It seems like yesterday that I made the decision to homeschool, and every year when September approaches I reflect on why I homeschool and decide if I should continue for another year. Now that I am going on my 6th year of homeschooling and as I again reflect on my WHY, I wanted to take a moment to document my reasons here and share them with you. In no particular order, here are a few of the many reasons why I choose to homeschool:
1. I Love Spending Time with My Kids
Call me selfish but I like the fact that my children get to spend the majority, often the entirety, of their waking hours with me. I get to know them and learn more about them each day and over the years as they get older. Not only does homeschool present the opportunity for creating closer bonds between my children and I, but also closer bonds between siblings.
Being homeschooled myself for two years in elementary school, I can confidently say that during those two years I got to know my little sister like never before. We had a 4 year age gap between the two of us, and on top of that our personalities clashed. But during the years we were homeschooled we played dolls together, made secret clubs and code messages, we walked to the corner store together to buy candy, and we developed so many lasting memories and our first real friendship with each other.
I want my kids to be best friends with each other and have the time to nourish their relationships with each other. I want my kids to know me and feel safe and comfortable confiding in me with their problems, or sharing their dreams, or rolling around on the floor with me in a fit of giggles. I want to be the one to watch their expressions as they see the baking soda and vinegar volcano erupt, and be the one to sit with them during lunch time and talk about how their morning went. I want to be the one spending time with my kids during their precious childhood years that seem to fly by in the blink of an eye.
2. I Enjoy Teaching
With a background in Early Childhood Education, and as a former Kindergarten Teacher, not to mention my brief stint of being a homeschooled child myself- I have developed a love of teaching. But not the type of teaching you may expect. It is more of a shared learning experience with me in the role of a guide and a facilitator. There is just something about corralling resources and materials from many different places with the help of my children and laying it all out for a fun session of learning.
I remember back when I was homeschooled, my mom used to give me the Ontario Curriculum and tell me to look over the learning objectives I was to complete that year and then I had to go to the library and find books on those topics, or we’d peruse other topics or pick up fun resources from the local Teacher supply store. It was such a contrast to the learning environment in school. At school we would be given lessons, worksheets, homework, and tests and complete everything the teacher asked of us. We rarely sought out information or explored topics other than the subjects presented to us, there just wasn’t enough time to with all the work we were already doing and all the homework we had to complete. It wasn’t until I was homeschooled that I began to take ownership of my learning and seek out information on my own.
I remember in public school during High School Art class there were many chapters in our textbook that covered Art History, one of them being Islamic Art History. We studied every chapter except the one on Islamic Art History. When I approached the teacher about the skipped chapter, she said we just wouldn’t have enough time that year to go over the topic. That was my first real wake up call about how the public school system was really selective in their teaching.
Now that I am homeschooling my children I have the opportunity to learn along side them and I find myself often filling in the gaps of my own public school education. Our homeschool learning is not limited to one textbook, one curriculum, or one philosophy. Opportunities to learn what we want, when we want, and study certain topics that intrigue us for longer periods or more in depth is just something that isn’t possible in a room full of 30 students. I know this first hand, being both a student, and a teacher in the classroom. I may often refer to myself as the teacher of our Little Woods Homeschool, but in fact I am merely a guide and facilitator, learning right along side my kids, and I love it!
3. It Suits Our Family’s Schedule
When you homeschool, learning can happen anywhere and anytime. The flexibility alone would make me want say yes to homeschooling over and over again.
My husband has been working night shift since well before we got married 13 years ago, with inconsistent days and time off. The year that I taught my daughter Junior Kindergarten at school, was the year I barely saw my husband because of the incongruent timings of our work schedules. I would go to work all day, come home cook, he would wake up, have dinner, and then rush out the door to work, and I would go to sleep, wake up and repeat the process. I wouldn’t see him again until the next day at dinner time.
When it came time to decide whether to put my daughter in school, homeschooling made perfect sense. Being able to take a few days off from homeschooling and spend time with my husband when he is off is gold. We can see him everyday when he comes home from work at breakfast time, and when he wakes up to pray the afternoon prayer, we’re there. He will sometimes stay up after prayer and bring the kids to the park too. We don’t follow a Monday-Friday schedule, we follow my husband’s schedule. If he is off Monday to Thursday this week, so are we. We also have the flexibility to go on family vacations, even during the most inconvenient months of the year, because we are not constrained by schedules and timeframes.
4. Kids Learn at Their Own Pace and Learning Style
This is not really something that contributed to my initial decision for homeschooling, but was something I began to appreciate once I had more kids and as I continued to homeschool over the years. I can see it in children, just how unique each one is. I love the fact that I can cater to my children’s learning styles and take more time on subjects they need more practice on, or take less time on subjects they quickly grasp.
I remember when I was in grade 1 and 2, I would often finish my work early but I was never given the opportunity to learn more or grow beyond the level of the class. Instead, I would be instructed to help the other students who required help. I liked helping the other children, but I would often have a longing feeling to try or to learn something more. I do appreciate the fact that my elder children can support my younger children in their learning, but I also know that it won’t inhibit their learning in the process. My children are not held back by each other, or pushed forward too quickly by each other. They are all learning in their own way and in their own time.
I know that my eldest learns best through hand-on instruction, excelling with learning through games, activities, workshops, and even digital learning. My second eldest on the other hand thrives on doing worksheets, workbooks, printables, and reading and writing, learning the way one would in a traditional school setting. I’ve studied many different educational philosophies and in the end it boils down to the individuality of each child. I may be a fan of the Montessori method, but if I’m honest, it is a method of learning that doesn’t gel with every child. That’s cool though, because the beauty of homeschooling is that we have the ability to be eclectic in our learning approach.
5. The World is Our Classroom
Need I say more? When the world is your classroom the possibilities and opportunities for learning are endless. One day our classroom may be at the beach studying seashells, seaweed, and seagulls. The next week it may be at a Senior’s home spending time with the elderly and being gifted with golden tidbits of their wisdom. The next month it may be on the other side of the world learning about new cultures, history, and architecture. Learning can be spontaneous and it can be experienced in a way that it can’t be within the confines of the 4 walls of a classroom.
Yes in a school room there may be opportunities to go on field trips. But how many? One of the things I love about homeschooling is the amazing homeschool community. There are always mothers organizing field trips and there is never a shortage of something to do. But even a trip to the grocery store with mom can be turned into a learning experience about creating a healthy meal plan, budgeting, and doing mental math.
Well there you have it, those are a few of the reasons that I homeschool. I do have other reasons and I could go on and on, but for the sake of the length of this post, I will cut it short here.
Everyone’s reasons for homeschooling can vary widely and it’s always interesting to hear their stories. So Im curious, do you homeschool your children? If you do what are some of the reasons you choose to homeschool?