Throwback Tuesday: How Homeschooling Has Opened Doors and Changed Our Lives

When I wrote this post in the fall of 2014 I really had no idea the long lasting effects that homeschooling was going to have on my boys and on our family. At the time I wrote this we had been homeschooling for just over 2 years and while I was still feeling unsure of myself, I was starting to notice how much homeschooling had enriched our lives. 


Homeschooling has changed our lives in more ways than I could ever have imagined.

It has opened up so many doors for my family and has completely changed our lives.  Through homeschooling we have had the time to really explore our world together.

I was just marveling over this last night thinking about our awesome day of indoor rock climbing (something we probably would never have done if it wasn't for a homeschooler coordinating it for us!).


Over the next month we have no less than a dozen homeschool activities planned; things from discounted movie days to gym days to park days and even Halloween parties.

Most of our scheduled trips are with various groups and with each foray we meet and make new friends and acquaintances.

Most of our field trips are to places we've never been!

So many places offer such tremendous discounts to homeschoolers that it's hard not to want to take advantage of them all.  Many businesses, especially those that offer services to children, realize that their day hours are slow and poorly attended.  They realize that they can make a smaller profit by catering to homeschoolers; many of which struggle to live on one income.

These discounts make it possible for our children to experience a wide range of activities during school hours.  We have taken discounted trampoline lessons, discounted karate classes, and gone to discounted movies just to name a few.

As homeschooling keeps growing in popularity more and more business are offering services and group discounts. We also qualify as field trip groups when a parent decides to plan a museum or zoo trip so we get the school discount rate at the very least. 

We so thoroughly enjoyed our day at Launch trampoline on Friday and marveled at the attendance level; there was a completely different group of homeschoolers there this time versus last time and yet there still quite a lot of people there.

They added a basketball hoop since we last went!
Jumping into the pit

When we first discussed the possibility of homeschooling I never pictured our lives like this.  I guess I thought we'd be home most of the time getting our schoolwork done waiting for the local public school kids to come home so we'd have someone to play with.

I thought it would be just like school but at home.  I even pictured us saying the pledge of allegiance, going over the calendar and following a school like routine.

Of course, I was totally wrong and here we are just a few short years later and our day looks nothing like a pubic school day... and that's OK.

I prefer for our days to look nothing like public school days.  Our best days are typically those days where we get out of the house and explore a new place. 

Looking back, I never really imagined the sheer number of homeschoolers we would meet, the friendships we have made, and the bonds we have forged with one another.


  I thought we were just changing where they learned, I had no idea we were changing our entire way of living. 

I never realized how much control the public school system had over my family and our lives:

  • I was told what they could and could not eat
  • what they could and could not wear
  • what times they should go to bed and what times they should get up
 I felt like everything we did revolved around school and we adjusted ourselves and our schedules accordingly.  The freedom we now have to chose our own schedules, foods, and curriculum is amazing.  As a family we are all so much happier and relaxed. 

I found that my relationship with the boys has grown by leaps and bounds, which I figured it would, but also my relationship with my husband has too and I never expected that!  We've jokingly started referring to ourselves as annoying honeymooners and after 13 years of marriage that's really saying something!

My kids have fallen in love with the library, with reading, and with books.  I hate to admit it but I'm not sure we ever stopped by the library when the boys were in public school.

We were always anxious to get home, get homework done, eat dinner and get ready for bed.  That was our typically daily routine with a few sports practices at night thrown in making our afternoons more rushed, and me praying they wouldn't have much schoolwork that night.

Now, we often stop by our library several times a week and walk out with a heaping bagful of books.  Some days we just run in quickly to pick up our books that were on hold or to grab a particular book on CD or movie but other days we have spent an hour or more looking through the stacks of books.


The stack of books they've read in just the past two days!

I find my boys reading in bed when I go in to say goodnight to them and marvel over the stacks of books piling up by their beds-- those piles they want to read and those they have already read.  Days when I feel guilty that they didn't read I often have to remind myself of all the "other" times they do read.  

I don't have to assign it as homework or as a school subject because they actually enjoy it.  

The only books they bring home from the library are books that THEY WANT to read.  I don't tell them what to read or what to learn about; they have interests and passions and they know what they want to learn about.  I help them find books they might enjoy but they know they are free to pick and choose.  

The freedom to choose is just as powerful to them as it is to me and they are reveling in their freedom. 

My kids have become so helpful around the house too.  That's not to say they don't gripe and try not to do any chores (after all, they are still kids) but they know how to do so much more around the house now that I'm home with them and have the time to teach them.

Just this week alone I found Ian cooking his own breakfast and putting all his pans and dishes in the dishwasher when he was done, I found Alec putting all of his laundry into the washing machine, and a few days later Ian also did his own laundry too!  The boys all made their own breakfasts and lunches more days than not this week.  The older two tried to branch out and make a few new foods too.  Ian was afraid to use the pot holder to grip the shelf inside the oven and so we talked about kitchen safety and how to not get burned.

I love watching them grow and develop real life skills.  They are becoming more self- sufficient and as they successfully help in one area I push them to learn others.

 I often ask them to switch clothes from the washer to the dryer for me, they all help vacuum, dust, sweep, clean the bathrooms, and grocery shop too.  I had all three boys helping to carry in all our bags of groceries this week too explaining that all jobs go quicker with more hands.

I remind them that if they want my help than they must be willing to offer help.  We work together as a team, more often than not and they're all learning that many hands make light work, that it's OK to ask for help, and most importantly, to be aware of when help is needed and lend a helping hand.

The biggest change of all in our lives is our dinner routine.

I have someone who sets the table for me.  After I spoon serving sizes onto each plate they are all able to cut up their own food, get their own condiments and I get to eat a hot meal-- something I never thought would happen!  Then one boy will clear the table, another washes the table and someone cleans the floor and counter tops.  We rotate jobs every now and then so they can all develop equal skills and not get completely bored with their jobs.

 I can't say all of this is due to homeschooling since the boys are older and able to help out more but I do think they manage to do such great jobs with all the housework because I have time to teach them how to do it properly.  

We're all happy, smiling, connected and very close.  A tight knit family learning together as we go through life experiencing new things together, meeting new people, and expanding our horizons.  

Linking up with: Fine/whatever, 








Comments

  1. Interesting read and perspective for sure!

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  2. I loved reading this! You know I feel the same way about our days of homeschooling, and feel as if I was reading about one of our normal days. We often took school work outside of the house, and it was completed in differing times of day. One of them (Jonah) loved taking stuff to bed each night. He loved to finish early for the week. They would all read and read whatever books they wanted, and I pray that someday they all return to their love of reading. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Yes, I one that wanted to tackle all of his work for the week all at once and get it out of the way and another that would have happily procrastinated until... well, never if I let him!

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  3. It sounds like home schooling was perfect for your family! Enjoyed reading your thoughts and insights about it.

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  4. I can so relate. Homeschooling was so much fun and that's how learning should be. It enriched our lives in a way that would never have happened if Sophia had gone off on the school bus every day. We took forays into Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, experienced the American Revolution and what came before and after in Philadelphia, Boston, and Valley Forge. Sophia read so many books and we read books together, it was such a special time. I think one of my favorite memories was traveling to Colonial Williamsburg for Homeschool Week. It was that time after school started but before teachers had had a chance to organize field trips so it was like we had the whole place to ourselves. There were so many educational programs all through the day and it was a wonderful experience. I really miss those days.

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    1. Yes-- I know exactly that time you are talking about and it was our favorite time to get out and explore. It really was a sweet spot between crowds that let up dive deep into whatever the museum or place had to offer. I learned so much history and science based off of their interests and where they led me and it was so much fun.

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  5. It is so true that the public school calendar really controls your schedule when your kids are in school. I volunteer at the library and we have so many homeschoolers who come in during the morning.

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    1. I still visit the library often, but somehow when it's just me it doesn't take nearly as long. LOL

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  6. Sounds like it has worked out well for your family. You know, I used to be against homeschooling as I knew parents who were homeschooling and didn't even have a curriculum. They were just play teaching if you know what I mean. You have to weigh the pros and cons but also lately with all of the indoctrination going on in public schools, I'm all for doing it at home. My MIL, a retired public school teacher, even mentioned the indoctrination. That shocked me to hear her admit it. I also hear a lot of parents say their children aren't learning anything at school. However, those parents can't stay home and teach them. It's kinda sad when you think about it. Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 129. Pinned.

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    1. Yeah, I definitely noticed the indoctrination happening when I was teaching and from what I hear from all my teacher friends it's changed even more in the last 15 or so years since I've left. I do feel bad for those parents that feel stuck and like they don't have any choice.

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  7. I enjoy reading about your days homeschooling. I really hope my students enjoyed their schooldays with me and didn't have the anxiety you describe. I loved teaching, and I really hope my students came out of my classroom having enjoyed their day as well as learning something.

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. I had a lot of social anxiety myself growing up going to school would literally make me sick to my stomach and I could see tendencies of that happening with my oldest. He hated reading aloud in class and one of his teachers told him he needed to read with more expression because he sounded robotic.... just an innocent comment (and I knew and LOVED this particular teacher so I knew her intent!) and for years and years after that even while we homeschooled and I never made him read aloud he still insisted he sounded like a robot when he read out loud. He often told me he hated reading and I knew the day he came down to breakfast and told me he loved reading and that he had read his whole Diary of a Wimpy Kid book in one night that I had done the right thing.

      Somehow I am quite sure that your students had a ball with you!!

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  8. Homeschooling is a wonderful thing. It gave you so many opportunities and sounded perfect for your family.

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    1. Thank you! It really was; I'm so glad my sister kept pushing me to give it a try or else I don't think I would have.

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  9. I have heard other homeschoolers say the same thing--they have met other homeschool families that have become wonderful friends. Some I know work through a co-op and have so many opportunities! And I'm sure it's true that homeschoolers read more books! That's wonderful. Thank you for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #6 linkup. I hope to see you there next week as well! :)

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    1. We nearly joined a co-op a few times but always backed out at the last minute; just sort of instinctively knowing that we wouldn't have wanted to give up that much control of our schedule and curriculum.

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  10. I am a huge fan of homeschooling! Your children are getting such a great education and falling in love with learning just as it should be!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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  11. I love this! Homeschooling my boys was the best decision I could have ever made! They have come along so much thanks to all of the opportunities that homeschooling brings. I aways get compliments on how well spoken my eldest is and how knowledgeable he is compered to other children of his age who are schooled. He's definitely more mature.
    I also love, like you, that we get more time to experience life together as a family too. It's just awesome. It sounds like you've done an amazing job homeschooling your boys too! :)

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    1. Thank you! I found that I got lots of compliments on my boys too; still do, in fact.

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  12. This makes my heart sing. This is so like how I wanted our home schooling to go. My boy did start making his own lunch and helping me around the house more, very important skills. But we didn't get out much, the opportunities were there but I had to rely on his Dad to help us get there. I'm getting my own adapted car soon and if we decide to home school again (which looks likely) I'll be able to take him places myself.

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    1. Aw, I hope that works out for you! It sounds like homeschooling is definitely where your heart is.

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  13. I've been a huge proponent of homeschooling since my days of public school teaching. For families who are willing to make the commitment to make it work it offers so many ways to school.

    The spectrum of homeschoolers from those that use a curriculum to those who are more child led is amazing.

    One of the few positive things to come from COVID is parents are more aware of what it would be like to have kids home and instead of waiting for the remote school to start they had the chance to decide what to teach and when and I know several families who jumped off the public school system when they realized there was another option. In this area there has been a strong tradition of homeschooling I'm not sure these parents would have prior to having their kids at home for public school.

    It is important for parents to discuss their positive experiences with homeschooling as far too often all people here are the few bad issues with people who fall into no schooling not to be confused with unschooling. It is rare but often gets the press. It also helps dispel the many negative myths about homeschooling that families have themselves or face from family and friends when they choose to homeschool.

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