6 Benefits of Homeschooling
In between the countless comments regarding socialization and the many questions implying you are not qualified to teach, lies a beautiful world of homeschooling. First impressions while hopping on the homeschool train may be overwhelming. I questioned my decision for years. YEARS! We are currently 4 years in (of legally homeschooling as it doesn’t start until 6 where we live), and I could not imagine my life any other way. When my husband and I were first considering homeschooling, there was a lot of back and forth and many pros and cons that we were constantly discussing. Years later, I can say with complete confidence, that the pros list has only continued to grow, and the cons list seems almost nonexistent. So, what are the benefits of homeschooling?
1. Family Time
This to me is HUGE. My sister and I grew up spending more time in school than awake hours at home. In other terms, we spent more time apart than together during the school year. The average time a student attends school is between 7 and 9 hours a day. By the time most get home, they have around 3-4 hours to spend with their family. Now factor in extracurricular activities, homework and chores, and you are left with virtually no quality family time. When I put this into perspective, I realized just how backwards this was. I want my family to be close and for my children to spend these precious years together. I wish I could have spent more time with my own sister when we were growing up. I want us altogether so that I get to experience all of their achievements right alongside them. As well as the time they get to spend with their grandparents, is something you can never replace. This point in itself was enough to solidify our choice. Family time is invaluable.
2. Learning at your child’s pace
Many times, we think of this statement as seeing the child struggling with academics. While this is completely true, and homeschooling is amazing for this, there is also another side. What if your child is not challenged enough in school? What if their pace is actually farther ahead than what a classroom could handle? Both of my children happen to excel in math. I cringe to think if they had to continually do age appropriate math and never be challenged. Currently my 9 year old is finishing 5th grade math and my 6 year old is finishing 2nd grade math. They need to be challenged to let their true potential shine. Their confidence in problem solving beams from their faces, and they are so proud of how hard they are working. Conversely, those who need more time to learn the basics of reading, multiplication or even sentence structure, can have the freedom to slow it down and learn at a slower pace.
3. Cut down on school time and busy work
There was a study done when we had first started homeschooling that said out of the entire school day, only 45 minutes was accounted for actual learning. If you think about it, how often is the class disrupted by other children? How long does it take to receive individualized help in a class of over 20 (or now I am hearing 30+) students? What percentage of the day is spent on transitioning subjects and settling the class back down after such transitions? If I told you that my 1st and 4th graders spend no more than 2-3 hours a day on “school related work” and are approximately 1 year ahead of their peers, would you believe me? That’s right. We spend around half an hour on math and English each day, and about an hour alternating science and social studies. Some weeks we are swamped with homeschool meetups and will miss a few days of “sit down” school, but both children are at least 1 grade level ahead of their registered grade. Homeschooling allows you to weed out the busy work and to complete it in a fraction of the time.
4. More sleep, for all of us
Sleep. Man do I love sleep. I have been so blessed with kids who also love sleep. They have been known to stroll out of bed at 10 am every morning, just living their best lives. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and homeschool myself so that sleep didn’t affect my grades. I used to always feel down on myself or feel that I was somehow lazy because I wasn’t a morning person. I physically cannot go to bed early or wake up early. It just isn’t in my DNA. It wasn’t until I read a brilliant article about how the world is designed to function in a 9 to 5 way, but many people’s bodies are not meant to operate that way, that I began feeling more normal. Without any coaxing (I swear), my kids have inherited my love of late nights and peaceful mornings. I know what some of you may be thinking. “The real world doesn’t accommodate this lifestyle.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We actually need to embrace the night owls. Homeschooling the nocturnal crowd doesn’t set them up to fail, it actually nurtures their natural rhythms and allows them a greater chance at succeeding. Homeschooling allows us to be more in tune with our bodies.
5. Less sick days
Let me put a disclaimer here before I continue. The reason I believe homeschoolers have less instances of sickness, isn’t because we are more isolated. I believe it is because homeschooled children are not confined into small spaces with poor ventilation and next to no outdoor time for 9 (some places 10) months out of the year. Homeschoolers are always out mingling with other children, out grocery shopping and running other errands, and many of us hang inside the germ-infested indoor playgrounds all winter. The main difference is, is that homeschoolers have the freedom to get outside to the fresh air and sunshine multiple times a day. Homeschoolers also have an easier time staying home when sick, so there is less chance of spreading germs as opposed to the many children sent to school with coughs and runny noses. Whatever the reason is, we have had 1 virus in our entire homeschooled lives, and I am definitely not complaining.
6. Travel in the low season
As roadschoolers, this is an added bonus we had never thought of before. We all know the feeling when checking flights during spring, summer and winter break. The prices jump hundreds of dollars and destinations are overcrowded. Did you know that the weeks preceding and following major school vacations, are the lowest most destinations will ever drop? Disneyland is actually an enjoyable place to be once all the kids are back in school after summer break and before the Thanksgiving holiday. Homeschooling on our own schedule allows us to travel to places that otherwise wouldn’t be in our budget due to the time constrictions of the school calendar. We had visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science the week after summer break ended. We had the entire museum to ourselves. We ended up spending 7 hours exploring in a calm and serene environment with no wait times to see anything. It is amazing to have these types of experiences, away from the huge crowds.
I feel like there are so many more benefits to homeschooling, but it would take me weeks to write them all out. I have become so passionate about home education and I would love for more people to know that it is a real option out there. It can seem incredibly intimidating at first, but it is the most rewarding choice we have ever made as parents. Please feel free to ask me any questions!