Benefits Of Homeschooling Series - Part 3 - Time & Togetherness
When my son attended mainstream school we would rush through our morning routine which often involved frustration and tears - especially when we were running late. After school he would come home tired, irritable and some days, sad. I didn't get to see the best of him and I missed that.
I missed him.
But it wasn't all about me. He missed me too - I'm sure. A teacher with 30 other children to care for couldn't replace a 'mum' and I'm sure he, like most kids, had days where he would have rather been at home.
Our experience with mainstream school wasn't a disaster, it just wasn't ideal. We made the decision to homeschool part way through Term 2 of 2012 as I felt I could provide a more optimal learning environment for my son at home.
People thought I was crazy. People still think I'm crazy.
We live in a culture that often views children as an inconvenience - exhausting and bothersome little people that we need to get away from. This is one reason why homeschooling raises eyebrows. It's a counter-cultural choice and not just because the culture is to send kids to mainstream school but because our culture places so much emphasis on the importance of time away from our children.
How many TV ads picture wild kids running around and getting dirty followed by an encouragement to ‘take some time for yourself’ by consuming or buying a said product? We’re being conditioned to perceive our children as noisy, dirty annoyances that leave us desperately needing a break and therefore requiring a new product or service. It is just one of the ways that our industry-driven popular culture influences all aspects of our lives - including the way we see our children.
Don’t believe it. Our children are a gift.
But, don't you want a break from your kids?
YES! And I do - when I go to work one morning a week. Don't laugh. Although I work with small children (with special needs) I absolutely love going to work. I'm doing what I feel passionate about and it helps I have a 'nice' job so I leave feeling like I've achieved something positive. I also have a babysitting exchange where I teach my friends child the piano (I used to be a music teacher) and she takes my kids for a few hours every fortnight. I also have my parents around to help whenever I need it.
That is more than enough so I don't need a break from them for 30 hours a week - I would miss them too much!
I want to raise my own kids - I don't want someone else to raise them for me.
The value of time.....
Remember having a newborn? How fast the time goes!
Although a popular argument, it is actually quantity time that children benefit the most from - not quality. Children learn so much through just being with us - chatting while we prepare lunch or sit in the car. Children are learning all the time and they often learn the most during this 'down-time'.
I also want to take every opportunity to teach my kids good values and life lessons. It takes time to build a child's character and I was always concerned that my children were spending most of their 'time' in an environment that opposed our values in so many ways. How could I teach them to be all God created them to be when they spent more time with someone whose job it was to simply teach academics? I believe good character is far more important than academic success.
I enjoy my kids (mostly) and one of the benefits of homeschooling is more time as a family - learning and growing together.
As many of my friends with grown children tell me, the time when our children are young goes so fast. I want to make sure I make the most of the time I spend with my children and hold them close!