As I come to the end of our 20 years of homeschooling, I am reflecting on lots of different aspects and sharing in a series called: 20 Years of Homeschooling Experience – Reflecting on our Story.  Today I’m sharing my top 10 benefits of homeschooling. People have many different reasons for homeschooling:  they want to instill family values and beliefs, they want to meet unique needs, they want to take them away from bullying, they want to have flexibility of lifestyle, they want to ignite an interest to learn.  A few of these thoughts were certainly in our mind when we started homeschooling, but now, at the end of 20 years I’m reflecting back and thinking of what are the benefits that we have found, in our family.  Just as there are so many reasons why people homeschool – there will be equally as many benefits that different families find.  

Benefits of Homeschooling in our Family Life:

1–Relationship with my kids

Parenting can be a rough ride – we never know what is going to happen next – but the number one goal that I have had for my family has been to have a relationship with each of my kids – and I am blessed to be able to say that at this time, I do indeed have a strong and healthy relationship with each of my kids.  A relationship that has grown as they have grown, and changed as they have matured.  They are my friends, I love being with them, they spur me on to be all that God wants for me, they teach me new things, they encourage me to do more and hug me when things don’t go so well!   Read: 10 Tips to Build Relationship with your Teen (and still be the Parent)

2–Relationship between siblings

I remember when Daniel was toddling around in a nappy looking out the window while I prepared lunch and Josh was giving Daniel a push on the swing.  I remember thinking that if my kids were at school, this wouldn’t happen – not at this time of day.  If Josh was at school we would have to wake Daniel up from his sleep to pick Josh up from the bus, Josh would come home tired, and Daniel would be tired too.  Not optimal for siblings to enjoy each other and bridge a 6 year age gap.  But by being home they could find a time suited to both of them to build their relationship.   My kids have had their spats and tensions.  But they have also learnt to value and depend on each other.  It is a special thing to see and one that I pray will continue into their adult lives.

3–Time for Creativity

Our kids often did very well with prizes at the local Agricultural Show.  People would say – your kids are so creative.  And yes, they are creative but really most people can be creative.  The difference was they had time to be creative.  By encouraging hobbies and insisting that they spent at least 1 hour a day in ‘productive free time’ Read: How to Encourage Creativity in your Children

4–Time to work on life skills

In our daily routines I prioritized chores – which was one of the ways our kids learnt lifeskills.  Another way was by letting go of book learning, or even unit studies, when a life opportunity came up.  Our children don’t learn these things by osmosis – they learn by doing and by talking about the reasons why we do what we do the way we do it.   Read: Teach your Children to Work Hard

5–Engagement in the Community

Often people think homeschoolers are isolated, protected from the big wide world.  This certainly wasn’t why we homeschooled and was never our intention to make homeschooling about that.  Peter and I are involved in the community and whenever we did something we took our kids, and involved them when we could.  This meant they got involved in serving at church, running kids clubs, babysitting, visiting and helping the sick and elderly, or supporting others in need.   Read: Teaching our Kids to Volunteer in the Community

6—Ability to be flexible and work with Peter’s seasonal work

Peter worked a full and busy season which kept him away from home most of the time for the months April to end of December.  But because our days were flexible we could put aside our study plans when Peter was home, we could go camping or on a holiday on our schedule and not dictated to by the school calendar. Read: Dealing with Life when Husband Works Away

7—Filled our house with books

I love my bookshelves filled with great books.  There will be some I will need to get rid of but many are family favourites – from an old tattered children’s bible to picture books, to living history and science, to novels.  These books have shaped our thinking and imaginations, they have been read over and over, they have been loved. Read:  How to Choose Good Books

8–Opportunity to work with strengths and weaknesses of each student

By homeschooling we stepped away from the idea that every child needs to learn the same thing at the same time as their peers.  Instead we went at the pace of each child – teaching them the next thing when they were ready for it.  In our homeschool an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) wasn’t just for the child with learning difficulty – it was a way of education for all. Read – Help! My Child is Smarter than I am!

9–Life long Learners

One of my goals was to create a love of learning and the skills for learning so that my children could be life long learners.  And it has been a delight to see them continue to learn – in their different ways – outside of formal education as they move into different stages of life.    Read: Learning Doesn’t Stop after Graduation

10–Teach from a faith base

Not only did homeshcooling give us time for the kids to develop habits of personal devotions and Bible study – but it also gave us an opportunity to teach subjects from a Biblical perspective.  I believe our faith affects every area of life – and homeschooling gave me the opportunity to both express that and teach how God sees life and this world.   Read: Give your Kids the Skills to have Personal Devotions

Over to you:

What benefits of homeschooling would you talk about?  Love to hear from you in the comments.

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20 years of Homeschooling Experience – Reflecting on our Story

This is part of a series of homeschooling reflections that I am writing in celebration of the end of our homeschool journey.  After 20 years all four of our children are finished their 12 years of school – and are moving onto either adult learning situations or work.

Why we Started Homeschooling and Why we Kept Going:  After 20 years of homeschooling I reflect back on why did we started homeschooling and why we kept going.

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The benefits of homeshooling are as diverse as the reasons you would homeschool - this is my top list after 20 years of experience.

The benefits of homeshooling are as diverse as the reasons you would homeschool - this is my top list after 20 years of experience.

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