It was about four years ago that I decided I wanted to homeschool my kids. At that time Merrick was four and Silas was only a year old. I had never really considered homeschooling as an option until I started getting involved with the cloth diapering/crunchy community online. Hearing these mommas talk about all the wonderful things they did with their kids inspired me to look into homeschooling myself. Plus, Merrick was a wild little thing, he couldn’t sit still for 5 minutes let alone a whole day of school.
When I look back at the last few years and think about all the ups and downs we’ve had in our homeschool journey it becomes clear to me that there are 3 big reasons we choose to homeschool.
I’d say that one of the biggest pluses of homeschooling is how flexible it is. We have tried so many different things and worked around so many life events that just wouldn’t have been possible going to a public or even private school.
I remember reading about the different homeschool approaches and falling in love with the ideas of the Waldorf method. All the beautiful wooden toys, the simple, pastel walls, the lack of technology…the list goes on. While Waldorf was a lot of fun in the pre-school years it didn’t really fit with what we needed once we were ready for kindergarten (age 6-7). We’ve tried the classical method but my son is horrible with memorization and the work felt more tedious and boring that he likes. Then we tried Sonlight which seems to takes some of the Charlotte Mason ideas and blends them up into an eclectic mix of homeschool goodness. However, since Sonlight is a Christian curriculum we’ve left it behind in favor of a cheaper, secular alternative called Build Your Library. Public schools don’t have the time or resources to make curriculum choices based on each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses but homeschooling does.
Then we’ve had so many things come up that we’ve had to put school on hold or switch over to digital learning while we go through them. I don’t know of any school district that is going to let someone get away with taking a two-week break or doing the very basics online each day while they take care of their grandmother who broke her hip. Not going to happen. Homeschool, on the other hand, is FLEXIBLE.
The Free Time.
One thing that I think is very important is free time for the kids. I don’t see how being stuck in a classroom for 6 hours a day and then have an hour of homework is beneficial to young children. They should be playing outside, exploring their world. As I am typing this my kids are in the backyard, playing with the dogs and ‘inventing’ things from scraps of lumber and old bricks that my mom has set aside for them.
We spend around 2 hours a day on school with Merrick and about 30 minutes 3x a week with Silas. After we finish school work they are free to play outside the rest of the day. Some days they play outside for hours and others they mix it up and watch a movie, play Minecraft or with the toys in their room.
They may not match what the kids in school are doing but they get something that those kids don’t FREE TIME.
The Life Lessons.
While some kids are in school all day, away from their family mine are right here at home. They get to witness me helping to care for my grandmother and disabled father. They get to see my husband and I running our business. They help cook and clean. They help take care of our many animals….
Honestly, this is more important to me than any of the other reasons. It is so important to me to raise children who understand the importance of helping not only around the house but also in their community and family. If they get the entrepreneurial bug that would be great as well, there is nothing like making your own way in the world. I feel like these are things that aren’t learned in ‘school’ and are equally as important as academics.
Basically, they are with me and I am teaching them LIFE LESSONS on a daily basis.
Beyond these three reasons, I just really love my kids and don’t want them to spend the majority of their time being raised by a teacher with 29 other students to worry about. I really love homeschooling the kids and they love the freedom that it allows us. It’s a decision that I’d make again everyday with no regrets.
What are your reasons for homeschooling?