Benefits of Home Schooling My Children
Our family began the journey into home schooling six years ago after our oldest finished one year in public school. However, the journey began a couple of years earlier than that when we began to investigate alternatives to the government schools in our area. Mostly we looked at religious-based schools, but the conclusion our family came to was that it was cost prohibitive for us to pursue those avenues. I was sitting in the library one morning in mid August of 1999 while my children where there for a library program. I was seven months pregnant with our twin girls. A woman near me was reading a book about home schooling. I had never actually considered the possibility of home schooling before that moment. You see, I was a professional teacher. I could teach other peoples’ children, but never considered the possibility of teaching my own. At that moment I began to search out the idea of home schooling. I went after it with great zeal. I searched the internet. I took out every book our library had to offer on the subject. Then three weeks later I was put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. That seemed to dash my hopes of home schooling at least for that year.
As Jonathan progressed through his kindergarten year at the local public school, school life was fine for the most part. One issue that we did deal with was the length of the school day. Jonathan was away from home for seven and a half hours per day at age five. He came home tired and disagreeable most days. We discovered that a shorter school day was a very important benefit of home schooling. Home schooling is a highly efficient way of learning. It is commonly known, even among professional teachers, that one-on-one learning is one of the most effective means of transferring information. When I sit and work with one of my children, I know if they understand the material or not. I can make sure we take the time to go through the material until they achieve an acceptable level of understanding. When they learn a concept I know that they truly understand and can apply what they have learned. Due to the efficiency of tutorial style learning, our school day is much shorter. We begin our day at 8:45 AM and we are finished by noon. Now, over the past six years of home schooling our schedule has changed from year to year, but I have found that I can teach all four children in about 3-3.5 hours per day. As children advance in school, their work will naturally require more time. Even in 6th grade, Jonathan can complete his work in about 3.5 hours. He completes most of his work independently as does our daughter, Natalie.
Naturally, the length of our school day leads us to another benefit which is flexibility. Home schooling allows us to create our own schedule. We choose when we begin and end our school day. We choose how many days a week we conduct school. We choose which months of the year we will hold classes. We choose the methods that we wish to employ in teaching our children. In my state, New York, we do have requirements that we must adhere to, but there still is much flexibility with in those requirements. Some home schooling families are fortunate enough to live in states with very few, if any, requirements. Our family chooses to participate in a home school co-op group as well as a gym and swim program. These commitments do limit our flexibility, but since we have chosen to participate, we can also stop participating at any time.
Building a cohesive family unit is very important to us. The flexibility of home schooling has allowed us to take family outings at unusual times of the year and to save money on off season rates. We also have few crowds and long lines to contend with. At home, I have had the opportunity to train the children in the daily operation of our home. Our three daughters have had extra time to learn home making skills such as sewing, cooking, canning, gardening, etc. The children have each other as their primary playmates every day. As I type this they are outside enjoying the snow together. They learn to resolve conflicts with each other, enjoy each others company, and show kindness and forgiveness to one another. There is more time available to us to work through these many facets of life. Time with our children is so short. Eighteen years is not many in the great scheme of life. I am very blessed to be able to spend so much time watching my children learn and grow. I even get to learn along with them.
In these uncertain times of terrorism and natural disaster, safety has become a primary concern for many families. Security and safety of the children is another advantage we have as a home schooling family. We were just into our second year of home schooling when I turned on the television one morning in September to see Katie Couric of the NBC Today Show reporting on an airplane that hit the World Trade Tower in New York City. Little did I know at that moment, how quickly things would unravel for our country that day. I was glad to have my children in the safety of their own home. We have also dealt with major snow storms that have cropped up in the middle of the day leaving many school children stranded on busses trying to get home. My husband believes that our family’s safety is his primary benefit of home schooling. He knows where his family is each day, and he can go about earning an income for our family unencumbered by thoughts of our safety.
I have really only touched the surface of all the benefits that home schooling has given our family. If you have just begun home schooling, are still considering home schooling or, like me, have been home schooling for a few years, I would encourage you to take time to reflect on the benefits that home schooling can bring to your family.
Jennifer Zeitz lives in West Seneca, NY with her husband David of 14 years and their four children: Jonathan(11), Natalie( 9), Carolyn(6), and Brianna(6). Jennifer has been home schooling since 2000. She spends most of her days learning along side her children as they sew, garden, cook, and manage their home together.
© Crystal Miller, 2007,2008 and Beyond! All Rights Reserved
Do Not Copy from any page of this website without permission from the owner