Wednesday, March 7, 2012

5 Unexpected Advantages of Homeschooling

When I started homeschooling Agent E, I quickly discovered the benefits of educating at home spill over into every area of life.

Following are just five (of many) "surprise" perks of our decision to homeschool:

1. Mornings (and afternoons) become more relaxed. Seriously, the very thought of 8:40 a.m. used to give me a panic attack. Without the rush of getting everyone out the door, we worry less about what time we wake, when we eat breakfast, and how quickly we get out of our pajamas (if at all). If the girls want to spend an hour coloring, or reading, or wrestling before we "start" our day, no problem. With no afternoon pick-up, it doesn't matter if the baby starts his nap a little earlier or a little later than usual. The ridiculously long rainy season here doesn't faze me, because I know I won't be needing to take my children all out in monsoon-ish conditions to retrieve one or more from school.

2. Illness no longer consumes us. I'm not saying we don't get sick. (We all have colds right now). Granted, because that the Senior Agents do not spend time each day in the petri dish of a preschool classroom they have fewer colds and minor illnesses (and that's nice). However, I'm referring to logistics. It's basically impossible to get three small children anywhere when one of them is sick (even if I wanted to take them out when they were feeling absolutely miserable). We live on the second floor of an apartment building; there's no way I could carry, say, a sick, sleepy Agent A or J to the parking lot and leave the other two alone. There have been times when I chose to keep a healthy kid out of school because someone else was ill. Now, when one child is not feeling well, I never have to choose between dragging them out and a sibling missing school.

This grass looks interesting . . . and yummy
3. Sibling relationships flourish. My kids genuinely like each other. I know many siblings are very close, but the extra time the girls have spent together by not going to separate schools really intensified their bond. (My original plan for the 2011-2012 school year would have had E at the school on base from 8:00-2:20 MTWRF and J at a private preschool off base MWF from 9:00-2:30.) Last year when Agent E came home from school, she would tell me how much she missed J and A. Now she tells me how much she loves being with them during the day.

4. Kids can be kids. I cannot count the number of articles others have shared with me recently regarding the demise of childhood. What should a five-year-old be doing? It saddens me to think how many folks immediately jump to a long list of scholarly "must knows." Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of things I will encourage my children to learn. But I prefer while they're young to focus more on the process, the journey, the fun of new experiences. I don't want them to be stressed over kindergarten homework. If age five is not the time to see learning as pure joy, when is?

5. Our schedule is, well, ours. As a military family we are subject to frequent moves, upheavals in routine, and long stretches with only one parent home. Often the ideal time to take a break or a family vacation falls in the middle of the traditional school calendar. Honestly, if my children attended public or private school, I would not want them to miss that time. I would conform to it instead, I'm sure. And probably bypass some great opportunities.

Do you homeschool? What have you found to be "happy side effects" beyond academics?

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1 comment :

  1. I, too, enjoy all of those benefits because we're homeschooling. I never realized how stressed I was until I no longer had to jump through so many hoops.
    I also love being able to direct our learning focus on things I think are really important, but seem to get short shift in our public school district: poetry, history, and reading.

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