Though homeschooling was never “part of the plan,” that is exactly what we have been doing this year, thanks to a much anticipated move that has yet to occur. My kids are still little – 8 and 9 years old- and generally enjoy spending time with me. So, it was not a hard sell to convince them to try homeschooling for a year. However, taking the homeschooling plunge was a very difficult process for me – I had endless questions- How will I find balance in my life? Will I go crazy without any breaks from my children? Do I have the patience for this? What curriculum should I use? Will the kids have enough socialization? Will they learn enough at home? Will they become bored/weird spending too much time at home?
Now that we are 3 months into homeschooling, and finding our groove, a few unexpected perks have surprised me. The things I worried about were not necessarily legitimate concerns, and the benefits I was looking forward to – like flexible travel, saving money by not paying for private school, and no more carlines at pickup – just scratched the surface.
These are my top 5 unexpected perks of homeschooling-
1. Instead of worrying about not having enough time to myself, I really enjoy and take advantage of the time I do have. The kids take a couple of classes outside the home two days a week. The classes range from 1-2 hours long. This does not allow me enough time to drive all the way back home, but I still take full advantage of this time. I go for a walk or run, I go to the grocery store (alone!), I enjoy shopping therapy at nearby stores, I read a book, I call my mom… I make a point to accomplish one thing – either by taking a mental health break or by checking something off of my list of things to do. I expected to be frazzled trying to do too much during these classes, but instead I find myself picking the kids up from class feeling refreshed.
2. I never considered that by homeschooling, we would effectively avoid the dreaded morning rush. The children get to sleep in until they naturally wake. I never have to force down a hurried breakfast into their little bodies. I never have to threaten “we are going to be late!” 100 times each morning. It is a joy to have relaxed mornings at home. And, as an added bonus, our afternoons are far less grumpy, with little chance of meltdown/fighting, which the kids used to experience almost daily after coming home from regular school.
3. My efficiency has risen to a new level. We take many homeschooling breaks – 15-30 minute breaks – spread throughout the day. I use my mini-breaks for blogging, lesson prep, laundry, exercise, cleaning, cooking, etc. It reminds me of having a new baby, and using every spare minute to my advantage.
4. My daughter’s fear of math has subsided. Last year, my daughter would come home from school in tears, upset about math. She would say things like, “Math is too hard” or, “Everyone else is better in math than me”. I tried my best to help her with math after school, but our anxiety levels were both too high to accomplish very much. Now, we wear pajamas to math class. We might even have a snack while doing our math work. It is a very relaxed and stress-free environment. She is able to fully relax, and math has come much easier to her this year. She has even said, “Math is easy!” a time or two. This alone has made homeschooling worthwhile.
5. I DON’T HAVE TO PACK SCHOOL LUNCHES!!! I did not realize how much this small task irritated me until I no longer had to do it!
Don’t get me wrong, homeschooling is most likely a temporary thing for our family – we are still planning to move to a different school district and get the kids back into the regular school system. But, in the meantime, I will enjoy efficient use of “me time”, NOT packing lunches, and lazy, relaxed mornings with my kiddos.