As a mom who homeschooled my children for 21 years, I have definite opinions on homeschooling. While homeschooling may not be the best choice for every family, it proved to be one of our best decisions.
We began homeschooling in 1985, when many viewed it as more of a cult rather than enjoying the widespread acceptance it does today. People didn’t know much about it, and because it was a break from the traditional norm, most onlookers were skeptical.
But being convinced that this path was right for our children, we made the decision year after year to continue homeschooling, even amidst questions and strange looks from concerned family members and friends.
Although every homeschooling family’s experience may vary, here are the positive results that we experienced in teaching our children at home:
- Stronger relationships. Being together at home gave many more opportunities to connect with our children over the years and for them to have time with each other. This is a plus because it meant we as parents had a significant influence in their values and beliefs. It also allowed for the children to be closer to each other and to be more committed to the family as a whole.
Appropriate socialization. While it is often thought that children need to be around peers to be properly socialized, we found that being around adults more and age-mates less resulted in better socialization. In addition, this caused our children to be more comfortable conversing with adults as well as with their own generation.
Freedom to explore and develop other interests. Since homeschooling is comparatively like being tutored, less time is necessary to cover all the basic subjects. That left additional time available for focusing on individual interests: music, cooking, or even a home business.
Confidence. Our children tended to have a high self-confidence that I believe was a result of studying on their own and not being intimidated by those in their class. They knew who they were and what they believed. They were not easily dissuaded by peers.
A flexible school calendar. Not being bound to a public school’s schedule gave us a chance to travel or even take a spontaneous vacation on our own time. The same number of school days had to be fulfilled and core subjects covered, but when and where we schooled was left up to us, the parents.
Equipped with essential life skills. In order to prepare our children for their future, we chose to make basic life skills part of our homeschool curriculum. Time management, home management, money management and business skills were requirements in our home. Some of these subjects may be covered in a traditional school, but we felt overall that the depth of our teaching resulted in our children being better equipped to adapt to life on their own after leaving home.
While homeschooling may not be the best choice for every family, it proved to be one of our best decisions.
We never planned to homeschool our children all the way through high school. It was a year by year decision—and we did end up educating all five through high school. Every year was not perfect and there were struggles, but for us the benefits far outweighed the trials involved. It was not just Mom and Dad who appreciated the benefits, but also our children—especially as they look back on their experience.
Question: If you have educated your kids at home, what other benefits have you experienced? Share your answer in the comments below.