Ever since I shared our decision to homeschool the twins next year, I’ve had a ton of people ask me to share the reasons for our decision.
I’ll start by saying that I know that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. I have so many great friends who are already sending or planning to send their kids to public school or private school and I completely respect their decisions. After all, it was what we were planning to do too until we strongly felt it on our hearts over the past months to go this route. This post isn’t meant to try and persuade anyone or make you think that we believe homeschooling is the better option. We just feel it’s the right option for our family at this time and since I’ve been asked, I’m happy to share some of the benefits we see in it. Most of these reasons come from my own homeschooling experience growing up as well as my own experience with teaching in the public system. But some of them we found while doing our own re-search on the benefits of homeschooling and we couldn’t agree more. For those of you who don’t know my background, I was homeschooled myself from JK-grade 11, went to Catholic school for grade 12 and then went on to University followed by teachers college. I supply taught for a year before I had the twins and then I never went back.
So here are some of the benefits we see in homeschooling that have really helped us to solidify our decision:
Flexibility and Freedom
This is probably one of my personal biggest draws of homeschooling. I love that while homeschooling, we will have the freedom to teach our children what we want, when we want. Of course we’re going to ensure we’re meeting the curriculum standards of our province. However, I love that we won’t have to live by the schedule of the private or public schools. We don’t have to rush the kids out the door at a specific time each morning. We can go on as many field trips as we want for real life learning experiences. We can be done school at 10 in the morning if we want, leaving lots of time for other interests and hobbies. We can take holidays through the school year, taking our work on the go, if we want. And the list goes on. It works really well with my own work schedule as an entrepreneur as well, as I can take my own work on the go too!
I think we would all admit that we learn more effectively when we’re learning about stuff we like and interests us as individuals. While I realize this has become a priority in the school system in recent years, it would be impossible to allow each child in a classroom of 25 kids to focus on what specifically interests them. Just not possible. So while my kids will have core subjects and lesson’s we have to work through, there will be lots of room for them to explore what specifically interests them while also learning at their own pace. Sometimes kids just need to slow down to fully understand a concept before moving on and sometimes they may be way ahead of everyone else, sitting around waiting for their classmates to catch up. I even notice this just between my two twins. One of them gets certain things faster, and the other gets other concepts faster. Homeschooling will allow my children to move along at the pace that’s just right for them.
No Homework woooo!
I know it depends on the teacher, but while I was in teachers college and supply teaching, I was sometimes shocked at how much homework went home in the evenings and weekends. Kids are in school at desks all day long and they are expected to do MORE desk work after that? I mean the obvious reason is because there is often so much wasted time during the school day and it’s not the teachers fault…it’s simply the way the system is set up. So many children to one class, so much time spent moving from one class to the next, lining up for recess, waiting for other students to quiet down so the teacher can actually teach etc., etc., With more focused work time around the table, we will be able to get done in 2 hours (and more like 30 min in kindergarten) what would take the entire day in the classroom setting. Then we can spend our evenings and weekends with my husband doing fun family things and spending quality time together or taking them to extra curricular’s without having to worry about cramming in homework before bed.
More Opportunity for Hands-On Activities
While everyone has different learning styles, I feel from both my own educational and teaching experience that there is so much value in hands-on learning and that children should be given more opportunity to do so. As mentioned above, I love that on any given day we can leave our desk work at the drop of a hat to go and have a real-life experience. Whether it be to the supermarket to let them help me plan healthy balanced meals or count out change at the till. Or maybe to the fire station? Or perhaps a local conservation area to study eco-systems and journal about it.
Ok this is also a huge one coming from my own experience. One might have thought that I would be completely lost once I got to University after not experiencing the classroom setting, lectures etc., until my final year of highschool. It was however, quite the opposite. Thinking back to what I saw in a lot of my peers around me, I don’t feel the school system adequately prepares most students for what is ahead. In most University classes, you listen to lectures and then you write exams at the end of each term. Sometimes, you have essays or assignments to complete. But no special help or guidance along the way, no reminders or anyone checking up on you, not normally any formative assessment with quizzes or small tests to ensure you’re understanding the concepts. You’re basically out on your own to pass or fail. While a lot of students do catch on and do perfectly fine, I would also see a lot of my classmates leaving say, 3 papers until the very last minute and having to pull all nighters because they didn’t know how to manage their time in the weeks and months prior. I watched some have breakdowns and eventually drop-out. While university was still a big challenge for me, the format was nothing new. I had learned to manage my time properly from a very young age, having been given the same sort of flexibility and freedom with my studies. I had assignments to complete and deadlines to meet but for the most part, I could decide when I wanted to get it done. I had learned to be very independent with my learning and these skills have carried on to my adult years as I’ve started my own successful photography business in where I essentially taught myself everything I know about shooting as well as running a business.
Or one-on-two or three?! haha There is most obviously so much benefit to learning in a smaller group setting. I will more quickly and easily be able to pick up on what my children’s strengths and weaknesses are and focus on them. I will have the opportunity to cater to my kids specific learning styles which likely wouldn’t happen in public school. We will also be able to get tasks done more efficiently. I remember how some days, when I was homeschooled, I would be done my desk work by 10 in the morning if I was determined. Then I could spend the rest of the day reading novels I was interested in, doing art, practicing an instrument I was learning, cooking or other hobbies. How cool is that?
More Sleep = Better Health
Kid’s need sleep. My twins still nap 2-3 hours most afternoons, especially after a long morning of pre-school. They come home just exhausted and basically collapse into their beds by 12:30. Every child is different of course. (Some of my friends pre-schoolers dropped their nap by the age of 2!) Thinking about sending my boys for full day school next year just made me cringe. I know as their mom that they would struggle to get through the day and would likely be little irritable monkeys by the time they got home. Not having to wake them up super early to rush out the door in the mornings and giving them the flexibility to nap still if they need it while they’re so young is another huge benefit in my opinion.
Increased Family Time and Instilling Values
This kind of goes along with my last point as I love that I’ll be able to spend time pouring in my children’s lives during their best and most alert hours of the day. My husband was telling me the other day that recent studies have proven that physical activity at the start of the day is very beneficial to your focus and attention span through the rest of the day. The fact that we would have the flexibility to implement things like this, even if it’s just a short walk first thing, is so great! As far as transmission of values, I love that we will have the freedom as our kids educators to emphasize and focus on things that our very important to us like our Christian faith, scripture memorization etc., and leave out things that we don’t agree with in the public school curriculum. I am fully aware that there is lots of time and opportunity for instilling those values outside of school hours but how much more awesome will it be to have that much more time to teach and equip them while they are young.
Now don’t get me wrong, while I have laid out all the great benefits of homeschooling, I don’t expect it to be easy by any means. I know that taking my children’s education into my own hands is going to be a huge challenge and there will likely be days I regret my decision altogether, especially with a brand new baby to tend to as well. I have thought all this through, trust me. But I truly feel that the benefits I’ve listed will be entirely worth every hard and trying moment and I’m so excited to give it everything I have.
I also wanted to note that some may argue that homeschoolers aren’t socialized enough or that they don’t get to experience things like track and field, participate in school plays, etc., The good news is, they DO! There are so many support groups, co-ops, etc, in place where our kids can have the opportunities to be a part of larger group activities like plays, book clubs, nature groups, and there IS even a track and field for homeschoolers (something my husband was happy to hear! 😛 ) We will also make sure, as my own parents did that our kid’s are involved in extra curricular’s, and have the opportunity to meet lots of other children, whether it be other homeschoolers, friends at church programs or on sports teams. They’ll get socialized so don’t fear!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this you guys! Again, I’m only sharing it so that you might get a better understanding of why we made this decision for our family and so that it might help you to better understand some of the benefits if you are or ever have been curious about homeschooling yourself!