This article is a great place to start if you are thinking about homeschooling your children. Learn why homeschool makes sense for so many families.
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10 Great Reasons to Consider Homeschooling Your Kids
I’ve spent the past two years homeschooling after years of supplementing public school. There are a lot of things I like about public school, but home school offers learning opportunities that you simply cannot get in a traditional school setting. Here are my top ten reasons for homeschooling kids.
#1 Homeschooling Gives Children Time
I’m a huge believer in children needing free time. When I look at my life, the things I choose to do as an adult are all founded in activities I pursued during free time as a child.
I love teaching, and I actually have a California teaching credential. I think about returning to the field professionally, but I worry about where schools are right now. Sometimes I feel like our emphasis on state testing and early high levels of achievement in reading and writing especially has created a white collar child workforce.
If you want to learn more about the importance of play for children, I recommend starting with these three books:
- Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
- The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally
- A Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play
My teacher friends all believe in the importance of play, but they struggle to make time for it in a traditional classroom setting. Too much time is spent on classroom management and other school-specific tasks.
Keeping up with academic standards in a homeschool settings requires a fraction of the time you need in a traditional school. Homeschool allows my kids to finish all their work with ample free time left over to spend however they like.
#2: Homeschool is Flexible
Our school district is about as flexible as public schools come. We can travel with our children provided we set up independent study before leaving.
But setting up independent study is a lot of work. And while family travel is accepted, I can’t, for example, pull my child out of school once a week or send them a few hours a day instead of the full day.
With homeschooling, you set up whatever schedule works best for you (learn how to organize homeschool). My kids took classes online and through homeschool programs while homeschooling. Since homeschool academics can be done more efficiently than traditional school academics, they finish their school work with time to spare nearly every day. They used these regular school hours to pursue personal interests and practice instruments, freeing up their afternoons for choir practice and family time.
#3: Homeschool Creates Opportunities to Interact with Different Age Groups
Our modern schools restrict children to a very narrow in age peer group. Our public school even separates their elementary school into three different playgrounds. they do this for solid safety reasons that I appreciate. The downside is that children have little to no opportunity to interact with children significantly younger or older than themselves.
Homeschool coop classes often feature a broad range of ages within a single class. And the free time provided by homeschooling allows kids to pursue opportunities that would be impossible in a traditional school setting.
This year my homeschooled 7th grader enjoyed helping out neighborhood moms of preschoolers in the mornings. She got to provide much needed child care support while seeing these young children at their best – early in the day. She honed her English skills volunteering during my public schooling 5th grader’s writing class once a week – all year long.
At home, homeschool offers time and space for siblings to play together. Pretend play strengthens sibling relationships in ways that last a lifetime.
#4 Unique Parent-Child Interactions Happen During Homeschool
During a traditional school year, school dictates a lot of my interactions with my kids. Get to school on time, wearing the clothes the school wants you to wear. Pack lunches, unpack lunches, debrief the school day, read all the school paperwork. Get homework done. Pack backpacks. Schedule any family time around school.
While homeschooling can be tiring, it offers opportunities for unique parent-child interactions that are hard to create otherwise. This year I spent hours doing math with my 4th grader. My 7th grader extended the interactions back another generation, doing math with my mom over Facetime for an hour every day. My parents live on the other side of the country, and we don’t get to see them as often as we like. She and my mom built a great relationship over all those hours of Algebra!
Homeschool also allows me to learn alongside my kids. While their math is a review for me, homeschooling introduces me to history details I never learned, fun science experiments, and new books.
#5 Homeschooling Allows Child-Centered Learning
It’s easy to build a homeschool schedule around each child’s unique needs. My 7th grader loves her independence, and she thrived with challenging online classes. My 4th grader adores personal attention, and she wanted me right there next to her watching everything she does.
In a traditional school, my 4th grader never gets the individual attention she craves, and my 7th grader finds her independence limited by the environment.
#6 Homeschooling Flexibility Allows for Adaptive Learning
The child-center nature of homeschool creates the perfect environment for adaptive learning. I’ve swapped out approaches over the course of a year to adapt to my children’s interests, strengths, and weaknesses. In homeschool, I can even change my curriculum in the middle of the year. That’s impossible in a traditional school!
In our home this type of adaptive learning leads to deeper understanding of topics and more advanced learning.
#7 Home Education Pairs Perfectly with Personalized Instruction
Homeschool makes it possible to set up a personalized curriculum for each child. My 7th grader’s love to English and her desire to teach and design curriculum someday led to our pursuit of opportunities for her to volunteer in a working school. It also inspired us to find more advanced classes that would challenge her.
Truly understanding math was traditionally a struggle for her, and so we planned out a slower approach. Halfway through the year the adaptive approach homeschool allows was working so well that we wound up speeding things up. She finished the year ahead!
My 4th grader is very much a hands-on learner who enjoys spending time thinking. I filled our home with hands-on learning activities and curricula.
My 4th grader also enjoys attacking challenges in small pieces, so for topics that were tough for her I found ways to teach her where we covered only a small amount of information each day. Teachers in traditional schools have schedules that are dictated from above, and so they cannot work flexibly in this way.
#8 It’s Easy to Offer Hands-On Learning at Home
It’s so hard to create genuine hands-on learning opportunities in the large classes you find in schools! I enjoy hands-on learning, and I found my children did as well.
The small size and slow schedule of homeschooling made it easy to find ways to learn every subject hands-on.
#9 Children Discover Self-Directed Learning Through Homeschool
If there is one thing I truly want my children to learn, it’s how to teach themselves.
Homeschool is the perfect environment for developing self-directed learning. I worked with my kids to set academic goals. Then we broke the goals into individual steps. We set target deadlines for each step, and so long as my children were on track to meet their deadlines they were able to control their schedules.
By the end of the year my 4th grader was brilliant at waking up at 6am, starting on schoolwork she could do on her own. By the time I was ready to help her a couple of hours later she only had a few things left hat she wanted me to supervise, along with a stack of work for me to look over.
My 7th grader preferred to break her work up in chunks throughout the day. Sometimes that worked, and sometimes she had to set those preferences aside to counteract her habit of getting distracted. She never did attack the day with the force found in my 4th grader, but she learned to get the hardest things done first and to save projects she loved for later in the day when she felt more tired.
#10 Homeschool Creates the Perfect Environment for FLOW Learning
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the term Flow to describe the state people enter when engaged in an activity that challenges them just enough that they truly immerse themselves in a state of complete focus and concentration.
Flow requires time and personalized instructions – two crucial ingredients found easily in homeschool and virtually unattainable in a public school setting.
Achieving flow through homeschool is the key to my 4th grader learning to get up in the morning and go right to work. It’s also key to my 7th grader getting ahead in math, which she struggled with going into homeschool.
Do you homeschool? If so, why do you consider homeschooling a great choice for your family?
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