We can orchestrate our school year any way we’d like as long as we meet 180 days a year. Families can choose to homeschool while they travel or take breaks when the weather is good and school through harsh weather conditions. Not being bound by the school academic calendar has many benefits.
Tailoring our children’s education to their specific interests and needs
There is a significant advantage to being able to design a program of education just for a specific child and having the time to implement it.
Kids can work at their own pace. This is a huge part of implementing a customized program for our children. Some students need to press the edge of what they can do and some need to slow down.
Pouring into a passion and watching talent and skill grow
Homeschooling means having the time and energy to focus on a particular area of interest and skill with abandon. It doesn’t have to be compartmentalized away from other academic work or pursuits. Pursuing passions is a large part of our homeschool. Click here for my ten day series on Pouring into a Passion in Your Homeschool.
We love our homeschool days! Just ask us what happens on any given day and we’ll tell you what makes a Great Homeschool Day. On any given day our kids are immersed in learning. If you haven’t read about it, click in to enjoy the characteristics of a homeschool day at our house!
Allowing our children to have ownership in their education
I have always sought our children’s input into their education. When they were younger it might be as simple as the choice between two unit studies we’d eventually do anyway, but it gave them a limited sense of steering the course. As they’ve gotten older, they make bigger decisions about their schooling. There are some basic guidelines to follow, but how we get there and which materials we use are largely flexible. If a student has a strong desire for something, we can probably make it happen especially if it fits with their educational goals.
Taking advantage of opportunities based on availability
Our children can be mentored or have internships when public schooled kids are not available. It’s great to incorporate this time right into their schooling. We’ve gone on hawk trappings and fish stockings. We’ve arranged for sewing times and other lessons as part of our homeschool day.
Having time to dive into a topic and follow it to the end
Once given an assignment, our kids can manage their own time and complete it without having to always switch gears to another class or do their work outside of “class time”. As the teacher, you have to be willing to experience the same flexibility, but I’ve seen excellent work come out of allowing my kids to work on a project their own way. Watching students work on their own is a great way to discover how your kids work best.
Always time for reading- reading on our own and reading aloud together.
Our kids do a lot of reading. Sometimes it’s suggestion when someone is bored, but more often than not it’s based on an interest. We have plenty of print material on hand and there’s always a Kindle book available.
Reading aloud is a huge part of our family culture and always brings us together and gets us talking about story. Homeschooling means we can read aloud for two hours in a day and still get the rest of our academic work finished.
I post a lot on how to build a reading culture in your home- whether or not your kids enjoy reading. Enjoyment is not really a prerequisite for the requirement and there are a lot of resources out there to inspire you to make it a priority in your home.
Enjoy a few posts on the topic of reading!
- Emerging Readers to Super Readers– a post I wrote for Heart of the Matter on how to work with a newly emerging reader. Great ideas here for increasing fluency.
- Keeping up with The Accelerated Reader– another post I did for HOTM on how to work with a child who reads well above grade level and reads a lot. It’s a lot of work to keep up with a voracious reader.
- Tips for Reading Aloud– do you struggle with reading aloud or getting your kids to sit for it? These tips might give you some ideas.
Living out a lifestyle of learning
Without feeling like we are asking our kids to do school at home- when they’d be home from school. When our oldest was in public school we could not engage him on all the fun learning things we did for the first five years of his life because he was done at the end of a school day. We knew we had to turn that back around.
Our kids know that learning occurs all the time. We can incorporate life skills into our academic programming and get yummy homeschool lunches as a result! Our days are “structured” so that they can do academic work and project work throughout the day.
Our home is set up to maximize learning potential as well. We keep a large homeschool library for our kids to enjoy and each of them has a personal space for their projects (post coming soon now that J8 has his spot!).
Spending time together
Homeschooling allows us to spend time together learning, playing, and discovering. We can build strong relationships with each other and our kids get to be around people of all ages during the day. We love to play games and make meals together. Our children play well with each other and often encourage one another. Of course, there’s a downside to that too, but largely when our kids run into squabbles they are able to take some time to work it out. The benefits of collaboration between our children far outweighs any of the occasional frustrating moments.
Feel free to check out more benefits of homeschooling from other iHomeschool Network bloggers!