It’s the beginning of a shiny, new year. Are you excited to make some changes?
Maybe one of those big changes is going to be homeschooling!
But maybe you’re not sure yet.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into the world of home education but you haven’t quite made up your mind if it’s for you or not, read on to find out why we love it so much.
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Hands down, the most amazing thing to come from our homeschooling adventures has been the sense of connection I have with my children. Now I know we all have a special bond with our children. I’m absolutely not suggesting there is something wrong or less than with yours if you decide to send them to a bricks ‘n’ mortar institution. But from my own personal experience, I felt a significant change when we made the move to homeschooling.
Home education allows you to become an active player in the main part of your child’s life, not a peripheral player on the edges of each day, which is how I felt before. Being their educational guide encourages you to go deeper into understanding what makes them tick. How do they learn best? What do they enjoy doing, learning, experiencing? Who are their friends really?
Choosing to spend the vast majority of your time together forces you to learn new ways of being together, to come up with new resolutions for old squabbles and fosters understanding on a more intimate level. I feel like I truly know my children in a way I didn’t before.
Do your kids fight?
Mine do. But they also understand one another, respect one another, seek out each other’s company. Which may not sound all that special, but I’ll be honest and say it is something I worried about with an almost six year age gap between my two children. How on earth were they ever going to truly know each other when they only had a few hours to spend together before and after school? And those being rushed and busy hours at that!
Let’s face it. When you homeschool, you are essentially stuck with your siblings all day every day. Sure, you will probably have different clubs and activities you attend, especially as you get older and your interests diverge more, but realistically you are forced to become not just brother and sister, but classmates and friends too.
Forget worrying about socialisation. This right here is an intensive course in conflict resolution, team work and understanding others.
Stop me if this sounds familiar.
Rush to get everyone ready in the morning. Uniforms on, shoes found, lunches packed, out to the car. Oops, forgot the homework! Back inside for a mad search, back to the car and out the drive. Sitting in traffic. Sitting in traffic. Sitting in traffic some more.
Get to school. Kids out the car while you are idling in the drop off zone. Doesn’t anyone want to kiss me goodbye anymore?
Race around. Errands. Call back into the school to drop off excursion forms you found on the kitchen table. Back home for a tidy and a vacuum. Back to school to grab the kids. Did I eat lunch? Sitting in traffic. Sitting in traffic. Sitting in traffic some more.
Swim lessons. Drop one at gymnastics, take the other to football. Back to gymnastics for pick up. Home. Homework started. Dinner. Finish the homework. Yelling about finishing the homework. Scrounge around for change for tomorrow’s fundraiser. Toilet. Teeth. Bed.
Rinse and repeat.
Do you feel stressed? Because I feel stressed reading that!
Do you feel like you’re always busy but nothing is getting done? Like you barely see your children even though your entire existence revolves around them?
Are you tired?
Are they tired?
Now imagine you all went to bed and slept for as long as you like. You wake up feeling refreshed and everyone goes about their business calmly at the start of the day. You all pitch in for morning chores, come together on the couch with a good book. Perhaps you run some errands, not rushing. Maybe you stop at the park to play with friends on the way home. You spend some time on lessons and then a long lunch. The kids play. You breathe.
You plan a camping trip for the middle of next week when you know the campgrounds will be deserted.
Yes, I shared an ideal day but in all honesty, homeschooling is a slower pace of life and it’s a pace I’m hooked on!
Which brings me to homeschool perk number four…
When you have time and freedom, you can find balance.
Suddenly life isn’t just focused on getting things done. You have time for work, time for play. There is time for being together and time for being apart. Without worry and without guilt.
Now I am ready to admit that even homeschooling, balance is probably the trickiest thing for me to achieve. I have the kind of personality where I hyper focus on one thing and forget to take care of the rest. But with a little awareness, balance is much easier to achieve when homeschooling than when using the school system.
And it’s not just life balance.
You can find balance in your child’s education.
The school system is notorious for it’s lack of balance. All work and no play. All head and no heart. Focus on academics. Get your grades up. Pass the test. There’s no time for music and no place for art. Forget about going deep into a subject, we have too many topics to cover.
Balance in education means we can find our own unique sweet spot where personal interests can be pursued, academic goals tailored to the individual, the head, heart and hands all included in every day. We can teach and learn creatively and holistically. This is the balance that drives me and that I haven’t found anywhere except in homeschooling.
Still need more convincing?
Learning is fun!
Yes, you read that right. Learning is fun. Just ask my kids. They will tell you how much fun they have learning all sorts of things. The things I decide they need to know to function effectively in our society. They things they decide they need to know because it interests them.
Even when learning is hard, it doesn’t have to be a chore.
Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to learn about a wider variety of topics, to delve deep into those that interest you and to skim over those that don’t. It gives you the opportunity to try new ways of learning the material. It gives children time to get it at their own pace.
No need to keep up. No need to learn for a test. No comparisons with the kid at the table next to yours (because we all know that comparison is the thief of joy).
Homeschooling allows you to find the joy in learning. Or rather, it allows you to keep the joy in learning that is innate to all humans without it being crushed by tests, grades and seemingly pointless assignments.
Plus, as a parent, there is nothing quite so magical as being witness to the moments when your child finally gets something they have been struggling with. I don’t know about you, but I am going to go out on a selfish limb here and admit that I don’t want to give those moments away to a teacher.
And now that I’ve mentioned trees…
If you haven’t already, head on over to my Instagram page and have a scroll through our homeschool memories. Notice how many of them are outside?
If we want our kids to grow up to care for the world around them, we need them to fall in love with it now. Plus, it’s just plain healthier to spend more of your life outdoors.
Enough said about this one 😉
I remember way back when we started out, that the thing I was worried most about was losing my community. Would my kids make new friends? Would I?
I needn’t have worried. The homeschool community is amazing. It is full of interesting people who are busy doing their own thing. And that’s super cool!
We have met some really interesting people that we wouldn’t have otherwise. The kids are kind and respectful, and their mamas are pretty awesome too. When you make the choice to home educate your kids get to choose their friends based on shared interests, not a shared birth year. It’s anecdotal I know, but there seems to be less peer pressure. I don’t have to worry about who they are hanging out with or whether they are being bullied. There is no anxiety about keeping up with the latest trends.
The wider homeschool community is full of people who want to help each other. We know we are making an unusual choice to live and learn this way, and we wind up wanting to help and support others making the same unusual choice. I have made some of the most incredible friendships and I know my kids have too.
I’m sure by now you have come across at least one comparison of the school system with modern prisons. It always sounds shocking and blown out of all proportion. I know it did to me before we crossed over to the dark side.
But hyperbole aside, it’s actually pretty easy to see some similarities. We send them, whether they like it or not, to sit in a room for 6 hours a day. They are told when to talk and when to be quiet. How to stand and how to sit. Eat when you are told, not when you are hungry. Go to the toilet when it best fits the schedule, not when your little body needs to go. Do not under any circumstances think your individuality matters.
Now I get it, I do. 30 kids, 1 adult, times by 20 or so classes in the school. Without structure and rules it would be bedlam. Probably.
But even knowing why it is the way it is, I know I don’t want that for my kids.
I want my children to have autonomy over their bodies. I want them to eat when they are hungry, to go outside when the sun shines and to play in the rain. I want them to pursue their own interests and go to the toilet when they need to. Even if we’re in the middle of a lesson. I want them to sleep late when they are tired, to take a break when they aren’t feeling well, to find peace in being alone when they are grumpy at times.
Autonomy matters and honestly, it bothers me that we live in a society were I even have to cite this as a perk of home education over school.
Let’s move on to the next one…
I don’t worry about whether my kids will know how to look after themselves as adults. By the middle of primary school my son can write a shopping list and do the groceries by himself. He can scrub a bathroom and cook dinner. My daughter already knows how to wash and hang the laundry. She’s three.
When your kids are with you all the time they get to learn about being an adult by practicing the necessary skills on a daily basis. They learn by watching, by doing, by chatting. I don’t need to worry if they will be taught how to budget or do their taxes because they learn it in real time at home. We get to use drills and make repairs on the house. Sometimes whether they like it or not 😉
They are home and active participants in daily family life. No, I don’t need to worry about them developing life skills at all.
I’ve saved this one for last because it’s the hardest to define. What do I mean by passion?
I ‘m talking about finding those things that set you on fire and going for them. I’m talking about modelling this for my children. I’m talking about them growing up feeling that I value the things they find important (no matter that I don’t understand Minecraft at all).
And yes, a child who goes to school can pursue their interests in their own time. And they can see their mama pursuing hers. But the real perk here is that it isn’t something we squeeze into our weeks. Passion can take over. And how wonderful is that!
Are you decided yet?
Maybe you’re thinking, this all sounds great, but what about the downside? There’s got to be cons to home education, right?
Sure. There is good and bad in everything in life. In fact, I sat down last year to share my thoughts on the pros and cons of homeschooling in this video.
But for me, the pros outweigh the cons.
The thought of not homeschooling anymore makes me sad because I think these 10 things are valuable and I want them for my children. I want them for me.
Now I sincerely hope this hasn’t come across as me hating on schools, teachers and the families that choose to use them. We’ve used the public school system in the past and are open to using it again if we decide it’s right for our family in the future. But right here, right now, I am 100% convinced that home education is the best choice for us.
Are you going to try it this year?
Want to try homeschooling but not sure you’ve got what it takes? Kelly’s course will help you find the confidence you need. It’s full of practical steps to get you started. I used it myself early on in our homeschool journey and thoroughly recommend it to all new and aspiring homeschool parents.