The unexpected gift of homeschooling

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Written by Rozanne Dioso-Lopez of Tomfoolery and Shenanigans

During a recent bedtime tuck-in, my daughter was restless. She was already tossing and turning before I turned off the light.

I asked, “What’s up?”

She said, “Mama, I can’t sleep. I keep thinking of all the things to draw but I don’t know which one to draw first tomorrow.”

I smiled one of those all-knowing mama smiles and said, “Draw them all. Take as much time as you need.”

She hugs me and breathes a sigh of relief and settles herself into bed.

It is moments like these when I am grateful for homeschooling.

I am reminded of the most important gift that homeschooling has given my family, and more importantly, the gift I have given my children.

It is the gift of TIME.

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When my kids were younger and we were tied to a school schedule, I grieved the time that I lost with them when I dropped them off at school. I rushed back and forth to different drop-off and pick-up locations at different times of the day.

My day became segmented into two-hour blocks of time. The baby would be strapped onto me and dragged in and out of the car.

That was my life. I was always too busy multi-tasking and never sat down to focus my time. I thought that was the deal with five kids. Wasn’t I supposed to feel fragmented and pulled in hundred different directions, running myself ragged?

But then we started to homeschool.

Homeschooling has allowed us to slow down the pace of our life because we can take charge of it.

We are not tied to another system’s timetable. We can follow a rhythm that fits our lifestyle.

When we are busy because of various commitments, we can choose to take a break from regularly-scheduled programming and have downtime together. We have increased both our quantity and quality of time.

Now every moment leaves room. There is room to explore possibilities, maybes, and what-ifs.

The kids have space to be curious for the sake of being curious and to learn for the sake of learning.

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When we slow everything down, each act becomes a reverent prayer. We communicate with wonder and awe. We pay more attention and make deeper connections.

Everything can be done in earnest and with care.  We can call homeschooling the slow learning movement.

“That is the way to learn the most, when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.” – Albert Einstein

We have time for thoughtful discussion around the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table.  A child can go deeper into a topic for weeks. They have time to fail over and over again and not even see it as failure but steps in figuring things out.

We are able to focus on the process and the attempts instead of the outcome.

They are permitted to get lost in their imaginative stories and narratives for days. We can also respect the need for solitude and time to let ideas percolate.

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But most importantly, slowing down allows me to say YES.

YES to making perogies from scratch.

YES to a beach day.

YES to exploring a nature mystery.

YES to reading poetry all morning.

YES to math brain teasers.

YES to working on a film with friends for weeks.

YES to painting all day.

YES to sewing quilts.

YES to following the heart’s whim.

And YES to drawing it all.

In what ways has the gift of time benefitted your family?

About Rozanne Dioso-Lopez

Rozanne likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain (with an umbrella, of course because she’s also slightly neurotic about being prepared). She is just getting the hang of having 5 children, let alone homeschooling them. Her secret? Coffee and a sense of humour. You can read more about her family adventures at her blog, Tomfoolery & Shenanigans, and see her flex her writing muscles at Sense of Story with other mama writers.

Comments

  1. Julia Martin says:

    I loved this. Thank you very much. And although I’m in the later years of homeschooling, it still rings true. I will save this to share with friends who are considering homeschooling.

  2. I think having time is one of the biggest reasons we’re homeschooling. Just not having to rush out the door at the same time every morning makes a big difference in our sanity.
    Steph’s latest post: Habits are the Best

    • The depth and breadth of time was a truly unexpected gift for us. I knew we would save time because I didn’t have to rush to get everyone out the door in the morning but I really didn’t realize how this would translate into paying more attention to the moment in front of us and honouring the slow simmerings instead of the rush to “get something” or cover a topic of learning.
      Rozanne’s latest post: A few announcements…

  3. This! This is what I am hoping for our homeschool. We are getting ready to start our first year of homeschooling and this is a big reason why. The school had them for 8 hours. They sleep for about 11 hours. That left 5 hours. 5 hours to get ready for school, do homework, eat supper, take baths, participate in extracurricular activities. There was no room for family. There was no room for relaxation. There was no room to breathe! This is what I pray for our homeschool!

    • Yes! That was us almost five years ago! I felt that I wasn’t getting enough time with them to do what we really loved as a family like something as simple as having a family meal and take our time cooking together and sitting at the table talking for hours. I love that my husband can come home for lunch sometimes or stay for a big family breakfast during the week and we can all hang out. My eldest is 17 and no one really tells you how fast childhood flies by. This is what homeschooling has taught me – how precious and fleeting childhood really is.
      Rozanne’s latest post: A few announcements…

  4. Dorothy says:

    This is one of the biggest reasons I want to go back to homeschooling. We threw in the towel a few years ago ’cause I was super stressed with life in general and we sent our daughter to public school for half a year and then all of last year. This summer has been an eye-opening time for our family. Seeing how much we like all being together (I work from home and my husband is just now able to start seeking employment after some medical issues), so the thought of losing her 8 hrs a day to school just does NOT appeal to me. As much as it stresses me to think about doing this venture again, I know the benefits will be worth the time I’ll have with my daughter. I have one child and I don’t want to send her away to strangers! God gave her to ME and my husband and I don’t want to miss most of her growing up days! Love this article. SO rings true for us 🙂

    • Thank you Dorothy! Good luck this year and every time I start to get anxious about planning for this coming school year for my kids, I remind myself that this is not a race, my job is to really just not get in the way of their own learning and growing. I want to pay attention to who they are becoming and just be there to support them. 🙂
      Rozanne’s latest post: A few announcements…

  5. “When we slow everything down, each act becomes a reverent prayer. We communicate with wonder and awe. We pay more attention and make deeper connections.”

    Wow, beautifully said. Good reminder. Thank you.

  6. Being able to say YES is a huge gift. When I look at the piles of homework my friends’ kids bring home from school, much of it is busywork. As a homeschooling parent, I never have to give my kids any work for work’s sake. I can individually tailor assignments to each child to help them accomplish real, meaningful learning objectives.
    Leslie DeJarnette’s latest post: Final Friday Family Faves: July 2015 Edition

  7. Thank you for this. My oldest is almost five and I just gave birth to twins in May. Our oldest is a September birthday and so we are not enrolling in Kindergarten because she is unexcited about it, I’m interested in homeschooling, and breaking up our family at this moment when we’ve added two new members seems plain wrong. People are so judgey about us not sending her to school. I’m calling it a “gap year” (can there be such a thing when you never started school? Ha!) but last night my husband and I were talking about the option of homeschooling and all that it could open up for us in terms of really investing in our family and our three daughters’ ties. Thanks.

    • You’re welcome Morgan! The hardest part is at the beginning but once you find a good rhythm and flow, you will fall in love with your family as a unit. If you think about it, the time that they have as children and the time spent with you and your husband is so short. Why not spend it together if you can do it, if it works out? And as for the judgey people, it happens. But the key questions you have to ask yourself and to focus on is what works for you and YOUR family? School works for some and homeschooling works for others. Follow your heart and everything will work out. Good luck! 🙂
      Rozanne’s latest post: 63.

  8. Time is a beautiful thing. We love having the time to extend an activity if we need/want to. At times, we feel that we are swimming against the current with time (in a good way). The majority of the people in our community are always running around in a hurry-or so it seems. Meanwhile, we are experiencing each moment and living it. Out of all of the things homechooling teaches, I hope the gift of time and cherishing the mundane, everyday moments is one that my children remember as they move out on their own. Terrific post. Thank you for sharing-and you are so right- saying, “yes” is magical.
    Sharon’s latest post: This Moment

    • Thanks Sharon! My eldest daughter is away in Argentina for a month and the thing that strikes her most is the fact that they eat slow meals together and take afternoon breaks. It is a slower paced lifestyle and she feels right at home because this is the way our family operates, which yes, is against the current of North American culture. I too hope that my children will remember that this is how life could be and should be lived because you are right – all we have are these ordinary moments that make up a life.
      Rozanne’s latest post: 63.

  9. Homeschooling I loved it and I loved your blog too. Me and my daughters enjoy our free time in cooking, gardening etc.

    • Thanks Raisha! And yes, that is a huge benefit to having more time – the cooking! We can actually cook together and sit down and eat together. I can bake things in the morning or make pancakes on a Thursday because we have time.
      Rozanne’s latest post: 63.

  10. Oh, lovely, lovely. “We can call homeschooling the slow learning movement.” The gift of time is what gets me excited about the idea of homeschooling (my eldest is just 4.5, so there is lots of time). Thank you for the encouragement!
    Heather’s latest post: Walking with Three

    • Thank you and you are welcome Heather!! Yes, you have lots of time! Good luck!!! This time is such an exciting time – the beginning of lots of beautiful ‘slow’ moments together!
      Rozanne’s latest post: 64.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. It strikes a chord with what my instinct tells me about possibilities of homeschooling – currently my children are on summer holidays from school. Week 2 and they have at last managed to de stress and get into a relaxed groove. My 7 yr old spent an hour lying on the kitchen floor whilst I was making dinner last night, reading aloud poetry from a book he found on the shelf. At bedtime he asked me who Shakespeare was and could we find out about him tomorrow? My 11 yr old is stuck in to creating videos with a friend and plans to make homemade pizza for tea tonight. This just doesn’t happen during a school week. My 3 yr old is not being hurried along to keep time for school runs and is having a whole lot less melt downs already. Every summer holiday I see the stress and pressure of school lift and a zest for learning kick in. In term time they are too tired, grumpy and stressed and this impacts on the whole family. Bed wetting is a term time only issue for my middle child. You are right, time is so precious. Give them time and space and children unfold beautifully – and with support all sorts of possibilities to learn can arise. Surely?

    • You’re welcome Alice! That natural curiosity and interest-led projects sound like a lot of our year 🙂 And yes, if you give them time and space (I would also add acceptance and love), learning goes bananas! My eldest daughter is 17 and spent the last two years immersing herself in history through the art perspective because she secured a youth council position at our local art gallery. Every time an exhibition comes to town, she explores that period and has access to the gallery curators and people who are passionate about the topic. When you give them time to wonder, they take learning by the reins and go full speed ahead. Good luck!!
      Rozanne’s latest post: 65.

  12. Anna Clearwater says:

    Hi Rozanne , I help put together a newsletter to encourage New Zealand home educating families in their journey. I wanted to check with you whether it would be ok to reprint your blog ‘The Unexpected Gift of Homeschooling’ in our next newsletter. Obviously we would acknowledge your blog as the source. I look forward to hearing back from you.
    Anna

  13. I was anticipating the practical side effects like not waking up early in the morning. But I did not realize homeschool would change the pace of our whole lives. It does slow down everything. And this time of year when the school supplies come out in stores I don’t start feeling sad that we are jumping back on the treadmill. And the kids are not dreading school this year either. Yay!!

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