Families choose to homeschool for many reasons. The choice to homeschool is also difficult. Those who have chosen this lifestyle can attest that while there are obstacles and challenges, the benefits far out weigh the negatives. Today, I share with you my Top 10 reasons to homeschool.
- Love of Learning
Learning is a natural process for a child from the moment they are born. As parents, we naturally teach our children all sorts of skills. We teach them about the world around us. When my oldest turned five, I really got serious about my role as teacher to my children. Gathering all the books I could find and I began my research. I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to “do school” but to teach naturally as we went through our day. Making regular trips to the library, zoo, OMSI, parks, and errands around town I used each moment to show my kiddos the world. Often, while in the car, we would call out numbers on the speed signs and find different letters and say their sounds. In the early years, I relied on our surroundings as our primary curriculum. Learning became a lifestyle.
Homeschooling allows much flexibility. Since the state of Oregon doesn’t require notification until age seven, you can wait until your child is ready for formal schooling. I discovered most boys, and some girls, are not physically ready until they are seven or eight or beyond. Students are required to take standardized tests at grades 3, 5, 8 and 10th in math and language arts. This gives you, as the teacher, incredible liberty to teach what is important to you and interesting to your child. My kids learned the life cycle of a butterfly by finding a caterpillar in the backyard. They set up a terrarium and created a notebook. Using a field guide for reference, they drew the stages as they saw it. Hands on learning at its best. For people who prefer more structured learning, the curriculum choices are plentiful, but that is a whole other post.
- Class Size
You may chuckle, but if you think about it, where else will your child get a teacher student ratio of 1:1, or even 1:3 (depending upon the number of siblings)? The child gets the attention and the assistance needed to be successful. We have two in our school, but we have always been in a learning co-op where we study topics such as art, geography, and science. This gives them the class atmosphere some think they are missing. Other opportunities in the homeschool community include sign language, field trips, classes, ski and swim lessons, which vary in attendance. Many students are involved in Scouts, Awana, National Honor Society, Speakers for Jesus speech club, and various service projects that build social skills.
- Teacher choices
Often my kids get jokingly asked if they like their teacher. Since they have had me their whole lives they are at an advantage. I know their strengths, weaknesses, methods they have learned by, and what they know. This makes moving easy, too, since they don’t have to changes schools. Since I am not skilled in every subject, I have others teach. My oldest works with a native speaker to learn Mandarin Chinese. Both kiddos study piano under the tutelage of a local musician. Teachers are hand picked.
- Learning Styles
Each individual has a unique learning style. Visual, Auditory, and Kinetic are three main avenues through which a person obtains information. Formal education is primarily visual. If a student does not fit in this category he/she is labeled and often medicated. My youngest son is definitely a kinetic learner. When learning to read, he would wiggle‚ on the couch by me, read a word or two, run down the hall to the bathroom only to release some energy, not to use the toilet. My oldest, who is able to listen to complex science & history documentaries and follow along, is a strong auditory learner. Instead of feeling dumb, they are allowed to learn the unique way God designed them.
I am able to customize the curriculum each year for each child. I can cater to their needs, interests and learning styles. There is an enormous amount of curriculum from which to choose. I can also choose their teachers. In my opinion, this gives them the highest quality education.
- Developing Talents and Interests
Do you have a child who is gifted in a particular area? I do. When my oldest was five, she expressed an interest to learn Chinese. It took some doing, but we eventually found an instructor for her. She can now read, write and speak Mandarin. She picks it up very quickly and is increasingly passionate about the culture. When my youngest son was four, I noticed he would gently play the piano whenever around one. I vowed never to force my kids to take lessons unless they truly had a desire. Seeing this in my son, and upon his request (“But I’m serious!“), I sought out a teacher. He would practice multiple times throughout the day, because he had the time. Education at home allows time to discover and develop interests.
- Work Ethic
Last year my kids and I had the opportunity to volunteer at the High Desert Museum. Responsible for leading nature walks and informing visitors about the natural history of the high desert, much was learned. In the past we have also volunteered as living history interpreters, portraying an 1880s homestead family. Home education lends real life opportunities to develop strong work ethic and explore careers, which is invaluable.
- Family Relationships
I have said many times if you get along with your siblings 24/7 you can get along with anyone! My kids are best friends; it amazes me. They share friends and help each other with assignments. Through the homeschool environment, the kids learn how to interact with a variety of ages. They develop a stronger sense of family and shared responsibility.
- Faith and Character Training
This is only possible through spending time together, consistently correcting and guiding.
Although the reasons are endless, these ten areas influence me the most to continue educating my children at home.