Have you ever considered homeschooling? If so, you may have gotten overwhelmed by conflicting information or simply thought you just aren’t cut out to be your child’s teacher. The reasons people choose to homeschool are many and varied. As with most life decisions, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer—it’s simply a matter of deciding what works well for your unique family.
We believe kids can thrive in several different environments. We have friends who homeschool. We have friends whose kids attend public school and some who attend private school. We even have friends who have multiple children and they homeschool the younger children while the older kids attend public or private.
We tell you this so that you understand we aren’t saying there is only one correct way to educate our children. You know your kids better than anyone and you will make the decision that serves your family best. We want to share what we’ve learned from our experiences so you can make an informed choice.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons Homeschooling Works for Our Family
- Flexibility: This is our favorite reason for homeschooling! It encompasses so many areas including schedules, learning styles, and health issues, to name a few. Your husband works nights? Structure the schedule so he gets some family time with the kids. Your child is a tactile learner? Great—choose a curriculum that plays to her strengths. The whole family caught a stomach bug? Read in bed and rest so you get well fast. Flexibility equals freedom! Plus, enjoy activities during the week when the crowds are light and vacation on the cheap when everyone else is in school.
- Control: Kids learn at different paces and in multiple ways. It is almost impossible to give individual attention to and address the learning challenges of over 30 kids at one time, even for the best teachers. If your child struggles with a concept in a homeschool situation, you can address it immediately, before it becomes a lifelong obstacle. You also get to imprint your values and worldview on your children versus allowing the public school system to do it for you.
- Creativity: Even the best schools struggle to provide creative outlets for our children anymore. Many have reduced or eliminated programs in art, music, theater, languages, and home economics. These activities are not “wasted time”, but ways to enrich our children’s education and life experiences. Learning at home provides countless opportunities for kids to try many things and find out what they love and what their talents are. These creative outlets can be worked naturally into the homeschool schedule instead of being a rushed and stressful component added on at the end of a long day. Children also get time to learn life skills like shopping for food, preparing meals, and caring for a home and a family. Beyond these, homeschooled kids get time to play! Many public schools are bringing back recess because more play equals more focused kids in the classroom.
- Time: Many families rush through the day, racing from work and school to multiple activities and errands, while eating in the car and then collapsing in a heap in front of the TV or other screen before bed. When did we start to think this lifestyle was beneficial to us or our kids? Homeschooling allows you time to stop, breathe, evaluate, and act accordingly. Yes, our days are busy—sometimes downright hectic! However, we tend to be more mindful of the activities we choose, acting with intention and purpose rather that reacting and surviving the day on the schedule someone else designed. One mother of four told me that when she switched her kids from public to homeschool she felt like she got her kids back. They were always so exhausted after school and activities that she felt she didn’t have time to get to know her own kids. Are her days still busy? You bet! But she and her family couldn’t be happier or healthier.
- Wellness: One of the things we noticed when we attended “regular” school is that we tended to get sick—a lot! Hectic schedules, classroom settings, and hurried meals were all factors we were able to address when we started schooling at home. We eat healthier foods. We eat when we’re hungry, not when the bell rings for lunch. We use the bathroom when we need to, not during a scheduled break. We get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and movement while we learn. When we do get sick, we catch it early, have time to treat ourselves with natural methods, get plenty of rest, and recover quickly.
We are currently in our fourth year of homeschooling, and we grow and evolve a little every year. We belong to a co-op in our community and it has been an invaluable resource for making friends, planning field trips, playing sports, and providing an occasional “classroom” experience for the children. The kids get regular exposure to public speaking and have multiple opportunities to learn to work in groups. We highly recommend looking for a co-op in your area if you choose to homeschool—the support from other like-minded families is priceless!
If any of these reasons for homeschooling speak to your heart, we strongly encourage you to follow up on that feeling and at least weigh your options. Home education is not for everyone. Again, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to raise your family! The first place you need to begin with your decision is to take a look at your state laws regarding homeschool. Across the country, laws vary from the very lenient to the very restrictive and your decision will be strongly influenced by how easy or difficult it will be to make the switch.
The next step in your homeschooling journey will be to choose a curriculum. This is probably the most daunting part as the choices are limitless! However, for new homeschooling families, we strongly recommend choosing a complete curriculum where all you do is open the lesson plan and teach each day. You can make adjustments for learning styles and challenging subjects as you go.
Once you settle on a curriculum, dive in! Remember, your kids will mirror what you’re feeling, so let go of your fears and embrace the new experience with an open mind and heart. Just like all changes, it does get easier over time, so be patient with your kids and with yourself. No one knows or loves your kids like you do—stay the course and shut out the naysayers. Your best is enough and it always will be. Now go learn something new and have some fun!