Yesterday marked the first day of school for the districts in our area, and the past few weeks have been a whirlwind for most of my friends and family as they have been preparing for this day. Schedules have been crazy full of the stress of clothes shopping, school supply gathering, meet the teacher nights, registration, pre-season practices and all manner of back-to-school activities and necessities. Me? I’m over here chillaxing, and going “La Diddy Da!”–super happy once again with the life we’ve chosen and the decision we’ve made to homeschool. Certainly, there are preparations to be made and things to be done in order to get our homeschool year in order and ready to go. But there are so many things about “regular school” that homeschoolers generally don’t have to mess with, and that makes my life, and my family’s lives a lot happier, and MUCH less stressful.
So today I’ve compiled a list of 20 things to love about homeschooling. These are a mere 20 of the fifty bajillion reasons why I think homeschooling rocks, and why I think it is the best choice for our son and our family. Now, our choice to homeschool doesn’t mean that I frown on your choices if you haven’t decided to homeschool–please don’t read into that. It is every parent’s prerogative to decide what is best for their children and their family with regard to how their child is educated, so I’m not judging here. I’m just sharing a few reasons and personal opinions as to why I think homeschooling is awesome and why I am so glad that we are doing it! (By the way, these are in no particular order–just random thoughts.) Here we go:
- There are no ridiculously huge and unreasonable school supply lists to have to buy from. I have heard the laments of so many of my friends who are driving all over town looking for that one particular style or color of folder or divider tabs or some crazy expensive graphing calculator for one of their kids’ classes. And the total cost of all those supplies that you have to buy new each year? Ridiculous!! I set the supply list for Nathan, and I keep it real. As in real cheap. I see no reason to break the budget on supplies each year–besides, almost everything he needs, he has leftover from previous years! Reuse and recycle!! Even though we have to come up with our own curriculum, there is so much quality stuff out there that is free or very cheap, so we can stick whatever our budget allows for the year.
- There are no uniforms to buy, and no school clothes to purchase. We save soooooo much money each year on this, and we don’t have to fight the crowds to shop! Some days, Nathan does school in his pajamas, or in a pair of shorts and his Iron Man shirt that is 2 sizes too small. And who cares?? We do make sure that he has decent clothes that fit for going to church and going out somewhere, so don’t worry! But I don’t have to buy a school wardrobe or uniforms for every season.
- I don’t have to pack any lunches. Can I get an AMEN? Sure, I have to feed my child lunch each day. But we can eat guacamole and salsa, pancakes, or leftovers from the night before if we want to. Best of all, though–I don’t have to PACK it. Oh, and with all the schools out there telling parents what they can and can’t send with their child for lunch? Yeah, not an issue here. And some days, maybe we don’t get up until late, and we just have BRUNCH. Then I only have to fix ONE meal instead of two. Can I get another AMEN??? And that brings me to my next point:
- We can sleep until the Spirit moves us. OK, so we can’t do this every morning, but there are many mornings when we can sleep in, have a leisurely wake up time, and then start school whenever the heck we want. No annoying alarms. No school bells to tell us we’re late. We’re on our own schedule, baby. I have friends whose kids catch the bus at 6:00-something in the mornings!!!! Are you kidding me???? And that brings me to my NEXT point:
- Bedtimes can be more negotiable since we don’t have a set wake-up time. We try to get Nathan in bed by 8:30 or 9:00pm at the latest, and that gives Rex some time to spend with his son before bedtime–time that they both need! And he gets plenty of sleep for the next day. When kids have to get up before God does in the mornings, they have to go to bed by 7:00 or 7:30pm so they can get enough sleep to be able to function. If parents don’t get home from work until after 5:00pm, there’s hardly any fun time to spend with their kids! It’s a mad rush to get dinner eaten, homework done, and bedtime rituals finished, and that leaves little to no time to really enjoy each other.
- There is no homework. Well, technically all homeschool work is “homework,” but I digress. 😉 We get all schoolwork done and out of the way during the daytime so that our evenings are free to spend doing what families ought to be doing together–hanging out and enjoying each other. This is bliss. Studies have shown that homework doesn’t do anything to help increase a student’s school performance. And busy work is just for the birds. We can be busy doing things that actually matter rather than wasting time just filling time.
- There are no carpool or pick up lines to wait in, and no buses to mess with. Whew!–Enough said!
- There are no bullies. Unless you count the one who is making her child clean up his room. She’s a meanie 😉
- We can take more field trips!! Yay for field trips–kids were made to get out in the world and explore and experience. Too much time cooped up in a classroom is not only torture for a kid–it’s detrimental to their learning.
- We can take time off and have vacations whenever we like. We can go to vacation destinations during off-season when it’s cheaper. We can take time off when WE want to, and not just when everyone else is doing it.
- We can teach life skills as school subjects. Grocery shopping is a learning time. Cooking is required. Learning how to sort and wash laundry is mandatory. This year, I’m going to teach Nathan how to sew a button on a shirt, and sew up a hole in a hand towel. For school credit. When he gets older, he’ll learn things like how to change a tire, make a budget, and do his taxes, all as part of his schooling.
- We can pick and choose which subjects we want to teach, which books and curricula we want to use, and how we want to present those. Of course, the state requires certain subjects be taught, but other than those (which are the usuals, like readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic), we can decide the rest of his courses and subject matter. I love this freedom.
- We can teach from the Bible and teach THE BIBLE. Bible history and Scripture memory are required here at our school. We can teach Creationism! We can teach history and social studies from a Biblical worldview! We can teach character and integrity, morals and ethics, and use examples straight from God’s Word. LOVE that! (Here’s a fun resource!)
- We can use essential oils to help us get through our homeschool day. I can have my diffuser going with some Cedarwood and Lavender for focus and concentration. Or we can put in Light the Fire to motivate us and get us going. Or Nathan’s favorite–Stress Away–is always an great option when things start to get a little stressful 😉
- We can PRAY together during school time! We can stop what we’re doing if we need or want to and ask the Lord for His help, guidance, grace, and forgiveness (which sometimes we need a lot of!)
- We can set the pace for each subject, and tailor everything to our son’s needs. This is one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling, and also why I laugh sometimes when people ask me what grade my son is in (which subject are you talking about, exactly?) We don’t have to be rushed through a particular subject or unit study because of a schedule or a testing requirement, nor do we have to spend undue time beating a dead horse when he has already demonstrated mastery in it. We can take as much or as little time as we need, depending on his weaknesses in a particular area, and/or his strengths and understanding in those subjects.
- We can make learning more fun. I realize that not every subject can be turned into a 3-ring circus, nor should it be. But there are many ways to make learning so much more enjoyable than just sitting at a desk staring at a white board all day or listening to a lecture. We can do more hands-on learning, experiments, and videos that make a subject more interesting. And we can take breaks when we need to, play some games in between to break up the monotony, and give those wiggly muscles a chance to move when they can’t stay still any longer.
- I get to be there to experience the “aha” moments with my son. This is such a joy to me! I love seeing the “light bulb” come on when he finally understands something he’s been struggling with, or realizes a truth that he hasn’t before. I get to be a part of that, and I get to celebrate that with him when it happens!
- I have more time and opportunities to spend with my child, getting to know him, pouring into his life, and influencing him in the things that matter. If I sent him away for 7-9 hours a day to public or even private school, that is time I wouldn’t have with him. I want to know what makes him tick, how he feels about everything, and what his heart-needs are, and I can better know who he is and how to respond to him when I spend more time with him. My time with him while he is under my roof is so short anyway, and getting shorter by the day. I don’t want to miss out on any of it!
- We can avoid socializing our son. Wait a minute–did I just say we can AVOID socializing our son? YES, YES I DID! It’s so funny to me how “socialization” is always one of the biggest concerns that people have about homeschooling. Socialization involves conforming your behaviors and ideologies to the people around you, or to society. Have you looked at our society?? And have you seen how kids these days behave and what they are being indoctrinated to think and believe? That is anything BUT what we want for our child. We want him to grow up with a Biblical ideology, with morals, ethics and values that are different from the majority of society. I believe immersion is one of the best ways to really learn something and to really make it a part of who you are. Unfortunately that can mean learning and assimilating some very wrong things depending on the environment in which a child is immersed. I want to provide my son an environment where, during these formative and impressionable years of his life, he can spend the biggest portion of his days immersed in TRUTH. And that is one of the best parts about homeschooling.
So there you have it! I am beyond thankful we are able to homeschool our son, for these reasons, and many more! And I am looking forward to a new school year with him! He will be in 4th Grade this year (generally speaking 😉 ) We don’t start school until after Labor Day (because we CAN!!! Maybe I should make that reason #21!) so we’re still having summer over here. Woo Hoo!! How about you? If you homeschool, what are your favorite things about it? I would love to hear from you!