Dennis and I have lots of educational reasons we choose to homeschool our kids. We believe in philosophies that support our choice and could go on and on about them – and sometimes do. But we have another very compelling reason to homeschool our children – the ‘lifestyle’.
Without a 7 hour chunk, 5 days a week, cutting deeply into life, we are able to live very differently from the conventional schedule. Without homework guiding our evenings and weekends, we have really desirable freedom. There a a lot of benefits.
Search the internet for ‘kids and sleep’. The fact of the matter is that kids are just not getting enough of it. Research has been published in recent years supporting teenagers’ need for later mornings. Most homeschoolers are getting plenty of sleep. We are glad that Ethan’s school also supports this theory and starts at 9:00 a.m. instead of the traditional 7-something start time for high school students. Morning are more manageable with this option.
One of my favorite perks is the ability to visit places – from museums to water parks and even other cities – when no one else is! When we visited Disney last year, my first goal was to ascertain when the least attended dates were so that we could go then. I call locations ahead of time to find out what days and times they are the quietest. Most venues are very helpful and are able to tell us when their least attended periods of time are. We are used to empty streets, short lines, and our choice of seats in spacious theaters. Currently, Dennis, Gavin and Mikey spend every Monday skiing. The price they got for weeks of skiing was comparable to a day or two during peak times. Their ‘group’ lessons are essentially ‘private’ because they are some of the only kids there. It’s very nice for them.
Dennis also works from home often, and that dovetails nicely with the boys being home so much. Sometimes he can help someone with math or programming. They get many more lunches with their father than would be possible otherwise. My father passed away when I was 9 and some of my most vivid memories of him are meals we shared. Each time they get to linger over a tuna sandwich, I am reminded how important the very small things are.
One of the facets I value most is that we have more time and opportunity to teach our children about ‘real’ life. They come to the post office, Motor Vehicles, and supermarkets. They see the oil get changed, the dishwasher repaired, and banking get done. I have time to teach them how to do a load of laundry, fry an egg, sweep the floor and wash a sinkful of pots. They are engaged more often in the running of a household and see more of everyday life than they would if they were separated from the whole process by school.
Speaking of being separated – they aren’t. My boys have had more time to forge deep relationships with each other. If the boys had been in traditional schooling when Sean was born they all would have been gone all day. I can’t imagine Sean home alone all day. We would not have they opportunity to go to events at Ethan’s school as often as we do, which is very important to all of us – especially Ethan. They are each others’ playmates, competitors, company and distractions.
We have the gift of ‘quantity’ time. Flexibility and freedom are the hallmarks of our homeschooling lifestyle. It leaves options open to us that would not be otherwise. I know for our family, it is far less stressful and I am very grateful that we are getting this opportunity to live & learn together.