by Leslie Fobbs
This morning I got a burst of warm, fuzzy encouragement from reading a post by a fellow homeschooling mom in my state homeschooling group. Sydney Miller stated that homeschooling is a lifestyle choice and went on to explain why it was about more than just the educational benefits for her family. Then a host of other moms sound off as well. I thought I’d share her message and list the common themes that came out of the discussion. This post can be a source of encouragement for you as well. Or if you have disapproving family members who still don’t get it, send them here!
So here’s the entire message posted by Sydney Miller (with her permission):
I couldn’t agree more as I think about how the relationship with my child has changed and about my experience interacting with other homeschooled children. I am more patient with my son, Dee, and more willing to listen. His input is most important in deciding how to proceed with my planning for him. Now I see him more as a person with real feelings and thoughts that matter. He is not just a lowly child that I have to shuttle from home to school and back each day. Those thoughts and feelings continue to amaze me each day when I realize how insightful he has become.
I still remember the first time I was around a large group of homeschool kids for a field trip. The way the older children spoke to me like we were on the same level (not in a disrespectful way), even though I was a stranger to them, was kind of like a culture shock for me. I had only met one of them, who is twelve years old, briefly before. When he came up to say ‘hi’, I literally turned around to see who he was speaking to behind me.
I had gotten used to being ignored as an adult by younger people. It felt nice to be seen. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm sure others can relate.
One commenter said it best when she suggested that parents should weigh the pros and cons of all their schooling options. There really is no denying that homeschooling provides the most benefit to the whole family and even the community if you look at the big picture.
Here are a few other benefits from this lifestyle choice that really resonated with me from the comments:
A closer-knit family
The more time people spend together, the better they can get along and live peaceably (most of the time anyway). This idea especially applies to siblings who would typically spend more time with their classmates than their built-in best friends at home. It is also more likely that the children will remain close to each other and to their parents when they become adults.
You have more freedom to go and do as you please, whenever. There is no ringing bell or bus schedule to dictate what time you get up and how much time you spend together in the afternoon. No truancy laws that dictate when you get to take a family vacation. There is no limit to the learning experiences that can be had anywhere in the world.
Overall better health
Not much explanation needed here. Less exposure to contamination. Less stress. Better eating. More sleep. More time out in the fresh air.
More positive behavior
Children mostly act on learned behavior from their peers. With less peer pressure, fewer cliquey groups, and hardly any rejection, kids seem to behave better with each other. When my son is around his school friends there always seems to be something mean that was said to him. I never considered that this is probably how they speak to each other at school like it is normal.
I love that we can choose who our children spend time with and supervise their activities. From my last comment, it's not that homeschooled kids behave perfectly (no child does). But when things do pop off, parents can be there to get them back on the path to being kind to one another.
A more well-rounded education
Children get to spend more time at home being integrated into life’s everyday tasks. There’s also more time for developing real skills and hobbies that can later pay off.
We become better parents
Whatever area we need to get better in as parents, homeschooling allows for that.
Did you notice how many times I used the word 'more'? I believe that, by design, homeschooling allows for more of everything that is good in life. It is a lifestyle choice!
I love the support from the community that comes with being a part of homeschooling groups. There is always something new to learn or ponder on. I am grateful for that and grateful for today’s reminder of why homeschooling is such an excellent lifestyle choice. Thank you, Sydney, for sharing your thoughts and everyone else that commented as well.
How has homeschooling become a lifestyle choice for you?