Inside: 24 benefits of homeschooling your kids, for the parents who need convincing, and the homeschool parent wondering whether homeschooling is really worth it.
“You were born to blaze new trails, pioneer great adventures…”
My husband noticed the sign and chuckled. Defensively, I asked him why he was laughing. I loved those inspirational words!
He remarked, “Well, you’re not really a trailblazer. You prefer the beaten path. You love the beaten path, actually. Do you know how hard it is to blaze a new trail? To make a trail where there has never been one before?”
He’s right you know, about the beaten path, which is probably why I wonder so frequently whether homeschooling is really the bestchoice.
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The Benefits of Homeschooling: Why It’s Easy to Forget
As much as it stung initially, he was absolutely right. I love the beaten path. I love the reassurance that many other people have traveled the road I’m walking.
I am so very far from being an adventurer. I love to know where I’m going, start to finish, a precise, predetermined route. Trailblazing is the last thing I normally want to do.
That explains why I so frequently question our choice to homeschool. Because homeschooling is trailblazing (especially relaxed homeschooling), and in trailblazing, the outcome isn’t always clear.
Homeschooling is trusting my children in ways I was never trusted as a child. It’s believing in an educational choice that the world does its best to tear down on a regular basis. Homeschooling, while picking up steam, is still far from mainstream, and because there are so many varieties and styles of homeschooling, it really is like each one of us blazing our own little trail.
And my husband was right: blazing your own trail is flipping hard.
On top of homeschooling being a non-mainstream lifestyle choice, most of us homeschool moms only know “real school”. Most of us were not homeschooled ourselves. We are feeling our way in the dark, barely able to see what’s right in front of us.
No matter how many homeschool success stories you hear, you still wonder deep down, “Will my child be one of them?”
It’s normal to get forget homeschooling’s many benefits because we are too busy stressing about not being able to see the whole picture. We can’t see the destination ahead.
We can only see the ridiculously huge bushes on the trail right in front of our faces that need to be hacked away to get where we are trying to go…and we aren’t entirely sure that the trail we’re blazing will actually take us there.
Homeschooling is pretty much all faith that this trail will get our kids where we want them to end up. Then again, isn’t that true of all parenting decisions?
All parenting is faith.
Whether you are trying to decide to homeschool at all, or your faith in your homeschool choice is running thin, these benefits of homeschooling are exactly what you need to read to decide whether or not to homeschool…for the first time or all over again.
24 Benefits of Homeschooling for Kids
My kids get to play for hours a day, and they need it. Play is the best form of learning for children of all ages.
Life is short, and we’re building precious memories together. Friends come and go, but family is forever. That’s what we’re cultivating being around each other 24/7.
3) More time for reading-aloud.
Reading-aloud checks almost every learning box. If we’re doing that, we’re doing a lot.
4) Questions can be encouraged, instead of squelched.
Answering their most pressing, fascinating, and never-ending questions is something most teachers don’t get to do (even though they’d love to). In a classroom, the bazillion questions of the little years would likely go unanswered and would eventually peter out.
5) More time for “big, juicy conversations.”
This is a term coined by Julie Bogart, creator of Brave Writer. Those types of conversations probably wouldn’t happen as often if they were at school all day.
6) Older kids can teach the younger ones.
7) They can go to the bathroom, in a private bathroom, whenever they need to.
As a mom whose first child held her pee all day long (8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) when attending homeschool co-op two days a week, I can attest that this is a true gift.
8) Their emotions can be processed right away.
They can process emotions in the moment, with an adult who knows and loves them, instead of bottling them up to explode later.
9) They more easily develop (and keep) a love of learning.
If they can read at a high level and love learning, what more do they need?
10) Entire subjects can be taught must faster to one, two, or even three children, than to an class of 24.
All of elementary math can be taught in 20 contact hours, when students are ready and eager to learn.
11) They get to be the teacher, too.
My kids are constantly teaching me new facts, almost every single day. These are things I never learned that they are learning in books they’ve read or educational shows they’ve watched.
12) Time to figure out what they love to do.
My kids already know what they want to be when they grow up. Most adults don’t.
13) They get to see up close the amount of time and effort it takes to run a household.
That’s worth it’s weight in gold. #realitycheck
14) The adult(s) that is the most committed to their success gets to direct their education.
Schools fail kids every single day. Parents love their kids fiercely, and most parents want them to succeed in life more than any school or teacher ever will.
15) They get intensive character development.
Sometimes, I spend entire days just working on their character. Maybe that’s what our world really needs…how would it be different if character was a first priority, instead of an after-thought?
16) Kids are free to retain what interests them, what they need to know, and what they love learning about.
How often as an adult, do you learn something just because someone says you have to? Pretty much never. You learn something because you need to or you want to. A lot of learning in school is unnecessary (otherwise, why do we all forget 90% of it?).
17) They don’t spend the majority of their time with their peers.
Yes, I consider this a benefit. I don’t want to send my kids to spend the majority of their life with their peers. Who you spend the most time with has the most say and influence in your life.
Do you really want those kids to have the most influence over your child? I sure don’t.
18) They can be kids, while they are kids.
Childhood is short, and our world tries to make kids grow up faster and faster.
Why not spend childhood:
- sleeping until your body wakes you up (instead of being woken up)
- being home most of the time (because most adults aren’t home very much at all)
- living life with the most important people in the world to you (it’ll be over in a blink, older moms say)
- playing pretend as long as they want to (play has so many benefits, including stress relief!)
- not doing anything adult way too soon (that goes for intense pressure to perform, sexual stuff, the works)
They’ll be adults before you know it. Save the adult stuff for adulthood.
19) Socialization is more balanced.
“Schools provide the same type of socialization prisons provide. Students are taught to walk through desolate hallways, to sit quietly for long periods of time, to listen to authority figures, and to be like everyone else. To be fair, there is socialization at school, but do you really want your child to be socialized in that way?“ (source)
Instead, homeschooling allows my kids to spend time with a variety of different people in the real world every single day: our elderly neighbors, their peers, younger and older kids, and adults.
20) If you work from home, your kids can watch you.
My husband and I both work from home (him part-time, me part-time). Our kids see us working, so they understand exactly how we earn money and what we do with our day.
21) Love of learning is easier to cultivate and protect.
My kids beg to do math, love listening to stories, jump up and down to do science experiments, and write and draw when they’re inspired to do so. While some kids who attend traditional school love learning, too, I more often hear about school with sighs and groans.
22) They are removed from a system that depends on pushing kids along, conveyor belt style.
Your kids aren’t on a conveyor belt system being passed to the next grade, under the authority of teachers who are pressured to meet impossible standards and timelines (God, help those teachers!).
23) They don’t have to learn just to perform or show what they know.
They don’t need to cram information for a test. They learn because they think it’s fun, because they’re interested in the subject, and because they need to know it.
24) You can schedule a beach vacation during the off-season (when its cheap and empty).
I’m pretty serious about this one. This benefit of homeschooling is undeniably awesome!
Write Your Own “Benefits of Homeschooling” List
This is my list, specific to my family and reasons for homeschooling. There are many, many more that could be added to this list. Add to this list other homeschool benefits, specific to your family and philosophy of education.
Most of this list came from reading: lots and lots of reading. If you’re struggling to come up with benefits, these books are a great place to start.
The important thing about making your own list of benefits is to do it when you are thinking clearly, when things are going well. That’s when you remember all the benefits of homeschooling, the reasons you chose it in the first place.
And maybe we can encourage each other to worry just a little less about the destination, and just enjoy the journey.
Read Next: For the Mom Who Wants to Quit Homeschooling