Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why I Love Homeschooling

I've been away from home for nearly a week now. It's still in the "fun" stage, where I am revelling in my lack of responsibility for anyone other than myself and enjoying the eating and shopping opportunities that come from living in a thriving inner-city suburb. I see the family back home most days via the technological wonder of FaceTime. And I go off to work every day, with over 200 other teachers, to mark the NAPLAN writing tasks.

Teachers are funny creatures (no offence to any teachers out there, I still claim to be one myself). They kind of look "teachery" (yes, I am aware I am making up new words). Most of the teachers are retired and are doing the marking to go on a holiday. There are a few casual teachers who are after a solid few weeks work. And there's me. The ex-science/maths teacher who now homeschools her children. Cue crickets.

As a consequence, I've spent a large amount of my time during morning teas and lunchtimes explaining the why's and how's of home education to a bunch of people who are very much entrenched in the "system". It's been a bit tedious, but it clarifies things for me. I LOVE homeschooling. I love it for a lot of reasons:

  • I am responsible for my children's education. I decide what, when and how we will do things (with the kid's input, which is even cooler). Sure, I have to match that up with state curriculum, and sure, I do things that if I truly had my way, I wouldn't bother with, but by and large, I decide. 
  • Real life learning! So much comes up in everyday life and we can discuss it. Add in wide reading and we already have a fabulous education, before you even get to worksheets, textbooks or curriculum materials.
  • Opportunity to discuss things as they come up. You can't do that with 30 kids in your class, but with one or two - oh, the conversations we can have!!
  • Correction, explanation, encouragement can occur when the kids need it most - as we go. They don't have to sit with their hand up, waiting for the teacher to notice them (well, not very often!). We do our work together and the feedback is instantaneous, constructive and done with love, not red pen.
  • Truly individualised curriculum. Important for all kids, but especially for gifted kids. Compaction, grade-skipping, subject acceleration, telescoping, mentoring, extension, enrichment, early admission to tertiary studies and concurrent enrolment are all very easy to achieve, and I don't have negotiate any of it with anyone.
  • Learning way cool stuff (like grammar!) - literature studies, quantum mechanics, Fibonacci numbers, computer programming - so much stuff to learn, so little time!
  • Few behaviour issues. There are no "naughty" kids in our class and I don't spend most of my day doing behaviour management (well, not all of it, anyway!). Instead we can concentrate on learning and living.
  • Better family relationships. I get to spend time with my kids. We honestly have a good time together and enjoy each other's company. If I find myself nagging them too much, then I know we need to find a better way. 
  • Stuff I don't miss - early mornings, bells, homework, sick notes, late notes, excursion notes, ironing uniforms, Easter hat parades, parent-teacher nights, reports, and sad, tired children. We are still able to access things like swimming carnivals, academic testing and competitions, drama, music, sport, chess and debating, when and if we need to through the local community and/or homeschool groups (who'da thunk it?). 
I know not everyone can homeschool. But when you look at that (incomplete) list, I have to wonder why everyone else isn't doing it yet...

What else do you love about homeschooling? 


  1. Right?

    I've stumbled on entire blogs dedicated to venting frustration with the public school system and I want to yell "There's another way!"

    How about - No administrator telling you what to do and that you have to spend/waste months teaching to the next test? How about nearly 100% of the money you spend on school goes directly to the student and not to some idiot administrator whose entire life consists of justifying his paycheck?

    (ooh, that was a bit bitter, that last one. sorry.)

    1. I was trying not to sound too bitter, but I'm with you Deb! Especially as I save the state thousands in educating my children but get no $$ in return!

  2. Flexibilty: snuggle time while reading books, being outdoors ALL day if we feel like it, wearing pjs all day if we feel like it, and yes, those impromptu conversations.

    Learning from: youtube, cooking, digging in the dirt, the library, farmer's market, community theater, and GOOD books, not text books.

    Connections: being able to dig deep into learning about papermaking, Japanese culture, and geometry, all because of an interest in origami.

    Just some random thoughts about what I love about homeschooling, not quite as succinct as your list :)

    1. Yes, yes and yes! I have been raving on about those things at work as well :-)

  3. Ingi

    Agree with all of the above, and most of all, they get to be true to themselves, no conforming, discovering who they are without the herd mentality.

    1. Oh yes! A biggie! Especially as we head into those teenage years :-)

  4. I love the image of you writing this post surrounded by hundreds of school teachers - like that clip of the zen master meditating on a busy NYC avenue.

    This I need to write and stick to Lu's forehead (so I always see it) -
    "If I find myself nagging them too much, then I know we need to find a better way."

    By recently understanding this, I feel like I've reached a whole new level - but I still need reminding.

    And ditto on all the others. And I'll add - learning together - because I too really am learning so much cool stuff I either forgot or never learned.

    1. I have an excellent image of myself as I go to work now :-) But there are some lovely people there too, who totally get why I do what I do!

  5. And I need to add another one - staying at home more often means less germs! I am miles and weeks from home, and have picked up some lergy from one of the many coughing, snuffling teachers in the big room in which I work. I feel like I've been run over by a truck! The last time I felt like this was on the cruise - stay away from handrails and shared toilets!!!

    1. Yes, we never get sick :). I hear all my mom friends who send their kids to school constantly posting on Facebook when their kids are sick. It amazes me how often it is.

      I don't know that I have much more to add to the already great replies but my favorite part of homeschooling has to be the relationship we have as a family. We really are in sync with one anothers needs.

  6. I nodded so much while reading your post that my neck is hurting! Homeschooling rocks, it really does. There is so much that doesn't work with our current school system, I can't understand why the vast majority of people stick with it. It's mind boggling really.

  7. I love homeschooling for all of the above reasons. I feel that my child has been entrusted to me and that no one will love my child the way I do. My daughter can learn in such a safe environment at home. There are so many negative things going on in schools such as bullying, cliques, rude teachers, etc. My daughter went to public school for Kindergarten and the school was trying to take over our lives: Monday, PTA meeting...Tuesday, field trip...Wednesday, school play...Thursday, class party...Friday, picture day. I can't believe I was taking my just turned 5 year old daughter to school in the dark two years ago...I love homeschooling. No one can teach my child the way I can.


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