If you are reading this, you are likely considering homeschooling. The idea has rolled around in your head, but you haven’t committed to it. You haven’t decided for sure to take the leap.
I have been where you are at right now. I have 100% walked in your shoes. My husband had always encouraged me to consider homeschooling, but I never took it seriously. I would often laugh and tell anyone who would listen that MAYBE I would homeschool after my kids had learned to read.
No way was I going to do the impossible and tedious task of teaching reading. Nope. Not happening.
I happily took my Oldest to preschool twice a week. Then Pre-K three times a week. And then Kindergarten 5 days a week from 7:30-2pm. Woohoo! 7 hours of freedom and rest!
Okay, so yes I still had 2 younger ones with me at home, but I was still excited. Oldest had a pretty great Kindergarten year, but within a couple months I started to feel an undeniable conviction to homeschool her.
Noooooooooo! is what I was thinking. “Please God! I’ve waited so long for kindergarten! Don’t take this away now!”
The reasons why I decided to homeschool are explained here, but today I want to pull back the curtain and show you what happened after I jumped off the cliff, pulled my daughter from public school, and started homeschooling her for 1st grade.
Yep, you heard me right. MORE socialization. Wait a minute, aren’t homeschoolers notorious for struggling with this socialization thing?? Nope.
Let me tell you a story. When Oldest was in kindergarten she would often come home and ask me to set up playdates with friends in her class. What?? I thought, “You’re in kindergarten now. I’m supposed to be off the hook for organizing your social life. You see these kids all day!.” She quickly explained to me though that most of her day is sitting in a desk and only 30 minutes a day is spent playing with these kids at recess. Ohhhh.
I lowered myself to sending handwritten notes with my cell number in her backpack to give to her friend to be passed to the friend’s mom to hopefully schedule a playdate. Yep.
Once we started homeschooling, our family has had so much more breathing room to allow more social events in our schedule. My daughters are now involved in soccer, softball, basketball, American Heritage Girls (So awesome. Look it up to see if its in your area.), our weekly church small group, our twice weekly co op, and playdates with other homeschooling friends. This would have all been way too much to keep pace with when Oldest was spending 7 hours a day in school + homework.
Okay, so yes my three girls still fight. Daily. BUT, it is much less and they play together so much better since we started homeschooling!
When Oldest was in school all day, it somehow created a divide between her and her sisters. When she came home, she tended to look down on them as babies (despite only a 2 year age gap between her and Middle). Playing with them at the park was annoying and embarrassing. I considered all this to be normal and didn’t think much of it.
You would think that homeschooling and having everyone together 24/7 would make it 10 times worse…
Once we started homeschooling, I saw a dramatic change in their dynamic. They now play so beautifully together! They run all through the house playing imaginary, silly games.
I have noticed a kindness, willingness to share, and a desire to be together. Oldest recently had an opportunity to go to an amazing free event and she actually asked me if Middle could come because it would be fun for her too. My heart melted!
One of my great hopes was that my three girls would be life long friends – not rivals – and I had no idea how homeschooling would be setting them up for that.
I was very nervous to start homeschooling. I was so nervous that I started in July. If I fell on my face, I would still have time to enroll her in the public school down the road. I had many worries, that would all become unfounded, but one of the biggest was that I would damage my relationship with my daughter. I thought she would hate homeschooling and she would resent me for making her do her school work.
I could not have imagined how our relationship would soar! When Oldest was in kindergarten she would be gone for about 7 hours a day. I would ask about her day and she would often give short answers without much substance. I felt like I didn’t know my little girl very well anymore. Again, I took that as a normal part of the growing up process and going to school.
When I started homeschooling, I knew everything Oldest was doing and learning all day! We had many conversations over lunch, snacks, and dinner. We read the same books (reading aloud to your kids is everything!) together, played together, and were silly together – all of which I often didn’t have the time for with the hustle and bustle of the public school schedule.
When Oldest was in public school, our lives seemed to be so rushed. I felt like I was in a revolving door that just kept going around and around. I found myself rushing through bedtime because I was anxious about her getting enough sleep for school – 7 hours is a really long time for a 5 year old to stay focused! We rushed through breakfast because I was so anxious about her eating enough so she wouldn’t be hungry before lunch time. I felt rushed when we came home from picking her up because I wanted her to eat a nutritious snack, finish her homework, and have time to play outside before dinner had to be made.
In hindsight, it was a lot of rushing. But again, I felt like it was the normal flow of life and I needed to get with it.
I imagined that taking on the role of “homeschool mom” would just make us even crazier and busier than ever.
Boy, was I wrong!
Homeschooling has pushed the “slow motion” button in our lives. There is no more need to rush around anymore. When Oldest has a deep question at bedtime, I have the time to really listen and answer. And then answer follow up questions. When the girls don’t want to eat breakfast in the morning – oh well. When they want me to sit on the couch and read books with all three of them piled in my lap, there is time for that!
Most importantly for us, I have had time to do daily Bible teaching and devotions with Oldest. I would have never had the time or energy to squeeze that consistently into her public school schedule. It has been an indescribable joy to watch her learn and grow in her understanding and faith.
The longer Oldest attended Kindergarten, the more I saw changes in her I didn’t like. She seemed to forget the manners and respect we had so carefully taught her. To be honest she became shockingly disrespectful at times.
I realized that overnight she went from being with me most of her days – to being with a bunch of strangers the majority of her day. She was picking up habits, language, and attitude that I was not loving. Her teacher became like a goddess to her – Ms. Hamilton was everything. I, on the other hand, was like a second class citizen. She once said to me, “You know mom, maybe you should start going to school too.”
Um, I graduated from my University with honors and cherish my 4.0 cup thank you very much.
Anyhow, now that we homeschool, there is no more noise in my daughter’s life. I am the #1 influence, the #1 voice she is hearing. In my opinion this is probably the most important item on this list. Yes, it was expected on some level, but I didn’t know how powerful it would be.
We live in a culture that is spiraling out of control – school shootings, suicide, bullying, eating disorders, drugs, deadly “challenges,” sexual issues at shocking ages, etc.
I have far less competition now as I am working to shape her character, morals, and heart.
I see changes in her that make me so proud as a parent, and I know without a doubt it is a direct result of choosing to homeschool her.
So there you have it – the 5 benefits of homeschooling that I didn’t see coming: more socialization, much less sibling rivalry, a deeper relationship with my daughter, more time for what matters, and a greater influence on my kids’ lives.
Those of you who are homeschooling, share in the comments the way homeschooling has blessed you and your family. I would love to hear them and who knows who else it might encouraged!
If you are still considering homeschooling – you can have all of this too!! And many other benefits that will have to fill up another post. My goal through this blog is to help you get off the ground with homeschooling and support you through your first year!
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