Inside: Some of the top benefits of homeschooling that led to our family’s choice in favor of home education. AND some of the cons of homeschooling to consider.
Maybe your family is considering homeschooling or maybe someone you know is, and you want to know more. Either way, this post should highlight some of the reasons why homeschooling may be a good option. (And some of the challenges of homeschooling to consider.)
What are the benefits of homeschooling?
Let’s start with the pros. Every single one of these factored into our family’s decision to homeschool. (For an infographic summary, scroll to the bottom of the post!)
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It’s Just the Right Fit
This may not be a special “benefit” per se. But it’s a huge factor in deciding whether or not homeschool is right for your family.
Before I ever considered any of the other things on this list, there was that little nudge in my gut and “what if” in my mind. At the time, none of my kids were school-aged, and I didn’t know any other homeschool families. I had never been homeschooled, and actually, the thought held a bit of a stigma in my family.
And yet, it was there. That feeling (the Holy Spirit) telling me I should go for it and that this would be the best option for our family.
There were so. many. obstacles! But the draw toward homeschooling remained. A few years later, every obstacle has been overcome, and I’m thankful for that desire of my heart that just wouldn’t quit tugging.
More time together as a family
When you close your eyes and picture the ideal life for your family, what does it look like?
From very early in my relationship with my husband, Chris, when I pictured our family years down the road, one thing always stood out to me: togetherness. I dreamt of days spent as a unit, strengthening our family bonds, learning together, and growing together.
So having all of the kids home (and my husband too since he’s a work-at-home dad) means that we’re just that much closer to our ideal life.
More Opportunities for training Them Up
More time together means they get their character building at home, with us. It means every day is full of opportunities for training our children up in the way they should go.
Sure, it’s not like we NEVER saw them when they were at public school. But now, I get more one-on-one time with them and get to be an active part in their learning. It also means I get to watch them work. I get to see their biggest struggles and frustrations and hang-ups. I get to see them at their best and their worst.
And I get to be the one helping them to sift through all of it and the cheerleader who speaks into them and builds them up.
You Set your Calendar
This is another HUGE benefit of homeschooling. We get to decide exactly what our calendar looks like instead of having it dictated by the public school system. We can go where we want, when we want, and never miss a beat in our studies.
For example, our family took a beach trip in September. Normally, the kids would be back in school by then, meaning missed work. But with homeschooling, I was able to work our schedule around our trip so that we were free to just relax and have fun with family for the week.
Beyond just travel, setting our calendar means we can have breaks when it makes sense for our family. We’ve opted for year-round homeschooling for now with short breaks in between.
Always Learning, Everywhere
This just fits more with our philosophy on education. It goes right along with the reason why we’ve chosen year-round homeschooling. To us, learning isn’t relegated to time at a desk or at a certain time of year. It’s ongoing, in any moment of every day.
So with homeschooling, no matter where we are, we can be learning. Whether it’s at home, the farmer’s market, the post office, the bank, on a special day trip or on vacation. We’re always learning, everywhere. (And since I’m the teacher, I can look for ways that our life flows seamlessly in with our curriculum!)
options for richer Learning Experiences
And BECAUSE we’re always learning, everywhere… it makes for a richer learning experience.
I will say that we had a great experience with public school. My kids were blessed to have teachers that were truly great and tried to find ways to deepen their learning and understanding.
But homeschool tends to lend itself to these types of experiences more naturally. We’re able to have more field trips, get outside to study nature more, and learn through our everyday lives in a way that just doesn’t happen with public school.
Daily Schedule Fits the Flow of Your Family
Setting our daily schedule means plenty of time for sleep, play, chores, and what’s important to us. There’s no rush to do things on someone else’s time (and I won’t miss sitting in the parking lot for an hour every day for after-school pickup).
Choice of What Your Children Learn
Speaking of what’s important to our family, the choice to homeschool means that we’re able to choose what materials we use for instruction. We can emphasize what’s most important to us and aligns with our values.
That doesn’t mean keeping our children from hard truth. For us, it actually means giving them the full truth.
Number 1: by not separating what we’re learning from God, and
Number 2: by making sure that things are represented accurately. (For example, in public school, history books often paint certain historical figures as perfect even though they were able to make a difference even while being flawed and human.)
In the world, not of it
Flowing right along with the reason above, homeschooling allows parents to be the main source pouring into their children instead of the “world” filling them up.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t shield their minds from knowing evil exists and understanding what it looks like. However, that doesn’t mean I want the values of the world to shape my children’s foundations.
Sure, we have some spats between siblings, but I don’t have to worry about my children facing true bullying situations (that could cause lasting scars) in their formative years.
This wasn’t our #1 reason. For the most part, my kids got along with their classmates. But as their mom, it’s nice to know that these years will be focused on edifying them and building their confidence.
Because really, it’s all “home” work.
Your Child Sets the Pace
Whether they’re tortoises or hares in a given subject, it doesn’t matter. Their education is tailored completely to them, so you can go the speed they need.
If something clicks easily with my children, we can zip through it more quickly. And if something takes a little longer to sink in, we can really spend time getting it down pat before we move on. It all depends on them.
Tailoring their Education to their Specific Needs
Like I mentioned, their education is tailored to them. Not just in terms of the pace but even down to how they best learn and what they learn as they get older.
My oldest son loves STEM. Any career he’s ever considered has been related to either science, technology, engineering or math. Right now, he’s all about becoming a mechanical engineer or marine biologist.
Of course, he’s young. So that could easily change over time.
As he gets older, if he’s still interested in STEM, we’ll look at more focused curriculum to get him wherever he wants to go. Even now, I’m able to incorporate their interests. Since he loves marine biology, we covered the Marine Biology science unit from The Good and the Beautiful. The girls really enjoyed it too, but since that’s an area where he has a budding interest, he soaked up all of the information like a sponge!
Really when it comes to tailoring, the sky’s the limit.
Have a child with ADHD or SPD or something else that needs extra attention or that means they learn differently? Homeschooling makes it easier to teach your child in the way that suits them best.
Consistency from Year to Year
Since my kids will now have one teacher (me) from year to year, their education will be more streamlined.
In public school, there’s lots of review to make sure everyone is on the same page. But that’s just not as necessary with homeschool. Of course, they need refreshers to remember everything that’s taught. But for the most part, after a break you start where that child left off. No need to get an entire classroom up to speed or to cover things that may not have been taught by the previous teacher.
The Cons of Homeschooling
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are challenges that come with homeschooling. Here are the big ones to consider.
YOU are Responsible for Your Child’s Education
It’s all on you.
You may have a very supportive family and husband and church. But when it comes down to it (depending on your family) you will likely be the main one in the control seat for what happens with your child’s education.
That means you have to be organized and able to stay on track.
There are other more relaxed styles of homeschooling like unschooling, that may make that thought less stressful. But in all honesty, I haven’t looked much into them. For more on unschooling, check out this post from TheHomeSchoolMom.
Homeschooling can add extra stress to your family because of the reason mentioned above, the one below, and just because teaching kids can get stressful. The situation may bring out the worst in you and your kids from time to time. So it’s something to consider.
While I love all the time we spend together, that may not be your dream for your family. And even if it is, there are still days when it can feel overwhelming. If the thought of spending time with your kids nearly 24/7 is too much, homeschooling may not be a good fit.
Kids May Test Their Boundaries
Like I mentioned, when you teach kids, it can bring out the worst. If and when you start homeschooling, your children may begin to test their boundaries.
This isn’t like public school with a teacher they only know inside the classroom. This is their mom teaching them. Which means they may try to see how committed you are, how serious this whole homeschooling thing is, and how much they can get away with.
But knowing this ahead of time helps us to be more prepared when the whining starts.
It Could Get Expensive
If you’ve ever looked into homeschool curriculum, then you already know it can get pricey. Especially if you’re homeschooling multiple children. So the cost is definitely something to consider.
But there are affordable options out there.
You can find budget-friendly and even free curriculum. You just may have to piece them together.
That’s one of the many reasons why I’m thankful for The Good and the Beautiful. It’s incredibly inexpensive (some of it is even offered as a free download online) but amazing quality. No piecing together, which saves me time. And it aligns with our values. You can check it out here. (And at this time, I’m NOT an affiliate for them in any way. I’m not getting paid to tell you about them. The curriculum is just awesome and incredibly beautiful.)
You Need to Be More Intentional About Socialization
It’s usually the first thing that comes to mind when people mention homeschooling.
But what about socialization?
Do you want your kids to be socially awkward?
Shouldn’t they be around other kids?
But there are plenty of ways for kids to socialize other than within the public school system. As the parent, this just means you need to be more intentional about creating those opportunities or taking part in pre-existing ones (like a co-op).
No Public School SPorts (in some places)
There are some areas that allow homeschooled children to play public school sports. However, many places don’t allow it.
Of course, there are other options like rec leagues and private sports clubs if this aspect is important to your family and your child is interested.
Do The Benefits of Homeschooling Outweigh the Challenges?
It really comes down to what’s best for your family. I truly that homeschooling may not be for everyone. But if those benefits resonate with you and the challenges are more like a puzzle you’re willing to solve, homeschooling is definitely worth considering!
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Is your family thinking about homeschooling? Was this post helpful? What did I miss? Drop a comment below!
Until next time,
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