After five years in school, will homeschooling be a fit for our family? Walk with us as we try to find out!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top 10 Reasons We Love Homeschooling

I thought it would be fun to chime in with all the other bloggers who are writing today about their Top 10 Reasons for Homeschooling.  

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Here are the Top Ten Reasons We LOVE Homeschooling:
10.  Work at Your Own Level
Since we do not need to keep up or hold back for a class full of other students, the test subjects move at their own pace in each academic area.  If one is great at math, he can move more quickly through the lessons or skip them all together in favor of more challenging math material.  If language arts is tripping one up, we can put the curriculum aside and spend some time developing concepts or basic skills.

9.  Work at Your Own Pace
There is very little fluff or down time in a typical homeschool day.  After dropping RA off at school, the test subjects work until about 10:30 a.m.  Unless one is particularly unmotivated on a given day, a good bulk of the core academics can get accomplished in that two hour block of time.  After snack and a short break, another 90 minutes of work will often cover all the core academics leaving the afternoon for lighter activities such as read-alouds, piano practice, leisure reading, etc.  

8.  Flexibility
As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to decide what is important each day and what can wait.  Our schedule of work and activities can and does vary depending on our goals for each day or for the week.  If an impromptu but fun and enriching field trip arises, we are often able to seize the opportunity by simply rearranging our schedule and workload for the day.  

If my parents call to see if they can stop by for a quick visit, we can switch up our breaks and meals to take advantage of their time.  And yes, there are times we have to say no to something else in favor of hitting the books, but that is a choice not a mandate for us.   

7.  More Free Time
Minimizing down time maximizes free time.  Assuming the test subjects are focused, formal school work is usually done by the time we pick up RA from school.  That means they have all afternoon free to pursue their interests.  (We make sure they are engaged in healthy activities by limiting screen time.)  Play dates have become the norm not the exception, as we have time for socializing with friends now.  TS 1 is able to play baseball and attend all the practices and clinics he wants as he has the time in his schedule.  My children have time to be children and we all love this aspect of homeschooling.

6.  No Homework
This was the bane of our existence in previous years.  Homework was at least an hour each afternoon (factoring in the whining and dawdling) and could reach upwards of two hours depending on the work load and attitudes.  It was a misery for all involved and the elimination of homework has surely made this home a happier place!

5.  Fostering a Love of Learning
Not two days ago, TS 1 spontaneously told me how he loves history and science this year.  On numerous occasions last year, he told me how he hated these two subjects.  I am convinced that forgoing uninspiring textbooks and workbooks for living books, maps and journaling has brought joy back into the process of learning.

4.  Delving Deeper
As a result of having more time and using living books in our curriculum, we often have the opportunity to delve deeper into areas of interest in subjects like history and science.  Recently, for example, we have all enjoyed learning about and reading Shakespeare.  We have read together about him in The Story of the World.  We have read his famous works in Children's Shakespeare.  Both test subjects are reading their own in depth history and literature books about him as part of their TOG studies.  TS 2 even decided to read Who Was Shakespeare? on his own.  
History and science are interesting, engaging, alive and applicable to our lives because we can delve deeper into each.  

3.  Being Together
I'll be honest here, one of the main reasons I never seriously considered homeschooling before is that I didn't think I could handle being on duty 24/7/365.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids.  I enjoy my kids.  However, truth  be told, I'm a bit lacking in the patience department.  Not to mention the fact that I am sure I have sensory integration disorder, which means I crave peace, quiet and alone time each day.  So, I have been excited to see how God has equipped me to do this homeschooling thing!  Am I still lacking in patience and craving quiet at times?  Yes!  But I am also truly enjoying our time together as a family and looking forward to bringing RA into the mix.  On the really bad days, when I am worn out and the test subjects seem to have added whining and bickering to their daily assignment sheet, I fantasize about dropping them off on carline.  But those days have been few and far between and I am truly grateful for the gift of time together we have now as a homeschooling family!

2.  The Comforts of Home
There is just something so appealing about pulling a tray table up to your comfy couch and getting to work.  
Snack and lunch become a natural part of the day, taking place just a few steps from where we work.  "Recess" is right outside our back door.  If someone is unusually tired or under the weather, a short flight of stairs and a quick rest or nap will often do the trick.  We don't have to lose an entire day of learning as we would if one had to stay home from school.   

1.  Discipleship and Character
Because we are together 24/7/365 I have more opportunities to teach the test subjects what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  They each have Bible curriculum they are working through and most mornings before we get RA off to school, we read a short selection from a children's Bible together.  Even more important that those things though, I believe, is that we chose their entire curriculum based on how each subject fit into a Biblical world view.  We don't want God to be something they think about on Sundays.  We want Him to be a living, active person in their lives.  We want our children to make decisions as adults based on God's will for their lives and out of a desire to please Him.  

Of course being together so much also means there will be more opportunities to rub one another the wrong way.  This can be a drain on my own attitude and energy at times.  This process is not always fun, but is certainly most important.  I am seeing some changes and growth in the test subjects, especially recently since we instituted the practice of a peacemaking couch, and I am expecting more fruit over time.

How about you?  What are your Top 10 Reasons for Homeschooling?  Feel free to share them or a link to your own post in the comments!

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