The following is a post from contributing writer Roan of Joyful Always.
I recently asked my five children, ages 6,8,13,14, and 17, why they liked being homeschooled. They quickly spouted off about fifteen different reasons, which I have consolidated into the following list.
More free time
My older children are well aware of traditionally schooled children’s school hours. They realize that those seven to eight hours of school plus the hours spent in after school activities and then time spent doing homework adds up to a lot of time!
They appreciate the fact that they can complete their schoolwork in two to five hours, depending on the age of the child. In their free time, my children enjoy playing outside in our woods, bike riding, roller blading, swimming, reading, games, dolls, books, and various other toys both inside and outside. Having more free time leads to reason number 2.
Time for creative pursuits
In addition to basic free play, my children enjoy several hobbies and creative past times. My girls all spend time sewing, knitting, crocheting, and creating other handwork, while my boys enjoy woodworking and blacksmithing. Each of these pursuits require large blocks of time which my children have several times a week since they are homeschooled.
Lack of drama
My older girls see and/or hear about firsthand at church, camps and other places the drama that many teenaged girls are involved in. Most of this centers around cell phones, boys, and unkind girls.
Being at home most of the time has protected them from unnecessary hurt feelings and heartbreak. They can concentrate on their academics during our school hours without the distractions of such drama.
Use of “real books”
My children love books, and they love for me to read aloud to them. Even my 17 year old daughter will stop doing her schoolwork to join us in the den if I am reading a book that she particularly loves. I have primarily used living books in educating all of my children. We have studied all time periods and numerous subjects through the pages of dearly beloved books.
Flexible vacation time
As homeschoolers, we can take our school breaks whenever we want. We schedule family vacations during “off seasons” which leads to smaller crowds and lower rates. Our favorite time to go to Disney World in is January.
Strong sibling relationships
Since my children spend most of their waking hours with their siblings, they are each other’s best friends. They share common interests. They actually like each other and enjoy each other’s company. I predict that these strong ties will continue into their adult years.
My children are not bound by certain school hours or rigid schedules dictating their learning. While I do prepare detailed checklists for daily and weekly assignments, I do not dictate the order in which they must complete their work on a daily or weekly basis. For instance, if my eleventh grade daughter’s math lesson is particularly hard one day, and it takes her over an hour to complete, she may choose to skip or reduce her history reading for that day. The next day when her math lesson takes less time, she will double up on her history reading.
Sometimes a child may find that they are assigned two chapters in a book for literature, but before they know it they have spent two hours reading the entire book! As long as the assigned work is done by the end of the week, I let them pace themselves. Of course self-pacing is only for my older, independent students. My younger children still follow a predictable routine each day.
More time with Daddy
My husband is usually off work one day each week. It is not the same day each week, but we do know which days are his off days far in advance. Simply put, when Daddy is off work, we are off from school.
We use those days to spend time together as a family. We run errands, travel out of town, do extra household chores both inside and outside the house, and generally enjoy each other’s company. Our entire family benefits from these “off days”. If my children were in traditional school, they would miss many, many hours of their daddy’s company.
What child does not like having their teacher all to themselves? Of course my five children must share me, but each of them has his turn with me as needed.
Eating when you are hungry
This is important to my children! They stressed to me how wonderful it is to walk to the kitchen for a drink when you are thirsty. To pop a large bowl of popcorn to share while I am reading aloud to them. To eat lunch at 11:30 or 1:00, depending on how hungry you are. We do follow a routine at our house, but nothing is written in stone. If they are hungry at 9:00 AM, I give them a healthy snack!
A few other reasons that my children related that they like about being homeschooled include input in their course of study, using Christian worldview curricula, and competence in practical, real life skills.
Roan blogs regularly at her personal blog, Joyful Always. Her topics include her family life, running, homemaking, and homeschooling.