Monday, March 12, 2012

The 10 Gifts of Home Education

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 010Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 010 (Photo credit: Becky, Golden Acorn Homeschool:

Home education has been an unimaginable blessing to my family. I love everything about it! It has truly changed my life and given me a community of wonderful, caring, like-minded people (in real life and online) to journey with.

But if I had to count my blessings literally, I would say that the following things are the 10 gifts that home education has given us.

1. Time

Before we started home educating, time was my enemy. My life was a daily frenzy and I felt every day was in bondage to the school system. Your mileage may vary, but I felt like I literally had NO time. It was a rush early in the morning to get everyone up, fed, dressed, and out the door.

Dropping one child at the local elementary school and then another at preschool. Back home with the baby for 2 hours and then back to pick up the preschooler. Home for about 2.5 hours, then time to walk up to the school for my elementary child. Then it was homework, dinner, baths, bed … repeat.

To say that homeschooling has given our family the gift of time is an understatement. We have more natural rhythms for sleeping, waking, learning, and playing.

2. Family-Centered Living

Family time was a precious commodity before home educating … all time was! We could only sneak in 30-60 minutes a day of family time during the week if we were lucky, and then what we could get on weekends (in between other obligations, chores, and time at church).

Now we are done with the formal part of our day by the early afternoon (and we have casual mornings as well), so we can spend the rest of the day enjoying time together. Meals are not rushed, we have plenty of time to play games, and watch shows as a family. We have all drawn closer and it’s a blessing without measure.

3. Knowing Your Kids

Don’t get me wrong, I have always known my kids, but now I *really* know my kids. I am intimately aware of their moods, interests, abilities, and difficulties. That’s not to say that other parents are not, or that it’s not possible to know your kids that well in a traditional setting, I can only speak to my experience. Home educating naturally provided more opportunities for me to know *my* kids better.

4. Differentiated Instruction

Because I know my kids so well, I can now offer them differentiated instruction. This is the new buzz word floating around the public school scene, but homeschool parents have known all along that kids learn in different ways. We all do. I know what works for my son will not work for one of my daughters.

I can still follow a philosophy of education, but tailor it to meet the needs of each child. It’s very gratifying to know that I can perfectly tailor the education of my children, not only according to interest, but by ability/disability and process.

To read about the other six gifts of home education, go to:
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