How has homeschooling changed our life? That is a difficult question to answer, because our family knows no other life. We’ve been homeschooling forever, it seems… in any case since Miss 17 was old enough to attend junior kindergarten.
So I’ll answer the related question: How would our lives be different if we did not homeschool? I shudder to think of it, actually, but here goes.
If we did not homeschool:
- Our daily, weekly, and yearly routines would be governed by the big yellow school bus, or even worse, by driving kids to several different schools.
- Our children would largely be raised by other adults, some of whom, even at a Christian school, I would not want raising my children. They would also be raised by their peers, spending many hours together with them each day, and feeling insecure without them.
- Our children’s lives would be centered on school. Now our family’s life is centered on learning. There’s a subtle but huge difference.
- Our children would spend the bulk of their time with peers and adults who are not in a close relationship with them. Now they spend much time with their siblings and with my husband and me, in relationships that will last a lifetime.
- Our children’s social life would be school-related. Now it’s church-related.
- Current concerns about academic excellence, practical skills, service, and preparing for the future, would be pushed aside by issues such as peer socialization, worries about appearance, boy-girl relationships, and worldly music.
- I would be spending a lot of time with my children when we’re all tired, helping them with homework that I would often consider irrelevant.
My kids have a wonderful life compared to many of their peers. Less wasted time. Less lice. (Although we did get them once. Yuk!) More hobbies. More practical skills. The opportunity for more real down-time … although they tend to fill it with wide-ranging interests. Better academics. Flexible hours. More time with people of all ages. More chances to explore career options. More chances to do exciting things…at least when I was still well, and hopefully in the future, again. Being allowed to run around outside when they are too energetic to sit still.
It is true that if my children went to school, I would have more time for myself during the day, but what would I do all those hours without my children? Some people think I’m a saint or a hero for homeschooling my kids. Occasionally I try to set them right, but sometimes I’m so flabbergasted by their comments that I let them polish my halo without arguing. One woman even introduced me at a party as a martyr who had given up her career to teach her five children! She was serious!
The secret is that I’m no martyr. I’ve got an easy existence compared to many mothers. I have a more peaceful life, my own routine, my favourite people around me much of the time, chances to discuss fascinating things all day long, incredible learning opportunities, no temptations to go out and get a job, and huge motivation to grow up spiritually. I don’t need to watch my children go through the peer issues that can begin even in the earliest grades, or the relationship heartaches and angst that are considered part of being a teen.
To be sure, our life is definitely not perfect, but I think it’s as good as it gets here on earth, and I’m grateful to God for my husband, my children, and the opportunity to homeschool.
Other parents are addressing this question today as well, and you can read their thoughts at the Blog Cruise when it goes up on Tuesday.
OK, so my children read this and protested, saying that it sounded too good to be true. So we went through the post, paragraph by paragraph, and they couldn’t find anything objectionable, but they still claim it’s not quite right. We could not decide what to change, but I promised to add a paragraph to explain their opinions.
They are pretty good kids, and they are perceptive. I’m still puzzling about their comments and I’ll change the post if we can figure out what needs changing.