Most of us parents are well into the school-year routine of getting up early to take kids to the bus or school and coming home to do chores before having to watch over the homework situation – and maybe having to do some intervention about something a kid or teacher said or did. Now, imagine spending the day in your pajamas discussing ancient Greece with your kids before sending them to do 20 minutes of math on the computer before getting ready to meet friends at the park — and all as part of their education. Homeschooling is a growing trend in the United States, and in addition to giving their kids a good education without the stress of an institutionalized setting, parents say one of the best advantages is that it makes for closer families. Here are ten reasons why homeschooling brings families closer.
1. Less Conflict with Parents’ Values
Whether or not you believe it takes a village to raise a child, the “village” often works to push values that may compete with yours. One of the most common reasons parents give for homeschooling is to raise their children with their values and worldview, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. This is especially important for parents when religious values are at stake. This reason becomes increasingly important as parents see school systems becoming more a platform for social experimentation than academic education.
2. Kids Feel Safer
Another common reason to homeschool is to get children out of a dangerous school environment or a situation where a child is bullied. Homeschooling kids learn in a small classroom environment and play in coops and groups where parents know each other and are directly involved. Instead of dealing with a school system that may not be willing to take sides (at best) or prefers to “bury” evidence of bullying that might affect its standing (at worst), parents have more power to protect their children.
3. Relaxed schedule
Because you are dealing with fewer children without a classroom setting, parents can complete in a few hours what takes a schoolteacher days to accomplish. They can also adapt schedules to moves, family events, illnesses, and more. It not only opens up time in a family schedule, but also removes the stress of balancing school expectations with the needs of the home.
Despite the common jokes of mom rejoicing when the school bus leaves, homeschooling families find that the increased time together does enrich their families. Children often become a greater part of the home routine, helping younger siblings with schoolwork, working together to straighten up the house before “recess” and going on field trips together.
5. Stronger Faith
Despite the fact that schools strive to promote “diversity,” in many ways, they have worked against children’s religious identities. “The educational establishment has attempted to strangle religion’s influence. Instead of recognizing religion as part of our culture, many have fought hard in the courts to make religion illegal in the classroom,” notes the ASCD. Homeschooling parents can find educational materials that reinforce their religious views, and can incorporate worship into their school schedule.
6. Stronger Sibling Relationships.
“We have three girls and they are extraordinarily close thanks to 13 years of homeschooling. My two older girls watched while therapists came to the house for Christina, who has Down’s Syndrome. They loved watching them work with her and often imitated the lessons. Now, Gabbi, 21, is finishing her BSN in Nursing at Franciscan University, and 17-year-old Bella wants to study Special Education. I don’t think they would have been as close if not for homeschooling,” said Leticia Velasquez of A Special Mother is Born.
7. Better Communication
Celeste Behe, homeschooling mother of nine, lists plenty of reasons why homeschooing kids communicate better. “Holistic communication is one of the identifying characteristics of homeschooled kids, who tend to interact well with people of all ages. Homeschooled kids don’t spend most of their daytime hours with classmates who are their age, so they don’t need to develop one set of communication skills to be used with their peers, and another to be used with their families. Homeschooling families also have more opportunities to share meals, so more mealtime conversations are bound to take place. “
8. More Responsible Kids
“It has helped that the kids do chores as part of school, which helps them take ownership of our home and bring our family closer together. So, less selfishness,” said AnnMarie Mincieli Creedon.
9. Homeschool Families Have Fun Learning
One of the draws of homeschooling is flexibility. Even with pre-made curriculums and online schools, there’s room for the spontaneous field trip or the topic that goes off on a tangent and leads to mummifying a chicken. (Okay, that was less fun than we’d expected, but we discovered a whole new world of smells.) You know those projects you always talk about doing with the kids but never have time for because of homework and extra-curricular activities? Now, they can become part of the curriculum. If you enjoy learning, too, then it becomes not just fun for them, but for you.
10. Really Get to Know Each Other
“My children don’t just see me as the keeper of the schedule and tyrant of the schoolwork because we spend enough time together to have a relationship beyond that. They also know that I cry at sappy songs, love practical jokes, and need a little space sometimes. On the other side, I get the benefit of seeing the wonder of them as they grow into adulthood. I have the leisure of not just being their driver, but seeing the excitement of discovery, the crush of boredom, and everything in between. I have the privilege of really knowing them in ways most people simply don’t have the time for,” said Rebecca Lane Frech, author of Teaching in Your Tiara.
It’s true that homeschooling is not for everyone. My own family has done homeschooling, private schooling, and public schooling. But for those that are inclined, it’s certainly worth trying. You’ll be surprised how much your family can benefit from it.
Also check out Homeschooling: Fighting for Our Children’s Future, written by PJ Media contributors, which addresses a number of threats facing the U.S. K-12 educational system. Download it now from the PJ Store.