Benefits of Homeschooling My Children
Problems and Solutions
I homeschooled my children because of some serious problems we were having with the public school system in our area and some of the children needed extra attention they were not getting in crowded classrooms. Because of this and so many reasons I was left with only one option: keeping them home for homeschool. I hated the idea at first because… well, I wasn’t even sure I LIKED my children that much. What happened that first school year was a surprise to everyone. I enjoyed their company and they learned.
“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”— Gandhi
They were in 10, 11, and 12 years old when I began. Right away, they were actually a joy to be around. Who could have imagined THAT happening? We began to bond in a way I didn’t see before. I got to see them learn and grow which was a treat. Sure I taught them to walk and feed themselves but this is a whole different level of learning. As they got it, a light would go on in their eyes and you could see the wheels turning. It is so wonderful, it has to be experienced and felt rather than described.
“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.”— Charlotte Mason
Things That Need Work
I learned that there were things about my children’s education that hadn’t been aware of before. I found out that my oldest was 2 years behind her grade level in math and she was struggling with fractions. We did fractions for as long as it took for her to grasp adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing them. We even did fractional baking. I announced one day that we had only enough ingredients to make one batch of chocolate chip cookies. Each of the four of them could have one-fourth of a batch to bake or eat raw, as they wished. All they had to do was go into the kitchen and make one-fourth a batch of the dough each. They had to figure things like ¼ of 2 ½ cups of flour, etc. With the hands-on methods, my daughter gained 2 years of math in that first year of homeschooling. If that had been the only perk it would have been worth it.
Auditory Learner vs Visual Learner
I discovered that the children did not learn best from the same stimulus. This was a revelation to me. I had always been a visual learner and thought everyone was. My son, however, was an auditory learner. I didn’t even know that was a thing but figured it out over a vocabulary test. Each week I gave the different grade levels a new set of vocabulary words and at the end of the week, we would have a spelling test using those words. My son’s scores were never above 80% correct on those spelling test days. One day, to mix it up, I announced a spelling bee where they had to stand and spell aloud. On words my son had previously misspelled, he got 100% correct when he spelled them aloud. It was amazing to see him rattle them off without error. Later I began giving him oral spelling tests instead of written ones and almost always got them all correct.
Reading and Comprehension
My youngest was going into the 5th grade when we started homeschooling. I found out that she had little better than a 1st-grade reading level. None of her public school teachers let me in on how poor her reading was, and I was disturbed that I was so clueless about this necessary skill. In that first year, we concentrated on reading and getting her interested in chapter books instead of picture books. Today you can’t keep a book out of her hands. If her deficiency had gone unnoticed much longer she may have wound up unable to function in college or the real world.
It is this one-on-one attention that made all the difference with all my children.
“Any child who can spend an hour or two a day, or more if he wants, with adults that he likes, who are interested in the world and like to talk about it, will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school.”— John Holt
“We can get too easily bogged down in the academic part of homeschooling, a relatively minor part of the whole, which is to raise competent, caring, literate, happy people.”— Diane Flynn Keith
What would make you consider keeping your child home to educate him/her?
There are some downsides to homeschooling. I had to make sure they met with other families regularly to have team sports and group science lessons. I had to study with them to be sure that they performed the necessary lessons correctly (mostly foreign languages like French and Latin).
Another downside is that you find it hard to “stop teaching” even when the school day is over. Every time I saw something of educational importance I would stop and point it out to my children. Even on weekends or doing mundane things like shopping, whenever they asked a question, it turned into an educational discussion. One of the kids informed me it wasn’t a school day, to which I replied that every day was a school day with me.
I can’t say how many times people asked us about socialization. They looked at homeschooling as if we were hermits cloistering our children away in some monastery. That is far from true. If you care for their academic education, you care for their physical education as well.
Honestly, they didn’t learn everything at home. Every week we visited other homeschool families or groups to have time for physical education and ball games. All of my children belonged to a weekly choir and youth groups. One went on to join a dramatic group as well. What they didn’t have was an opportunity to be bullied every day in the public schools.
“Far from failing in its intended task, our educational system is in fact succeeding magnificently because its aim is to keep the American people thoughtless enough to go on supporting the system.”— Richard Mitchell
Today my children are a Registered Nurse, an Assistant District Attorney, a Graphic Designer for video games, and a Church Pastor and author. I think they are fairly accomplished for homeschooled students.
“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”— Agatha Christie, An Autobiography
It came as a super surprise that they liked me and I liked them at the end. I look back over those years thinking I gave them all I had. I don’t have any regrets so many women my age have. Many tell me they wish they had spent more time with their kids while they had the time. I don’t have to think that at all. I spent ALL my time with them and I loved it. If you have any thoughts or questions I’d love to hear them in the comments below.