While some of us have known the benefits of learning at home long before Covid19, many people, maybe even you, are unexpectedly homeschooling and unexpectedly loving it. Just the other day, while talking with one of my cousins on Zoom, he told me when I left teaching to homeschool he thought I was crazy. Smiling into the camera, he shook his head and said, “Now I know you were brilliant. This is awesome!”
More and more, I’m hearing friends and family, who once “could never homeschool” or “would never want to homeschool” change their minds. They are experiencing the many gifts homeschooling offers and now considering homeschooling an option.
For others, homeschooling has been more of a challenge. Especially at first, the transition from school to home was huge. Here’s the truth though: The transition from school to home is big no matter when or why you start to homeschool. Transitions are hard, and homeschooling isn’t easy.
Homeschooling, just like sending our kids off to school, just like parenting, comes with a handful of challenges. No matter how we choose to educate our children, the ride will at times be bumpy. For our family, homeschooling has always offered more gifts than challenges. That being said, one of my children has chosen to go to school for middle and high school, so we are very much living both worlds. He is an extrovert who wants to be surrounded by people, something our smaller homeschool community can’t provide. While I honor his choice, it would be a lot easier on our family and I truly believe he’d be enjoying the learning a lot more if he came back home. Why? Because homeschooling offers many things schools don’t provide.
If you’ve found yourself a pandemic homeschooler, here are four reasons to keep on keeping on even after schools reopen.
1. Homeschooling Does Not Have to Happen at a Certain Time of Day
One major advantage to homeschooling is your family sets the schedule. Homeschool in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Homeschool during the week or on weekends. Take four days on and three days off. When it's the perfect weather to ski or swim, go play and shift learning time to a different part of the day.
As homeschoolers, we can pay attention to when our children learn best and create our schedules according to what our family needs and wants. Homeschooling during Covid19 has shown us how precious our time is and the importance of making the most of it.
2. Homeschooling Encourages the Love of Learning
As you may have found, it can feel daunting at first to homeschool. But there are many supports to help us find resources and curriculum, and eventually, we all find our footing. Our best teachers are our children. They let us know what is working and what isn’t!
One of the things I’ve loved most as a homeschooler is watching my children find new passions and enjoy their days. Gone are the days of having to drag my children out of bed or drop them off at school in tears.
Homeschooling offers our children opportunities to develop their passions, go down rabbit holes, become experts, and take the time they need to learn and enjoy learning. Boredom with school deceases when we take their interests and styles of learning into consideration. We can try new things and stop doing what isn’t working.
3. Homeschooling Gives Our Kids Time to Learn
While there are many ways to learn, one thing every homeschooling offers is time for our kids to learn.
As a teacher, I saw how many students needed and wanted more time to finish projects, books, take tests, and engage in what was becoming clear. And, no matter how much I wanted to give them more time when the bell rang, time was up.
Thanks to the pandemic, many students and parents are realizing how much more time they have without classroom logistics eating up the day:
- commuting to and from school
- lining up
- walking from class to class
- waiting for other students to finish assignments
Homeschool kids have a lot of time to learn and play. A 6+ hour school day, 5 days a week is no longer needed, thanks to the efficiency of homeschooling.
I cherish the days my daughter and I are reading a book we love and don’t have to put it down. I love when something clicks for her and we can move on or she pulls out every book we own on fossils because she has questions. I’m grateful when a concept is challenging we can spend as many days or months needed for her to figure it out and if it’s best we take a break for a while, that works too.
We are not in a race. Learning is something we’ll be doing for life. The pandemic has revealed this truth to many families for the first time!
Homeschooling allows us to take our time, and when we do slow down, it makes a huge difference in how much knowledge is retained.
4. Homeschool Creates Connections
Today I took my oldest to get his learner’s permit for driving. Cliche as it may be, they grow up in a blink. Eighteen years is a small fraction of a 70-year life. I will never regret a minute I spent homeschooling my children.
- Is it hard to work remotely and homeschool? Yes, but as many are finding these days, it’s definitely doable.
- Is it hard to teach our own kids? Sometimes. Nothing worth doing is always easy.
- Are the challenges worth the time we have together? Over and over again, yes.
Parents who send their children to school get quality time with their kids and of course, can have good relationships with them, but homeschooling parents get that and a lot more.
If you’ve considered homeschooling or are thinking about continuing after the schools open back up, first know homeschooling during a pandemic is not a complete picture of what homeschooling looks like. Homeschoolers have also had to put co-ops, classes, field trips, and activities on pause. My daughter’s homeschool days look different today than they did in 2019. With that said, many of the best parts of homeschooling continue to happen during the pandemic. We read more books than we ever have, found new homeschool communities online, and she has found a love of writing.
The gifts of homeschooling are many. It’s something I will always cherish and celebrate. Transition time is always needed, but once you find your groove, you’ll celebrate being a homeschooler too.
About the Author
Kelly left teaching middle and high school English to homeschool her children and reclaim how she and her family spent their time. Followers of interest-led learning, her family's days rarely look the same, but they tend to include a lot of books, art supplies, and time outside.
Kelly facilitates local writing circles for women and children and blogs about nurturing the love of learning on her blog, Curiosity Encouraged. She loves to journal, read memoirs, hike, and travel. She seeks quiet mornings and good coffee daily.