“Why do you homeschool?” asked my hairdresser, my neighbour, my mother-in-law, my friend’s husband, my doctor, my church pastor, my cousin…you get the idea! As soon as someone finds out you homeschool, the next sentence out of his or her mouth is almost always, “Why do you do that?” It is often accompanied by a confused, quizzical, skeptical look and you know he or she is already drawing conclusions (usually negative) about you and your kids.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt the lump in your throat, had your hands get sweaty, and had your mind go completely blank even though you know there are a hundred good reasons for homeschooling? So you sputter out a quick answer to feel the person out. To see if he or she genuinely wants to know more or if this person just thinks all homeschoolers are hippies.
No matter the response I get, I’m always ready with my answer! Always ready to educate others on the MANY benefits of homeschooling. I want to share with you five benefits of homeschooling and hopefully these will fill your blank mind the next time someone asks you why you homeschool!
1. Bonding: Life is busy! When I was teaching full time I saw my kids for about 3-4 hours per day during the week. I can’t say those were quality hours either. I didn’t have time to bond well with my children, nor were they bonding well with each other. I didn’t have time to teach them the things I deemed important like having a relationship with God and serving others.
With homeschooling you are able to spend quality time with your children, learning and growing with them. They are being bonded to you and your family values, instead of being bonded to friends, teachers, and the world. It is beautiful to see how your children will also be much closer as they spend time each day learning and playing together!
2. Influence: I remember being on recess supervision one day and the K-5 students were lining up to come inside. As the kindergarten class was waiting, one of the boys spit on the brick wall. Another child saw this so she too decided to spit on the wall. The girl beside her observed this behaviour and decided she should also spit on the wall. Within one minute, several of the kids were spitting all over! Is this an influence that is forever going to ruin the characters of those children? Probably not! But the point remains. Children influence children within minutes, often before a teacher can step in and stop the negative behaviour.
Do you want your children learning how to behave from other children their age that are also in this learning process? Or would you rather your children learn how to behave from you and the people (both young and old) that you socialize your children with? To me the answer is clear. Homeschooling allows you (a mature adult) to influence how your children behave. It allows you to choose who your children spend time with and the influences that they take in.
3. Flexibility: Homeschooling provides the flexibility to take days off, travel whenever you’d like, or do extra-curricular activities that you might not otherwise be able to fit into your schedule. I love this about homeschooling because it allows our family to have more enjoyment in life. We set our own schedule, however busy or relaxed we want it to be. This allows you to set the tone for your family. You are able to schedule and reschedule when needed to address the needs of all family members. This has been a huge benefit for our family!
4. Responsibility: Being a grade five classroom teacher I observed MANY kids incapable of taking responsibility for themselves, whether it was governing their own behaviour, keeping their belongings organized and neat, or being able to complete tasks independently. I didn’t blame the students because they weren’t taught how to do these things. Parents are too busy and find it easier to do everything for their children instead of investing the time to teach their children. Homeschooling provides a golden opportunity to teach your children how to be responsible contributors to your family and society.
My family recently went on a classroom building mission trip to a very small desert town in Mexico. After two days a couple asked me how I get my kids to work so hard. I shared with them that we homeschool and this allows me to focus on more than just academics. At just six and nine years old, my children have learned to contribute responsibly to our family and whatever task is being done. My six year old son can independently vacuum his room, clean the bathroom, mop the floor, and the list goes on. My nine year old daughter can do all that and much more. But let me tell you it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience and dedication (for you) and practice and perseverance (for them)! It is SO worth it though because you will end up with responsible children that can be trusted to manage themselves and their time wisely.
5. Content: I can still hear the groans and see the faces of uninterested students when it was time to cover certain government mandated topics in history or social studies. I was a young teacher with lots of energy and I put my heart into making my lessons as interesting and engaging as possible. Yet my nine and ten year old students just didn’t find learning about NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) interesting. Shocking! I hope you can detect my sarcasm…
Homeschooling is amazing because you can teach your children about things that are interesting and relevant to their lives at the age they are at. Your children will learn better, they will remember more, and perhaps most importantly, they will enjoy learning! They aren’t learning for a test, they are learning because learning is gratifying and worthwhile.
I encourage you to have your answer ready for the question you will inevitably be asked, “Why do you homeschool?” Let your answer be filled with confidence because you ARE giving your kids the best possible education. Bonding with your children, choosing your children’s influences, having flexibility in life, raising responsible contributing children, and teaching content that is relevant and interesting to your children are five life-changing benefits of homeschooling.