School at home – The best

Well, I think that homeschool is the bee’s knees around here & I could go on for days about the benefits.  But that could be tedious, so I will share just a few of my favorite things.  A few things that came as pleasant surprises when we began this journey.

Number One – Quick & painless

Without a doubt, my very favorite thing about homeschool is how little time we spend on school.  Approximately one to two hours a day, four days a week.  That’s it.  Seriously.  We cover it all.  Reading, writing, math, history, geography & science.  We learn lots & are left with lots of time for…hiking, camping, swim class, games, movies, chores, crafts, & whatever else should strike our fancy.  Lots of time for living.

I am amazed at how much work we complete in such a small amount of time.  Amazed to the point of doubting myself, thinking Am I doing enough?  Shouldn’t this take longer?  But no, I honestly believe that by removing the distractions of a busy classroom, the whole process becomes quite efficient.  We sit down together, just the four of us, & we do our work.  If anyone gets wiggly, they can leave & finish up later when they are more focused.  Simple.

True, I may have particularly wiggly children.  I think that if I tried to make our school day much longer, it would just be a chore.  At five years old, for how long should they be expected to focus on any one thing?  I mean, it’s just kindergarten!

Compare time spent on our school with sending the kids off to school…getting them to & from, homework, teacher conferences, school functions.  I think it might actually take less time to homeschool them!  And we get to sleep in.  Yes.

Number Two – Big results

Another of my favorite (& totally unexpected) things about homeschool is how much my kids learn.  Its sounds crazy, but I am blown away by how much they have learned by not going to school.  We move at our own pace.  It is our school & we make it fit us perfectly.  If a subject needs extra time & attention, we are free to give that.  If a subject is mastered & everyone gets it, we move on.  Having this freedom has allowed Silas to soar.  He & his sisters will finish up the year well-above grade level.  I would like to say that this is because they are crazy brilliant, or maybe because they have such a fabulous teacher.  But no, they have learned so much because their education has been custom fitted to their interests, abilities & attention spans.  That’s it.

Number Three – Keeping them close

Finally, another favorite thing about homeschool is the closeness it provides our family.  I hesitate to mention this, as it may feed into a negative stereotype of homeschooled kids as sheltered (meaning socially inept ultra-religious types).  Well, my family does not fit that stereotype but I have my own understanding of sheltered.  My children are sheltered to some degree & I think that is just fine.  Silas recently turned six & the girls will be five in a couple of months.  So very young.  At their tender age, I do not believe that it would benefit them to be away from their family for much of each day.  I want the main influences in my kids’ lives to come from our close family & friends.  I want to instill our values & a strong sense of self into these guys before I send them off into our very exciting, confusing, beautiful, dangerous world.  As my oldest son becomes an adult & I prepare to say goodbye to him, I now know so well how fleeting these years are.  And I cherish them.

In fairness, homeschool is not all rainbows & lollipops.  Every silver lining does have a cloud.  Next, the worst of homeschool.


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