In 2013, Our family began homeschooling. We didn’t plan on it. We didn’t expect it. But it happened. In fact, I fought the change more than anyone else. Why should I homeschool my children? There had to be another answer. Being a public school teacher, I believed in the system. I wanted to believe that it could work for my family.
Even though I have days where I detest the fact that we homeschool, in the end, I can honestly say that I think we have made the right decision for our family. In fact, I think if I look closely I can find 10 valuable life lessons I have learned from homeschooling in just a short time.
Taking Time to Learn From Life is Vital
In the two months we have been homeschooling, we have stopped along the side of the road to investigate something that interested the boys. Before homeschooling, life was rushed. Rushed to get breakfast and shuffle off to school and work, rushed during the day, rushed to make it home in traffic to make dinner, rushed to do homework, rushed to get ready for bed. There was no time to enjoy learning from life. We try to leave early for anywhere we HAVE to be so that we can take a moment to stop, wonder, and investigate if we feel inclined.
Did you know they put rocks on the top of some buildings?
Learning Can Be Fun and Silly at the Same Time
Since we are homeschooling on a budget, we have not purchased a curriculum yet. We are enjoying our learning. There are days that the boys are still going strong at 8 or 8:30 and don’t realize they are still doing “school”
At the start of December, I asked my boys to make a Wishlist of things they wanted to try while we were on our Deschooling process. Homeschooling has allowed us the time to take the projects and work on them for days. Legoman’s favorite project was the marble run, while Bones really liked the sensory play with snow.
A Messy House Means a Busy Day of Learning.
No. No. No. This is not true. Our house is not always clean. It isn’t always this messy either. However, I have learned to let go of some of my daily expectations while trying to figure out homeschooling. I have to remind myself that a messy house means we must have been really busy learning. Right?
Children Make Excellent Minions
I mean who wouldn’t want an extra set of hands around to clean up the messes? No, really. The real thing I have learned is that homeschool has allowed our family the time it takes to instill good habits in our children. Both boys have a chore chart that they fill out weekly and they actually enjoy doing the chores on the list.
Children Can Learn Life Skills Even in the Little Things
Every day my boys wake up and make their own breakfast. They love it. They have a running list of items they are learning to make themselves and they feel so proud when they sit down at the table to eat. They have even gotten to the point where they prefer to make their own lunches too. I always supervise, of course. I have learned to let go and let them have their independence.
Sensory Breaks and Meltdowns Don’t Have to Ruin Our Day
September was not a pretty month for Legoman or our family in 2013. Out of 27 school days he was out of school for 17 of those days. The reasons varied from suspensions to injuries. Some injuries were caused by other children, some by Legoman himself during his “fits” and some were even caused by ADULTS not knowing how to help him. We fought and fought for what he needed at school. We fought for an IEP, we fought for evaluations, we fought for our son to feel normal. In the end, homeschooling has removed so many stressors for Legoman, that the meltdown (while they do still happen) happen on a much less frequent basis and he is surrounded by people that are trained to try to help him. Let’s face it… if a meltdown is hard for me to handle with one child, imagine being one of 30!
Homeschooling Allows Bonds to be Built
I planned on taking a leave this year to stay home and be with Super B. I didn’t have that luxury with the boys and I wanted to make it a priority this time around. At first, I thought I was losing sight of that priority by also having the boys home. How would I give her the attention she deserves? I don’t. Her brothers do! They love their sister more than anything in this world and it shows. They teach her new things faster and in more varied ways than I ever could if I was the only one home with her.
Sometimes You Have to Take Time to Be Silly
Bones is our resident comedian. He is always silly, always making us smile, and always doing “shenanigans”. He is what some might call a “people pleaser”. He is full of empathy and wants to make you happy. That being said… he can fool you. You might think he is doing what is asked of you or listening to you.. but really he is singing “Up Butt Coconut” in his head. Homeschool has taught me that he can go un-noticed. He has been 6 months behind developmentally his whole life. He walked late. He talked late. He even started reading late. Its okay, though. Homeschool erases the arbitrary times and constraints on what is “normal” for him and allows him to build confidence and try new things he wouldn’t try before.
Family is the Basis of All Things
In 2013, Legoman was suspended from school 3 times. Our family was always focused on his day. How could the next day be better. What could we do to help him at school? Our home became a place full of stress, tears, and frustrations. Since we started homeschooling, I can safely say that our family is HAPPIER! All of us. We enjoy each other’s company. We laugh. We have the chance to talk about anything we want because…. We Can!
I find that learning from unexpected places is one of the benefits of having children. Sometimes I think we learn more from them than they do from us! What has homeschool taught you? Maybe you don’t homeschool, what has parenting taught you? I would love to hear!
Have You Read Dancing to Dynamite?
A Glimpse Into a Sensory Processing Meltdown
In the coming year, I plan to write more about our homeschooling experiences. What does our day look like? What units are we doing?