So you’re considering homeschool, and you want to know what it’s like. There are some serious factors to consider when answering this question. First, there’s a child’s experience and that of a parent, which are not the same. Secondly, not all homeschools are conducted in the same way. Just as all relationships differ based on the people involved and their personalities, each family has its own dynamic with varying levels of strictness, moderation, freedom, and very different educational approaches. That said, some things are still fairly universal. I’ll walk you through some of the more common ideologies to help you decide what you want your homeschool day to look like. The best part of homeschool is easily flexibility. If something doesn’t work for you or your children, then change it. Yes, you need a core of education, but how you achieve this is entirely up to the parents responsible for that education.
What is homeschooling like? Homeschool is like home life. A relaxed, world schooling, unschooling, or de-schooling family may integrate every homeschool lesson into their daily activities without ever doing a single workbook page. Meanwhile, a traditionalist can set up a desk and have scheduled breaks and lunchtimes while doing workbooks or computer-based classes entirely. Religious and heavily cultural families tend to focus on including their faith or personal history into the learning. However, most families fall somewhere in the middle.
What is Homeschool Like for Parents
Parents of homeschool children often say that it’s like having another full-time job. Realistically, that may be an underestimate. As a homeschool parent, you determine the course of study, collect and disburse the relevant materials, oversee the educational process, tutor your children in subjects, and grade papers. Moreover, you also likely need to keep a record or transcript of the work.
If that sounds extremely involved, it is. Homeschool parents are taking their children’s educational development as a direct personal responsibility. Rather than seeing a report card and knowing in general how the child is doing, you are there for every struggle and triumph. Thus, you can provide direct input, congratulations, and assistance as needed to support their success.
When your child needs extra help with a subject or wants to delve into it more deeply, you can do that. Moreover, you’ll be the first to know. However, if you are unsure how to assist them on a given topic, hiring a tutor from an outstanding service like Upwork can help them gain expert insight into any subject and buys you a little free time. Plus, it takes the weight off your shoulders, reducing stress and adding outside input to increase their knowledge base.
What is Homeschool Like for Families
Homeschool affects the whole family, so they all learn what it’s like to offer a high-quality education at home. However, in addition to kids learning vital information, there are other beneficial outcomes from homeschool. Most homeschool families would agree that living where you learn benefits everyone. Family bonding is the best.
By creating a supportive educational environment, you spend more time together and learn from one another constantly. Education no longer ends when ‘class time’ is over. Homework frustration becomes virtually nonexistent when you can sit down one-on-one with your parent/education director and discuss anything that confuses you. Meanwhile, homeschool parents, especially those with older children, can keep up a running knowledge of all the basic skills learned in school and apply them to daily life with their kids.
There’s no feeling of ‘when would I ever use this in my life’ when you are applying knowledge in all aspects of daily life. Resultantly, there’s a lot less resentment in the learning process. Kids and their adults are free to embrace new information within the context of life.
Not needing to worry about bullies, lice, and other school-room problems are often overlooked. After all, why devote energy to wondering what it would be like to have more stress when you can enjoy your time together? Parents of homeschooled children can instill their values while also actively including everyone in dynamic experiences that further kids development. In short, homeschool is challenging, fun, and positive for families.
Furthermore, homeschool kids tend to have much better meals and sleep. Both diet and proper sleep can substantially contribute to health, higher scores on tests, and the ability to regulate emotions. Plus, good food helps people sleep better, and good sleep helps them stay motivated to do physical exercise and eat healthily. It’s a positive, self-reinforcing system that can lead to a lifetime of healthy habits. Healthy eating homeschool kids who get enough sleep may be less disposed to obesity and heart problems later in life, among many other wonderful side-effects.
What Are Homeschool Groups Like
There are many types of homeschool groups, so what they are ‘like’ varies. Some people choose to spend time with purely social interaction groups. Meanwhile, others get together to study and learn. Additionally, a homeschool group can travel together, practice a religion or share culture, and so much more.
However, the benefits of connecting with other homeschoolers don’t stop there. Expanding your social circle, and creating opportunities for healthy socialization is fantastic. These groups can also provide support. Other like-minded families can help with shared lesson planning and even emotional issues such as stress and dealing with kids acting out. Simply being able to share your experience is invaluable.
Many families find these groups through their local libraries. However, you can also happen upon other homeschool families by going to local daytime (school-time) events like museums, art galleries, and any place you enjoy spending time together. Finally, you can also use internet resources to seek out groups through websites like homeschool.com, which has a whole page dedicated to locating and sharing homeschool groups.
If you find a homeschool group that isn’t a good fit for your family, it can be uncomfortable. However, much like other aspects of home learning, if it doesn’t work, throw it out. You can always leave the group and are not obligated to them as you might be if you were paying to join a sport or sign up through your local school system.
What is Homeschool Like for Kids
The misinformed believe homeschool kids are in pajamas all day, socially awkward, possibly undereducated, and even potentially repressed by religious parents, but nothing could be further from the truth. For the vast majority of homeschool children, it’s like having the best education, plus a close family and tons of fun. Even parents with extremely lax or rigorous teaching models and wildly varying expectations produce well-rounded, socially and emotionally stable, highly-educated, and successful graduates. This is because homeschool is supportive, engaging, and far more personalized than any classroom.
Can you wear pajamas to homeschool? Yes, you can, and some kids do, but only because they do not need to impress a slew of pack-mentality peers with group-think fashion sense. Some homeschoolers are incredibly well dressed; most do put on day-clothes every day before beginning their official studies. However, homeschool kids don’t have a dress code to adhere to. Thus, they express themselves through fashion choices.
Homeschool kids love and appreciate their education. Most are grateful to be working at home, and as they age, students come to understand the advantages they are getting and the problems they avoid by learning at home. Studies show homeschoolers are more likely to get a degree, have higher grades in college, and form mutually fulfilling, long term relationships and friendships as adults.
Why Homeschool Kids Are Happier
As though all the information above isn’t enough to show why every family should consider homeschool, homeschool kids are happier people. Here is a short list of exactly why home learners have lower stress, more enjoyment, and higher satisfaction rates.
- Home is safe. There are no school shootings, schoolyard bullies, mean popular kids, overworked teachers who don’t have time to talk, or administrators handing out detention. Especially now, due to the pandemic situation, students at home have far less to worry about if they do their work surrounded by a supportive family outside the massive public and private schools that are viral breeding grounds.
- Choices give students a sense of self-control and motivation. Moreover, home learners are learning self-discipline and confidence in the process.
- Freedom to be themselves. Without the mass-mentality of peers and the authority figure mentality of a school, your home learners don’t need to ask anyone if they can pee or wear their favorite shirt twice this week.
- Homeschoolers can pursue their passions and goals more easily. A kid who loves math isn’t limited to what’s in a given chapter. Alternately, a child who wishes to run a business, or do charitable work, or focus on getting into a particular university can follow that dream with less busywork to get in the way.
- No homework and more development through playtime and reading mean kids don’t feel like school is stealing their downtime (but they are still learning and developing).
- Feeling connected and important is essential. Your home learner knows they can get what they need to learn, help is always there, and they aren’t just numbers and name on an attendance sheet at home.
Every homeschooler has its own interpretation of what homeschool is like for them. For parents, the work is often time-consuming and can be frustrating, but it is also intensely rewarding. Meanwhile, for some, it can feel like play all day. Yet it’s still educational.
If you are an educator, your homeschool is more likely to mimic a classroom because it’s an experience you relate to, and that background translates well. However, homeschooled parents may encourage a less classic learning style based on what worked for them as kids. All homeschools bring learning into the context of real-life and family interactions.
Intriguingly, one thing remains true for most homeschool families regardless of the specific methodology. Homeschool is a fantastic way to get a highly personal and incredibly effective education.