As I wrote about recently, our family is an accidental home school family. This was not really the journey that we expected to find ourselves on, but we feel that this is God’s plan for us for this time in our lives.
Over the last seven years, I have truly loved home schooling. Sure, there have been the occasional tough days and the seasons of doubt, but the joys of this lifestyle have surprised me over and over. Here are some of the things that have surprised me the most:
1. Home schooling is very efficient. My kids spends two-three hours a day completing their schoolwork. Example from today: We started school at 9:00, and we were finished with spelling, English, and math by 9:45. We took a quick snack and play break and then finished our other four subjects before lunch. This efficiency gives them the opportunity to go to activities such as music lessons, Lego club, and gymnastics during the day time hours when they are more energetic.
2. Home schooling is full of discipleship. One of the reasons that we considered home schooling in the first place was that we could give our kids a Christian education, and I have been thrilled that this is happening in our home. Conversations about God, his Word, and a godly life naturally come up through the day as we learn about history, science, and even math. It is a privilege to be able to train my children in God’s ways throughout our daily tasks. Example from today: While learning about the metamorphosis that caterpillars undergo to become butterflies, my kids and I discussed the life metamorphosis that God offers us through his son Jesus.
3. Home schooling allows children to learn a lot of life-skills. My children are not only learning academics but also practicing important life-skills. Example from today: My third-grader helped me cook lunch while my fifth-grader read books to her brothers. Cooking and childcare are skills not typically practiced in a traditional elementary school setting.
4. Home schooling offers a lot of rest. Home schooling provides a slower-pace of life for our family. Example from today: Right now as I type this, my three sons are napping and my two daughters are reading books on their beds. I love it that their growing, busy bodies get to slow down and recoup in the afternoons for an hour or two. (I love it that I get to take a break in the afternoons, too!)
5. Home schooling allows us to spend more time together. The countless hours that we spend together each day are helping us grow closer as a family. Example from today: My third grader helped her two-year old brother paint pictures this morning. He felt so happy to be included in a big-kid activity like that, and she learned what a joy it is to serve others. We also get to eat lunch with daddy regularly, which the kids LOVE.
6. I am learning as much as (if not more than!) my kids in home schooling. In my previous career as a social studies teacher, one of my goals for my students was that they became life-long learners. Well, here I am a mom of five, and that goal is coming true for me. I am studying right along with my kids, and I’m exposed to a lot of new things for the first time. For example, this year we are studying ancient Rome and Latin, two subjects that I’ve never encountered. I think that it’s so wonderful for my kids to hear from me how much I am learning too, because I want them to continue to learn for the rest of their lives.
7. God is present and meeting needs in our home schooling. Something that I was concerned about when we began home schooling was that my kids and I would be lonely and isolated. But God has been so faithful to answer prayers that we’ve prayed to make friends with other home schooling families and to get involved in great activities around our city. Funny enough, we actually have to say no to invitations and activities just so that we can get our school work done! God is so good to us.