We have homeschooled since the beginning. In fact, we knew we would homeschool before our eldest was even born. However, neither Gary or I are against schooling as an excellent educational choice. We both loved our school years. That said, there have been multiple benefits of homeschooling our five children.
Benefits of Homeschooling…
Just over 21 years ago I was in the doctor’s surgery pregnant with my eldest, Thomas. All around me were harried mums and dads who seemed harassed and rushed. I knew I didn’t want that. I knew I wanted time with my children over and above everything else. A decision was made in my heart that day which would ensure maximum time with my children.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
Fast forward ten years and I was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma. I have never felt so scared. I have also never felt more grateful for the life I have been allowed to live either. On paper, we should not be able to live off Gary’s salary. Our outgoings have always (on paper) exceeded are income. Somehow, though, we have managed to keep me at home. In the months following my diagnosis I was so incredibly thankful for having spent those first ten years of my older children’s lives with them. If I’d died, I would have had no regrets. We’d all have had a lifetime of hours, days and years spent together.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”Proverbs 16:9
Time is such a privilege. To have time to live; time to love and time to simply be…is there anything more precious in the world?
Of course, having that time together over the years, means that we have built the most wonderful relationships with each other.
I don’t know if the children and I would be such great friends if we hadn’t homeschooled and spent so much time together. People say you spell love T I M E. Perhaps they are right. I suspect though that love comes in many guises and is shown in many ways. My mum worked so hard when I was growing up that I barely saw her. But she did it so I could go to private school. Mum working was her way of loving me.
For us though, time spent together, day in and day out, does mean we know each other intimately. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and therefore understand each other the more time we spend with each other. Do you know what this produces?
G R A C E
For example, we all know if Abigail goes quiet then something is worrying her. And if it’s accompanied by nausea, something is really worrying her. She is not one for naturally talking, so we know to up the ante in spending time alone with her and giving her the space to talk.
When Lillie is unhappy, her default is to become passive aggressive. In order to counteract this, she needs someone to come alongside her without judgement or opinion and give her the space to talk and work out her feelings.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”Corinthians 13
If we know these things about each other, we can collectively give that person Grace. It means we are all proactive instead of being reactive. We choose love over dissonance. Our home is a Peaceful home. We rarely bicker, or raise our voices in anger. And the children, whilst freely expressing their thoughts (loudly at that!), are almost never disrespectful towards Gary or I.
The time which homeschooling naturally gifts us has the knock on effect of encouraging close, loving relationships. Without doubt, we are each other’s best friends, and will be for as long as we live.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”Galatians 5:1
One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom which comes with it. I don’t just mean with regards to what we teach our children (although that’s great!). And it’s not just about the freedom to schedule our day (or not) however we want (although, again, that’s fab). I’m talking more of the freedom to just be us. In deciding to homeschool (certainly twenty years ago) we were already in the minority and a little left of centre (ie weird). Making other choices, such as shopping at charity shops or not enrolling our children in every activity going, went almost unnoticed. Decisions like opting not to have Father Christmas or the Easter bunnies were just lopped into the whole, ‘well, they’re homeschoolers, what do you expect?’ category of oddness.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”Psalm 139:14-16
We have lived our lives true to ourselves and in doing so we have taught the children to be just that – themselves. They have a strong sense of who they are and where they have come from.
They have had the freedom to just be.
And that is one of the greatest gifts in the world ❤️
This is the third post in my series about the ins and outs of how we home school. The first post, Our Angelicscalliwags Homeschool, outlines the early years of the children’s lives. The second post, Is Homeschooling Your Calling? explores whether homeschooling can be a calling from God.