There are so many benefits to homeschooling. I mean, obviously we’re fans. I’ve shared before the things we don’t miss about public school. As far as homeschooling’s benefits, I’m sure they vary widely among homeschooling families, but these are my top ten:
1. Personalized education. Always topping my list will be the personalized education. That means we can slow down for the hard things (which vary from child to child) and breeze through the easy ones. We can take rabbit trails when a certain topic peaks a child’s interest. We can tailor the education uniquely to the student, whether he is a struggling learner or a gifted one. As an interesting side note, I asked my kids what they thought the benefits of homeschooling were, to see if they mentioned anything I might want to include in this post. My oldest daughter quickly mentioned being able to work at her own pace.
2. Sleeping late. And, this one will always be a close second on our list (or, maybe it should be the first — it was Brianna’s first before the work at her own pace thing). We are all such night owls. It’s so nice to be able to work with our body’s natural rhythms. My oldest recently asked if she could start doing her work after midnight and sleep until 1:00 or so in the afternoons. I’m not ready to go quite that far yet, but we do enjoy the fact that we can all get the rest we need and work during the times that we’re most productive.
My mom recently asked what the kids would do when they had to get a job someday. I told her that, if they do have to get an early morning job, as opposed to an alternate shift, they’ll adjust. I held down a first shift job until just before Josh (age 10) was born. I hated getting up early and I was tired all the time, but I managed. The kids will do what they have to do when the time comes. For now, we’ll enjoy this huge benefit of homeschooling.
3. Scheduling freedom. Not only can we work at the time of day when we’re most productive, but homeschooling allows us to work around family vacations, birthdays (we take family birthdays off), and my husband’s work schedule. I love that we can plan things when they’re right for our family, not when the county decides that it’s time for a break that we get to share with all the rest of the county — or even the state.
4. Learning together. I love learning alongside my kids. I learn as much as they do most days. It’s so much fun to delve into a topic together and see everyone get excited about it. I am loving science this year. All the kids are studying biology and we get to play with the microscope that we got to use with Brianna’s science text from Apologia. When I asked the kids what they liked best about homeschooling, Megan said her favorite thing this year is biology.
5. Living together. I love that we get to spend the majority of our days together. I recently commented to the kids that, if they were in public school, all five of us would be in a different place for the majority of the day — Brianna would be in high school, Josh in middle school, Megan in elementary, Brian at work, and me, hopefully at home, but likely at work. That would stink! The years we have at home with our kids are so short; I want to enjoy as much time together as we possibly can.
6. Relationships. Yes, my kids bicker. Sometimes from the time they get up until the time they go to bed, but, when push comes to shove, they love each other. I think they are much closer than they would be if they were only together in the evenings after school. And, I can only imagine what my relationship with Brianna would be like. She’s a teenager who enjoys spending time with her mama. Do we get on each other’s nerves? Sure, but we’re still much closer than I imagined we’d be when she hit fifteen. I think that’s a direct result of our decision to homeschool.
7. Encouraging strengths. I love that homeschooling affords us the opportunity to encourage our kids’ strengths. Whether it’s an artistic bent, an athletic talent, or an unusual academic interest, we can allow our kids to explore their areas of gifting in ways that they might not get to experience if they were in school for 6-8 hours a day.
8. Shoring up weaknesses. The flip side of encouraging their strengths is shoring up their weaknesses. Because we can tailor our kids’ education to their own unique needs, their areas of struggle can be addressed without defining who they are. A diagnosis of a learning disability can become a tool for shaping their educational needs, rather than a label slapped on the side of a box into which they are shoved.
9. Quiet and peaceful places of business. Okay, I’m sorry, but I know I’m not the only one who loves enjoying a practically empty playground, children’s museum or kid-friendly restaurant once schools resume each fall.
10. School and life seamlessly meshing. This one is probably going to be the hardest to explain and actually have it come across the way it felt to me, but I had a moment, a few weeks ago, where I realized that schooling at home isn’t something that is just some separate, compartmentalized piece of our lives, it’s just that thing that we do.
It wasn’t any huge moment; it was just the realization that we’d fallen seamlessly back into our homeschooling routine after our summer vacation because it’s just part of our lives. As important a part of our lives that homeschooling is, it isn’t some big thing; it’s just part of us living, learning, and enjoying life together.
So, what are your family’s favorite benefits of homeschooling?