Have I mentioned lately how blessed we are to be a homeschool family? Sure, homeschooling takes work and there are sacrifices to be made. Let’s not forget that our home constantly looks lived in, but the gifts we receive in return are priceless.
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The 10 Gifts of Homeschool
Today, we celebrate the gift of homeschool! Here are just a few reasons homeschooling is a gift to our family:
1. We fully live our faith.
Like many parents who are believers, we take the commands of Deuteronomy 6 seriously. For us, homeschooling makes this command doable. Hear what I’m saying here: for us, homeschooling makes this command doable. All of that impressing and talking is much easier when you’re not apart for ten+ hours each day. I’m not saying it’s impossible to live Deuteronomy 6 without homeschooling, but the lifestyle that homeschooling provides helps tremendously.
2. We get to be the first voice.
There’s lots to talk in the world today and there’s no shortage of opinions on any subject. One reason I’m grateful for homeschooling is that we can introduce and cover sensitive topics in our time and on our terms and do so proactively.
We’ve had many experiences where people we respect don’t share our worldview or even simply our views on the black and white issues — and the gray area in between. Sometimes we don’t agree with how liberal those views are, sometimes we don’t agree with how legalistic they are, and sometimes those views directly contradict our faith.
By homeschooling, we’re able to limit the confusion that comes along with hearing too many voices at once and to be the first voice. Being the first voice isn’t about sheltering our children; it’s about teaching them rather than reacting to what they’ve heard elsewhere. It arms our children with what they need when the other voices start shouting. To say that having the first voice is a gift is an understatement. It’s more than a gift — it’s a valuable necessity in this world.
3. We can do life together.
I love the fact that homeschooling allows us to be more than a group of people who sleep under the same roof. Life was so different before homeschool. Once upon a time Hubby worked full time, I worked full time, and we had The Boy in daycare. On an average day, we’d leave our home by 7 AM, drop him off at daycare by 7:15, and arrive at work by 8 AM.
We would get off at 5 PM, fight traffic for an hour, pick up The Boy from daycare, and get home by 6:30 or so. I’d walk in the door, start a load of laundry, and cook dinner. By the time 8 PM rolled around, I’d be cleaning dinner dishes and working on more laundry while Hubby helped with bath time for The Boy. By the time laundry was put away and dishes were done, it was also bedtime for all of us.
We had no time together — it’s no way to live as a family. I don’t miss that at all. Perhaps this is the very gift that sums up all of the others. Homeschooling is doing life together
4. We serve together.
With my husband being a minister, his schedule is often all over the place and unpredictable. I shudder to think how little time he would have to spend with us without the lifestyle we have through homeschooling.
Also, as with most ministers, Hubby isn’t alone in minstry. The kids and I show up early, stay late, and do lots to help behind the scenes when we can. We do it because it’s our calling too, and because we want to help him however we can. We get to serve together; a lot of that is because of homeschool.
5. We control our time.
Well, as much as possible. We can’t always call the shots, but homeschooling allows us the opportunity to participate in as much or as little as we like. It also affords us the time to simply rest when we need it. I think we can all agree that rest is a gift in itself!
I’m grateful that we have the freedom and flexibility to plan our days, weeks, and months according to our needs and our preferences. We can operate on our own schedule, run our own race, and do what’s best for us and not the local school board.
6. Our kids can be kids.
Homeschooling allows our children the chance to truly be kids. Because our school day usually ends by lunchtime, our kids have the afternoons to be kids. They can play, read, explore, whatever. They get free time every day.
It breaks my heart that so many kids today don’t really get to be kids anymore. Many kids are so overscheduled today for the sake of sports, extracurricular activities, and, gasp, socialization that they rarely have downtime. Many even experience societal shaming for playing dolls, action figures, and other sorts of imaginative games. I’ve witnessed that peer pressure first-hand on many occasions. Somewhere along the way, society decided that imagination was for preschoolers only. That’s so incredibly wrong.
When I say that I’m thankful that our kids get to be kids, I’m serious. Homeschooling and the gift of childhood go hand in hand. We can gift the time to play and encourage imagination and in turn avoid some of the shaming that could come to an older kid with an active imagination.
7. Our kids can be friends.
I realize that siblings don’t always get along and often have personalities that clash. Trust me, I see that every day. But, what I also see every day is brother-sister relationship between my children that has tons of benefits. While they’ve been known to get frustrated with one another and argue, they also enjoy being together.
The time they get together through homeschooling is a beautiful thing. They explore, they assist and encourage one another, and they work together. Despite their difference in age, they both benefit from these things. Sometimes my eldest provides the encouragement and sometimes he’s receiving it. Sometimes my youngest needs help from him, but she’s been known to be his assistant at times. It’s give and take for both of them and I’m thankful that they understand both giving and receiving early in life.
For the sake of keeping it real, there are times when the personality clashes are ugly. Because they are together so much, they’re forced to work through their differences and learn to love each other anyway. That’s a valuable thing! Life is full of relationships, even friendships, that take work. Why not learn how to navigate those early on?
8. Interacting with people of all ages is second nature.
One of the biggest criticisms about homeschooling usually boils down to socialization. Ironically, homeschooling is the very thing that makes our children so comfortable with people of all ages and walks of life. Their lives have never been shaped around sitting in a room all day with children the same age. Since when does only interacting with people of one age prepare you for real life anyway? I’m telling you, homeschooling is truly a gift!
9. We can develop their interests.
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to naturally weave our children’s interests into their education. From child-led learning to unit studies, to simply lingering on certain topics because they’re not ready to be done with them yet, customized education is definitely a gift.
Beyond academics, homeschooling gives our children opportunity after opportunity to explore hobbies, practice our gifts, and dare I say it, even chase dreams. This is also where our school time ending mid-day makes a difference. Afternoons are for play, but they are often spent working on self-led projects.
Some kids hone in on sports or music, but The Boy’s current project is a comic book he’s writing and illustrating. We are blessed to not only have the time for him to pursue this, but also to be able to integrate help for the process into his homeschooling. We’ve been able to incorporate drawing comics into our art, do career studies on comic artists, and even learn about the writing process by working it into our homeschool.
10. We experience the learning journey together.
There’s nothing like being there for the journey. There’s nothing like working to teach your child to read for months and then seeing the light bulb go off when it clicks. Seeing that unmistakable joy on his face and the sense of empowerment in his voice is second to none.
From reading, to math, to science, and history, experiencing the successes and even the failures first-hand is a gift that homeschooling alone provides. You can’t get that one anywhere else.
So, yeah, homeschooling brings lots of gifts to the table. We are beyond blessed that God has called us to this life. What about you? What things are you thankful for when it comes to homeschooling?
Stop by What I’m Thankful For by iHomeschool Network and see the many ways homeschooling is a blessing to families.