People do it for a reason. So let's find out why.
1. Increased family time and interconnection.
While most children who homeschool tend to participate in activities, classes, field trips, and gatherings outside the home, more often than not, you—as their homeschooling parent—will have at least some degree of involvement. Sometimes that will mean sitting in the back of the room while your child takes a class, or chatting with other parents while your children explore a museum, wildlife park, or other new place.
Even when you are simply dropping your child off for a class, chances are you'll know more about the class your child is taking than you would if he were enrolled full time in school. Why? Because as the primary organizer of your child's educational experience, you'll probably have been involved in helping him pick out or register for classes and activities. And therefore, you will likely have an idea of the content, the textbooks, and the teachers involved.
This involvement in your child's education can help you build a stronger connection with him. Chances are you'll be unlikely to have that much-dreaded and oft-parodied conversation so many parents face with school-age children.
"What did you do today?"
"Can you tell me just one thing that happened at school today?"
[Pause. Long silence.] "We had pizza for lunch."
Homeschoolers tend to know what their children have done in school each day, and sharing their children's educational experiences can lead to rich conversations and deeper connections.
Additionally, since "school work" tends to take far less time for homeschoolers, there is a greater portion of the day free for other types of interaction. And that means family time is much easier to come, since you have greater control of your schedule. Speaking of which…
2. Greater control over your schedule.
Traditionally schooled children spend about 35 hours a week "doing school." More, when you add in travel time. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, can save copious amounts of time simply by not having to deal with the institution's inevitable formal structures: homeroom periods, announcements, roll calls, forming and waiting in lines, catching and riding the bus, changing classes, waiting while teachers deal with discipline issues or attempt to get the class to quiet down, and the like.
Because they don't have to deal with many of these features, the school work that homeschoolers engage in (at least, for those that institute some form of structured learning in their days) often takes far less time to complete. Many homeschoolers report structuring their days so that "school work" takes place in the morning, say from 9am to noon, leaving afternoons free for…whatever pops up.
And of course, if there's a new exhibit at the museum or a visiting author at the library one morning, school work can easily be shifted to a different time of day, or even a different day of the week, to accommodate the special event.
Since homeschoolers don't have to adhere to strict school schedules and structures, and since work can often be accomplished more quickly and with fewer distractions, homeschoolers tend to have much more freedom, flexibility, and control over their schedules. And that's something just about everyone would jump on board for.
3. Avoiding the morning rush.
The dreaded feeling that the bus will be here in five minutes and you still have to pack up your school work, finish your breakfast, brush your teeth, and put on your shoes.
No such thing in the homeschool world. That morning rush that inevitably, at least every once in awhile, hands you a big snag just isn't part of the equation. Or, when it is—when you have an activity, event, class, or gathering to get to early in the a.m.—it will likely be the exception and not the rule.
Homeschooling kids can even (gasp!) sleep in if they wish, depending upon how they and their families have chosen to organize their days. So all that business about adolescents needing more sleep, high school students being worthless during first period, and the huge undertaking required to shift school schedules later by a mere fifteen minutes? Yeah. None of that even needs to be on your radar.
4. Seeing your child's joys and successes firsthand.
As a homeschooling parent, you will likely be the first person to observe your child reading, writing, and grasping a new concept. This is one of the greatest joys teachers report experiencing—witnessing the joy and wonder of learning—and it's easy to understand why.
It can be a tremendous thing to see the light bulb go on above someone's head (and, literally, in their eyes) when they understand or achieve something for the first time. And when you homeschool, you often get to be present for that experience, whether you are the actual teacher in that moment or not.
5. Learning opportunities galore…for everyone.
It is often said that if you want to learn something and learn it well, you should try to teach it to someone else. The process of teaching—thinking through how to convey a concept so that another person will understand it—often solidifies the concept for the teacher as well.
When you homeschool your children, you may find that you will get a chance to re-educate yourself and better learn concepts that may not have stuck with you the first time around. And of course, when you experience the joy of learning along with your child, you will be modeling lifelong learning and helping set your child on a course of curiosity and exploration that can continue throughout her life.
In case you want your bubble burst, this may be a good time to check out the challenges of homeschooling. Hey, we like to keep things even.
If you're looking for award-winning materials to supplement your homeschool curricula, check out our Homeschool plan for you and your students!