When I began homeschooling almost 7 years ago, I never imagined the impact it would have on me. I had looked at all the benefits for our children and how it would improve and enhance their learning experiences, but me…I was just teaching. BOY was I wrong!
The first year really taught me who my oldest was – his likes, dislikes, learning style and that once he learned to read, he really wanted to do it all himself. In fact, he’s still that way. He asks me questions when necessary, but for the most part he does it all himself. And although a part of me is sad that he is so independent and doesn’t “need” my help, it is also nice to be able to concentrate on the younger ones and their learning at this stage in our homeschooling.
However, over the past 6+ years, I have realized several things I enjoy about homeschooling that I never thought I would enjoy, let alone like. These may not be surprising to some, but they did surprise me. Mostly because I thought I knew what to expect from homeschooling and that it would simply be a less strict version of “school” just at home. WRONG!
5 Things I Never Knew I would LOVE about Homeschooling
- All the time with my kids – While I love my kids, there are times that mama just needs a break. And that’s when I send them outside. I love knowing where my kids are and who is watching them, who they are playing with, what “language” they are hearing (or not hearing) and what they are being taught on a daily basis. Spending time with my kids is just a bonus, in my opinion! Seeing them everyday has helped me see and appreciate their uniqueness, their quirks, their personalities and really learn who they are. I seriously don’t know how parents do it when they have such little time with their kids. We get one-on-one time during the week with each other whenever we want and can fit it around our schedules. We sit and talk about silly things, things they love, things I loved when I was their age and we just do life together. It is the most stressful, rewarding job I could ever hope for!
- Tailor-made curriculum – While I knew a benefit of homeschooling was to be able to find curriculum that worked for each child, rather than a boxed curriculum they needed to fit into, I never expected it to be so much fun to find and create our own curriculum. We started out with several different curriculum choices for our oldest that followed him until last year. However, that’s when I really saw he needed more in a few areas and a different approach in others. We changed our curriculum this year and will actually change a little next year, but that’s the beauty of homeschooling. We can! He is thriving and growing and learning more than I ever imagined now! And because of recent changes, we are seeing big improvements in our middles as well. This is really something I enjoy – finding just the right curriculum that clicks with them and seeing them soar.
- Housework doubles as school – Growing up my mom was intentional that her children – both girls and boys – knew how to do their own laundry as well as cook in the kitchen. So, I knew I would follow in her footsteps and do the same with my own children. I just never thought about it being practical lessons for life and being able to incorporate math and science into the learning. Cooking was never something I particularly enjoyed. I can cook, its just not something I like to do. And teaching my children brings a whole new level of patience I never thought I would need. However, seeing the joy on their faces when we finish a cake or they cook eggs for the first time by themselves (with close supervision), makes it all worthwhile. I love that when we need to cook for a big dinner or for a special occasion, we don’t have to stop the learning.
- Weekday Field Trips – One part of public school I loved was the field trips. I was in the gifted program and we would take several field trips a year, in addition to the ones we took with our class. That was something I wanted to make sure we took with our kids and that they didn’t miss out on those experiences just because we were homeschooling. But, I never thought about how much I would love the freedom to go during the week when kids are in school and places are less crowded – at least during the school year. That has been one of the best things, as we can really get in good visits to the zoo and see the animals without too much interference. We can visit historical places and have time to listen to lectures and get more information, because we’re not too busy watching for our children. It’s easier to keep them corralled when we don’t have hundreds of people walking around everywhere. And because most Fridays my husband is off, it works well for us.
- Off-season family trips – Living over 600 miles from family can make visits difficult. And while grandparents do make their way up to us during the school year, we don’t have to wait for winter, spring or summer breaks to visit them. This past year, we were so busy at Thanksgiving and had commitments during Christmas that we were not going to be able to go home for the holidays. However, we were able to make a trip down between the holidays and it actually worked out so nicely. We weren’t rushed trying to fit in every single family event and we were able to work visits around their schedules. It worked so well this year, we might try it again this year. Taking off-season trips is easier with homeschooling, because we can work our schooling around it and never miss a beat.
What’s something you never thought you’d love about homeschooling?