When people find out I am homeschooling my children, they say certain things. Well-intentioned comments like:
Wow, I could never do that!
What do you do all day?
I’m not sure I could spend that much time with my kids.
You must have so much patience.
I get these comments from everyone, from my close friends to the old fellow at the farm stand who inquires, puzzled, “No school today?”
And the truth is, while I don’t mind the comments, I never really know what to say.
And I find that I’m not always honest. I shrug my shoulders and make a joke, or laugh, anything to change the conversation.
I’m rarely honest about homeschooling to the non-homeschoolers.
5 Wonderful Homeschool Secrets No One Will Tell You
Today, I’m coming clean. I’m sharing 5 wonderful homeschool secrets that no one shares.
1. I love homeschooling.
I love homeschooling. I truly do. And that’s not to say that it’s easy, or that it’s fun all the time, or that I don’t worry, or that I feel 100% confident 24/7, but I love homeschooling. When we stumbled into homeschooling, I wondered if I would like it. I feared that one or both of us would hate it. I never considered that I might completely fall in love.
When folks ask me about homeschooling, I don’t usually admit that I love it and I believe this is because no one expects that you could. They see it as a lot of time, work, and energy. And, on the one hand, they are correct. But on the other hand, there is the fact that even our worst days are worlds better than our best days in public school.
Because here’s the thing: While not for everyone, homeschooling is a wonderful option for children who do not fit in that proverbial box. As a school psychologist, I witnessed innumerable children who were not reached by our public education system: children who fell through the cracks, children who were misunderstood, children who were sad, children who lost their love of learning, children who dropped out entirely. The fact of the matter is, public education does not work for all and it certainly doesn’t work for our family right now. I’m so thankful that my children are able to retain their love of learning while having their unique needs met.
2. Homeschooling is fun.
No, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine over here. We have hard days, crabby days, and sick days. I’m not pretending that those don’t exist. They do.
But we have heaps of fun, too. And I feel guilty admitting that to non-homeschoolers because I feel that I’m bragging, or that others will think we are slacking. The truth of the matter is that a lot of time is wasted in public schools. When you are shuffling twenty-plus children from place to place, it’s impossible to be super-efficient. And while we aren’t super-efficient most days, I have the luxury of working with only three children. This gives us so much freedom! Most days, our academic must-dos are done by lunch. That leaves our afternoons free for projects, field trips, play, time with friends, extra-curricular activities, or nothing at all!
In this age of teaching to the test, I’m glad that we have the freedom to explore all of the subjects and not just what will be on the test. Yes, my children cover all those core subjects, but they also spend their days immersed in art and music and nature.
3. I love the quality time I now have with my children…
There is this special thing that happens when you homeschool. It doesn’t happen the first year because you are too busy freaking out and getting in your own way, but it happens once you settle in and get comfortable. I call it homeschool mindfulness and I need to write a post on it but, basically, everything becomes educational in a way that it wasn’t before.
When my kids were in school, I spent so much of our day rushing to:
- Get up and get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Pack snacks and lunches
- Catch bus
- Get in the car for school drop-off
- Hurry for school pick-ups
- Shuttle to after-school activities
- Get home
- Eat dinner
- Get to bed on time
I’m always thankful for the things I don’t have to do anymore, including:
- Hurrying my children
- Pick-up lines
- Packing lunches and snacks
- Rushed meals
Now that we are homeschooling, our days have far more space. Even the most mundane of household tasks, like laundry, take on an educational twist when you are homeschooling. We do all of these tasks together, as a team. We make breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Our meals are not rushed, but rather an opportunity for leisurely conversation and learning. Because homeschooling takes less time than public school, my children have adequate time to play and to spend time in nature. In addition, because we aren’t overscheduled and frazzled, we actually have more time for extracurriculars. I know my children. My oldest especially would be too wiped out from a full day at school to tack on fun activities like art, nature, and piano lessons and classes.
4. … and I cherish the quality time that they have with each other.
People have always ask me, “Do your children always get along so well?” and I always laugh and say, “Yes, until they don’t!” My children fight with each other, just as all siblings do. Squabbling siblings, while annoying, are normal.
Still, my children are close. They spend hours playing together, creating together, learning together, and- best of all- snuggled up reading together. They would not have this much time with each other if they were in public school.
A photo posted by MyLittlePoppies (@my_little_poppies) on
5. I’m enjoying learning alongside my children.
I never imagined that I would love homeschooling so much. I knew it was the right choice for our oldest, but I didn’t think about how it would impact me, as a parent.
When you first start homeschooling, you feel overwhelmed with what you don’t remember from school. You worry about how you are going to teach all the things. The reality is, I’m not really the teacher. I’m more of a coach, a willing sidekick who is curious and willing to dive down rabbit holes and find the answers to questions.
I often wonder who has learned more since embarking on this journey. I’m willing to bet that I’ve learned more from this process than my children have. Children are our wisest teachers!
Now, it’s your turn. Do you have homeschool secrets to add? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram