6 things I love about homeschooling

This post was written by contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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Most homeschooling days are good. Some are great. And, some…well, some are just hard.

On those really hard days, it can help to remember all the things you love about homeschooling. Except, some days the things you love can be difficult to remember. A while back, Jamie wrote about the five things she loves about homeschooling.

I thought I might need a list of my own – for the hard days.

1. Spending time with my kids.

Yeah, on the not-so-good days, that could go on the list of “things I don’t like about homeschooling,” but the fact is, the vast majority of days, I love all the time that homeschooling allows me to spend with my kids. It’s a combination of the quantity, added to all those little moments that make me feel so blessed to be spending my life with these people.

Recently, I interrupted our Bible lesson to discuss a burning issue with my girls – the problem of “sheet marks” in nail polish that can result from painting your toenails to close to bedtime. You ladies know what I’m talking about, right? (And, yes, I would fuss at my girls for interrupting for that.)

My almost 13-year-old son made me laugh until he cried when he slapped his hand on his forehead, mumbled something about needing therapy from spending all his time with girls, and, then, proceeded to lament, in a mocking falsetto voice, all the problems associated with nail polish. I giggled over that for a week. I don’t want to miss the moments.

2. Learning alongside my children.

In all honesty, most days I’m learning as much as my kids are. I’m still reading aloud at least two books – a biography and a historical fiction – each unit with my younger two, as well as leading their science and history study. Many nights at dinner, I’m the one telling Dad what I learned in school today rather than the kids.

And, I’m not even going to try to pretend that I wasn’t inordinately pleased with myself for coming up with the right answer to my teenager’s Algebra II problem a couple of weeks ago. It was Algebra II, y’all! I haven’t done that stuff in nearly 30 years! And, I got the answer.

Without looking at the answer key!

Photo by anie2k

3. The weeks off!

We’re doing a six weeks on/one week off for the first time in our ten years of homeschooling this year and even the kids are asking why we didn’t do it sooner. It seems like whenever things are getting tough, we’re not too far from a break. We’d never have that kind of flexibility in a traditional school setting.

It’s nice to be able to schedule things like doctor and dentist appointments or hair cuts on our off weeks. They also give me a chance to catch up on housework and lesson plans, while still having time to do some fun family stuff.

4. Self-paced academics.

I have two kids who are working ahead in math…and two kids who have struggled with reading because they’re dyslexic. I love that we’ve never had to let their struggles with reading slow them down in other areas.

When my son was diagnosed several months ago, the list of classroom modifications we were given (for if he were in school) were things that we were already doing naturally – having me read aloud directions and more difficult reading passages, giving him more time on tests, and allowing him to dictate his answers.

My son is now receiving tutoring for his dyslexia. His tutor has been impressed with how quickly he’s progressed, especially given the fact that he was older when he started therapy. I firmly believe that part of the reason for his rapid progression is that, though reading has been a frustrating struggle for him, he hasn’t been in a classroom setting where he was made to feel “stupid” because of his struggles, so he hadn’t completely shut down when it came to reading.

5. Letting my kids explore their interests.

Granted, my kids could still follow their interests if they were in school, but homeschooling allows more time and flexibility for these things.

For example, my older daughter learned to knit during what would have been school time. A friend taught her during the time the older siblings hung out during the younger kids’ music classes. She’s also learned to sew, thanks to a friend of mine, and made herself an incredible cape – something I couldn’t have done!

My son has taken up blacksmithing. How cool is that?

He goes to the forge with a friend’s dad and most days it’s been during what would have been school time if he were in a more traditional school setting. He’s made several metal hooks, a ladle, a fire rake and shovel, and has had requests for trivets for Christmas gifts.  It’s been an experience that I just don’t think he would have had if he were in school. Because people have been really impressed with the things he’s made, it’s also given him a huge confidence boost.

6. We can focus on character-building.

While academics will always be important to us, I love that homeschooling allows us time to focus on character-building. Because I’m with my kids so much, we have lots of opportunity to talk about things that they might not bring up otherwise just because I’m available when things are on their minds.

I’m also able to address character issues that I see as they interact with their friends and siblings. No, I don’t always stick my nose into their relationships. I believe that they need to learn to work things out on their own.

However, I can intervene when necessary or bring up the issue for discussion later on, based on what I witnessed. Does that mean that my kids never bicker or argue? I wish! Bickering and arguing tops the list for causes of the bad days, but I am thankful that the time that we spend together allows us to work through the personality conflicts that arise.

Thankfully, the bad days are far outnumbered by the good ones. What are some of the things that you love about homeschooling that you may need to remind yourself of on the hard days?

About Kris

Kris, who blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, is a homeschooling mom to three amazing kids and wife to her unbelievably supportive husband. She enjoys photography, running, and drinking sweet tea. You can connect with Kris on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I began homeschooling my 7th grade daughter this year. I love the six weeks on, one week off idea. Since I work full time, we could surely take advantage of the weeks off. May God continue to bless your homeschooling adventure.
    Barbie’s latest post: Look Up And See

  2. Thank you! Yesterday was a “bad” day. I really needed this!

  3. These are all the things I love too. Thank you for highlighting the best of homeschooling, we can hear lots about the worst parts, but I prefer to focus on the best.
    Tracey’s latest post: Nicholas Adam Sprovtsoff, Semper Fi

  4. Needed this post today. I’ve had a week of bad days, no kidding, it began on Monday and now it’s Friday. Yesterday was not just a bad day, it was a terrible, rotten, no good day. The kind of day that makes you question everything (curriculum, my competency as a teacher, my competency as a parent and authority figure, and homeschooling my son altogether.) I was inches from literally throwing him out the car door into a public school parking lot and not looking back. (Not literally!) This is our 3rd year of homeschooling and last year was bad. So I changed up our schedule and adjusted our curriculum and made sure this type A mom included more field trips, more crafts, more hands on learning for my left-handed/right-brain, (Dr.Dobson defined) Strong-Willed 6 yr old child. I have a very supportive husband and supportive family and friends, and I actually homeschooled myself through my high school years about a decade ago. I have many homeschooling friends and so I paint you a picture of someone who is very familiar with homeschooling and its many approaches. My problem is getting my child to even do the work. There are days he absolutely refuses to write down anything, even when he knows the answers! He is a very brilliant child, the one who read it first word at 18 mos old and baby signed complete sentences as well. Discipline and consequences are enforced, but that never changes his heart. He simply won’t do the work. He wants to play, watch his baby sisters baby videos on tv, go pee a hundred million times, asks for a drink or something to eat every 15 minutes, etc, etc…
    I need help. Desperately need help from someone who has a strong-willed child. The kind of child that when he determines something nothing can stop him and when he refuses something nothing can make him. I’m so incredibly tired. Every day is not just a battle, it’s a war.

    • I am not “type-A” but linear, left-brained, super organized and my middle daughter is left-handed/right-brained like your son. Phew! I’ve been very stretched learning to love, nurture, parent, educate this child of mine. But also incredibly blessed. It is so hard when you don’t relate or understand how/why they operate as they do. I assume you’ve already spent time reading information related to right-brained learners to give you ideas. My daughter was so stubborn from the start too and I found that if I backed her into a corner I would never win. I learned to diffuse the situation by hugging her tightly (when really I wanted to yell, scream, cry, punish, whatever). I could often literally feel the tension in her relax and then we could gently move forward. She is almost 13 now and while we still have challenges at times (mostly surrounding her creative messes) I would never want her to be anyone different. She is incredibly creative and adventurous and ready to jump into activities and get her hands messy (literally). Such a joy. She has always detested being forced into rigid scheduling and needed much freedom to choose or help design her own routine and learning plan. I wonder if your son would like this? She is strong and smart and does well academically but if I tried to make her follow in my structured footsteps she’d just wither. I wish you joy in your journey – and I’d be willing to chat more if you anything I’ve said makes sense to your situation :)

    • Sorry, I just want to mention that my friend, Renee, at the blog FIMBY offers homeschool coaching sessions too if you ever want to chat with someone more about how things are going and get ideas. She is easy to talk with and has enough experience with different types of learners to be of help, I’m sure.
      http://fimby.tougas.net/homeschool-coaching

    • Hi Daphne! If your son is 6, then I don’t think he really needs to be doing much “required” work at all–and perhaps that’s why each day is a war. You want him to fall in love with learning and not think that it’s something he hates so much that he wants to get out of–if he falls in love with it he’ll choose it himself.

      Please read this post and see if anything speaks to you from it:
      http://simplehomeschool.net/help-my-5-year-old-wont-do-school/

      Many blessings,

      jamie
      Jamie ~ Simple Homeschool’s latest post: 6 things I love about homeschooling

    • Perhaps, you may find ideas and support with this group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschoolingcreatively/

  5. Oh, I agree so wholeheartedly with all these six!

    I would add that I get to know my children better, and am more able to tune into their needs, and I don’t *so* much (only, um, 75% of the time) feel panic about how fast they’re growing up (because I get to be with them).
    Rachel @ 6512 and growing’s latest post: orbiting a more peaceful planet

  6. Oh – one more:

    I love that we choose our curriculum.
    We’ve made plant dyes, studied clouds, ancestral ways and primitive technology, gone on geology field trips in our local mountains, and all kinds of things not typically found at public school.

    And, no rushing off to get anywhere in the morning. Thank goodness for that!
    Rachel @ 6512 and growing’s latest post: orbiting a more peaceful planet

  7. These are exactly why we decided to homeschool this year. We’re just starting kindergarten and while I have no idea what each year will look like, I can’t imagine doing school any differently if it continues like this. I’m just soaking up all the time with my daughter and I love that she gets to spend so much time with her brother.

  8. “It was Algebra II, y’all! I haven’t done that stuff in nearly 30 years! And, I got the answer.” This made me laugh. My little sister is 12 years younger than me and I find it quite an accomplishment if I can help her with her math.
    Steph’s latest post: Acting How We Feel

  9. All your points are great but no.1 is my favorite. I had kids to share life with them and feel so privileged to have these days and years together :3

  10. Love your list–especially today, Friday, when I am tired, tired, tired. . .I’ll try to read it again Monday and start next week off on the right foot! :)

  11. I love this list! I just found your site – we have been talking about home schooling for a long time and, even though my daughter is doing great in a public school and is even in the gifted program, the more I hear about cuts (now they are even talking about cutting science and math! what will be left??) and laying off teachers the more strongly I feel like we will be making the change sooner rather than later. Bookmarking this for when that time comes. :)
    Jenni Bailey’s latest post: Vermont (part three)

  12. Love these reasons! I would add that I love the relationship that homeschooling fosters among my 3 kids. I am convinced the reason they (usually) get along so well is because we spend so much time together. They create, play and help each other every day. It’s priceless!

  13. I love it too…and sometimes not of course. But no one loves their life all the time. At least no one I’ve met!

    I think the best part is being there to see them grow and change and be together. Also seeing the love my kids have for each other and how they get along (not always perfect by any means…but its priceless)

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