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'Tis the season of gift-giving, and now that we are in our tenth year of homeschooling (HOW did that happen?), I am thinking a lot about the gift that homeschooling is, and the gifts that it has given me over the years. Whether you are a first-year homeschooler or a veteran, do these ring true with you? What would you add to this list?
One of the biggest blessings of homeschooling is the time it gives me with my children. Do you know how much time children spend in school? Assuming seven hours a day, 180 days a year, for thirteen years (kindergarten through twelfth grade), that is 16,380 hours, or 682 twenty-four hour days (910 waking-hour days). That is two to three years total away from home, away from family, and away from your influence. Homeschooling gives us those hours, days, and years back. Homeschooling also gives us time to spend on learning (if more time is needed), time to jump ahead (if a subject is particularly easy), and time to take a break when life interrupts. I will forever be grateful that because of homeschooling, we had the flexibility to jump in the car and drive twelve hours to surprise my mother-in-law for her birthday one year, and then to make the same drive only weeks later to unexpectedly say good-bye to her. Homeschooling gave us those memories without the stress of getting permission from their schools or making up schoolwork.
Homeschooling certainly means we spend a lot of time together in our family. Sometimes that can grate on everyone's last nerve, but most of the time, its a true blessing. My children are four years apart in age, and homeschooling means that they are together a lot more than they would be if they were enrolled at different schools for the majority of the day. We try to take advantage of, and nurture, that togetherness by engaging in activities that suit the whole family, such as Tae Kwon Do or American Heritage Girls or Trail Life USA. We also do some learning together, even with one child in elementary school and one in high school, with read-alouds or music and art appreciation, or watching World Watch for current events.
Homeschooling requires communicating. Teaching my children, checking their work, explaining how to do a problem, discussing what they got out of something they read, having them narrate a story to me - all day long, we are talking. I've begun to realize as my children get older what a gift this is. My daughter is now in high school, and the habit of communicating all day long about her learning has kept the door open for communication about other things, too. Because of the topics we choose for them to learn about, we have conversations about deeper topics than we might otherwise - about friendship (Charlotte's Web), about glory (The Iliad), about virtue (Famous Men of Rome), about God's sovereignty (Community Bible Study), and many other topics.
Time spent together learning and talking can build a closer relationship, which in turn leads to increased trust - in both directions. My kids know that I have their best interests at heart and so come to me with their questions and concerns. In turn, I'm able to trust them because I see their hearts as we hash out issues related to homeschooling, as well as the bunny trails that we go on!
Homeschooling has given my children the freedom to explore and develop their talents. For my son, that has included nurturing his creativity with Legos and digital art, as well as different sports. For my daughter, it has meant time to learn to crochet and to play the ukulele. I love seeing them find and grow in their talents, and to see how they can use those to serve others and to glorify God.
Doing school together means we can weave the truth of the Scriptures into everything our children learn, whether that is history or science or literature or even math. All truth is God's truth, and we talk about truth all the time. We talk about what it is and how to recognize it and how to defend it. We praise God for it and remind each other of it. Truth is a major topic of conversation around our home.
As a homeschool mom, I have a front row seat for the transformation of my own children. I have the privilege of seeing them struggle and overcome in their school work. I get to see those "aha" moments as they realized why something is true or how things they have been learning fit together.
Could I have these gifts without homeschooling? Well, yes. I have plenty of friends whose children are in public or private school who could relate stories about how they also experience time and togetherness, about the meaningful talks they have, about opportunities they also have to develop their talents and to talk about truth, and about how they have seen a transformation in their children. Clearly, homeschooling is not the only path of blessing. But for us, those have come through our homeschooling lifestyle, and in a season of gift-giving, these are some for which I am profoundly grateful.
Welcome! My name is Kristi. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a writer, a musician... but most of all a child and worshiper of God discovering that even in life's messes, God is still good. Learn more about me and my journey here!
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