This week, we started the second half of our 5th homeschool year. It’s so funny to look back and think that once upon a time I said “I would never homeschool.” Never say never, right?
Now I couldn’t imagine not getting to teach my kids every day and see their eyes light up when they finally grasp that difficult concept they were working so hard on. My house would definitely be cleaner and I’d have more time to myself, but my children are only this young once, and I don’t want to miss a precious moment.
Our family has enjoyed many advantages of homeschooling during the past several years. Besides the rather obvious ones of an unhurried learning pace and a customized education, there have also been numerous benefits which have come as a total surprise.
Countless Opportunities for Character Training
Because I am with my kids practically 24-7, I’ve been able to zero in on exactly what character issues they struggle with. More time together for character training, as well as Bible study and meaningful conversations, equals less chance for bitterness, grudges, or bad attitudes to grow or linger.
Disrespect and defiance can’t fly under the radar as easily. Any behavioral problems that come up can be dealt with as soon as they happen, preventing seeds of rebellion from taking root. Disagreements and hurt feelings can also be worked out more thoroughly.
Strong bonds between parent and child
The more you spend time with someone, the better you get to know them and the more likely you are to grow fond of them too. It works the same way with our children!
Witnessing their creativity, problem solving and “a-ha moments” each day has lead to a special kind of intimacy with both of my kids. We’ve made some really great memories doing science experiments together, snuggling up on the couch with books and assembling lapbook projects for our history units. All these opportunities to be intentional and attentive with them has created a bond and mutual respect between us.
Close Sibling Relationships
Since they’re not separated in different classrooms all day long, my kids also spend LOTS of time together. They’ve learned how to cooperate with and respect one another, which makes for a much more pleasant home and school environment. They certainly don’t get along all the time, but there’s no one my kids would rather hang out with than each other.
A solid biblical foundation
While home education in and of itself isn’t a guarantee that your kids will trust Christ as their Savior, it can be a wonderful tool for sharing the Christian faith with them. There are countless moments every day to instill biblical values and establish a godly foundation in their lives.
Every subject can be used to point them to Jesus and His sovereignty and glory, from Language Arts to Math. Studying biology and astronomy, the rise and fall of empires throughout history, and the writing mechanics/literary themes of Scripture all present great opportunities to plant the seeds of the Christian worldview. Studies show that 90% of all homeschooled kids retain this worldview into adulthood too, because their parents walked closely beside them in a discipling relationship, without the negative influence of peers and non-Christian teachers.
Love of Learning
My kids have grown leaps and bounds in their desire to learn… pretty much everything. They question, investigate and experiment with abandon. Because they’re not following a predetermined set of standards or a rigid curriculum, they have the freedom to think waaaay outside the box. Plus, they have the time to do all that playing and exploring which is how children learn best!
Growth in personal walk with the Lord
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being unprepared and inadequate for a certain task to drive you to utter dependence on God. Many times during the last five years, I believed I simply couldn’t do what was laid out before me.
Teach my child with a speech delay to read and spell? Discipline stubborn, unteachable hearts? Manage a household halfway decently while also educating two kids? And don’t even get me started on long division.
Yet, God has remained faithful through it all. He has given me exactly what I need to get through each day- just enough patience, grace, strength and wisdom. Because while I am not enough, He is. I’ve seen Him do the impossible through me, and He will equip you to teach your own children, too.
For us, the best benefits of homeschooling actually have very little to do with academics. Sure, I’ve seen my children excel in areas like math and reading, but these aren’t the most important byproducts of an education at home. And while it definitely isn’t always all unicorns and rainbows, God uses even the frustrations and hardships to grow and bless me.