Every family who chooses to homeschool has their own reasons for making that choice. The reasons to homeschool are as varied as the families themselves. We are now in our seventh year of homeschooling. My reasons to homeschool has changed over the years but we remain convinced that it is the best education environment for my kids and family. Everyone’s situation is different, so I will never say homeschooling is the only “right” way to raise a family. I can only share my family’s experience and the positive effect it has on my family. Initially, we chose it because I thought it would be fun and I didn’t like the idea of rushing to a school every morning early with several little ones. Selfish, I know! Once we discovered a mix of disabilities and challenges that we are adapting to, I knew we couldn’t go back. So here are my top nine reasons we choose homeschooling!
1. Creating a Family Culture:
The homeschool lifestyle means spending ALL your time together. Naturally the people you spend your time with are who you have your strongest relationships. Living and learning together lets us build strong relationships with one another. By sharing the stories of our readalouds and learning together, my kids build memories together that show up later in their play. Its my desire that my kids actually want to spend time together as they grow to be adults, so investing in their sibling relationships byspending time intentionally together learning is part of making that happen.
2. Personal Learning Environments:
The traditional classroom presents challenges to Out of the Box Kids. A chaotic environment, florescent lights, lots of people or open spaces can all distract these special kids from learning. We have adjusted our physical school space to be free of unnecessary distractions, and our small class size helps each child focus better. They also don’t have to wait on others to finish a task or project before moving on to their next assignment. His first couple years of school each of my kids would sit in my lap to do their work at the table, and the physical closeness helps them stay focused at the task at hand. One of my kids has an IEP that would be used if he was in a traditional classroom. Instead of feeling singled out for needing something to be different, it’s just the norm in our classroom.
3. Family Centered Routine:
Out of the Box kids thrive with a daily routine. Homeschooling allows us to keep a routine year round and let it ebb and flow when the family needs it. We can take Monday off after a hectic weekend or start an hour later so everyone can rest Our school schedule is not interrupted by sudden breaks like Presidents Day or Teacher In-service. When we moved across the country one summer we schooled year round for the first time because the routine let the kids hold on to something familiar when there was so much changing around them.
4. Therapy is Built In:
When one child was in Preschool Pencil Grip
was a big deal. They worked on it twice a week with a private Occupational Therapist (OT). Now that they are writing daily we enforce the proper grip each time they picked up a pencil. When another child needed a Speech therapist, he was given homework, which just added to his daily school list. It was incorporated into his checklist and routine. We concentrated on how he used his focus sounds in our talking each day. At the last evaluation, it was deemed unnecessary to return to the therapy clinic because the therapist saw the progress we were making at home with the supports we had learned.
5. Shortened School Day:
Even now that we are starting middle school level classes. We are frequently done with our formal learning before lunch. The Elementary students are usually done in only 2 hours. We set aside our morning for school. Any work that continues after lunch is usually an independent assignment or two. After lunch or time is filled with free play, errands and independent projects. We can move through material as a family and learn all together creating an efficient learning style for mom’s planning. The shortened school day leaves time for exploring interests that could lead to careers and time to learn through play.
6. Moving While We Learn:
All kids like to move and squirm, and this is especially true for Out of the Box Kids. In our homeschool we are able to be flexible about how school happens. Our family learning usually happens cuddled on the couch, or sometimes bouncing on a trampoline. Hands are busy with fidgit toys or drawing. I keep the lessons hands on and engaging. Activities are short as they move to different stations for different tasks. We use a visual timer to give them a break in the playroom between tasks when they get restless. Sometimes we trade answering reading comprehension questions for building the story in Minecraft. We can let them bounce on a yoga ball while reciting their spelling words to us.
7. Parents are Primary Influences:
Most everyone understands that a primary responsibility of parents is to help our kids grow to maturity. The flip side of that responsibility is that we should also be careful to introduce the world to them only to the extent that they’re mature enough to handle what they’re being exposed to. Sometimes children, being emotionally sensitive and taking things very literally, need our help to put the right context to big concepts that are thrown at them. We can take the time to discuss events and give them the context they are ready for. One child is very literal and sees things good and bad so many conversations have happened as we study American History and discuss the racial issues and treatment.
8. Traveling in the off-season:
Having a flexible homeschool schedule allows us to travel when its convenient and during less busy times of the year. We can take advantage of off season and mid-week specials. The mild weather of Fall or Spring make it more enjoyable as well. With children who can be easily overwhelmed by crowds and chaos, visiting places at less busy times is a big deal. I have found on less busy days at parks that staff are more inclined to engage with my kids, providing extra insights and memories to the experience. Its can be much more fun (and cheaper) to add an adventure day to an already planned trip than take an additional trip to the same area later.
9. Instilling a Love of Learning:
I get the privilege to watch my kids ask questions and look for the answers. We have the flexibility to adjust what we are learning as a family to follow someone’s interest. After a road trip stop at Space Center Houston, one child couldn’t stop asking questions, so we paused our science unit on birds and spend 6 weeks learning about NASA and the Space Race. I acted as their guide finding books and other media for them to use to answer their questions and enjoy. We do not have to be concerned about teaching to the test as many classroom teachers do. We are free to pursue rabbit trails that pique our kids’ interests, wherever those may lead.
What is your reason for wanting to homeschool?