“I could never do it.”
How many times have homeschooling parents heard this phrase?
Aside from comments regarding socialization, this is probably the most common remark I get from other parents when they find out that I homeschool. This makes a lot of sense considering that the phrase sums up the entire premise behind homeschooling.
Parents, homeschooling is not about us — it’s about the children. I’m sure every homeschooling parent can attest to the enormous amount of sacrifice that goes into educating a child at home. If we were doing it for ourselves, we would have quit long ago.
However, by continuing to homeschool despite the inconvenience it causes us, we reap numerous benefits for our children.
Here are some of the benefits I’ve observed during my years of homeschooling.
1. Opportunities to Teach Sacrifice
Homeschooling provides a great opportunity for us to teach our children sacrifice. When my children complain about their schoolwork, I tell them that I am the one who should be complaining.
They are required to receive an education, but I am certainly not required to homeschool them. I tell them that if they went to school, they would be there from 8-3, would be separated from their family, would not be able to take breaks when they need them, and would have to wait for the rest of the class to be done before moving on to something new.
However, because I know what is best for them and am willing to sacrifice for that, they do not have to experience any of those things. Suddenly all complaining ceases.
Furthermore, beyond what I explicitly tell them, my children watch me every day. They see me spend my day teaching them, cooking for them, and having fun with them. In turn, I observe them growing more helpful and considerate every day, not only in their relationships with me and my husband, but with their siblings.
2. Learning to Think Outside the Box
Homeschooling teaches our children that there are other ways of doing things, and they do not have to be content with the way things are.
I sometimes talk to parents whose children want to be homeschooled, but they are apprehensive and unsure if they can do it or want to do it. The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that it sends the message to our children that they are unique, with their own interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
When my oldest was in private school, she felt frustrated with the apathy of her teachers who did not seem to care about providing work that appropriately challenged her. Instead of settling for the way things were, we decided to take action by homeschooling.
Since then, my daughter, after not finding a job she wanted, has run a successful piano and tutoring business. We’d like to think that our decision to homeschool played a big role in that.
3. Appreciating the Value (Not Routine) of Education
Homeschooling teaches our children the great value of an education. For children who attend institutional schools, school is very much a standardized routine.
While homeschoolers definitely have a routine, their days are much more open for pursuing their individual interests.
For instance, my son spends a great amount of his free time reading trivia books and doing origami. For every situation, he has an appropriate fun fact, and every day he makes amazing paper creations that no one in the family would have thought possible.
I make sure to carve out time in his schedule to pursue these activities because they are helping him to love learning and value the opportunity to do so.
Parents, by our choice to sacrifice our own free time for homeschooling, we are demonstrating to our children that an education is worth sacrificing for.
I know what it feels like to feel apprehensive at the prospect of homeschooling. I’d like to be able to say that I wake up every day excited to homeschool, but as every homeschooling parent knows, that’s not the way it works.
I also realize that there are some families who genuinely cannot homeschool, and that is certainly their private business. However, I think that many people who think they cannot homeschool actually can.
With so many great resources now available, homeschooling is becoming easier and easier. I encourage parents who think that they “could never do it” to give it a shot.
I think that, like myself, they might find that the benefits it brings to their family will give them the motivation to keep on going.