5 reasons why homeschooling was the best decision for our family
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If you had told me a year ago that I would be homeschooling my kids, I’d think you were nuts. Now, though? I’ll happily share why homeschooling was one of the best decisions we’ve made for our family. A lot can happen in a year, right?!
First things first, if you don’t already know about me, I am a married mom to two young boys. Before I became a mom, though, I was a special education teacher. Even with a degree in education, deciding to homeschool my children was not an easy decision to make. After all, I went through public school and then taught in two public schools myself. Why wouldn’t I feel like the public school environment would be good enough for my kids, too? Even though some could say I’m better prepared to homeschool my children (I’m not, trust me, teaching children in school is a completely different ballgame than teaching my own children), making the decision to switch from public schooling to homeschooling was a decision that was not taken lightly.
If you’re trying to make a decision for your own family, hopefully our experiences can help you. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have through email, but, in the meantime, I’m sharing 5 reasons why homeschooling was the best decision for our family.
Why homeschooling? Self Esteem.
Not to brag or anything, but my boys are probably some of the most easy-going happy kids I’ve ever met. Sure, they don’t always get along with each other and sometimes may not be happy about what’s being made for dinner some nights, but, in general, they are happy kids.
My oldest especially loved school. When he started kindergarten, he had an incredible amount of school spirit. He’d beg me to buy clothes with the school mascot and wanted to attend every single school event. He loved being around his friends, admired the heck out of his teachers, and was excited to learn.
In the last year or two, though, I had noticed that his excitement had faded a bit. He’d tell me that kids wouldn’t play with him on the playground. That his teachers weren’t giving him the same positive attention other students were receiving. He wasn’t doing as well with his schoolwork and completing homework was a battle. I thought maybe it was just that he was growing up and getting moody, but he had also started losing hair and…that’s not typical for a child his age.
After a few visits to a dermatologist, he had been diagnosed with stress-induced alopecia. School was stressing him out so much that he was losing hair. I know it’s not always easy for kids to navigate social cliques and such at school, but elementary school should not be so stressful that a child is losing hair over the experience.
Now that we homeschool, I’ve noticed an increase in both of my boys self esteem. No more hair loss, no more crying about homework.
Why homeschooling? Family Time.
My husband has a long work commute – about an hour each way. He’ll leave home early in the morning and doesn’t come back until around the time some kids go to bed. This does not allow for much family time during the week.
When the boys were still in public school, we’d eat dinner when my husband got home, but the boys would go to bed right after dinner. Pretty much all quality family time had to happen on the weekend and that just wasn’t enough for us.
Now that we homeschool, the boys can stay up later to spend time with dad (and me!) because they don’t have to wake up at 6:30 in the morning for school. This is awesome since we all seem to be natural night owls.
Why homeschooling? Learning Styles.
Both my boys do best with hands-on learning. They like to do experiments, build models, visit museums. Although their public school classes did go on two field trips a year, and I’m sure the teachers did their best to teach in a variety of ways, when my kids are learning at home, they are receiving a totally customized education.
In addition to watching a movie about United States history (they both LOVE Hamilton), we can actually drive over the bridge to Philadelphia and visit the historical landmarks. My oldest loves science and inventing things, so we visited Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite last year. My youngest loves dinosaurs, so we visited a dinosaur exhibit at a local museum.
Pretty much every lesson can be turned into a hands-on experience and I love that we’re able to take advantage of that by homeschooling.
Why homeschooling? Empowerment.
Just as we all have different learning styles, we all have different interests. Both of my boys love science – they wish we could do experiments every single day! If they were still in a typical school, they would only be able to learn about science when it was scheduled for the entire class or would have to see if there was time to do it at home.
One aspect I’ve really enjoyed about homeschooling my boys is getting to really delve into their passions. My oldest dreams of owning a restaurant one day so, in our homeschooling day, we’ll follow a recipe together. It helps him to work on his culinary skills and knowledge, and also touches on math, science, and sometimes even history! My youngest adores video games and recently started playing Minecraft. While he gets plenty of free time to create whatever he’d like in the game, I also give him challenges to build specific monuments or use only a certain amount of materials to build something.
The result? My kids are learning without even realizing it. They love doing activities they’re passionate about and I love being able to teach them in non-traditional ways.
Why homeschooling? Flexibility.
As mentioned in the “family time” section, homeschooling has allowed us to spend more time together as a family and we really appreciate that! Somewhat related, we love the flexibility that homeschooling has afforded us.
My kids are naturally night owls. It’s ok because my husband and I are the same way! Since we homeschool, the boys can stay up later at night and can wake up when their bodies are naturally ready. We aren’t waking up to a buzzing alarm clock each morning and rushing to eat breakfast, get dressed in a coordinating & seasonally appropriate outfit, and make it to school by a certain time. Now, we wake up, eat breakfast, and start school in our pajamas. Yep, we’re that family. Some days we stay in our pajamas all day, but THAT’S OK because the kids are comfortable and, if we’re not going out anywhere, what does it really matter if we change into our regular clothes?
We’re also able to make up our own school schedule. If we get done all of our activities and want to take Friday off? Sure! If we want to take a drive up to visit family in the middle of the week? Sure! My kids can get their schoolwork done in their car seats while I’m driving if they need to. If the kids want to work on their math workbook at 8pm on a Tuesday night? Go for it! We can travel whenever we want to, we can take field trips whenever we want to, we can take a day off of lessons if needed because our schedule is flexible and learning does NOT just have to happen between the hours of 9-3:30 Monday – Friday.
Well, there you have it! Believe me, there are plenty more reasons why homeschooling has been an amazing choice for my family, but these 5 reasons get the message through pretty well, don’t you think? If you have any questions about homeschooling, or would just love some input, feel free to email me – I’d be happy to help!