Our family home schools. When we say that, we sometimes get strange looks. People often equate home school with bizarre “religi-osity” or other extreme weirdo fettishes. People home school for many reasons and each household is unique. We opted to live in an “ultra-urban” neighborhood (which is actually improving daily) and so the nearby schools are not yet an option for us. I have such an erratic schedule and associated sleeping patterns that it was difficult for me to make the trek into downtown each day to get my kids from their SUPER expensive, fancy-pants private school. Not to mention, my husband and kids were chronically late to work and school. Bad, I know.
For those cited above along with other reasons, we decided to home school this year. Since we are debt free, it was an option that was available to us without too much of financial strain. Being home this year with my girls has not been without challenges, but it has been worth it. If you think you might want to home school, here are some reasons why it’s an awesome decision:
1) Daily routines become lessons
Things like this happen: mommy is up late working and as a result, wakes up late. Though we start the day much later than usual, we can quickly reroute and spend the morning making omelets. My oldest daughter learns knife skills, broccoli steaming and egg cracking! Then we go onto math and spelling. Those are the life skills that matter just as much as traditional subjects.
2) Kids see real life and learn
Instead of trying to do everything while kids are away and in school finishing middle school science experiments, I have to have my kids with me constantly. They see what it takes to live daily from start to end: waking up, getting dressed, making phone calls, grocery shopping, blogging, churching, relationship managing- everything you do they do. Earlier this week, the kiddies learned to sand wood as I work on my table-refinishing project. Today, my kids went on a sales call with me. They do what I do and see what I see.
3) Customized curriculum
My kids are different with unique skills and talent. We carve out time in the schedule to study arts and crafts like sewing, music, and film making. We add curriculum for Bible and business study, too. My 5 year old can play ukulele and my 9 year is honing her piano and guitar skills. She’s even been in national TV commercials! If I see one of them lagging in one area, we can stop and study that for as long as it takes to get it. There’s so much more flexibility and possibility.
4) Money savings
As much as we loved the wonderful school they attended for a few years. After doing the math, we decided that it would be better to use the tens of thousands to invest and catch up on retirement savings. Not to mention making the biggest investment of all- more time with our kids!
5) More help around the house
Child labor laws don’t apply here! Now that my kids are home and we don’t have the stress of up getting up and driving to school, there is more time to keep the house tidy. Our school day is not as long, so that helps with our plight to stay organized, too.
6) Improved time management
There is so much more balance in the time we spend together and apart. In today’s child-centric world, children are idolized and doted upon with mommy and daddy’s world centered around them! I submit that it’s because we feel so guilty being away from them so much of the day. With homeschool, we have scheduled time together and apart. My kids get the time and attention when appropriate and then are required to go off on their own for their individual responsibilities.
7) Better food options
Going to school, many times, my girls had to skip breakfast. On the days that there was time for breakfast, there was only time for sugary cereal or granola bars- easy sugar high then crash around 10am. Then, they had packaged food or for lunch. Not ideal. Now there’s more time to heat up leftovers, cut up apples, pop stove-top popcorn and even cook a new meal. Today’s breakfast was beef lentil soup.
8) Independent learning
There are some assignments I help with and others I don’t. The books we use have a lesson that has to be read then a practical application. I like this approach because my kids learn to learn. My daughter has taken this to the next level by finding youtube videos that teach her a variety of things. She’s created neat crafts and makes cartoon sketches. Some of these sketch instructionals are in Spanish! Despite that, she has learned to follow along and glean what she needs to make cool drawings. Self taught learning is a lost art, but it is a needed skill in home school and the rest of life.
I spend part of my morning helping with school work on the more difficult subjects. Then I go onto business calls in the afternoon. That is when the girls are tasked with washing up, doing chores and finishing up independent activities like reading. Then, they have to manage their time effectively to get iPad and TV privileges on weekends. Having structure and routine will definitely groom them for a more disciplined life down the road.
10) Fostering a love of lifetime learning
We do work in PJs in sipping on hot chocolate. Well, not always, but it is a comfortable atmosphere. Learning may not always be this comfortable, but if we can create a good feeling about it in the beginning, we can potentially have life long learners. That’s what I’m after in home schooling. To create little people that grow into adults that go on learning as long as they live.
I’m sure there are million more reasons to home school, but these are just the ones I thought of. Are you home schooling or weighing your options? Comment!