The other day I asked my kids what 10 things they love most about homeschooling.
I was curious! What would they come up with? And could I predict the 10 things my kids love most about homeschooling?
Since we’ve been homeschooling for nearly a decade and they’re now 15 and (almost!) 13, they have plenty of homeschooling years to reflect on.
And it turns out that while I expected some of their answers, a few others came as a surprise to me. This led to a lengthy discussion of all of the things they’ve come to value throughout this wild ride known as homeschooling.
I then asked them to try and condense their thoughts, and then come up with a list of 10 things they love about homeschooling.
They were happy to oblige!
And while I encouraged them to come up with their own list, (no pressure to collaborate with each other and compromise!) they ended up agreeing on their top picks.
Here are the 10 things my kids love most about homeschooling:
1. sleeping in
This was at the top of their list, (and the VERY first thing my almost-teen son chose!).
They both LOVE being able to sleep later than their friends who attend brick-and-mortar schools. They also appreciate the ability to ease into their mornings, stay in their pajamas for a while, and settle into their day without rushing.
Sleeping in is clearly a “win” in our home!
Right along with being able to stay in their pajamas, my kiddos have had countless opportunities to “do school” from the comfort of our couch.
Because honestly, why not!?
In my early days of homeschooling, I thought we needed a dedicated homeschooling room. This worked for a while but then it became more of a hassle as it seemed like we were constantly migrating to the kitchen, (because toddlers and five-year-olds are constantly hungry, am I right!?)
Then, after those “Mom, I’m hungry!” years passed by, we ended up spending lots of time on the couch together. Snuggling up and reading stories, listening to audiobooks, watching documentaries, completing projects on their laptops…
We’ve spent many cozy mornings like this and somewhere along the way, I began to refer to this as “couch-schooling”!
And guess what? My kids love this!
Turns out, our huge red couch has provided a rich and rewarding learning environment. Who knew!?
3. enough time for extracurricular activities
This one is a big deal, especially for my daughter. She dances competitively and spends many hours a week at her dance studio. There is no way she’d be able to commit as much time and energy to her dance without the flexibility that homeschooling provides.
My son also has plenty of time for baseball, judo, and flag football, all sports he enjoys and devotes plenty of time to.
They both shared that having enough time to pursue these passions means a lot to them.
While having plenty of time for extracurricular activities wasn’t one of our initial reasons for homeschooling, it’s become a huge benefit.
4. minimizing exposure to unnecessary drama
Both of my kids tend to avoid unnecessary drama.
Look, they live on planet Earth and engage with fellow human beings daily. So there’s no way to avoid ALL drama! They’ve definitely been exposed to their fair share of misunderstands, conflict, unfairness, and cruelty.
And as a mother who is doing my best to raise kind, compassionate, brave children, I think some of this exposure is good. It allows for discussion, processing, empathy, and growth.
But at the same time, constant exposure to unnecessary drama and negative influences is NOT positive. The exposure they’ve received hasn’t been relentless or constant the way that some kids experience it day in and day out in their school setting.
Now, I’m not implying that every brick-and-mortar school is rife with conflict and angst. Absolutely not! But there certainly are school environments and situations that are.
My kids have friends from a variety of backgrounds who attend many different schools. They hear about plenty of conflicts when they’re gathered with friends for extracurricular activities and other social events. And they’ve told me how thankful they are that they don’t have to deal with that level of drama, especially for hours each day in a classroom setting.
The ability to avoid unnecessary drama has been an unexpected gift.
5. More family time
As the primary homeschooling parent, I spend LOTS of time with my children. And while this can create challenges and we definitely get on each other’s nerves sometimes, it’s a benefit that my kids said they really love.
Also, it’s allowed my husband to spend more time with us. During the week, he works long days on M/W/F and shorter days on T/Th. This means that he’s usually home around 2 pm on T/Th which allows for family time that he wouldn’t otherwise get if our kids were in a traditional school environment.
Turns out, my kids are aware of this extra time with my husband and acknowledge that it’s important to them.
I was touched to learn that having more family time made it on the list!
6. no homework
My children are horrified at the amount of homework some of their friends are regularly assigned. They’re used to hearing, “You’re soooo lucky, you don’t have to worry about homework!” and “I wish I could homeschool so I could sleep in and not have any homework!”
It’s safe to say that the lack of homework is a huge perk in the eyes of my son and daughter!
Full disclosure: My children sometimes DO have homework. It’s true that they didn’t in their elementary years, but as they’ve gotten older and we’ve decided to outsource some subjects, they’ve been exposed to homework.
They currently have homework assignments for specific subjects but the volume they are required to complete is minimal compared to what the majority of their friends receive.
The appreciation of not having homework came as no surprise to this mama!
7. free time
Homeschooling has meant that we’ve been able to cut back on many of the time-consuming tasks that non-homeschoolers must tackle each day. There’s no morning scramble to get out the door, commuting to and from school, or evening homework to complete.
This means that even with a full extracurricular activities schedule, my kids still end up with plenty of free time.
For my daughter, this means she is able to pursue her other interests. Creative writing, curating playlists as she’s listening to music, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and developing new choreography are activities she engages in during this free time. As an introvert, she’s able to use this much-needed alone time to recharge and feel energized, which helps sustain her during the times she’s engaging in her more extroverted activities.
My son loves board and card games, learning about cars, and (yes!), playing video games. And while he mostly prefers being surrounded by friends to spending time alone, this downtime to play, create, and explore provides wonderful outlets for him as well.
This free time allows for plenty of self-discovery and learning.
8. traveling during the off-season
We usually plan our travel adventures for the fall or spring, when most other kids are in school. Traveling during the off-season means we score cheaper airfare, rental cars, accommodations, and entertainment.
It’s the best!
It also means that it’s not unusual to receive more attention, and sometimes even upgrades and special treatment. Because when crowds have thinned out and temperatures are more moderate, there is usually more staff available to assist and direct.
My kids have many unique memories and experiences that were available because we didn’t have to compete with lots of other people.
Traveling during the off-season has provided countless special memories.
9. a variety of field trips
Along the same lines as traveling during the off-season, homeschooling has allowed for some incredible field trips and learning experiences.
Early on in our homeschooling adventure, I learned to ask lots of questions. If we were interested in visiting a specific place I would simply email, call, or ask in person to see if they offered discounts to homeschoolers and if they’d be willing to host a field trip of sorts.
Many times homeschooling discounts were available. Other times no specific homeschooling discount was available but I was given the teacher discount, (perfect!). And my request for a field trip was very nearly always responded to with enthusiasm. In fact, oftentimes I was told they could “do something special” or that they could “put something together” for us.
I used to wonder if my kids were missing out on wonderful field trip opportunities since they weren’t attending school. But it turns out that in fact, they’ve actually been able to experience a much wider range of activities due to our flexibility with homeschooling.
They recognize how lucky they’ve been to experience a wide range of field trips and unique learning opportunities.
10. learning at their own pace
The ability to slow down or speed up according to individual needs is HUGE. My daughter has been able to jump ahead in her reading and writing when we’ve determined there’s no point in holding back. And when she’s needed some extra attention in Algebra, we’ve been able to slow down and make sure she truly understands the concepts.
The same has held true for my son. It’s been wonderful because we’ve been able to customize their learning experience and move along at the pace that is best for them. This has been invaluable.
They both appreciate that they’ve been able to learn at their own pace.
There were a few other things my kids agreed upon when it comes to what they love about homeschooling.
Here are their honorable mentions:
Staying up later than most of their friends, eating when they’re hungry (not at predetermined times), and having a lot of flexibility.
So to recap, here are 10 things my kids love about homeschooling:
- Sleeping In
- Enough time for extracurricular activities
- Minimizing exposure to unnecessary drama
- More family time
- No homework
- Free time
- Traveling during the off-season
- A variety of field trips
- Learning at their own pace
What about your children? Have you asked them what their 10 favorite things are about homeschooling? I’d love to know what they are!