Why Homeschooling?

Here are the things I love and the reasons we do it, as well as the challenges:

LOVE:

1) Freedom of schedule. This was the main reason we started homeschooling.  If we have a late night it’s OK to sleep in the next morning, if we get an outrageously gorgeous spring day then we can take off for the beach, and we can spend months at a time traveling during the school year. 

2) Choice of subjects. Letting the kids explore subjects that interest them is a huge benefit.  The depth of learning is so much greater when children are interested in the topic.

3) Snuggles. There’s nothing better than snuggling up on the couch to read, watch science videos or just take a break. 

4) Cutting edge materials.  Since we don’t have to have anything approved by anyone else we can use the latest and greatest.  Like Khan Academy BEFORE they integrated common core and made it stupid. Also, if something we choose stops working for us, we can change at anytime. 

5) Choice of teachers.  There are a number of things that my kids learn from other people and we have complete freedom to choose people that are not only experts, but also whose style of teaching works for our kids.

6) Field trips. We are fortunate to live in an area with many wonderful museums.  A short drive and a couple of museum passes opens the doors to many other worlds.  (And we get to go when there aren’t any lines!)

7) Mixed age exposure.  Many activities we participate in are for entire families.  The kids get experience in being with all ages.  

8) No packing lunches. During school breaks my kids will often go to day camps and we get to experience a “normal” schedule.  It sucks (in my opinion). I love being able to just make a nice meal when we’re ready to eat during the day.

THE CHALLENGES:

As much as I love homeschooling, it's not all unicorns and roses.

1) Time to research and plan. Homeschooling doesn’t just happen on its own and it runs much more smoothly when I put in the time to research materials and organize the kids work and activities.

2) Needing childcare. I work for a small company and they have always allowed me to bring my kids to work. Luckily, the kids are old enough now that I can leave them at home, but in the past if I wanted to go anywhere without them I’d have to coordinate care.

3) Must make alone time. I tend to always be with someone (often the kids) and I enjoy having some quiet time.  By default this often ends up happening late at night after everyone else is asleep.  I have to make it a priority to schedule time alone.

4) Getting kids to work.  I’m sure this is shocking - the kids don’t always want to do their work.  We are often creating different plans/incentives, etc. to get them to stay in action.

5) Money. In our area homeschooling is MUCH cheaper than private school (which runs about $30K/child/year), but there are still a number of things that we put our money towards: books, supplies, private classes, group classes, and memberships. In addition, I can’t work as many hours a week as I would if they were in school full time, so there’s an opportunity cost.