If you think homeschooled kids are poor, naive, socially-deprived little urchins who either hate their homeschooling existence, or like it only because they know nothing else, you would be wrong.
Like really, really wrong.
For one, homeschoolers are more active and engaged and diverse a group than most skeptics could ever begin to imagine. Just ask any mom who is a newcomer to homeschooling! Homeschooling beginners are often OVERWHELMED by all the programs, resources, and activities available to home educating families. The homeschooling community is a massive and ever-growing realm of enrichment opportunities for kids.
But maybe you know a homeschooled kid who doesn’t like the fact he’s homeschooled.
Sure. I know there are kids like that out there. But I’m not a parent to any of them!
Actually, my kids LOVE homeschooling.
And it’s not because they’ve never experienced a more traditional school setting! While it’s true my kids have never been in public school, my older two spent time in Christian schools, so they are familiar with life outside the world of homeschooling.
And they still prefer this.
Why? Well, I put the question to my own four kids and these were the most common answers between them, though there were others besides these six. I decided to stick with the ones all or almost all of them said.
So here you go. My kids’ favorite things about homeschooling:
“I get to have a good, hot breakfast and lunch!”
This one is especially important to my boys with their bottomless appetites!
Listen, I remember what it was like when my girls were in private school and getting them up and out the door was mass chaos every morning. Could I have done a better job with planning and organization?No doubt! But I know enough from other moms to be confident my situation was at all unique. Breakfast was usually some sort of grab-and-go treat and lunch was generally a cold sandwich or some prepackaged lunch kit.
My kids like sitting down and having a real breakfast together. And whether it’s a frozen pizza or just some leftovers from the night before, my kids love getting a hot, filling lunch, too.
“I like being able to work at my own pace.”
Some days, math needs some extra time while English can be done in a flash. My older kids especially love that they aren’t having to sit through an English class for 50 minutes to do an assignment that takes 20. They can devote that extra 30 minutes to the Algebra they’re struggling with, or they can go ahead and get started on their biology. And they can also change up the order of their subjects as they please.
It’s awesome, too, because they can work ahead if they want! My daughter finished a year-long personal finance course in one semester. Why? She was enjoying the class and I allowed her to work as far ahead as she wanted! Now she has more free time in her second semester to pursue other interests. No wonder my kids love working at their own pace!
“I like that everything can be adjusted for how I learn best.” “I like being able to help choose my curriculum.”
These two really went hand-in-hand, and so I put them together. No, I don’t allow my kids to pick all their books or the subjects we cover, but they do get at least some say in what we study and what curricula we use. They love that. And I love that they take more interest in material they have helped to select.
They like, too, that I know their personalities and their strengths/weaknesses well enough to tailor their education for optimal learning. And when there are problems, we can make adjustments: The math curriculum that worked great for child #1 wasn’t working for child #2. A shift to a very visual, computer-based program made all the difference! The child who excels at reading and writing can have a literature-heavy language arts curriculum. The one who struggles with grammar and spelling can have a program focused more on the basics to better suit their needs.
What an awesome way to teach and learn!
“I love being able to do school in my pajamas.”
I’m not ashamed to share this one! Some homeschooling families feel like dressing for the day makes them more productive, and I respect that, but in our house we are fine with PJs during school. Pajamas haven’t done a thing to inhibit their learning, and my kids are still able to get up and get dressed for other early-morning activities without any problem.
“I like being able to sleep longer.”
No matter what you do or how strictly you try to enforce bedtimes, things often happen to keep kids from getting the sleep they need. An extra hour or two of sleep can make a big difference in how they feel and how they’re able to focus on learning. Sometimes a sick sibling can keep a child up for hours. A family emergency or a random bad dream can rob a child of sleep, and homeschooling allows for some make-up rest the following morning.
Besides, for some kids to get the sleep they really need, they have to be in bed so early their parents barely have any time with them after school!
“I like going on random field trips!”
I’m not a spontaneous person by nature, believe me, but I do on occasion throw my plans to the wind and we take off on some excursion to a museum or an event or a park. My kids love it when that happens! It’s a break from the monotony that is usually very refreshing for me, too. Weekday trips also come with the added benefit of smaller crowds and sometimes even reduced admission rates at various venues.
I’ll never forget the time I just happened to hear of a local, (and rather expensive!) museum offering free admission for that day only. So guess what happened! All other school plans went out the window and we spent the day at an amazing museum we really couldn’t afford to visit otherwise. It’s amazing being able to take advantage of these things because we aren’t held to the confines of a local school schedule.
While I hope my kids all choose to homeschool their own children someday, that decision will be theirs to make. It’s good to know, however, that they already appreciate just a few of the benefits they enjoy as a result of homeschooling.