Responding to a post about what I felt was important regarding why I chose to homeschool, what my vision for homeschooling is, and how I felt God had blessed our family through homeschooling made me pause to reflect on this past year. As we are wrapping up k in the next 6 weeks and preparing for 1st, I've decided to re-read For the Sake of the Children and thoroughly go through the material. It got me to thinking about how much of what I would consider my top blessings from homeschooling are really not academic. I thought I would share and invite you to do the same.
They are not necessarily ranked in order but:
1) More unstructured play- my kids are spending about an hour a day playing creatively with their toys and two hours outside with each other and neighborhood kids, something I don't see happening if they were older and had a full school day, homework and extra curriculars
2) Stronger sibling bonds- my kids are each others companions. Do they fight? Yes, but they are friends a d are fighting less over all since beginning this homeschool journey
3) Time to contribute to the household- when my daughter went to preschool, we didn't have time in the mornings for her to do her chores because she would be late for school, and I could foresee this getting more challenging as my kids progressed through school, but this is now a real part of her every day learning and such an important, often neglected skill. So many adults I know with college degrees can't do simple home tasks, such as cut a whole chicken, or do simple repair and maintenance.
4) Not tied to the school calendar- my husband gets week days off and doesn't usually get home until 7:30, sometimes as late as 9 pm. If I had to have them at school by 8 am, and they were at school all day, they'd hardly see him if they spent 8-3 at school and got the recommended 12 hours of sleep. But for us, going to bed 10, waking up at 8 and doing a 2 hour nap from 1-3 is totally fine
. We can also treat Monday and Thursday like a weekend and school on the weekend if we feel like it.
5) Extra curricular activities don't derail our evenings or put is in for a loop. We do AHG every other Tuesday from 4-6. When we get home, I can focus on making dinner, not trying to get homework done with the kids and getting take out or nuking frozen food. Having AWANA's on Thursdays and getting home at 9 is fine, too, because they don't have to be up by 6:30 or 7 am like most kids who attend brick and mortar schools. By the way, this is the number one reason I hear families stop doing AWANA's.
6) Better behaved kids-homeschooling isn't a magic pill. My kids are not perfect, but neither am I or anyone else. It strikes me as funny though that a common comment I get when I met other moms and they ask the inevitable where do your kids go to school and I tell the woman I homeschool is, "I could never get my child to listen to me enough to tach them. They behave so much better with the teacher." Now I don't really care if the person I met homeschools. I am not out trying to convert anyone and really don't get why me stating a fact, ie, my children are homeschooled, makes wen feel they should justify why they don't, but this statement really makes me chuckle to myself because I find homeschooling allows me to be able to consistently train and gently correct as well as enforce a logical consequence to bad behavior in a way I never could if I was in too much of a rush to stop and do this or too burned out to make the effort. If I my child was being rushed or burned out it wouldn't really be effective either.
7) This should be at the top of my list, but it was such a given, I almost didn't think to list it: my children's love of God, the Bible, God's character, the world he created, and Christian character is profound, and something they'd never achieve in Sunday school alone. My daughter might not excel academically, but if she's got this down, the rest will follow.