Have you been thinking about homeschool, but the entire thing seems too stressful or overwhelming? Let me tell you about 5 surprising homeschool benefits!
Normally when we think of schooling, we think of a six hour day where the teacher gets barely more than a lunch break. If you think of homeschooling the same way, it would be super overwhelming to imagine! Especially when you consider the fact that you still have a household to run and manage, meals to cook, and possibly babies to care for! And the thought of having your children underfoot, nonstop, all day every day? No wonder so many people balk at the thought of homeschooling!
We have been homeschooling for just over a year and a half and are loving it. (Find out more about why we chose to homeschool) I want you to have that same experience in your homeschool! While it certainly comes with a learning curve for both you and your family, there are so many benefits that can be found. Let me share just 5 of those benefits with you!
It seems kind of weird doesn’t it? Instead of sending your children to be taught by someone else, we have found less stress in me being the sole educator of 5 different grades!
Eliminate the Rush
We had a very difficult time getting out the door each morning for school to start at 9AM. It wasn’t just getting everyone dressed, but everyone had to have the certain style of clothes, or the certain hairdo. The social pressure could be more than I could handle some mornings! Also, although we packed backpacks the night before, there always seemed to be a missing worksheet or project that needed to be found or finished right before we were heading out the door!
I found that I had to set an alarm on my phone to finish up whatever I was doing at home to prepare for the whirlwind of emotions that would walk through the door after school. From disagreements with friends, overwhelming assignments from teachers, or bad scores on tests, there was a lot to deal with!
Now that we homeschool, we are dressed and ready with hair and teeth brushed, and starting school by 8AM. Shocker, right? By eliminating the mental stress of fitting into the social mold, and the physical stress of relocating and settling into new environments, we have found a new calm to our lives!
It would make sense that the kids would have more time in their schedule not being at school for 6 hours a day, but I found that I have more time for myself as well!
Productive Free Time
Instead of the kids being in school 6 hours a day, we finish up by noon each day! Most kids finish their school work in about 2 hours if they stay on task the entire time. That means they have more free time to explore interests and talents, or just be kids and play!
We have created a routine where my portion of being the school teacher wraps up around noon. After lunch we have quiet time from 1-3. This is such a crucial period of time! It gives me time to do things I’m interested in (like blogging and finishing up my degree). It also gives the older kids time to finish up their school work, work on other projects they are interested in, or just play.
After quiet time when their public school friends are just getting ready to come home and engage in extra curricular activities, chores, and homework, my kids are done for the day and ready to accept any playdate or invitation that comes along! Instead of trying to cram all our fun activities into the small amount of time in between school and dinner, we are able to have fun all day long if we want, and they still have time to play with friends!
More Family Time
Of course you have more family time, you’re together all day long! But, the benefits of this have far out weighed the “cost” of having all your children under your wing all day long.
Stronger Sibling Relationships
It has been so fun to see my kids interacting with each other. There used to be “teams” in a sense where the older kids and the younger kids would hang out separately, just because the youngers were used to be with me all day while the big kids were away.
Now, we have all ages playing together. There were times at the beginning where I would make assignments to have a bigger kid play with a younger kid so I could do school uninterrupted with another child. This turned into opportunities to form relationships that might not have been as strong otherwise. I have also been able to give my middle kids more leadership opportunities in playing with their younger siblings since they are home more often!
Through this time together, I have also noticed a new creativity emerging. They have so many more hours of open ended play that they have started to put on plays and write stories, build whole villages out of legos, etc. instead of constantly begging to watch the latest tv show or play the newest video game.
One on One Time
Because I meet with each child individually, I have been able to talk with them about the things that are on their heart and their mind. They know that they will get this time with me every single day, so sometimes they will even come prepared with non-school related questions. Since I’m not trying to spend all my individual time with each kid after school, I feel like I have been able to get to know my children better. I know more not only the strengths and weaknesses I see in them, but also what they see in themselves!
Time to Explore Talents and Interests
What do we do with all this free time? Whatever we want! Now we aren’t tied to a schedule that has 6 hours blocked off each day, so we can explore!
I am a very musical person and wanted to pass that love of music onto my children. I have started to teach all of my children piano starting at the age of 5. Now my older kids have been able to branch out and really develop their talent with a professional teacher! Some kids wanted to play the violin, and we were finally able to make time for that new skill to be learned.
We also have taken advantage of the empty museums, parks, playgrounds, libraries, hiking trails, etc. during school hours. We call ahead to make sure there are no field trips, and we essentially have the museum to ourselves! It has been great to watch my kids be able to have the actual hands-on experiences of museums with no time limit attached to each station that interests them.
With all our free time, we have also been able to spend free time reading about all the things that we want to. We have time to do more hands-on learning and experiments too. My oldest daughter took sewing lessons where she learned not only how to sew, but made an entire quilt in her free time! By using free time wisely, my kids are discovering who they are, and what they want to become! This has been one of their favorite homeschool benefits!
An Abundance of Available Resources
This all sounds great, but I’m not good at Math. I love the idea of homeschool, but I just don’t think I could teach my child to read. These are things that I hear said quite often, but there are so many resources available to help you with your weaknesses!
I have friends and neighbors that reached out to me at the beginning of our journey and said “if you get stuck on math, I would be more than happy to step in and help tutor your child”. That came in so handy at the beginning of our journey while I was trying to figure out which math curriculum was the best fit for us. In all reality, I was also really nervous of my own capability in teaching my children. Now I’ve learned that there is power in a grown adult saying “wow, I have no idea how to do that problem. Let’s look it up and figure it out together!” The process of teaching a child how to learn is a daily opportunity!
Utilize the Internet
We have found so many great resources for expanding our knowledge in various areas. Our main source of online learning has been YouTube. Searching our questions online and see what we can learn has been so eye opening! We watched videos on Mauna Kea while learning about astronomy. We watched a documentary about Joan of Arc while studying about her in history. When we get stuck on a math problem, there are math tutors galore on YouTube explaining all the most difficult problems!
Visit the Library
We are regulars at our Library, like the librarians know my kids on a first name basis and will order books that they feel my kids will be interested in. I want my kids to know more than me! I want them to be able to learn about all the things that interest them! The kids are given no limit on the amount of nonfiction books they want to check out. We have kids checking out anything from biographies, to how electricity works, to science experiment books that are then used during their free time at home.
Hopefully after reading through some of these rather unconventional benefits to homeschool, you can see that it really is doable to not only have your children around all day every day, but be their sole educator as well. Homeschool has been one of the largest blessings in our life. Although not every day is perfect, the benefits far outweigh the cost. We are loving our experience!