Another school year is just getting started. If you are dreading sending your kids back to school, maybe now is a good time to consider homeschooling. Educating kids at home has come with some stigma in the past, but in recent years, homeschooling has had a face-lift.
Here are some reasons why you might want to skip the PTA this year, and opt for a ticket to the next homeschooling convention instead:
1: Social success
The main argument against homeschool I typically hear is about a lack of social opportunities for children. That may have been a concern twenty years ago but that is just not the case in today's world. First of all, think of all the extracurricular activities available for kids. There are loads of opportunities for your child to socialize outside of school. Our kids are involved in a local orchestra, sports, and church activities. They also live in a great neighborhood where there are plenty of kids to play with.
2. No burnout
Experts agree that too many structured activities can leave your kids wanting more free time and can lead to burnout. With school, sports, dance, horse riding, music along with school, kids aren't left with much free time. However, when you choose to homeschool, your children have more freedom to be involved in more extracurricular activities because they have free time at home during the day they would not otherwise have.
3: State support
Nearly every state offers programs to help homeschoolers. Many websites offer a variety of programs and resources for homeschooling families, like time4learning or homeschool.com. Our family uses MyTechHigh, a virtual public school available in Utah. In exchange for weekly learning logs and a reading test three times a year, this program gives us access to cutting-edge technology classes with online instructors, reimbursement for schooling curriculum and supplies, and money to pay instructors. Co-ops and homeschooling networks exist in serveral communities in each state. It doesn't take long to find other like-minded people to help you through your homeschooling adventure.
4. Family time
One of my favorite reasons to homeschool is the time my family now has to play together. Before we decided to bring the learning home, my oldest daughter spent eight hours a day either at school or carpooling to and from school. Then, of course, she had homework, music practice, and household chores...at just six years old! Add on sports and playing with friends, and there just wasn't any time left for family. I really wanted my kids to have time to play together and develop relationships with one another. Having my children spend eight hours a day at school just was not conducive to that desire.
Researchers focussing on a study from American Academy of Pediatrics are realizing that unstructured playtime for kids is important to creating happy children that grow into healthy adults. By cutting out the inefficiencies found in traditional education, my kids are able to spend more time together playing (and become best friends). Now their best friends are right here at home, and we make sure there is plenty of time for play.
5. You can do it (really!)
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to homeschool. Gone are the days when students were limited by the knowledge of their teachers. Now with the Internet, everything you need to know is just a Google search away. Kids don't need to be spoon fed facts as much as they need to have a desire to learn and be taught how to find information. You can teach them that desire to learn. Are you afraid to teach math? No problem. Choose an online math curriculum for your kids. You might even surprise yourself and have fun re-learning math alongside them.
6. More enriching parenting
One of your greatest roles as a parent is to nurture and influence your children. Think about the values, faith, and character traits you would like to instill in your children. When you send your kids off to school and extra activities for the bulk of their time, your time to influence them is diminished. You are left hoping that the teachers and peers your children are surrounded by hold the same values you do. In a world where social norms are rapidly changing, chances are your values aren't being reinforced at most schools.You can have a greater power to influence your children when you assume the role of teacher. Your views and values will become part of their secular learning.
Also, kids don't always see and appreciate all the work that goes into parenting. When you homeschool, your kids can more readily notice your efforts as their parent. When the "rebellious" teenage years come and your children naturally tend to challenge authority, having spent more time with them over the years will better equip you to maintain the strong relationship necessary to help them. I realize that there are many amazing teachers and mentors out there for sure, but, as a parent, you should seriously consider whether you want to turn your role as primary influencer over to someone else.
7. Schooling and savings
When you homeschool your kids, you have the unique opportunity to teach them a specific trade or skill. Most kids have to wait until they graduate from high school to learn skills they can actually use to make money. But, when you homeschool, you can include your skill sets in the curriculum. My husband and I have made a living building businesses online. Now, my kids are learning those skills. They are using video editing software to create marketing videos, creating product designs in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They are learning online marketing techniques using social media platforms and search engine optimization, as well as customer service, production and shipping. All of these are real world skill they can use throughout their lives. Also, not only are they learning everything they need to know to build their own companies in the future, they are also earning money now for their savings and for higher education. Our kids won't have the setback of going into debt for school. They will already have a flourishing business on the side.
If you have ever considered homeschooling, maybe now is the time to take the plunge. There are so many reasons to try it, and with so many resources available, your success is almost guaranteed if you're willing to work hard. It can be a little scary at first, but chances are, you will end up loving it, and your kids will too.