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.