For the majority of the year and on most mornings, many parents across the country get up early and stress out and rush in order to get their children to school on time. At the beginning of each school year, the internet is flooded with videos and memes of parents celebrating the fact that their children are (finally!!!) returning to school.
I‘ve never done either.
Our mornings are slow-paced, and not much changes at the beginning of the school year. For the record, I wasn’t born a homeschooler nor was I homeschooled myself.
I chose to homeschool my kids because:
- There was no way I was “letting go” of my then-five-year-old for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week;
- I wasn’t satisfied with the school system in general;
- The Common Core.
We decided to follow our intuition and were able to sustain the outside pressure. And, somewhere along the way, we discovered…
15 reasons WHY WE LOVE (and continue to) HOMESCHOOL:
1) More family time
Homeschooling is very pro-family. I chose not to haul our kids away to school or preschool because I genuinely want to spend all that time with them. (Ha! Some days I have to remind myself!) You know the old saying, “The days might be long, but the years are short?” So very true!
2) More free time
Homeschooling isn’t as time-consuming as institutional schooling tends to be. Not only is there zero time wasted by line forming, classroom chaos, lengthy administration work and long school bus rides, you also get the benefit of one-on-one attention which can significantly cut on the time required to master any particular subject. The bottom line is: learning at home takes up a fraction of the time conventional schooling requires even when you’re following the exact same curriculum.
What to do with all that free time? Take advantage of it! Homeschooling presents a great platform for kids to pursue their hobbies and to explore their true interests (rather than those of their peers).
3) More freedom
- Curriculum: We have control over what our kids learn and have the ability to provide personalized education so that they can learn at their own pace.
- Teaching real life skills: Homeschooled kids have a chance to learn within the context of real life.
- Traveling is enriching: When you homeschool, traveling becomes a whole lot easier!
- You can homeschool anywhere: There is no limit to uniqueness and creativity.
- Flexibility: There are no generic charts or rigid schedules dictating how to run your day.
4) We want to slow down
Have you noticed how fast-paced our lives have become? Underneath our busy schedules, deadlines, commitments, demanding careers and long school days, it’s easy to overlook that life is just passing by (and that our kids are slipping away from us). The majority of the western world now lives on a total and complete overload. We want LESS of that, not more.
5) We believe that children belong outdoors
Rest assured, we do not keep our kids chained outside. They are nature lovers just like we are, and we want them (and they prefer) to spend as much time outside as possible. They can run, play, explore, discover, and LEARN.
6) No dress code
Pajamas, fancy dresses, superhero costumes, princesses, knights, dragons, fairies, firefighters, ballerinas… We’ve done it all. What children wear isn’t important. How they feel is. When you homeschool, anything goes. That may or may not include spaghetti strap tank tops, leggings, and short shorts. It’s your call.
7) Better socialization (Yes, you read that right.)
Homeschooling doesn’t automatically mean lack of socialization just as institutional schooling isn’t a great socialization agent. Why isn’t it? Because forced association doesn’t necessarily mean socialization. Also because silence isn’t very conductive to being social. I’ll say it. Are you ready? As far as socialization, school is nothing but a social suicide. Read here why.
We don’t feel threatened by generally accepted norms or expectations. We believe in interaction between children and people of ALL ages, not only children from the same age groups. And we believe in interaction, period. Homeschoolers don’t spend their days in an artificially created social environment that a school is. They spend days out in the real world. How’s that for socialization?
8) Less peer pressure
Peer dependency is rampant at schools. It goes hand in hand with kids spending excessive amounts of time with their peers and away from their families. Children quickly learn how to act, how to dress, how to talk, what to eat, which TV shows to watch, what kind of music to listen to, who to be friends with and whom to ignore in order to gain approval of their peer group.
Peer pressure isn’t something I’d willingly welcome in my kids’ lives as in, “Great! I welcome peer pressure wholeheartedly; there are many benefits to it.” Um, no… Besides, we want to focus on real values, not superficiality. The obsession with the latest tech gadgets and toys, trendy clothes, designer labels, cool and uncool expressions or people (by shallow means of comparison) and, well, anything to brag about or to compete over are not traits we would like to encourage.
9) Less bullying, too
Bullying is a big issue these days. Unfortunately, schools are bully-making machines. Guess what happens when you take vulnerable children away from their parents, lock them up in a building and put them in a classroom with very little supervision where there are guaranteed to be some insensitive trouble makers and their loyal followers…?
Worse yet, parents whose kids have experienced bullying often say that their concerns are being downplayed by schools. Like it’s no big deal?! Thanks to the Zero Tolerance Policy, it’s also common for the victimized child trying to defend himself to get punished. Experienced bullies are one step ahead. They already know how to play this game well enough to stay out of trouble. Because they’ve been allowed to. Because political correctness and who knows what else. Because everybody sues everybody in this country.
10) We all get more sleep
We like to sleep. A lot! It’s true. We can sleep in on rainy days. Or just sleep in for no reason. It’s awesome. But before you call us lazy, keep in mind that a well-rested child means a more responsive mind. It’s a fact that a tired child has a harder time concentrating.
11) Because learning should be fun!
Learning should be fascinating and interesting!
- Education extends far beyond what we can learn in a textbook.
- Learning shouldn’t be a forced chore.
- Teaching shouldn’t comprise of an endless cycle of tests and mandatory assignments.
- There is more to knowledge than memorizing.
- And there is more to studying than grades, student comparison, and teacher-based evaluations.
12) The quality of education
The truth is, many parents have no clue what their kids are being taught at school. As in – blatant reality – “We have no idea what they do. At all. Not a clue…” When you homeschool, you probably know what your kids are learning about. That’s a good start, right?
Here’s the problem with school education: schools teach how to memorize, not how to learn. There is a huge difference between the two. Schools are based on teaching to the test, rather than helping to master and retain new information. You know, I keep hearing about the concept of year-round schools because kids tend to forget how to read, spell, and count over the summer. If that’s the case, there isn’t a problem with the length of the school year. There is a conflict with what, when, and how kids are being taught.
There are great teachers out there, don’t get me wrong. Their hands are often tied though. Even the best of teachers are swamped with overcrowded classrooms, class management, lengthy administrative tasks, and guidelines and regulations of the system.
13) Healthier living
There is more outside time, more exercise, more free time, and less stress involved in homeschooling.
Also, our lunch and snacks remain a healthy option. I have zero nosy people checking whether my child’s lunch meets strict (and strictly ridiculous) nutritional requirements. Another great thing is that homeschooled kids can eat when they’re actually hungry, not when their growing bodies are assigned a brief slot.
- Would I get in trouble at school for not ever serving my kids milk? Possibly.
- Would I be just another parent in line to get harassed over a small square of dark plain organic chocolate in a child’s lunch box? (True story from a friend of mine.) As a result, would I be asked to align my child’s lunch with school nutritional standards that involve unhealthy synthetic ingredients and words that can’t be pronounced? Perhaps.
- Would I be notified by school that my child’s (healthy and nutritionally balanced) lunch was thrown away and I’m now responsible for paying for the (nutritionally substandard) school lunch my child was forced to eat instead? Maybe. But that’s where the Mama Bear would really come out.
Last but not least, no unwanted screenings.
14) Because private schools aren’t much different
In the end, a school is still a school.
While private schools may have a slight advantage, they’re basically the spitting image of public schools. There might be smaller class sizes, and parents may get more personal time with the teachers and a fuzzy feeling that their kids are better of. Or that they should be. At least for the price tag, right? But there are similar rigid schedules to be followed and tests to be completed, same class structures, same peer dependency and bullying, likely the same curriculum, and generally the same rules as in public schools. We’re just not interested.
True, there are also Montessori and Waldorf schools available that offer less structured setting and a unique education philosophy. But that brings me back to #1, #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8, #9, and #10. It’s just not worth it for us.
15) I don’t have to fight the school over various things
OK. This one is all about me. But still valid nonetheless…