Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 Practical Reasons Why We Homeschool

Making the decision about how your children will be educated is a BIG one.  Some don't even consider the options--they just go with the "norm" in our country, and go with "free" public school.*  I'm not writing on it here in this post, but the history of the start of public education in our country is quite an interesting story.

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Today, I want to share with you some of the PRACTICAL reasons that I'm so happy to be homeschooling.  I'll jump right in...


1) No getting up super early because I HAVE to.  I know--I just posted about getting up earlier in a previous post...but I'm doing that because I WANT to, out of obedience to the Lord, not because I have to be ready by 6:00am to get my kids up by 6:30am so we can leave by 7:00am to be somewhere by 7:30am.  No thank you!


2) No mad rush through the morning routine.  I get up early and get ready before my kids wake up--and when they wake up, they have a short list of things to do (get dressed, make bed, etc.)...but we are in NO rush.  They usually do these things (we call them our "Morning 5"...more on that in another post) in about 15 minutes, but not because they have to have them finished by then to catch the bus or get out the door.  We aren't trying to keep to a clock schedule every single day of the week.  We go with OUR flow.


3) No catching the bus at 0'dark-thirty.  SERIOUSLY.  My neighbor's kids get on the bus at around 6:45am.  YOW.  My kids sleep at least an hour more than that, sometimes later!  I simply cannot imagine having to get my kids up by 5:45am (or earlier!) to catch the bus at 6:45am...and then they'd have to go to bed by 6pm that night to get adequate sleep!  They would NEVER see their daddy, since he often doesn't get home from work until 6pm or later!


4) No driving to school in crazy rush hour traffic.  They call it rush hour for a reason...and I'm guessing that more car accidents happen during this time than any other, due to all that "rushing" around.  From our house to the local elementary school, it would take me at least 25 minutes just to get there, then another 25 minutes to get back home, just due to the traffic in our area.  Add the time it takes waiting in line to drop-off, and that's a full HOUR of my day just spent going to and from school ONCE.  And I'd have to do it again in the afternoon??  Did you know that for Kindergarten and 1st grade this year, we will probably spend only 90 minutes PER DAY for all of school??  So, in the time it takes me to drive them to school and come back home, we can get all of our school day done.  For me, that is a no-brainer.


5) #4 leads me to #5.  No LONG school days!  My oldest is 7 years old.  He would be in first grade this year if going to school (any school).  Our local elementary school classes start at 7:45am and end at 2:45pm.  If my math is correct, that is SEVEN HOURS of school time for my seven year old!  At home, it will take us 90 minutes (and that will include working with a 5 year old kindergartner and 3 year old toddler as well).  But if I send him to school, it will take 7 hours?!  I know from having taught preschool and kindergarten at a private school years ago that the majority of my time was spent in classroom management, not in teaching.  I also know that if I tried to teach my children for that long, they would be bored silly and would "check-out" of learning mode.  And that would make my efforts worthless.  Instead, we will focus on short, concentrated lessons everyday...and he will learn and retain WAY more that way.  Not to mention, no time is spent walking 15 or 30 kids to the bathroom and back multiple times a day.  We can focus on school for an hour, then we can focus on life the remaining SIX hours we have!


6) No gas costs.  WHEW.  Gas is NOT cheap right now!  Just doing the math here for my situation:  If I drove my kids to school and back each day, it would be approximately 8 miles there, 8 miles back, for a total of 16 miles...twice a day.  So 32 miles a day on my car.  Thirty-two miles X 5 days a week = 160 miles per week.  For our car (a Honda Accord), that would be about half a tank of gas per week.  Filling up a tank costs about $50...so that's $25 in gas per week.  Multiply that by 4 weeks of each month, and that's $100 per month.  Multiply that by 9 months of school--and that's $900 per year!  JUST FOR GAS.  (So much for public school being "free"...*)  WHEW.  We don't have to go anywhere!  And I've saved $900 per year (at least) by not sending my kids off to school.  If we were to add in the other times you may have to go to school and back (such as picking up a sick kid, a conference with teacher or principal, or a school event) then it would be much more.


7) No school lunches!  Have you seen what's in those these days???  Enough said.


8) No pick-up lines to wait in with a three year old who is stuck in a hot car at the time of day he is most sleepy.  Again, enough said.


9) NO HOMEWORK!  If we don't get all our work in while we homeschool, we will put it on the plan for the next day.  But if, in SEVEN HOURS (see #5) the work can't get done, maybe something needs to change!  So, if your kid has homework, they are spending MORE than 7 hours doing school work.  I don't know about you--but I just think that is an excessive amount of time for children to have to work on or concentrate on ANY kind of material.  Even COLLEGE students only take a certain amount of classes per day--my longest day ever in college was four (4) classes of 60 minutes each.  That's just FOUR hours of class.  WHY would a kindergartner need so much time in school?  No homework!


10) And finally...We can make our own schedule all year long!  No more vacations at the same week everyone in the country is out of school and taking a vacation!  No more getting stuck in traffic to get to the beach or back because everyone else is going too.  Basically, no more conforming with the entire world on WHEN we do things.  You know what?  The beach is WAY more fun when it isn't packed with hundreds of people!  The hotel/condo is quieter, the restaurants always have plenty of tables, and there is NO waiting in lines at Disney.  Same for going on a winter vacation--we've not been able to take our kids yet because of their young ages--but I imagine that going skiing would be more enjoyable when we can sit by a fire and just enjoy ourselves, rather than rushing to beat the crowds to the slopes or waiting in line to go down the mountain.


OK...I thought of one more...so here's a BONUS reason:

11) No pressure.  No pressure for getting to school on a certain time.  No pressure to be there a certain day.  No pressure to dress a certain way.  And no pressure to be average.  No matter which side of average a child falls--whether above average or below average--schools tend to teach average standards.  It's why the grading system is A, B, C, D, F.

A student who gets a "C" is doing average work.  The student who gets an "A" is doing above average work.  And the student who gets an "F" is doing below average work.  But then the A-student gets ragged for breaking the curve.  And the F-student gets ragged for being a failure.  I excelled in most subjects all the way through high school and college...but I definitely had my weak subjects.  I wasn't great at accelerated math or in the sciences--I was good (average), but not great (above average).  I definitely squeaked through chemistry by the skin of my teeth!

But when homeschooling, each student learns at their own pace, and grades aren't our main priority.  Sure--we still meet the required standards--but we are able to let a math whiz ZOOM ahead in math subjects...while holding back to their level of ability in Grammar/Language Arts (if they need it).  We also are able to let a student move up a grade in curriculum if they are ready--not dependent on whether their birthday falls before or after a certain cut-off date or if the other 24 students their age are ready to advance!  So one student will be one year ahead of his same-age peers his very first year of homeschooling!  Not so he can brag--or even because he has an amazing teacher in his mom or dad--but because he is above average in that subject and can keep pressing forward in the learning process.  A grade in school is often the end of that material for a student.  A grade at home school is merely a checkpoint.  So there's no pressure--for me as the teacher or for my students.


So there you have it.  We have SO many reasons for choosing to home educate.  Some are based on our faith, but as you can see here, many are based on the practical side of life--how we want our day-to-day to be and how we want the atmosphere and attitude toward education to be--for us AND for our children.

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts on our homeschooling journey!  I'll be posting about our school space, our first day of the next year, our curriculum choices, and throughout our year.  I hope to encourage you if you are on this journey as well, or if you aren't homeschooling, but want to understand your friends who do--stay tuned for some insight on who that "weird homeschool family" is behind closed doors!


If you homeschool...tell me some of your reasons in the comments!


*Note:  Nothing about public school is free.  You've paid for it in taxes.  You buy school supplies.  You buy special school clothes.  You buy backpacks or tote bags for hauling it all there and back.  And both you and your children "spend" your time there--a LOT of your time--from the 6-8 hour day Monday through Friday, to drop-off/pick-up lines, and to parent/teacher conferences, programs, and events.  You pay for gas to take them there and back, too.  If any of my readers send your kids to public school, and are willing to share with me all your "extra" expenses for public school Kindergarten--I would LOVE to hear them!  (Include details on what it costs you for gas, school attire, backpacks and other supplies, books, events, paying for lunches (from home or at school), and any other things I don't know about!)  :)

2 comments:

  1. I really appreciate this list! We homeschool primarily for faith reasons, but our practical circumstances (in addition to the ones you listed) include a daughter with significant health needs. We spend the first half of our morning every day doing what we need to do for her, and we do school in the afternoons.

    Thank you for sharing this! :)

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  2. Great reasons! We homeschool so that we can shepherd our children's hearts. We have three girls and this world is not kind to girls of any age. We want our girls to know who they are in Christ before the world tells them who they are not.

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