Anyone that knows me knows I have a passion for homeschooling. Maybe this year you’ve found yourself having to homeschool, or maybe you finally decided this is the year I’m going to homeschool, or maybe this is one of many years of homeschooling. Whether you’re brand new or have been at it for a little while, I hope this will encourage you to either keep going or know that you can do it!
#1 Ownership. One of the best things about homeschooling is it puts you as the parent in the driver’s seat. As a parent you have raised this child from the very beginning. You know your child the best. Who better than you to be able to teach your child? So maybe this is your first year or you’ve been doing it for many years, but we all need to be reminded that we are the best teachers for our kids. We don’t need to do it all either. Being from a public school background I sometimes tend to bring that mentality into our homeschool experience. I often have to stop and just take a break and that is ok to do. You’re in the driver’s seat! I’ve heard it said that public/government school parents are just the checklist people. Is your child dressed? Check! Is your homework done? Check! Did you pack your lunch? Check! Do you have $ for lunch? Check! When homeschooling, you’re not just the checklist person, you actually get to decide what is best for your own child. How awesome is that? Sure, it can be frightening at moments, but nothing is set in stone. You don’t have to decide to homeschool for the next 4 years, just take it one day at a time. I have people ask me all the time as I have been homeschooling, “Are you going to homeschool them all the way to high school?” I always tell people my long term goal is to homeschool through high school, but my short term is to make it through this day and next week. I say that not because I feel completely overwhelmed but because I’m in the driver’s seat, kids change, and life ebbs and flows. What might be good for my child this year might be different next year.
Reason #2 Relationship. We are given the opportunity to cultivate a much deeper relationship with our kids. You have a year to homeschool your child, to do something radically different in their life and enjoy it. You will be able to get to know your child as a person. The pressure of having to wake up at the crack of dawn and rush to get ready for school and then run to drop off your kids to 3 different schools is gone. Homeschooling takes away that pressure and allows you some breathing room. You don’t get the best of your kids when they come home from a long day of school, but homeschooling them you’ll get to experience some of the best moments. I love being able to see my kids master a math equation and seeing them feel accomplished. Seeing that amazement in your child’s eyes when they discovered they just read their first sentence is something you’ll never regret. You now have the chance to sit back and really study your kids. As one author says, “let them fashion a self in silence far from the madding crowds”. You will discover so many things during your year of homeschooling, some good and some bad. If this is your first year homeschooling, take a break and take some time to get to know your kids. Take a morning walk with them, maybe cook pancakes with them. Getting to know your kids will never be a regret you will have.
Reason #3 Freedoms. After you get to know your kiddos you’ll discover the activities that fascinate them. Maybe you’ll learn that your kid has a talent for computers or drawing. Each of my boys are different and as each year passes I learn something new. This year for my 10th-grader I’ve chosen to do more online live classes for him. I signed him up for a literature class thinking it might be too much for him. After three weeks in this class he is really loving it. He told me he doesn’t like his history cause the questions are just meaningless. Looking up answers in the book is boring. He wished it was like the questions in the literature class that really makes you think. Who would have thought?! I’ve learned that my middle child I’ve struggles with reading, and homeschooling gave me the freedom to work in a younger grade level while keeping him ahead in other areas like math that he is good at. Having this freedom has made his learning experience so much more enjoyable. John Taylor Gatto said, “Grades don’t measure anything other than your relevant obedience to a manager.” I have to remind myself this all the time.
John Taylor Gatto, for those of you who don’t know, was the New York City teacher of the year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and the New York State teacher of the year in 1991. After winning that award, he stated in The Wall Street Journal the next day that he could no longer be a part of an institution that he feels harms children. He goes on to say, “Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic. It has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem, must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes, “We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for 10 or 15 years and come out at last with a belly full of words and do not know a thing.”
Wow!! I need to be remind that homeschooling gives me the freedom to let my child grow and go with the passions that they really care about. Homeschooling really does make for a powerful education if you allow it.
#4 Time. Homeschooling helps you to teach your child how to use their time effectively. One of the best things when homeschooling is you find out that it doesn’t take all day like a normal school. What takes from 8-3 pm in school only takes 2-4hrs depending on the grade your kid is in. You then can help guide your kids in how to pursue their passions and interests in life. Having so much more time will allow you and your kids to be able to prioritize much more effectively. Find out what that thing is that makes your child feel good and help them to manage their time with it. Eric Liddell, who was an Olympic gold medalist, wouldn’t run on a Sunday. Learning to balance things in life is such an important skill to learn. For me teaching is a passion of mine, I feel God’s pleasure in doing it. But I can’t be in it all the time and I’ve learned to balance my passions and interests.
#5 Serving. Serving together is so important and really lacks in today’s society. Our culture is so focused on self. Because of all the extra time homeschooling gives families, we can take that time and serve together. How awesome is that?! Several years ago my grandfather got sick and was put on hospice. My family and I were able to help my parents, and the boys and I found an opportunity to serve together. Giving my mom and aunt time to step away and do some other things was helpful. We were also able to help them accomplish the other commitments that they had. It was a great experience seeing my kids learn to serve. We’ve had other times where we were able to volunteer in a conference and help pick up the slack due to a loss of volunteers during business hours. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make the biggest impact. Working together with your kids to serve others can be something little but can return the greatest blessing to your own family.
You’ve got this!