This is a guest post by Melissa Uhles
There is nothing like a pandemic, I’m looking at you Covid-19, to get lots of parents thinking about the benefits of homeschooling your kids as an educational option.
Diving into all the information online about homeschooling can be overwhelming. How do you know if it is right for you and your family? Will you love it or hate it? What about the curriculum? Is an online program your best option or would you rather cobble together your own unit lessons from a variety of curricula?
A year and a half ago I asked myself all these questions, way before this virus was floating around. Traditional public school was not a fit for my child. I began looking into alternatives. Eventually, we decided on an online public school option and so far it’s been a terrific fit. Our experience last year prompted me to write a short ebook to guide parents who may be in a panic right now trying to figure out if homeschooling is the right choice. Check out some of the benefits of homeschooling in this excerpt from my new ebook: Homeschooling Options: A Quick Guide to Online, Homeschooling, and Unschooling.
5 Benefits of Homeschooling
Although I’ve included only 5 homeschooling benefits, once you get started, you may find many more I haven’t yet thought of.
Attention to Learning Challenges
Most public schools have IEP plans, but in a classroom with thirty other kids, your child may not get the accommodations they need. Dyslexia, ADHD, Anxiety, or other health conditions may be more easily addressed in a one on one homeschooling situation.
Once you have learned how your child learns best, you will be able to figure out how to move at their pace. Maybe that means letting them move faster or slower or having lots of outside exercise breaks to keep their brain working. After all, recess shortages make learning hard for certain kids in traditional schools.
Homeschooling Offers Flexibility
Whether you want the flexibility to travel or get work done in pajamas, without traditional school rules, work can be done anytime, anywhere. If you have to move a lot as a military family or other work takes you around the world, kids can have an uninterrupted educational experience. And if you are afraid of your kid being exposed to a virus like Covid-19 or even colds and flus all the time, keeping them home reduces their exposure to all kinds of bugs. Note: They can still engage in activities with other kids when things return to normal.
Ability to Customize Learning
Benefits of homeschooling your kids definitely includes customized learning. You and your child can choose what and how they learn! There are so many curriculum choices and ways to mix and match how learning is accomplished. If you are homeschooling more than one child, you may choose different learning materials based on what works best for him/her.
Religious education is what prompts some parents to school their children at home. That wasn’t our reason, but there may be other educational experiences that your child may be able to spend more time on. It may be playing an instrument or swimming on a swim team or for some it might be bible study.
Practicing Life’s Chores
There is no doubt, in a traditional school, there isn’t much time left in the day after homework and extracurriculars to do chores around the house. My perspective is that we should be mindfully preparing kids for adulthood. Contributing to the household is not only helpful but will help your child feel a sense of accomplishment. Cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, doing laundry, cooking, taking care of a pet and yard chores are all important things to know when a person becomes an adult.
Chores allow for opportunities to make mistakes and fail in new ways. I admit this one is hard for me because it would be so much easier to load the dishwasher myself and do it the way I like it done. However, children learn by doing. I remind myself of this all the time.For further reading and more research on this topic, I highly recommend the book How to Raise an Adult. Julie Lithcotte-Haims comes from the college admissions perspective that many students do not have the life skills to thrive in the university setting.
Offers More Family Time
The bond between kids and parents gets so strong because of the time spent together at home and out in the world. If you add up the time that you don’t see your child while they are in a traditional school, that is between 35-40 hours per week. A five-year-old is gone as many hours as an adult working a full-time job.
With homeschooling, you all get that time back. It’s also been said that homeschoolers connect better with adults and kids of all ages because they don’t spend the bulk of their time with kids in the same grade level.
Here is the best perk. Imagine taking off on a weekday vacation in February when prices are lower and crowds are sparse because everyone else is working and going to school.
It may be a tough choice. And perhaps a pros and cons list is in order. Now you’ve got five benefits of homeschooling your kids to get you started. But whatever you chose as an educational option for your K-12 child, I wish you the best of luck on your educational journey.
Melissa Uhles is a homeschooling mom, freelance writer, and author of Homeschooling Options: A Quick Guide to Online, Homeschooling, and Unschooling, and numerous other nonfiction and fiction books. In addition, she co-founded Pen and Parent and has been published online at The Oregonian, Oregon Humanities Magazine, The Pennyhoarder, Today Parenting, Rage Against the Minivan, and Red Tricycle.