I know, I know! Not EVERY homeschool day feels like a gift! When the laundry is piling up, the baby is crying, or a child is having a fit over their math lesson, it’s easy to forget the reasons you love to homeschool. But there are so many moments that are gifts: like that first sentence read, the moment a science lesson clicked, or the first story your child writes. Almost every day I see something on the news that makes me thankful that I homeschooled my two children.
Our children aren’t perfect, and our homes aren’t always blissful, but sometimes we just need a reminder that homeschooling is truly a gift! Let’s count the gifts that homeschooling provides. Can you think of even more? How much do we love homeschooling? Let’s count the ways!
Homeschooling is a Gift to Our Children
1. Time. Homeschooled children have more time to play! With one-on-one time, children tend to complete their homeschool day much more quickly than their public schooled counterparts. Homeschooling is just more effective and more efficient. As a result, homeschooled children have more time to enjoy their passions. They have more free, unstructured time to play and develop interests.
2. Safety. Homeschoolers feel more safe and secure because they are learning at home. There is no perceived threat of violence during their homeschool day, regardless of what they see in the news. They actually are more safe and secure, too. They do not need to navigate bullies, or fear rebellious classmates during challenging classes.
3. Confidence. Our children can feel confident and self-assured. They can be who they are! They are not faced with constant teasing or negative feedback, so they develop confidence. Homeschoolers don’t usually NEED the latest toys or styles in order to feel confident among their peers.
4. Health. Sure, homeschooling is a gift for our children’s mental health, giving them safety, security and confidence, and it’s also good for their bodies. Sleep is vital, particularly with teens. Homeschooling families can adapt their school day to meet sleep needs. Nutrition is improved by eating healthy food at home. A recent study even found that homeschoolers pack on fewer pounds than public schoolers, so homeschooling may help combat obesity! Homeschoolers are more active, without being trapped at a desk, or stuck doing hours of homework each evening. They can continue to learn when mildly under-the-weather, but don’t risk failing when serious illness occurs.
5. Quality Education. Parents can give their child the gift of a quality education specially tailored to them. We can meet the needs of our gifted child. We can reach them where they’re at and give them the enriched education they crave. Struggling learners are not left behind, either. With learning challenges or special needs, we can slow things down where they need it, and enrich their education where they’re able.
6. Love of Learning. Have you seen the boredom and frustration of traditionally schooled children? That boredom can drain the love of learning right out of them. When children are free to have some sort of say in what they are learning, the joy of learning returns! We can modify our classes to meet their learning style, increasing engagement. We can skip the unimportant and focus on their interests, without worrying about crazy requirements of a public school system.
Homeschooling is a Gift to Homeschool Parents
7. Closeness. Homeschooling encourages (even forces!) family closeness and time together at home. In a typical, two-income family, parents probably only get an hour or two with their children every day. Even worse, when a parent is working the night shift, they will rarely see their children at all! Homeschooling gives families a chance to spend more time together! No matter the work shift or deployment, homeschooling can increase your family time.
8. Peace. We can choose to have peace in our lives. Although many choose to have busy schedules, at least we have the option of slowing things down when we want to or need to. Parents come to realize that homeschooling is a way of life. We can remove ourselves from the “rat race” if we want to. We can enjoy a slow start to our days. Yoga pants and pajamas are not a joke, they are a symbol of peace. Many homeschoolers enjoy having pajama days or even simply remaining in their pajamas for the duration of every morning. No rushing for the bus!
9. Family Harmony. All parents are a major influence in their children’s lives. But homeschool parents can spend more time gently guiding their children in matters of manners and proper behavior. We have the time to provide both correction AND positive encouragement. Just having a parent around can lead to more peace and harmony in the family. Family harmony and improved behavior are usually the first improvements that a new homeschool family can see.
Homeschooling is a Gift to Our Immediate Family
10. Sibling Bonding. As we monitor our children’s behavior to encourage closeness, we prevent bullying that can destroy adult sibling relationships. While their schooled counterparts think it’s “not cool” to be seen with younger siblings, homeschoolers usually don’t mind and often even enjoy the company of their younger siblings. In fact, you will often find siblings going out of their way, younger and older alike, to do something special for each other. The gift of a close relationship with their siblings will last their whole life long!
11. Co-socialization. Homeschooled siblings have mutual friends and mutual play dates when they are younger. As they get older, and grow into “big kid” schedules they may have mutual lab experiments, or socialize with friends together. Often families will spend more time exploring areas of interest together, rather that separately. Siblings can be a great example for each other. Instead of being in an artificial environment where every child is the same age as themselves, homeschoolers learn to deal with children of different ages at home during the day.
Homeschooling is a Gift to Grandparents
12. Time. The gift of time is the best way to show love for grandparents. Homeschoolers often reach out in love during homeschool lessons, writing letters or caring for their grandparents’ needs. Grandparents can enjoy the company of their grandchildren at unusual times. Family vacations are possible when the school year is flexible.
13. Family Values. Grandparents can be a terrific example of character and family values. Having more time for them in your lives can be a great influence on your children. Caring for the elderly is a critical message to pass along to our children. As you spend time as a family caring for your ailing grandparents, what could be a better example?
14. History. Grandparents have a longevity and perspective that makes them a tremendous resource for history and current events. From grandparents, we can get a long term view on world events. We can urge them to discuss their personal history and views over their lifetime, and get a unique perspective on recent history and the decades through which they’ve lived, long before the children were born.
Homeschooling is a Gift to Our Friends and Neighbors
15. Fellowship. It is such a gift that we can spend time with friends and neighbors! Our evenings free of homework mean we as homeschooling parents have more time to develop adult relationships and pursue our own interests. Teens benefit from this too – without homework weighing them down, they have plenty of time to socialize. But recognize that adults have more time to socialize more often, too!
16. Educational Alternatives. Friends and neighbors will see us homeschooling and recognize it as an option. Our example can free them, so they aren’t stuck with only public or private school options. Children will see us and feel free to ask their parents about homeschooling. Other parents will see our lives, and begin to think of alternatives to the failing public and private schools. They will see us in all our imperfection and realize that if WE can homeschool our children, so can they! We can give others the gift of thinking out of the box about education.
Homeschooling is a Gift to Employers and Universities
17. Educated Applicants. Homeschooling produces truly well educated kids. Not all homeschoolers have stellar test scores, but they do become better educated than public school students. Their self-teaching skills provide educated applicants with better test scores, but more importantly an eagerness to learn. Colleges love homeschool students!
18. Eager Minds. The love of learning continues right into college. Homeschooling can foster eager minds and creative thinkers unencumbered by mass education. Homeschoolers who enjoy learning will grow into adults who enjoy learning, and the eagerness for education is a valuable commodity for colleges.
19. Passionate Interests. Colleges want to see passion in applicants. Passion is what homeschoolers call delight-directed learning, the cornerstone of home education. The interests that students develop can guide college and career planning. Passion can improve the chances of college admission and big scholarships.
Homeschooling is a Gift to the Future
20. Adaptability. The world is changing so fast, we can’t be sure what the future will hold. But we can teach our children how to learn, so they can adapt no matter what the future holds. No matter what jobs they have in the future, our children will be ready for them when they know how to learn.
21. Vision. We can teach our children history, so they will not be destined to repeat it. They can place events in the bigger picture, and see the long-term consequences. Delight directed learning can encourage the creativity that is so important in the 21st century. We can teach them faith, so they can make the world a better place. As they grow and face the world, their faith can spill out and have a positive effect on their community and sphere of influence. They can bring other people to faith. Their economic choices will also shape and mold our society.
22. Citizenship. While homeschooling, we have more time for volunteer work and public service. Studies show that homeschoolers are more likely to be involved in the community when they grow up. They are more likely to vote. We are bringing up first rate citizens by homeschooling our children for the future!
Homeschooling is a Gift to the Lord
23. Love Offering. We are called to homeschool our children. This is our fragrant love offering. We are giving what we have to Christ. Like the little drummer boy who gave his gift of music, and the widow’s offering of a mite, and the alabaster jar of myrrh that Mary gave, our gift of homeschooling is meaningful to God. This gift of homeschooling is just as meaningful as the gold, frankincense, and myrrh at the birth of Christ. We are giving what we have.
24. Faith. Homeschooling is a gift of faith, demonstrating our faith in Christ that everything will work out for us. When we first decided to homeschool high school, we went almost entirely on faith: faith that we would be able to finish the job, faith that our kids would end up well-educated, faith that we wouldn’t ruin their futures. We don’t have faith that things will be perfect, we have faith that things will work out within God’s will regardless of our imperfections. Our daily actions are a gift of faith, and we have faith that it will all work out in the end.
25. Obedience. Homeschooling is our gift of obedience, because we are doing what God has asked us to do. We give this gift knowing it was asked only of us, and we don’t look at the actions of our friends. We are responsible for our own actions, and our own actions are our gift of obedience. We don’t look at the actions of, or criticize others.
Homeschooling is a gift that just keeps on giving! What homeschool gifts are you thankful for?
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Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee’s FREE Resource Guide “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School” and more freebies at www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com/freebies.