With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it is the perfect time to give thanks for the gift of homeschooling. I’m in my 14th year of homeschooling (where have all the years gone?) and while this is far from the life I envisioned for myself as a young woman, I am very thankful for the gift of this lifestyle. Here are some reasons why I am thankful for homeschooling this year.
The Gift of Time
I’ve always felt that the gift of time is the greatest gift of homeschooling. In a traditional school system, children are at school six plus hours a day, not including any time spent commuting. Plus, there is often homework (and the associated battles that go with it) to be tackled later in the day. With homeschooling, work can be done more quickly and efficiently. Sure, there is the occasional day in which life / attitudes happen and homeschooling takes ALL day, but that is the exception, not the rule.
With the extra time in their days, homeschooled children have more of an opportunity to pursue their own interests and figure out what they are good at. They have more time to play, to daydream, and even to sleep. All of these are good things.
The Gift of Faith
Homeschooling allows us to live our faith with our children on a daily basis in our families. It can be part of school and part of life. Prayer can happen at various points throughout the day. Religion can be a formal class, but it can also be learned through living. Our children see us pray. They see us turn to God in times both good and bad. If our schedule allows, we can go to daily Mass. While it is certainly possible for children in other educational settings to have a solid faith formation, homeschooling offers a unique opportunity to share our faith.
The Gift of Togetherness
Homeschooling families spend a great deal of time together. No matter what other criticisms my children may be able to make of my parenting, they can’t say I haven’t been with them. We have read together and played together and learned together and sometimes cried together. I am thankful for this time I have shared with them.
The Gift of Flexibility
Homeschooling doesn’t mean that your children have to learn everything at home. At various points in our homeschool journey, my children have taken museum classes, done co-ops, attended hybrid schools, and enrolled at the local community college for dual enrollment. Homeschooling is always a year by year decision and I’ve learned to seek out and take advantage of new opportunities when needed or they present themselves.
We also have flexibility in terms of curriculum choices. There has not been a single year of homeschooling in which the plan I make over the summer in terms of what books we are going to use, subjects we are going to cover, etc. has not been changed over the course of the year. I’ve learned not to get too attached to whatever plan I might have and to trust that my children will learn what they should that year.
The Gift of Accommodation
My children all have special educational needs of one type or another. As my middle child recently said, “We don’t do neurotypical here.” Homeschooling has allowed me to accommodate their needs and help them learn in whatever way they learn best. I’m a big proponent of finding out how your child’s brain works and then working with that blueprint. God made each of our children unique. Homeschooling allows us to work with our unique children and provide an education that works for them.
The Gift of Friends
Throughout the years, I have been blessed with a supportive homeschool community. My children and I have made great friends who have shared life’s ups and downs with us. I can’t imagine homeschooling without them, and I am forever grateful.