What Moms have to say about the benefits of homeschooling
Whether you are just considering homeschooling, are brand-new to homeschooling this fall as a result of the pandemic, or you have been learning at home with your kids for many years, you know that days at home do not always go as planned. I want to share my story and the homeschooling benefits I’ve come to love.
During my first year of homeschooling, when my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, I worried so much because our homeschool did not look at all like my memories of kindergarten at a conventional school.
Whenever we gathered on the living room floor for circle time, our big fluffy dog was convinced we wanted to play and would lay down right in the middle of our circle on top of whatever we were working on. When we sat down on the couch for our reading lessons, my daughter would bounce the whole time. She drew little faces on the numbers on her math pages. If I gave her a ten-minute play break for “recess,” there were no bells to call her back and a ten-minute break would easily become an hour.
Because she was my first child, I worried: “Maybe she is not ready to learn to read? Maybe I am pushing too much? Maybe I have no discipline as a mom and should be pushing a lot more? Maybe I really need to send my daughter to school because I am clearly not providing enough stimulation?”
Looking back on it, I realize that nothing was wrong. My daughter was a creative, energetic little person sitting on a bouncy couch cushion. In short, she was, and is, an awesome kid. I was a young mom with a kindergartener, a three year-old, a newborn, a big fluffy dog, and unrealistic expectations. The best things we did that year were play together, read together, and take walks together. In hindsight, I’ve learned to recognize the homeschooling benefits that I overlooked that first year.
The next year, I enrolled my daughter in first grade at a real school building with desks and a teacher and other children her age. It took me a long time to realize that the strength of homeschooling is that it is not like conventional school.
“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth in the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all.” John Holt
I really believe that all methods of schooling can be effective, most of all because children are wired to learn. Every school venue, whether public, private, online, or at-home, has its strengths and weaknesses.
Five years after sending our daughter off to school for the first time, my husband and I decided to try homeschooling again. Our kids were part of a wonderful school, but we wanted to bring them home to have more time as a family and to provide a more individualized education (our top reason for homeschooling).
In our two and half years of learning at home, I’m always discovering new things to tweak and improve, but I’ve learned that my children and I experience the most thankfulness and joy when we focus on the things that are best about home.
What I Love About Homeschooling
I love that homeschooling is 100% customizable, that I can choose resources and books that appeal to my children and fit their interests, and that we have extra time to do life together. Here are a few more favorite things:
- Coziness. Homeschooling is the most hygge way to learn! We always get dressed in the morning because it’s hard for us to be productive when we’re still in our pajamas, but my favorite thing of all is reading out loud while snuggled in blankets on the couch.
- Reading out loud. For book lists and inspiration, you can’t beat Sarah Mackenzie at readaloudrevival.com.
- Our family schedule. My husband usually gets home from work around 6:30, so we often eat dinner together at 7:00. We read to the kids and put them to bed around 9:00, which would be too late if we had to get up early to go to school. Homeschooling allows our family schedule to flex to fit our needs. The extra time we have at home gives my children lots of freedom to read and play.
What Other Moms Say
I asked the moms in our local homeschool support group on Facebook what their favorite things about homeschooling are. We are an eclectic group with children ranging from preschool aged to early high school and a variety of different homeschooling styles. The moms’ answers focused on freedom, flexibility, and time to nurture family relationships. I think you will find their answers encouraging!
- Stephanie: “Number one favorite thing about homeschooling: freedom. Freedom to read, freedom to ask questions, freedom of family schedule, freedom to delve deeper than the prescribed assignment, freedom to be unique and go off book, freedom to be outside.”
- Tara: “All the extra time we get to snuggle while we are learning and not spending time on ‘busywork.’”
- Stephanie: “We enjoy following the children’s individual curiosities and learning from those that are passionate about what they love. For example, we created a book about flowers, we’ve read about the development of LEGO, and learned to bake bagels from a home baker who spends his individual time creating new flavors.”
- Jenny: “This is our first year. . . . and I was so nervous about the endeavor! But now that we are 2.5 months in. . . my favorite thing is watching them learn and grow with my own eyes! We’ve taught our kindergartener to read, which has been challenging, but watching her excitement for reading grow is amazing! I also love watching my first and fourth graders get excited to learn, and also get to do some self-guided learning, on their time and schedule, rather than that of the school. I also enjoy spending time with them, and getting to go explore the outdoors whenever we want! The only thing I’d change is that I work three long days each week, so those days, the teaching falls on my mom. . . . but she is a rockstar and has also enjoyed teaching her grandchildren! Long answer, but as a mom who never would have considered homeschooling due to working outside the home, I am just loving so much about it! I am so blessed to have friends to lean on and ask questions of and get support from as well.”
- Becca: “Magic Morning when we all sleep past 8. More serious: I love that there is not another adult who knows my children better than me.”
- Rebecca: “Not rushing to start or get out the door!!! Being able to pause one study in a subject to do a relevant unit study (ex. stopped our normal history curriculum to do a voting history unit study currently.)”
- Maggie: “Morning time. We gather at the table and I read while they journal (and snack. . . always the snacking). Seven years into this journey and this time of day contains my most treasured memories so far. Someone may have had an awful wake-up or a grump-filled week (sometimes it’s the teacher who is the super grumpy one), but they gather at the table every morning we are home—usually without me calling out to them that it’s time to start, and this time together is beyond priceless to me.”
- Sarah: “Enjoying my children and getting to see them grow into wonderful people!”
The wonderful, quirky, growing, curious individuals who make up our families have minds, desires, and agendas of their own. Homeschooling and family life can be messy, and learning at home does not usually look like children sitting quietly at desks and checking subjects off in a planner, but that organic flexibility is also one of homeschooling’s biggest benefits.
What are your favorite things about homeschooling? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author:
Anne Ryan lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, four children and two dogs. She loves coffee, reading, and the outdoors.