As a young public school teacher, I had no intention of homeschooling my future children. I’d had previously homeschooled students in my high school English classes and, honestly, they seemed a little dazed by life outside the home.
I would never do that to my kid. (Singular. I was only going to have one.)
Fast forward a couple decades, and here I am, a homeschooling mom of five kids. (Life’s funny, isn’t it?)
After fourteen years, I’m still discovering new benefits. The basic ones, however, remain the same. Here are three reasons to homeschool that keep me committed.
Benefit #1: Customization
An individual approach that pursues strengths and shores up weaknesses is our homeschooling foundation. It meant one child took extra science courses while another went deep in the humanities. Some worked ahead in math, and others struggled with handwriting. One had multiple extracurriculars and another spent 20 hours a week on a single activity.
But no one followed a lockstep curriculum designed for someone else.
It was a homeschool catalog that stopped me in my anti-homeschool tracks. In addition to standard courses, there were subjects generally overlooked in public schools. (It wasn’t this one, but just look at all the options!) I realized then that I could sculpt an education to fit my unique child.
I was hooked.
Benefit #2: Balance
Customizing each child’s education also helped create a work-life balance. School was the primary focus of our days, but efficiency meant we were done early.
I ruthlessly weeded out time wasters. Already know your multiplication tables? Skip that drill. Already memorized those grammar definitions? Move to Lesson 25.
In addition, my kids never lost time to roll taking, mass evacuation drills, or distracting students who stuck safety pins through their lips (true story from my classroom days). There was plenty of time for unstructured play, joining a sports team, starting a rock band, performing with the local ballet, or just relaxing.
They also slept in during growth spurts. They learned to rearrange schedules to accommodate appointments. And they never stayed up all night to finish a project. It simply wasn’t necessary.
Benefit #3: Dedication
I cared deeply about my students when I taught at my alma mater. But when I saw 165 students each day, I couldn’t really know them.
Homeschooling means I don’t waste time every year figuring out how my students learn best. I never move midyear and leave them with a long-term substitute. I don’t let them get lost in the shuffle.
Many of us had a teacher who impacted our lives, encouraged us to try something new, or inspired us to be extraordinary. But no teacher is as dedicated to a child’s success as her parent, and that constant support is invaluable.
Of course, nothing is perfect and homeschooling is no exception. When it comes to a child’s education, it’s important to carefully weigh all the reasons to homeschool along with reasons not to homeschool. In our case, homeschooling allowed me to focus on my kids’ needs and help them become exactly who they want to be.