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. OK, right, this one is just a joke. Perhaps it is. But is it really?
I wouldn’t know, because we’re not part of this trend.
Our mornings are slow-paced, and not much changes at the beginning of a school year.
It’s all we know…
For the record, I wasn’t born a homeschooler nor was I homeschooled myself. I started this journey because:
- There was no way I was “letting go” of my five-year-old for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week;
- I wasn’t satisfied with the school system in general;
- Common Core.
We were able to sustain the outside pressure and decided to follow our intuition to give this unique schooling experience a try.
And somewhere along the way, we discovered…
15 reasons WHY WE (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 true!
It’s no secret that our collective lives have become increasingly stressful and rather hectic. And underneath our busy schedules, deadlines, commitments, and demanding careers and long school hours it’s easy to overlook one particularly important detail: OUR children seem to be slipping AWAY from US. We as parents want to avoid that, not feed into that.
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 full 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.
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 children are learning and have the ability to provide personalized education so that they can learn at their own pace.
- Teaching real life skills: Homeschooled children have a chance to learn within the context of real life.
- Traveling is enriching: And when you homeschool, traveling becomes a whole lot easier!
- You can homeschool anywhere: There is no limit to uniqueness or creativity.
- Flexibility: There are no generic charts or rigid schedules dictating how we run our days. WE are in charge.
4) We want to slow down
Have you noticed how fast-paced our lives have become? The majority of the western world now lives on a total and complete overload. We want LESS of that, not more.
5) We believe children belong outdoors
Rest assured, we don’t keep them 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. We’re thrilled to not be confined to the walls of any particular structure in order to teach or 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.
On a side note, no peer pressure dictates what your child insists on wearing, and the need for specific or designer clothes that everyone else wears is practically non-existent in the homeschool world.
7) Better socialization (Yes, you read that right.)
Homeschooling doesn’t automatically mean lack of socialization, just as institutional schooling usually isn’t a great socialization agent. Why isn’t it? Because forced association does not necessarily mean socialization. And 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.
There. I said it. Read here why.
We don’t feel threatened by generally accepted norms or expectations related to the aspect of socialization (or the assumed lack of when it comes to homeschooling). 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.)
We spend our days in the REAL world and have zero need for an artificially created school environment.
8) Less peer pressure
It’s obvious that peer dependency is rampant at schools. Peer pressure isn’t something I’d willingly welcome in my children’s lives as in, “Great! I welcome peer pressure wholeheartedly; there are many benefits to it.” Um, no…
Peer association goes hand in hand with children spending excessive amounts of time with their peers (and away from their families). Children adapt and learn how to act, how to dress, how to talk, which TV shows or movies 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.
We want to focus on real values, not superficiality. The obsession with the latest tech gadgets, 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) And less bullying, too
Sadly, bullying is a big issue these days. It would be wonderful if all children (or better yet, ALL PEOPLE) got along, right? But that doesn’t always happen.
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 present as well as their loyal followers…?
Worse yet, parents whose children 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 fairly common for the victimized child trying to defend himself to get punished. I wish I was making this up! I often hear that experienced bullies are one step ahead and already know how to play this game well enough to stay out of trouble. Because they have been allowed to.
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 is a fact that a tired child has a harder time concentrating.
11) Because learning should be fun!
That’s right! 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. Or student comparison. Or teacher-based evaluations.
Any subject can be taught with practical application, and no subject or an area of a subject needs to be taught to a child with zero interest in that particular area. When (and IF) they’re ready, children will master anything!
12) The quality of education
Knowing what children learn. 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…” How crazy is that?
Personalized education. Homeschooling allows for an individual education plan based on a child’s personality and learning style. Asking questions is encouraged; homeschooled kids can ask as many questions as they desire without feeling hesitant or ashamed.
We don’t believe that a school institution provides the best training ground for REAL life. We believe that children should be taught things that matter and in ways that make sense to them by using practical and understandable examples.
Regardless of how much education and training teachers have under their sleeves, they’re not only taught how to teach but also trained how to effectively manage a classroom full of children from different backgrounds, with different levels of skills and displaying various behavioral patterns. Class management is actually a huge part of what teachers do. Even the best of teachers are tied down with overcrowded classrooms, administrative tasks, guidelines, and regulations. There is close to zero individual attention given to students by their teachers because there just simply isn’t enough time. An attentive parent can actually teach a child just as well, if not better. And if a child needs help with any particular subject beyond the scope of the parent’s knowledge, it’s easy to seek outside help.
13) Healthier living
As a general rule, 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 our lunch meets strict (strictly ridiculous if you ask me) nutritional requirements. Plus, our kids eat when they’re actually hungry; not when they’re assigned a brief slot to feed their growing bodies.
- Would I get in trouble at school for not ever serving my children milk? Possibly.
- Would I be just another parent in line to get harassed over packing one small square of dark, plain, organic chocolate in my child’s lunch box (or anything else that doesn’t align with the school’s nutritional standards? Would I be openly asked to switch over to virtually any conventional item that may contain a wide array of 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 daughter 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 weren’t the answer
In the end, a school is still a school. While private schools may have a slight advantage, they are 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.
15) I don’t have to fight the school over various things
Yeah. I admit this one is all about me. But still valid nonetheless.