We just started another homeschool year today - TJ's in 6th grade now. It's hard for me to believe that we have so many years of homeschooling behind us. Through that time there have been many memorable, special moments. And, of course, some memorable, not-so-great moments. But homeschooling has been a blessing for our family and I want to start our year by sharing the homeschool gifts we've been blessed with.
10 Homeschool Gifts
There are many ways homeschooling can be a blessing - and the list will be different for every family. The 10 reasons I list below are in no particular order of importance. Some are more important than others but, big or small, there are so many ways we've been blessed by choosing the homeschool life.
The gift of togetherness
Homeschooling means your kids will be with you most of the time. I know that many people don't see this as a blessing - but I do. Our family time is important to us and creating a strong family-first foundation is one of our many reasons for choosing homeschooling. Instead of a child that is peer-focused, her world is family-centered, something that is seriously lacking in our culture today. Yes, she loves to hang out with her friends and she certainly gets plenty of opportunities to be with them, but our family time is important and takes precedence.
The gift of childhood
Instead of the pre-teens pictured on various tv shows - eye-rolling and texting - I have a sweet daughter who loves spending time with her family. Unlike many of her peers, she still plays with toys and is enjoying her childhood. It's a sad fact that kids today are growing up much too fast and losing out on what should be a time of innocence and freedom. I am so thankful that homeschooling allows my daughter to mature at her own pace.
The gift of freedom
We can vacation in the off-season! I know it seems a bit silly, but it's important to me. Homeschooling means we aren't tied to a schedule or a particular program or textbook. We can find what works for us. Of course, that means I make mistakes and choose things that may not work. But I'm not stuck with it! I can drop that awful math program and try something new. We're free to do what we want when we want.
The gift of late mornings
As silly as it might seem, sleeping in and starting our day slowly is such a nice thing. None of us are morning people so we like that slow morning start. I can spend some time focusing my day and priorities. TJ can lie around and wake up slowly instead of being rushed by an alarm clock.
The gift of focus
It's easy to get excited by the wonderful homeschool programs available today and pack your days full of good stuff. But, after the newness wears off, those new programs aren't so much fun and it's easy to burn out. (I've been there!) Now I'm learning to focus on yearly goals. When we get busy we can focus on what's important and let the extras go. Focusing on what's important to us gives us time to explore and follow rabbit trails, which can be just as educational as all those wonderful programs.
The gift of free time
When you focus on your homeschooling goals and streamline your homeschool day, you create time for exploration and interest-led learning that isn't scheduled or mandated by a textbook. Kids learn so much from exploring their interests. Homeschooling gives us the gift of freedom - we can create our own schedule and give our kids plenty of time to explore and grow.
The gift of boredom
Along with free time, homeschooling gives our kids the gift of boredom. Yes, it's really a gift! When kids are bored they get creative with their time. The learn creativity and independence and how to entertain themselves. Instead of needing a parent or screen to entertain them, they learn to be self-sufficient.
The gift of slow & steady
We live in a fast-paced world that often thinks that speed is a good thing. But there isn't anything inherently 'good' about being fast and I am discovering that there are many benefits to taking the time to slow down and savor life. Even homeschooling life is better spent at a slow and steady pace rather than breakneck speed. Remember that your homeschool journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow down and savor those moments with your children.
The gift of a personalized plan
Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to focus on the things that interest our children. Of course, we need to cover the basics like math and writing, but we also have the chance to provide a highly individualized education for our kids. Whether they are quick learners or slow movers, we can create a plan that works for them.
The gift of self-education
As TJ gets older I realize how much I don't know and want to learn. So while homeschooling her, I'm also re-educating myself. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I lose my focus. But I am learning and growing and showing her that education doesn't stop when you graduate.
How has homeschooling blessed your family?
I'd love to know about the gifts & blessings you've received from homeschooling. It's hard work but there is a great payout!
If you're new to homeschooling, take a look at this page all about getting started - How to Homeschool.
Want to see what other homeschool families are saying? Find out what the iHomeschool Network bloggers are thankful for.