Last year I wrote one of my most popular blog posts – 20 Public School Things We Kissed Goodbye for Homeschooling.
Over the last year of homeschooling, I have come up with so many more things to add to that list that I decided to write a whole new post!
Keep in mind, these are not necessarily the reasons why I decided to homeschool, but they are benefits I have noticed along the way.
They are things that motivate me to keep going on my homeschool journey – especially when that journey gets a bit rough.
I hope they encourage you, make you laugh, make you think, and cause you to consider homeschooling in a whole new way!
Last year I cringed while watching frantic moms make their way through the Walmart aisles. Their bored kids were walking beside them as they scoured the school supply section for the exact thing on their list.
I remember doing the same thing when I got my daughter ready for public school kindergarten. The list was a mile long and very specific – the folders, notebooks, and pencil pouches had to be a certain way. I remember spending so much time looking for a very specific kind of composition book.
I don’t remember how much everything cost – but it was a lot! I remember thinking how expensive this was going to be when I had all three of my kids in school – Yikes!
You know what’s great about homeschooling? I buy one box of crayons, 1 pair of scissors, 1 pack of markers, 1 box of colored pencils, 1 pack of pencils, 1 pencil sharpener…and I put it in my handy dandy homeschool supply caddy…and all three of my girls can use it!
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No need to triple school supplies when you homeschool!
Even without tripling school supplies, I have noticed I spend much less on school supplies than the average person.
We can also reuse folders, binders, art supplies, and even some notebooks from the previous year!
I don’t know about you, but I remember adjusting my backpack in elementary school because it hurt my back to carry so much to and from school.
I must not be the only one because I started noticing some kids dragging around those bookbags with wheels on them.
This article from NBC news discusses several research studies that show heavy backpacks can contribute to spinal compression, spinal curvature, bad posture, back and neck pain, headaches, nerve damage, and can “even alter the shape of a young person’s back.”
Wow! That is incredible, but I absolutely believe it!
I am thankful that my little homeschoolers only have backpacks to carry their lunch and a few supplies to our co-op meetings.
All of the heavy textbooks and school supplies stay in our school room and have no reason to leave.
As we all look forward to the fall semester, I know many traditional school parents are awaiting the school to make a decision about what is going to be done about Coronavirus.
Will there be school?
Will there be changes due to coronavirus?
Will my kids be able to respect and honor those changes?
Will the changes be too much to handle?
Or are the changes not enough in my opinion to keep my kids safe?
I don’t know what my local schools are doing about school in the fall…and I also don’t care that much.
I know that my kids will not be struggling to understand me as I try to teach through a mask.
They will not be distracted and fidgeting with something tied to their face all day while I’m trying to get them to do math problems.
Ultimately, I am in charge of how crazy or relaxed we will be about coronavirus and I like it that way.
It’s a fantastic benefit of choosing to homeschool and I am so thankful for it as we face the fallout of this pandemic.
This might just be in my head, but it felt like having my oldest daughter in school caused a lot more sickness in our house.
Everything from colds, the flu, stomach bugs, and other things seemed to come along regularly.
And then there were the things you always lived in fear of, such as lice and pink eye.
Since we started homeschooling, I noticed that we just don’t get sick as often.
My kids are with other kids at co-op meetings, sports, scouting meetings, and playdates, but I guess it’s not long enough or often enough to catch things.
Maybe it’s that I feed them better quality food when we’re home for school. Maybe it’s because we get more outside time and sunshine which is good for the immune system.
I don’t know, but I do know my family is healthier and it’s a huge plus with homeschooling!
There seems to be a disturbing increase in attitude, profanity, class disruption, defiance, and disrespect in schools.
One of my friends started working as a substitute teacher recently and she was shocked by what is tolerated in schools today.
My local elementary school has had multiple complaints from parents that lunch time is so loud, their kids have to cover their ears instead of eat. One parent even brought in a decibel reader she happened to own to show that it was so loud it could damage the kids’ ears….and still the school could not or would not control the lunch room.
I have heard other teachers and parents talk about the change in kids over the years. I have also heard first hand from my niece and nephew about how disruptive students are in their school and how nothing is done to discipline the kids. My niece told me that one class is so loud she cannot hear the teacher talking and the teacher even left crying one day.
This article from Psychology Today discusses the phenomenon and even features a pediatrician who has witnessed the same thing in his practice.
There are a lot of reasons why people think this is occurring – media, internet access, bad parenting, poor school policies, etc.
I don’t pretend to know why this part of our culture is changing, but I don’t want my kids anywhere near it.
My best friend sends her kids to public school, and I wasn’t super surprised when I got a frantic text one day about a book her middle schooler was assigned to read.
There was profanity and significant suggestive/sexual content between two teenagers. Here is a snippet of what had her freaking out:
“As we step away from the cake, Kareem edges closer to me and puts his hand on the small of my back. The warmth of his handprint sinks into my skin through the thin silk of my clothes. There’s a tingle along my collarbone. Part of me wants to run outdoors in the cool evening to get a handle on myself. Instead, I breathe in deeply and let this new sensation consume me.”
Is this assigned reading for a 12 year old or a trashy romance novel??
All I could think was that out of all the high quality literature that exists in the world – this was the best the school board could offer our kids?
Sadly, this is far from the first time I have seen or heard of inappropriate books being assigned in school.
I am so thankful that as a homeschooling parent, I can handpick books that are appropriate for my kid’s maturity level. I know there will be classic books that have questionable portions, but I am thankful that I will be the one to point out those sections and talk through them with my kids.
Teacher misconduct has become so rampant that it really doesn’t even make a splash in the news anymore.
No one is shocked. No one seems to be amazed anymore at the broken trust between parents and teachers.
I was actually at a sports practice last year when a woman asked if I could give her some advice on homeschooling.
I asked her why she suddenly wanted to pull her 5th grader out of school. She replied that her daughter told her that she is required to rub her teacher’s shoulders when he is stressed.
My eyebrows about flew off my face.
And guess what – the school did next to nothing about it. The parent was left to feel like she had to homeschool because her trust was broken.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of teachers. I think the majority of them should be sainted – seriously!
But I am continually thankful that I don’t have to entrust the safety of my daughters to anybody in order to educate them.
I completely understand why parents are wanting kids to have a phone at younger and younger ages. They can do lots of cool things, like keep a GPS locator on your kid, let you text during the day, and call for emergencies.
When you’re separated from your kid for 7-9 hours a day – those are some amazing features!
It is well known though that parents everywhere are struggling to control these little computers and make them safe for kids. Kids younger and younger are being exposed to porn, violence, cyber bullies, and other inappropriate content.
Some are even dealing with cell phone addiction and lash out when the phone is taken away from them.
I am so thankful that there is no pressing reason for my to introduce this potentially huge issue to my 9 year old. She does not need a smart phone because she is with me the large majority of the day.
She has definitely asked for one, and we do intend to get her one when she needs it – but that’s definitely not now.
As a homeschooling parent, I relish the ability to have more flexibility and time to make a decision about this issue.
Traditional schools need to test in order to show teachers if the kids are learning and retaining information. With 20-30 kids in a class, you could easily miss a kid who isn’t getting a concept.
Because I was raised in the public school system, I had no issue with testing and considered it a normal part of the process.
One of my kids felt very differently on the issue.
I found her crying in her room on a math test day, so I made a decision in the moment to never test her again.
A wise homeschool mom said to me soon after this happened, “There is no reason to test in homeschooling. A worksheet is a test. If they can do the math worksheet well – why do you need a test on top of that? It’s too much pressure for elementary school kids.”
I have followed that mentality and been so happy with the results.
My kid now has far less anxiety about testing and schoolwork in general. She was recently able to complete her first standardized test in order to meet our state requirements for homeschooling – and she did great!
Any parent who has moved understands that getting a home in the right school district is crucial.
We moved right before my daughter started kindergarten and I remember spending hours looking at a map of the town and trying to find a house that was next to the school everybody said was the best.
We moved again when I pulled her from public school to homeschool. When we finally made a decision on a home, the owner of a house we didn’t go with called us to let us know we had chosen a house that was not in the “best” school district – a huge mistake in his opinion.
We thanked him for his concern, laughed, and told him that we homeschool – so we don’t care what school district we live in!
How freeing that was!
No matter where we move, what town we go to, what state we live in, what district we land in – my kids will always know they are getting a high quality education with a teacher who loves them!
As I said earlier, I grew up in the public school system. One curriculum was used for 25 kids in a classroom and there were no other options.
If a kid was not getting it, he spent more time with the teacher, his parents were told to work with him, and his grades would reflect the outcome of the struggle.
Not until I started homeschooling did I start to see how incredibly different every kid is – how they think, how they process, and how they learn.
Switching up a curriculum for one of my kids made the change from resistance and tears to – “I’m smart! I can do this!”
I can already see that my middle child will need a different reading curriculum than what my older child had – she learns very differently, and I know she will struggle with what my older child used.
It is mind boggling to think of how customizing the educational experience can produce such a different result for a kid.
Sometime in the 1980s, a movement began to throw phonics out the window and teach reading to kids in a new way.
Frank Smith was one of the leaders in this educational change and he said, “It is only through reading that children learn to read. Trying to teach children to read by teaching them the sounds of letters is literally a meaningless activity.”
This theory has apparently been debunked by 100s of research studies according to this New York Times article. The article goes on to say that a shocking 60% of 4th graders today are not at a proficient level of reading.
And for some reason, schools and teachers continue to ignore phonics and teach with the “Whole Language Method.”
When I pulled my daughter from public school, she was saying things like “Reading is boring,” and “Reading is stupid.”
I started her on a phonics program (I have yet to find a homeschool reading curriculum that doesn’t use phonics…) and she began to soar! Out of curiosity, I tested her reading level after 2 years of homeschooling, and she was several grade levels ahead!
Phonics for reading is backed by scientific research and I am so thankful that it is how my kids are learning to read.
Everybody knows you can’t go to school if your kid has colored snot, a fever/vomitting/diarrhea in the last 24-48 hours, a lingering cough, symptoms of pinkeye etc.
It has been a huge benefit for my kids to not lose school time when they really aren’t that sick.
If they had a fever yesterday, but they feel fine today – we still do school.
They may have some yellow snot action, but otherwise acting normal – we still do school.
If they were to ever need a doctor’s appointment and antibiotics for pinkeye or some weird rash – we would still do school.
Definitely not the case when dealing with a classroom of traditional school kids.
It wasn’t until I stared teaching U.S. history to my 2nd grader that I discovered how weak my public school history education was.
There were so many things I didn’t know! I have talked to other homeschool moms and many have said the same thing – traditional school curriculum leaves so many things out!
The only thing I can think is that the teachers didn’t have enough time.
For example, there was apparently just enough time for me to learn that Sacagawea was an Indian guide and interpreter for Lewis and Clark.
Every wonder why she has a baby on her back on the $1 coin?
Because she started her journey with Lewis and Clark when she was pregnant with her first child. She gave birth to a baby in the wilderness, put that baby on her back, and kept going.
What a woman!
Kind of curious why Lewis and Clark would take a pregnant woman with them on a long and dangerous journey? Because a group traveling with a woman and child are considered peaceful.
During the expedition, Sacagawea stumbled onto her tribe – the one she was kidnapped from as a little girl. She would have been justified to want to quit the expedition and stay with her people – but she said goodbye and journeyed on to keep her commitment to Lewis and Clark.
What a woman! What a role model of strength and character for kids today.
Unfortunately, Sacagawea died not long after the expedition. Clark honored her by raising her son and paying for his education.
Isn’t that an amazing story?! Did you get any of that in school?!
Probably not. Because you’re usually told just enough to get the multiple choice question right.
One of the best things about homeschooling is that I have so much more time to teach history and discuss it with my kids. I am certain they are getting a much richer education than I ever did.
I don’t expect the public school to teach curriculum that lines up with my Christian worldview.
I grew up going to public school, so I understood that I was going to have to correct some things here and there.
It was so freeing though to start homeschooling and have the ability to teach while looking through the lense of Christianity.
It was emotional for me to teach my children with Christian curriculum about how the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic – pointing out how God guided them and protected them in such obvious ways.
While we learned about Geography, our curriculum guided us to pray for the greatest needs in the countries we were studying.
When science is taught, we marvel at the hand of the Creator and all the intricate things He has done.
When we learn handwriting, beautiful, truth-filled Proverbs are the copy work that is assigned.
When my kid learned to read, she progressed through a Bible reader that took her from Genesis to Revelation.
I lack the words to explain what it means to a mother to be free to teach my children this way.
It is truly one of the greatest – if not the greatest – gift that homeschooling has brought our family.
When my daughter was in school, I found it challenging (if not impossible) to have meaningful daily devotions with her.
I knew from my own life how powerful it was to build a personal relationship with God – and I wanted to impart that on my daughters.
I would try to remember to pray with her in the car before dropping her off at school…but I would often forget.
The mornings were so busy, the afternoons were full of homework and errands, the evenings seemed to be too sleepy to have deep conversations about God.
Looking back on it, we were raising a kid that saw Christianity as something we do on Sunday only. Oh and we pray before dinner.
Not even close to the kind of parent I wanted to be.
Since we started homeschooling, I relish the time I have to start my day out in God’s Word with my girls. I love showing them how reading the Bible affects their day and gives them wisdom to live by.
I get to show them a dynamic relationship with a living God – every day! I have seen such fruit in their lives and I am tremendously blessed to be able to parent and educate my kids this way.
There are so many practical things that will help kids be more successful in life – and they are rarely addressed in the 7-9 hours kids spend in school.
Budgeting and money management, resume writing, cooking, common home repairs, car care, basic sewing, and how to do your taxes are just some of the things that come to mind.
One of the first homeschooling families we ever met had a teenage son who was running his own fencing company. His father had taught him how to build fences, write estimates, and acquire clients.
What amazing skills to start young adulthood with!
Can traditional school parents teach these things themselves? Yes!
But there usually isn’t much time and/or energy when you factor in time at school, homework, extracurriculars, and time with friends.
Since homeschooling takes much less time to complete than the typical traditional school day, we have more time to do things like this with our kids.
So far we have spent quite a bit of time cooking and baking together. As our kids get older, we plan to devote regular time to life skills so they can learn to be more independent and successful when they move out…not blindsided by the harsh realities of adulthood.
Yes, you read that right.
When my daughter was in public school, she made friends in her class and loved playing with them at recess.
She quickly started to ask for playdates with these kids – her new best friends. I was a bit perplexed.
Because I didn’t know who these kids were, who their moms were, or how to contact them.
When I dropped my kid off at school, the door she walked through automatically locked behind her as a safety precaution. When I came to the school for something, I had to be buzzed through the door by the front desk staff and explain why I was there.
I appreciated the safety precautions, but it created a situation where I had no opportunity to interact with the classroom or even the teacher. Everything was through email or an app the school had.
Because I loved my daughter, I put a note in her bookbag that she was supposed to give to her friend and her friend was supposed to give to her mother. The hope was that the mom would call and schedule a playdate.
It was a long shot…and it didn’t work out. The mom texted me a bit, but we never got together. Probably because I was a stranger and she was busy.
How is homeschooling different?
Homeschool moms connect into a tight tribe. As soon as I started reaching out in my local homeschool community, I had more playdates scheduled and texts coming in than I could handle with our school schedule.
It was wonderful to meet the moms, have solid friends for my kids, and feel like we were part of a true community – connected by the wild ride of choosing to homeschool your kids!
It’s so hard to imagine going back to the limiting setting of public schools – only really interacting with the same age kids in your class for an entire year with 30 minutes for recess – no thanks!
For some reason the school system feels more and more burdened to “help” parents with complex and controversial conversations – and it is driving a lot of people to look into homeschooling.
Most polite adults walk on eggshells when talking to other adults about these things. They are usually avoided all together because it is easy to disagree and get into an awkward social situation with these very complex issues.
But for some reason, the school system thinks its okay to pump out a “curriculum” that they think everyone is going to be okay with.
These “hot topic” issues include things like contraception, abstinence, LGBTQ issues, transgenderism, gender identity, and abortion.
One state even wants to teach masturbation techniques to their middle schoolers!
It’s a pretty good bet that if you have 1,000 kids in a school – all the parents are not going to agree on how these things should be taught – or even if it should be taught at all!
I did not deal with this too much, since I pulled my daughter out after kindergarten. But, I am very thankful that I get to choose how, when, and what will be taught about these topics.
Who doesn’t remember having to do an extra worksheet because you finished an assignment too early?
Or sit quietly in your desk until everyone finishes the test?
How about the random movies when a substitute teacher comes?
Since I started homeschooling, I’ve been introduced to the word “twaddle.”
It basically means work that is a waste of time. That would include all the assignments that don’t challenge and engage your child to their true potential.
It’s hard to keep that as a standard when you have 25 kids at different levels of maturity and educational progress.
My kids are done with work they can got outside and play.
When they show they understand a concept, we move on.
No need to do every single question on the worksheet – or even do every worksheet in the book.
Well, as you can see, I have a lot to say about how the decision to homeschool has blessed our family!
Remember, these things are not necessarily why I chose to homeschool – but they are definitely things that keep me homeschooling.
The school system now seems so limiting and restricting compared to what I can offer my kids at home.
Are you considering homeschooling…but nauseous at the thought of doing something so outside the box? A mile outside your comfort zone?
I was you about 4 years ago. Completely. Seriously.
You can do this! I created this entire blog to help people like you get on your feet and get going with a homeschool that you love!
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