Some of the (selfish) benefits of homeschooling

Art class: glass blowing! (She made a glass pumpkin.)

There were a number of important reasons and situations that prompted us to homeschool our daughter.  I don’t talk about homeschooling as much on this blog because it isn’t my main focus and my teaching experience was (and remains) diverse long before we ended up at the conclusion to homeschool.  So, maybe this is just a brief and aberrant soliloquy on some of the selfish benefits I derive from our decision.

Field trip: Visiting the National Mall while the Space Shuttle Discovery was flown in laps around us… and the Capitol.

Some months before we took the homeschooling leap last year, I had decided to quit my job(s) and work as a freelancer from home–yes, homeschooling has slowed my income potential–I write and blog about history and food, travel, sports, drama, and education with an eye towards the historical.  That is my niche.   The rest of my time is divided by homeschooling my daughter, my Rotary club, family–the usual.

So, what are my selfish reasons for homeschooling?  Allow me to run out a list of my favorite selfish reasons for homeschooling, in no particular order:

  • I get to go on cool field trips–some of which even have writing potential–did you get to see the Space Shuttle Discovery flown around the National Mall?  I [we] did.
  • I get to use vacations as school time, not punishable time away from school, as much or as little as  I like.
  • I get to brush up on subjects I have neglected while planning out the curriculum.
  • I get to write lesson plans–something I really enjoy doing and at which I have gotten much better over the years!
  • I get to have the coolest reading lists covering an array of disciplines and literature.
  • I get to attend the niftiest programs, whether they are drama performances, professional development workshops in fields in which I am improving, or student events planned by local institutions (like the forensic anthropology lab workshops we did at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum) and much more!
  • I get to make up for lost time–when I came into my daughter’s life she was already six and I worked jobs that required long hours, was in grad school, or was actually, one summer, working and living in another state for much of these early years.  It is only since we have begun homeschooling that I’ve really been able to spend quality time with my (step-) daughter.
  • Life is non-stop exploration!

Vacation to foreign cities, such as Barcelona, above, is our time, not punishable-time away from school.

My daughter has her own selfish reasons for enjoying homeschooling:

  • She gets to do internships (she logged 66 hours at her archaeology internship this past year).
  • She gets to do the coolest field trips–we even went to New York City.
  • 4-H projects become part of class work–so, she does more of them.
  • She can get her conditional work permit at 14 and is sooooooooooo excited about working at our local ice rink as a skate guard and cashier (she volunteered there last year as training).
  • She gets to practice for her soccer team as part of her phys. ed. “class.”
  • She gets to learn without the bad manners and nasty behavior of her peer group distracting her–this does not mean she has no conflicts with other kids, because she definitely does with her soccer team, with her 4-H clubs, and even at her job, but these (a) do not impede her learning and (b) do not have the social weight of numbers that came with such conflicts at her old school.
  • She gets to rack up tons of fun and different volunteer hours that she can use for her resume!
  • Her education involves so much more than just a textbook, and even in our “classes” which largely rely on  textbook learning, the “textbooks” are often unconventional.

We have bumper stickers on our cars that say, “IF WE’RE NEVER AT HOME, AT IT’S NOTHING LIKE SCHOOL, WHY IS IT CALLED HOMESCHOOLING?”  Behind this sentence is a list of activities: ROCK CLIMBING, FIELD TRIPS, MUSEUM VISITS, MUSIC LESSONS, SPORTS, PLAY PRACTICE, etc.  That’s how we roll and there’s no moss to be found!


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