Homeschooling’s Fringe Benefits

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Lately I’ve begun noticing one of homeschooling’s fringe benefits: time for exploring interests. I’ve mostly noticed this with Brianna, presumably because, at thirteen, she’s the oldest and is starting to move away from simply playing to exploring a variety of hobbies in her spare time.

Although I am fairly structured with our homeschool, I try to make sure that the kids have several hours of free time in the afternoons. While I’m sure that kids in public school have their own hobbies and interests, it’s interesting to me to see what kids pursue when their afternoons are not filled with homework and decompressing from eight hours away from home.

Some of the things Brianna has been enjoying lately are: sewing, knitting (a friend at music class taught her and she has just taken off with it), pottery and sculpting, and art. It’s really neat to watch her interests and skills grow as she has time to invest in the things that she really enjoys.

What interests or hobbies have your kids explored for which they might not otherwise have found the time were it not for the fact that they are homeschooled?

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  1. I stumbled across your blog a few days ago and have really enjoyed reading many of your posts. As a fellow homeschooler, I appreciate the encouragement you give.

    I love the time freedoms of homeschooling, too. My daughter has been able to pursue her love of horses by taking riding lessons and working at the barn which helps her fine tune her horsemanship skills. I love that it is teaching her great work ethic. Because we’re flexible at home, she is able to do this. I’m very thankful!

  2. I completely agree with you…and another side benefit is that mom and dad get to explore certain hobbies along with their children!

    I’m falling in love with Lego all over again and becoming an addict as my girls spend more and more time with the toy!

    My children are still young (oldest is 4), but I’m sure that as they grow, their ranges of interest will spread and they’ll explore their own hobbies whereas now, they still like doing many of their activities together.

  3. oh for sure, they have more time for it and it’s an age thing as well – I know what you mean about moving from play to exploring hobbies, as my daughter is 12 and doing the same..model building, plastic canvas, guitar playing… 🙂

  4. It’s encouraging to read that Brianna’s interest in hobbies has developed with her age. I have often thought about how the kiddos should have the chance to follow their passions, but sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever show those passions, kwim?

    Of course, they’re still young and I hope that they will develop some hobbies, more than fantasy play, as they age.

  5. Drawing! Daniel is very good at it, but it was not encouraged in school at all. I think that kids should be allowed to be creative and that creativity should be nurtured not squashed. If this has a peevish tone it’s because the school axed art and music for the special needs kids because of the budget… When I found that out I knew I was making the right decision to teach at home. We’re both doing a lot of learning “outside of the box” and I love that!

  6. My daughter has always been one to follow “rabbit trails”. She is 13 years old and is into piano, origami, reading, and coin collecting. It’s really cool to watch them branch out and become more independent.

  7. Do video games count as a hobby? LOL 😉

    Seriously though –I suspect I’ll see more of it as they get a bit older. Right now, the boys are often talking and coming up with elaborate “pretend” play (all through stories and dialogues).

    Some of the kids are certainly showing more interest in doing some of the crafts that I do. I feel like I’m not currently giving them enough chances to really try along with me. I fear I need to be more purposeful in encouraging them in these types of interests.

  8. Two stand out, I wouldn’t trade for free tuition at Harvard. 1) I’m nuts about their playing and imagining together. When I worked at their public school, I was always amazed how much kids learned during recess. 2) My 8 and 10 year old have taken an interest in cooking, which I enjoy– thank God; I’m at it half the day! To the point that I’m going to tie in reading, writing, measuring, weight, fractions,money management, nutrition, chemistry, and whatever else. I’m documenting it as we go so hopefully others can use it as a supplement to their learning. By the way, this one’s a fringe benefit with a tasty reward.

  9. While my girls that are at home are much younger… I love the freedom we have in the afternoon and evenings- no rushed homewrok, shower, supper, beds. Shaye reads in bed every night from 7 until 8:30 – something she LOVES to do and really couldn’t because she had to wake and be ready for school so early. Now, we just drive her sisters’ to school in our jammies- so she can sleep an hour later! I’m sure the “free” time will come in handy for all types of great stuff in the years to come.

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