Homeschooling is a gift. It isn’t easy, but when you factor in the benefits of more time, more freedom, and more family (as guest author Kirby Hoberg has), the sacrifices we make are worth it.
It was a perfectly honest question, coming from a place of sincerity. The person asking might be expecting all kinds of answers.
That I’m trying to give my kids the best education I can for them.
That I’m hoping to instill a strong family culture.
That I am aiming to pass on our Catholic heritage to my family in a living, breathing, daily way.
All of those things are true, but homeschooling is not the only way to accomplish them. The reason I am homeschooling my own children is because the fruits of homeschooling work particularly well in our family as it is right now.
After four years of homeschooling my own kids, and eight years of being homeschooled myself, I can stand and say that I truly believe homeschooling is a gift.
Homeschooling is a gift of time.
I have time to let the baby nap when she needs to nap. Time to take nature walks and seize opportunities. Time to have projects.
This is only true if you allow it to be true. If you take your homeschooling and try to squeeze in every last drop of possible curricula or try to imitate a brick and mortar school at home, you will likely end up denying yourself, and your family, the gift of time that homeschooling can afford.
This does not mean I don’t have a schedule! I’m a bit (or a lot…) Type A and I loooovve my Google Calendar, bullet journal, and color-coded spreadsheets! But I can appreciate where that is helpful in my life and where it is not. I can plan to “be outside”, but I can’t plan that today is the day my 3-year-old will get brave and walk across a huge fallen tree with perfect balance.
I do have a schedule. I have a plan for our day. I have a checklist for the week. My kids know that we will eat breakfast, have morning meeting during breakfast, do chores, and then we’ll sit down and do school. The more I repeat the basics, the less time it takes to do the essentials, and there is more time for the enjoyment of time and the enjoyment of each other.
Homeschooling gives us the gift of family, too
I was a homeschooled kid. When I entered 9th grade, myself and all of my four sisters started public school for the first time. It was rough. It was rough in the sense that I felt disjointed and separated from the connections I was used to having with my family, and other families.
Homeschooling is not a guaranteed recipe for a perfect family, by any means. What homeschooling allows for is the face time that we need to have a good relationship. Somehow we understand the concept that we need to put in time with our spouses in order to feed our marriage, but we forget that the relationship between siblings needs that time and closeness too.
What got me through my first weeks in public school was looking forward to coming home, being with my sisters, and talking with my youngest sister – who was four years old at the time. I legitimately enjoyed her company.
I want my kids to enjoy each other. To learn how to work through differences and difficulties with people who are going to love you through your hard times.
My absolute favorite part of homeschooling – no one can say exactly what it has to look like.
We can pack up and travel, bring the books with us, and school on the road. We can decide to take this morning off and watch the news coverage of something like the Pope’s visit to the US.
If something isn’t clicking for a particular kid, or a book is just not a good fit, I don’t have to do it right now. I can either say, “you know what, let’s take a break” and come back to it in a week. I can toss out that book entirely and change course. I don’t have a classroom of kids using the same book, so I can make radical decisions like that.
Personally, homeschooling gives me the freedom to live my charisms as a young mother.
I do theater and dance – which are very time intensive activities. With homeschooling, our day is pretty much done by noon. I get to do snuggles, read aloud, adventures, and cooking with my kids even during my busiest rehearsal times. It’s the tool that has allowed me to chase dreams as a young wife and mother.
I have no idea how long I’m going to homeschool each individual child – it’s a year by year, kid by kid, decision that my husband and I discern together. But these gifts from homeschooling is why I chose to homeschool my children, and why I’m so grateful for having been homeschooled by my own mother.
Kirby is a Texas girl who now calls the Minnesota Twin Cities Home. She is mothering and homeschooling her three kids by day, and a professional auditioner in theater and dance by night. She blogs about Catholicism, womanhood, mothering, and ballet/theater on her blog Under Thy Roof. Connect with Kirby on Facebook, and Instagram.
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