickly as their peers.

I’m not going to paint a false picture – both of my dyslexic kids knew that this was an area of struggle for them. There were times when they did feel stupid, despite my best efforts to minimize the frustration and let them know that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and learns at different rates. Still, their self-esteem hasn’t taken a daily beating.

5. Friendships

Homeschooling has opened up a whole new group of friends for my kids and me. I guess we wouldn’t know what we were missing if we hadn’t homeschooled and didn’t have all these new people in our lives. The flip side of that is that there are friendships we’re missing because of homeschooling, too.

Still, thinking of the people who are in our lives now, because of homeschooling, who weren’t when we started homeschooling, I’ll call this one an unexpected benefit, too.

6. Fewer Social Barriers

My kids have friends of all ages. They don’t know that they’re supposed to feel superior to younger kids or inferior to older ones. Maybe that doesn’t go on as much now as it did when I was in school, but way back then there were definite social classes based on age and grade level. That’s something that my kids don’t even consider.

Even better, they’re not put off by differences. Josh recently heard someone say something about a buddy of his being autistic. Josh asked me, “What’s autism?”

Josh hadn’t noticed anything different about this kid. The guy is just his buddy. While many kids in public schools would be the same as Josh, there are also a lot of kids who make fun of anyone slightly different from them. Unfortunately, “mob mentality” often takes over kids pick on anyone different.

I’m not saying my kids would be above that if they were in public school. I’m just glad it’s something they haven’t learned.

Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling

7. Becoming a Mentor

As a terrified newbie homeschooler who was encouraged and mentored by a homeschool mom friend a few years ahead of me, I couldn’t imagine the day when I’d be able to return the favor. It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to inspire and motivate those coming after me.

And, for the record, I have to state that two of my biggest supporters and encouragers when I first started homeschooling were public school moms. Homeschooling wasn’t for them, but they stood behind me 100% and let me know that I could do this. They’re probably not reading this, but just in case – thank you, Lauwana and Julie. Your support meant more to me than you’ll ever know.

8. Strong Family Relationships

If you’ve heard me complain about my youngest two bickering, you may wonder about this one. It’s true, though. Brianna and Josh are closer than I’d ever have imagined them being. I think it may be because they’re both teenagers now. Josh and Megan used to be like that, and I’m praying that they will be again soon.

Obviously, I can’t state with any degree of certainty whether our family’s parent/child and sibling relationships are closer than they’d be if the kids were in school. I just know that I enjoy the bonds we share and I think much of that comes from spending so much time together and having so many shared experiences.

9. Becoming Published

I just had my second article published in a magazine! This kind of goes back to number three, but I feel sure I wouldn’t have any of my writing published if we hadn’t homeschooled. I just don’t think I would have pursued it.

10. Following Our Natural Body Rhythms

I’ve been working on turning over a new leaf and becoming a morning person. It’s been going pretty well for two reasons. First, as I age, I find it impossible to stay up late like I used to. Second, mornings are about the only time it’s ever quiet at my house anymore – and as an introvert, I need quiet.

My teenagers like to stay up late, but still needs lots of sleep. I try to reel that in a little bit so that we can finish school before supper, but it’s nice that we can work more closely with our natural sleep and wake cycles. We can also stagger our school subjects around everyone’s most focused peak time.

Those are just some of the unexpected benefits of homeschooling I’ve discovered. What about you?

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I have experienced many of these. We have a 3 and a 5 year age difference between our three children and I think they’d practically live in different worlds if they weren’t rubbing elbows all day. A second fringe benefit for us is being able to have our family up late on a weeknight and/or busy all weekend without suffering from lack of sleep in the mornings. Especially on Mondays, I am grateful to be able to be lenient with waking people up.

  2. #1 and #2 definitely! It’s also given us the time and flexibility for the kids to choose their extra-curricular activities that we most likely would not have time(or energy) for if they went to public school.

  3. I am a new reader and enjoy your blog so very much. I have thought about these benefits, but you have put them into words so beautifully! Thank you for writing about home schooling, about dyslexia, and about Trail Guides to Learning. These are topics I am very interested in and your writing is wonderful! Ann

  4. My husband homeschools our seven year old twins and he thinks that one of the biggest benefits is not having to do the school drop-off/pick-up each day. What a waste of time!

  5. Not doing the school run is a huge benefit for us!

    With 4 small kids, getting everyone fed, clothed and out the door WITHOUT screaming, tantrums and nagging was near impossible
    and such an unpleasant start to the day!

    We love that we can go out our own pace. Our very first day of homeschooling I loved the sense of calm first thing in the morning!

  6. I’m still pretty new to this but I would have to agree on these items on the list! My favorite so far is learning along with my young son. Who thought I’d learn from a kindergarten curriculum? But I do!

  7. I was just thinking about your #3 today, too.

    I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I am so glad that homeschooling led me to blogging — it’s been such a blessing for me!

    1. I don’t think it’s selfish at all. We all need hobbies, interests, and/or creative outlets. I’m glad that I can combine my love of writing with my passion for homeschooling and it comes out being something that is fun for me and encourages others.

  8. We are homeschooling for just one year as part of a sabbatical, but I love the freedom from rules too. Sleep in if you want, do lessons on a weekend if you spent an extra day in the week sightseeing, and go on your own explorations into a subject if something catches our fancy.

    The other part for us, as a South African family now cruising in the Med, is learning to live without fear. Crime is very high in SA, and it’s violent crime too. Now my son can take his bicycle and cycle into the nearest village, and I don’t have to fear for his safety every minute of the day. He was initially scared to go off alone, but now loves his independence.

    It will be hard to return to the “system” next year when our sabbatical is over.

  9. I enjoyed these!
    I was a homeschool graduate, and now I am a homeschooling mom. I experienced public school, private school, and homeschooling as a student, and decided in my teens that I would homeschool my children. Your #8 is one of my favorite things about homeschooling as a student and as a teacher. I am so grateful to my parents for all that they endured in order to homeschool us when it was almost unheard of.
    The flexibility of homeschooling served us well. It allowed us to spend some time with my granddad before he died of cancer. Those are precious memories we would have missed if I had been off to school every day. Also, a couple of my siblings were born when I was a teen. Being with my mom during her pregnancy, birth, and those early days of mothering taught me so much that made my own transition to motherhood easier.
    As a mom, I love #1,#2, #4, #6, and #10.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  10. I have now been homeschooling for three years. I cannot tell you how many times I have wished that I started this before I did. I have noticed a huge change in the brother/sister relationship (all for the good). Both of my children have dyslexia too. I was able to taylor their curriculum to help them learn the best they could. Both have excelled tremendously! My children, both while in public school were ridiculed for their problems, even by their teachers. I actually walked in to help one of their teachers out one time and watched her ridicule my son in front of the others–“Why can’t you do this like everyone else can?” I was blown away. I came to help her out (changed my mind) and ended up checking him out for the day. In a meeting with my daughter’s teacher, she actually said “I can’t help her anymore.” Both of these happened within the same week. I had been battling with myself about homeschooling that same week and GOD told me the answer that week. Very strange how things work out. I was meant to do this, and I am so glad I did!

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