I often get asked when we first considered homeschooling our children and to be honest, I simply can’t remember. I know it was before we moved house because I can picture some conversations on the couch in our old apartment.
“…but homeschooled kids are weird!”
That was definitely said on the old green couch. Funny how your mind remembers some things in such detail. Our eldest was 6 months old when we moved so it’s safe to say that we have been considering homeschooling for almost his entire life. As he has grown, gained a brother and we joined homeschool communities and begun this journey the list of reasons why we are doing this has grown and grown from those very first discussions. Oh, and my husband no longer thinks that homeschooled kids are weird, now that he has actually met some.
There are so many wonderful reasons to homeschool and I’ve been thinking about this for many years now. Here are the five reasons that resonate most for us.
As a new mum, absolutely besotted with my little squawking bundle I diligently recorded those first milestones in my diary. Baby’s first smile, oh my! Baby rolled over today. Today Baby played peek-a-boo. What a joy it was to experience such moments together. As we began to discuss school options for our child, the thought of someone else getting the privilege to watch my child write his first word and read his first book made me envious. This was my child and I wanted the joy of experiencing those milestones together.
Well, 4 years have passed and I have to tell you, watching, encouraging and supporting my son as he has learnt to read has been one of my greatest parenting joys to date. I never get tired of listening to him sound out new words, or when he stops reading in joy to comment on the story. And now I get to do it all again with child number 2. What a joy!
2. Family First
We love that, by homeschooling, more time is spent together as a family than apart. That the boys can stay up late to see their Dad after work without worrying about being up early in the morning for the bus. That we can take family holidays when the beaches are quiet. That the boys will learn to play together first. That their friends will often be shared – neighbours, church friends, family friends, homeschool friends. We love that, by homeschooling, more time is spent with their cousins and grandparents than classmates and teachers.
“Christian homeschooling is about having a heart for building a home that includes learning together as a family, knowing that process will bring you together in a way nothing else can.” Clay & Sally Clarkson, Educating the WholeHearted Child
3. Tailored Education
Homeschooling means that my children can learn at the level that they need. My son started learning to read at 3.5 because he wanted to and was chomping at the bit to learn. He’s 4 now with has a reading age of about 9 and is still improving every day. If he was in a mainstream class then he would still be doing letter of the week activities. Homeschooling means that he can move at his own speed, without needed to keep pace with others.
Homeschooling also means that they can learn about the things that they are passionate about. Our first year so far has had a lot of trains. Books about trains, movies about trains, train museums, train trips, train sets all over the lounge room floor. My son learnt that the first steam trains in Australia were made in England and shipped to Australia in pieces. He put his trains on the world map and made up stories about their journeys on the ships as he sailed them across the oceans. He knows how pistons works and steam engines. He knows that our passenger trains are powered by electricity from the power lines above. Children learn so much about what they are interested it and homeschooling lets us follow his passions.
4. Holistic Education
Homeschooling means that grades are not the goal. That the ability to pass an exam is not the mark of success. Homeschooling means that we can take the time to explore the world around us, to take bush walks, to plant gardens. Homeschooling means that my boys will (hopefully) learn how a household runs. How to wash and iron, to meal plan, to grocery shop, to cook, to clean. How to maintain a garden and a roof. How to change the oil in the car. How to pay bills and taxes. Homeschooling means we can explore art galleries and go to exhibitions. To appreciate poetry and music. To dwell in beauty and goodness. Without having to pass an exam, or analyse a text. Homeschooling means that they can wonder about the world. To ask questions and find answers. To become lifelong learners.
5. Time to be Kids
The average school day in Australia is about 6 1/2 hours and that doesn’t include getting ready in the morning, travel, unpacking at the end of the day, homework and decompressing. Add to that piano lessons or soccer practice and an early bedtime to cope with the long days. School children are busier today than ever before. Homeschooling simply allows more time for children to be kids. To play in the dirt. To sleep in. To have pyjama days. To play at the park. To read a book in a day.
These are simply five of a multitude of reasons to homeschool. What are your top reasons?