I can’t believe it.
After years of blabbing to anyone who’ll listen about the benefits of homeschooling, the world is finally warming up to the idea that there might just be more than one way for kids to learn – other than school.
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It’s not what you expect, is it?
For your local school to close. Yes, maybe for a day or two when the pipes freeze over in the winter, but indefinitely?
How the bloody hell is that going to work?
Homeschooling. Learning From Home.
With hundreds of thousands of kids around the world experiencing school closures in an attempt to prevent the further spread of the current C outbreak and The Whitehouse urging families to homeschool their kids, many parents are left panicking and feeling helpless.
For the more independent older high school kids, homeschooling (or continuing education from home) is pretty straightforward.
They might enrol in online homeschool programs and will probably have the benefit of being able to stay connected to tutors through Skype or Zoom.
But for the parents of smaller children who need adult supervision and a firm homeschooling schedule, the future might look somewhat daunting.
For those families who have never ventured into the world of teaching their kids from home, homeschooling (quite understandably) seems like an unrealistic, disruptive and (not to mention) terrifying thought.
But not everyone feels like this.
For some? The Benefits of Homeschooling Are Coming To Light.
Many students who are continuing their education from home are actually preferring this new fangled way of learning.
At last. I’m in the cool gang.
But I wanted to write this post about the benefits of homeschooling to help those that feel as though they are drowning in a sea of empty toilet rolls.
So that if you in the position where you are being asked to teach your kids you could at least say that you knew someone who had homeschooled her kids for ten years and she survived.
If that doesn’t help, then look at the pretty pictures and hopefully, they will cheer you up.
Are You Cut Out For Homeschooling? Take My 3 Minute Quiz To Find Out!
The Benefits of Homeschooling. 7 Positives.
I won’t go into my story of homeschooling. It’s far too long (ten years long in fact) and not always pretty, but I do want you to know that I started to homeschool my two children after weighing up my options – homeschooling vs public school and let’s say, for us, homeschooling won hands down.
This post is for those parents whose kids have been sent home to learn, and they’re sat there thinking ‘what the hell?? How long is this going to last?’
I wrote this post for you.
Welcome to the club – whether you like it or not you are now officially homeschooling.
And I doubt very much that you will find it as hard as you first imagined.
You might even like it. Just a teeny bit?
Alright then, I have some work to do.
#1: Coughs, colds, viruses.
Schools are a breeding ground for anything yucky.
Now. I am not saying that just because you homeschool you get to wrap your kids up in cotton wool and yes, I know the stuff about if kid’s don’t catch these things their immune system doesn’t develop and grow stronger.
Blah, blah blah. Evers.
You know what? If you feel as though your kids’ immune system isn’t taking enough of a bashing, take them to the local library and let them lick a few book covers. That should do the trick.
That was just a joke. Don’t let them lick book covers. That’s gross.
#2: Horrid, Quick Crawling, Egg-Laying, Itchy Nits (aka headlice.)
My daughter has always had long hair. And lots of it too. I’m am not sure where she inherited this gene from, it certainly wasn’t me.
My hair resembles a toilet mop that has been doused in bleach.
However, not all things beautiful come without problems and the bane of my daughters long and beautiful mane was nits.
When my daughter was sat school, she would get the dreaded nits at least once a term.
(And that bloody nit shampoo ain’t cheap.)
This was in the days before I became the earth mother that I am now. Before I used peppermint oil to clean my toilets and apple cider vinegar to treat sunburn.
Do you want to know something? This homeschooling benefit is probably my number one favourite.
I shouldn’t say that.
I should be telling you that homeschooling will make your kids super brainy and will have them reciting War and Peace and playing the guitar with their toes but no. Sorry. At least that wasn’t the case in our family.
But lunchtimes in our home educated household? Well.
Making school lunches was the number one thing I hated most about sending my kids to public school (that and the intolerable school gate chats with those competitive boring mothers.)
Bring your kids home and watch your stress levels zoom back down along with your sandwich filling ideas.
#4: Be Honest Liz.
Ok. It wouldn’t be fair of me to say what I just did without backing that statement up a little.
Yes, this post is trying to make you realise the benefits of homeschooling, but there is one thing that I must say.
If you are homeschooling teenagers, then please be prepared. Your fridge will be empty by 10 am.
For some reason, as soon as high school kids start to do any kind of ‘work’ at home, they need to stuff their faces with as much food as they can lay their hands on.
I like to keep things honest and real, and I would hate for you to say that I didn’t warn you.
Ok then. Moving on.
#5: Uniforms. Clothes.
When you homeschool your kids, clothes are no longer a worry.
No hang on. I don’t mean clothes, I mean uniforms.
I didn’t mean you get to sit there starkers while you all do your work, that would be a bit weird, no, I’m talking about the whole uniform ‘who’s got the coolest bag and who has the latest trainers’ rubbish.
That all goes and you will notice that your kids’ stress levels go out of the door when the constant need to ‘fit in and look cool’ is no longer important.
#6. Time Wasting.
I love this benefit, and so will your kids.
I homeschooled my two kids (who are now 18 and 15) for ten years. We followed a pretty flexible homeschooling schedule and were always done by one-thirty at the latest.
Anything over that and we had all had enough. Finito. Mama’s gone bye-bye.
You will find that school work (the lessons or whatever other homeschool programmes you have set up for your kids), can be done and dusted within a few hours.
I don’t mean to upset the apple cart here, but school is mostly spent time-wasting.
Sitting down nicely, lining up to shuffle into useless school assemblies. Listening to school notices (most of which don’t affect you one way or another), trips to the bathroom.
Waiting for other kids to catch up, ten minutes for the teacher to take the register.
Once you take all of the above into account you begin to understand why, when your kids have just spent six hours in school, they answer ‘nothing’ when you ask them what they learned today.
#7: Peer Pressure.
I have lost count of the number of times people have said to me “what about the socialisation?”
I’ll let you in on a secret.
Don’t ever ask a homeschool parent about socialisation. They think you are boring and are rolling their eyes behind your back.
Socialisation (of the right kind) is considered to be one of the huge benefits for those who choose to homeschool their kids. It’s one of the top contenders when you begin comparing homeschooling to public schooling.
Homeschooling children get to socialise with a huge range of kids and adults rather than being stuck in a box with thirty kids of the same age for six hours a day
Now is not the time for me to have a rant about the other thing people love saying: ‘without bullies, your kids won’t know how to function in the real world’.
Sadly, there are enough nasty people in the world to go around so I don’t think we will ever have to worry about that one.
School Versus Home.
Look. I am not a school hater.
My son went to public school for five years and my daughter spent three years at school. We started homeschooling for very different reasons to most.
My family is neither religious nor radical. We do not live in a wigwam at the mouth of a river and my husband does not ride a donkey to work.
My kids are not top stream brainboxes who stay at home playing competitive chess with their uncle, nor are they socially incapable of nodding their heads when the next-door neighbour asks them who the President of America is.
We are a regular family who has loved our homeschooling journey and are grateful for all that it has provided for our family.
Are you cut out for Homeschooling your kids?
And that is why I wrote this post.
To show you that if it worked for us, then it can work for you.
If I still haven’t convinced you then hey ho. That’s ok too. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone and it’s better to be honest with yourself right from the start.
But at least think about it. Please. And remember, it really isn’t the end of the world if your kids come home for a few months.
Take my 3-minute homeschool quiz to see if you are cut out for the homeschool long run. It’s fun and informative and if nothing else it will make you laugh.
Forget Any Benefits! I work… I Can’t Homeschool!
I hear you. I do.
For those families who are faced with keeping a full-time job while trying to homeschool know that you have my respect.
Trying to juggle both is no mean feat.
I know from experience. I tried homeschooling and working full time for a year and it nearly killed me, so I completely understand.
But, depending on the age of your kids, know that it is also not impossible.
It might not easy, but it’s not impossible.
And I also get that homeschooling your kids is the last thing on your agenda.
You might be thinking (along with a trillion other parents right now) when is that damn school going to open again so I can get my kids back to into a routine and get on with my life?
You are working. You are busy. Your life has been turned upside down. You don’t have the support or the money to take time off or call in extra child care.
I get that, I promise you, I do.
But I want you to know that homeschooling isn’t as hard as you first think. That although this is a huge change to what you are used to, it isn’t the end of the world just because the school has closed down.
In fact, maybe, just maybe, this could be a blessing in disguise.
Can I dare to suggest that this (might) just be the push that you have been waiting for?
Our Homeschooling Schedule.
You can see a full post about our homeschooling schedule here, but to give you a quick idea of what homeschooling two kids look like (bearing in mind I am a woman who loves wine and sometimes swears), and to make you feel a little more capable and calm, (neither of which are my strong points), I am going to share with you my homeschooling schedule for the past ten years.
Give or take.
Some days we did more. Some weeks we did less. Some days I sat and cried; convinced that any normal life that I ever had was over, others I resembled Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.
(Note that this routine is before either of my kids started high school and became serious about exams and stuff.)
Note also: this homeschool schedule applies Mon – Thur only. Friday was always an ‘unschool day’ in our family. Friday was the day that the kids got to choose what they wanted to do.
This would vary but usually included something like a hike, a day swimming at the beach, a visit to grandmas for a long weekend, a trip to the museum, or, if it was pouring down, a day watching films.
A Typical Homeschool Day:
9 – 9.30 am Chores. (Kitchen dishes, animals, the usual stuff).
I would use this time to walk the dog or plan the day.
9.30 – 10.00 am Music. (Both of my kids play instruments so they would learn new pieces or practice what their music teacher had given them.)
I would use this time to do office house stuff like pay bills etc.
10.00 – 11.00 am Maths (we always got the worst subject done first, and for both of my kids this was maths.)
11.00 – 11.30 am Break
( I would use this time to prepare dinner or do some laundry.)
11.30 – 12.30 pm English. Write essays, read-aloud books, poetry, grammar; depending on their ages.
12.30 – 1.30 pm Projects. This would incorporate science, history, geography – whatever we had chosen to learn about. Sometimes, if they were doing something that they were really into like watching a documentary or building a lego city they would continue with this on their own throughout the day.
1.30 pm Lunch and Done. Hurray!!
Afternoon Homeschool Schedule
The afternoons were spent with friends. Doing activities and clubs or, as is the case when they got older, doing part-time work.
The above schedule is rough. I’ll write you another post with a more detailed homeschool plan, but hopefully, it will give you an idea of what homeschooling (and still managing to get yourself up and dressed each day) can look like.
Could you work around a schedule like that?
Remember, nothing is set in stone—your school your routine.
Some people will look at my routine and say whattt? That’s far too rigid, or maybe you are looking at it and thinking it’s not enough.
It was enough. Believe me. It was more than enough.
Are You Cut Out Homeschool? Take This 3-minute quiz to find out!
FAQ (That I Know You Will Be Dying To Ask.)
A: What about their friends?
Q: What about them? If you totted up the number of minutes your child gets to spend quality time with their friends in school it would be no more than an hour max. They can see more of their friends in the afternoon or at the weekend.
Q: But my kids fight all the time!
A: They won’t. Give it time. Once the pressure of school is gone you will find that they change towards each other. And if they don’t? Do what you would do at the weekend when they fight. Take their privileges away from them until they learn to be nice. You are the parent. Do what parents do best and set firm but positive boundaries.
Q: My kids don’t listen to me!
A: At first, they won’t. This is completely normal. But talk to your kids. Tell them what’s going on and how you feel.
I remember the first time I broke down in front of my kids when I had just started homeschooling. I was scared that I was doing it all wrong and because I am not the kind of person that hides my feeling well I confided in them. Looking back, that conversation was the beginning of mutual respect between my kids and me.
Just talk to them. Ask them to come on board. Explain to them that the more focused they are the quicker ‘school’ gets done – I don’t know any kid that this carrot hasn’t worked for.
Q: I’m not cut out for homeschooling! I’m not a teacher!
A: No. And neither am I, but miraculously I got my kids through the school years without ruining their lives or their education.
And guess what? With the right resources and guidance so can you. Homeschooling (as you are probably discovering) is a little like childbirth. The thought of it is much worse than the reality.
And for the record, you are a teacher – just not a trained one. You taught your kids how to walk and talk and how to use a knife and fork.
You taught them how to ride a bike and have nice manners. You taught them how to tie their shoelaces and send a text. That sounds like a teacher to me.
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Have I Convinced You of the Benefits of Homeschooling Yet?
I hope I haven’t chewed your ear too much. Homeschooling is a subject that I feel strongly about.
Probably because right back in the beginning, when I first started my homeschooling journey I doubted myself and my abilities.
I was of the opinion that because I wasn’t a teacher I would fail.
But I didn’t and neither will you.
Both of my kids got to be the ages that they are now and are lovely, happy well rounded (yes, they are typical teenagers and drive me insane), kids.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
If you find yourself in the position of being at home with your kids, for whatever reason, remember the benefits of homeschooling and give it your best shot.
And look on the bright side. At least they don’t have nits!
(One last thing!) If you know of anyone in the same boat as you and who could do with being told some positive homeschooling benefits, please be kind and share this post with them!