Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling

It must be a sign of spring. People who have never before seemed interested in homeschooling are suddenly asking me what homeschooling is really like. Is it a lot of work? Doesn't it cause lots of conflict between mother and child?

These people are asking about homeschooling because they're trying to decide what to do about school in the fall. Some of their kids will be kindergarten age next fall. Some of them are already in school and the parents aren't happy with it for one reason or another. Some of these people may even be reading this newsgroup right now.

I had a certain agenda when I started homeschooling Morganne. As soon as we began the homeschooling adventure, however, we discovered many benefits we hadn't ever considered. I was surprised to find that these unexpected benefits began to seem more important to me than the original reasons for homeschooling.

So, I'd like to open up a thread on the unexpected benefits of homeschooling, the good stuff that came on the caboose of the home-ed train. What surprised you about homeschooling your children? What good, but unexpected, things came of your decision to teach your kids at home?

Here's my partial list:

    1. Homeschooling fosters a strong sibling relationship. I was afraid that Morganne would miss her agemates and be tired of having her little sister for a constant playmate. Instead, the relationship between my daughters has become very close.
    2. Homeschooling has improved the parent/child relationship This is especially true of Morganne's relationship with her father. We're running a home-based business and Garry is able to spend more time involved with his children. Both Garry and I use homeschooling as an excuse to spend more involved time with our children.
    3. Homeschooling kids are healthy. They aren't exposed to so many sick children, so my kids have had the healthiest winter ever.
    4. We have the best times of the day together, not just the loose ends. We're all together when we're feeling our best during the day, not just ramping off to get to school/work in the mornings and winding down from a stressful day in the evenings.
    5. We're not clock-bound. Learning can take place any time, any place. We can afford to take the time to work on interesting projects as they come up. Morganne has the time to engage in activities which are meaningful to her (gymnastics, painting, music) that she might not have time or energy for if she went to school.
    6. Morganne socializes well with people of all ages. She is not set on her age-mates or artificial boundaries between people. She treats people as individuals, not members of groups.
    7. Morganne is pretty immune to peer pressure. She doesn't play clique-ish games, even when those around her do. She's not afraid of being different or afraid to stick up for herself or any other underdog. Her interpersonal skills are very mature.
    8. Morganne has learned beyond my expectations. Interest-initiated learning has led her to learn subject matter that I would have considered beyond the abilities of a 5-year-old.
    9. Our lives are pretty stress-free. We are busy people, but we do take the time to take care of ourselves. Thus, we all have patience and an easier time getting along amongst ourselves and with other people.
    10. Morganne sees what adult life is all about. She sees adults at work, including her parents. She is interested in adult work, in how things are made, in what types of jobs people do.
    11. Morganne has become a very independent learner. She learns in her own way, directed by herself. She has become resourceful about learning what she wants to know.
    12. Homeschooling has fostered Morganne's problem-solving skills. She is allowed to struggle, so she has learned to fix many problems for herself. When she asks me to help her solve a problem, she has usually already tried two or three approaches herself and often has an idea of the kind of assistance she would like.
    13. Homeschooling has helped Morganne become confident and outgoing. She was the most reserved and cautious 4-year-old I had ever seen. I've watched her become much surer of herself and much more outgoing since September.

Well, that's all I have time for now. What about the rest of you? What benefits has homeschooling brought into your lives?

Copyright © 1994-7 by Heather Madrone. All rights reserved.