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May 6, 2013

Twelve Reasons To Start Homeschooling This Fall

MaryAnn Gaver

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach at home? Are you new to the whole idea of homeschooling? Maybe you're in the information-gathering stage, or perhaps you're already planning to begin homeschooling after summer.

    Maybe you and your husband are ready to start teaching your kindergartner, or maybe you're just curious about the whole idea. Perhaps you're taking your kids out of the public school system. If so -- fantastic! You won't regret it.

     Well, whatever your particular scenario, or wherever you're at -- I'd love to offer some encouragement. When you have a chance, check out the blog, Decided To Homeschool? Way To Go!

    #1 - You can definitely homeschool! You're a natural teacher - you're a mom. You have your own style, your own approach. Plus, you've already been teaching at home! Moms and dads are perfectly suited to teach their own kids. That's exactly what I talk about in the blog, You're A Natural Teacher.

     Each homeschooling family has its own unique story and reasons they decided to teach at home. I love hearing why, when, and how parents became interested in homeschooling. If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to ask people what they like about home teaching.  Ask them to share their overall impressions -- challenges they've faced or lessons they've learned along the way.

     Having homeschooled for eleven years, I can assure you that although it takes a big commitment on the part of the parents, it's 100% worth it!  For an interesting perspective, see Fact #1 About Homeschooling. Now,  I'd like to share a few reasons we chose to homeschool.

  • Family Unity -  You can cultivate a spirit of cooperation, appreciation, and teamwork as you spend time learning, laughing, and growing together.  Bad attitudes and habits can be dealt with right away.  Your children learn how to serve, love and help one another.
  • Spiritual Growth -  It's absolutely wonderful to be able to talk about the Scriptures -- to teach what's in the Bible.  It's a joy to impart our faith and live out our faith day-to-day in front of our children. See the blog, All For Prayer.
  • Academic Excellence - Whether it's emphasizing the 3 R's, making sure the kids learn true History, or taking advantage of the ability to do fun science experiments -- you can delve deeper, interact more, and aim high when you oversee your child's academic progress.  After all --who wants a child to succeed more than his or her parents?
  • Flexibility -  Spend more time with subjects your kids love -- the sky's the limit!  Example:  Your eight year old is absolutely enthralled with the globe, so you spend extra time on that.  Dentist appointments tomorrow?  Catch up on lessons at a time that suit your family's schedule and rhythm.
  • Individual instruction -  Public schools and large private schools simply can't offer the one-on-one training that's so unique and beneficial in the home setting. You can speed up when necessary, or -- if your child struggles with a concept, you can slow down and wait until he or she is ready to move on.
  •  Music - You can expose your children to beautiful music and teach the great hymns of the faith.  If possible, your child can study an instrument.  This is an excellent opportunity! 1,976 Empty Seats, Life Lessons Learned From Telemann, and An Early Christmas Gift are three blogs where I share experiences of my own life as a music mom.
  • Physical Fitness and Nutrition-  Whether it's hiking, visiting the park, or enjoying a game of badminton with the family after dinner, there are plenty of opportunities for homeschool kids to be active and to increase coordination, strength and agility.  When (and if) the time is right, you might consider an organized sport.  As for our health, see The Exercise of Choice For Busy Moms.

        It's easier to teach good eating habits when you're there to reinforce, encourage and guide your kids about good choices. Healthy, Wholesome Homeschooling, Pt. 1 talks about family nutrition.

  • Grammar & Conversation  - Homeschoolers regularly and consistently read to their children which helps instill proper grammar and speech.  Homeschoolers eat meals together, which means we talk to our kids a lot! The result is that they learn how to speak clearly, hold a good conversation, and interact with others.  I talk about this in Conversational Competence and Good Communication. (Note: I'm not suggesting that non-homeschoolers don't read to their kids, eat meals together or hold conversations around the table! I'm just saying that homeschooling provides excellent and frequent opportunities for growth in all of these areas.)
  • Work - When you spend so much of the day together, it provides a great opportunity to teach the kids how to contribute to a well-functioning household -- how to do chores. We can teach them to work hard. In Order In The House, I talk about my own struggle to keep things orderly.
  • Service -  Whether your child helps a younger sibling, or your family helps the next-door neighbors in some tangible way, there are countless, creative ways children can look to the needs of others as they homeschool. And the best thing is that we can model what it means to serve people. Check out: Teach Me To Serve, Part I.
  • Field Trips - Talk about a natural way to learn!  This is it!  For example, we don't just talk about airplanes and airports -- we go to the local air field and find out more about how planes fly, how an engine works, or exactly how long a standard runway needs to be. A hands-on approach to enhance book learning -- that's what we're talking about here.
  • Less Time In The Car - This is a great benefit to homeschooling.  It doesn't mean that we're never in the van -- it just means that we're not running around so much. Things are simpler and calmer.

      Our children are wonderful blessings, not burdens.  We value the short time that we have with our kids as they grow up.  Time together is very precious -- and homeschooling provides a tremendous opportunity to tell (and to show) our children, "I love you!"

       Also, I highly encourage you to join HSLDA!  Not only do they protect our constitutional right to homeschool, but they're there to offer help and assistance should those rights be threatened. And they're working to advance homeschooling, too. Give them a call at 540-338-5600 with your homeschool questions, and definitely consider joining before you start teaching.  

     During my eleven years of homeschooling, it gave me peace of mind as a member to know that the Homeschool Legal Defense Association was there to back us up, and to help us if we ever had legal issues.

      I told of an incident a few years back when an unfriendly neighbor showed up at my door one afternoon during school. Please see: The Unannounced Guest.  Although it was more of a neighborly issue rather than a homeschooling one -- the fact that I knew this man was adamantly against homeschooling rattled me .     

      The last blog I'll recommend is The Apricot Tree & The Little Garden because I tried to really capture the essence of my homeschooling experience -- the joy, growth, and delight of teaching at home.

       Enjoy your family today! 

      love,

      MaryAnn

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