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Why Homeschool?

Homeschooling has become increasingly popular over the years.  There are a myriad of reasons to home school your children.  While many people are faced with negativity related to their choice to home school, but, personally, I am of the frame of mind that it’s no one’s business why you choose to home school or how you home school.

Personally, I use a mixture of traditional and unschooling methods.  Unschooling should, in my opinion, be part of every child’s day.  Allowing children to explore, learn about things that interest them, and finding their own answers is crucial to their growth and independence.

Top Ten Reasons to Homeschool

Flexibility – Homeschooling my kids allows me the flexibility to choose when, where, and how I teach my kids.  Of course, learning opportunities are all around and recognizing them is an important factor as a parent.  I use trips to the beach, hikes in the woods, even a trip to the grocery store, as methods for learning.

Freedom – My 11-year-old daughter truly enjoys the freedom that she has to do as she wishes (for the most part, after her assigned work) each day.  She spends much of her time learning about horses, training her dog, exploring nature, caring for our chickens, and exploring her interests, which mainly involve animals.  My 14-year-old daughter enjoys the same freedom, although she is much more regimented and prefers a set schedule, which I provide for her since her personality is different.  I enjoy the freedom to make changes if necessary.  Sometimes one of my girls needs extra time on a specific topic and we have the freedom to take that time so they are able to master a new skill.

Socialization – I’ve been questioned by (well-meaning) relatives and friends about how I plan to ensure that my girls receive proper socialization.  My first answer is typically, “Do you know how much socialization goes on in public school?  About 20 minutes for recess, 20-30 minutes for P.E., and then…sitting at a desk all day.”  My daughters are involved in many activities and are able to meet and become friends with people of all different ages.  It’s important that they learn how to communicate with adults as well as other kids.  Between horseback riding, 4H, co-op classes, and drop-in classes, my girls are able to maintain great relationships with many different kinds of people.

More Family Time – My husband and I value family time a great deal.  It’s important to us that we’re able to spend quality time with our kids and, at the same time, instill our values.  While, yes, that can be done with children who attend public school, time spent together is decreased considerably.

Life Skills – Unfortunately, many schools aren’t able to offer life skills classes because of funding.  Here at home, my girls are learning how to cook, take care of a home, balance a check book, how to save for their adult years.  I also teach my kids about politics.  I’m not just talking about government in general, but about the inner workings of elections and how to learn about candidates so they can make informed decisions.  There are essential skills that kids need before graduating high school and if they won’t be taught at school, it is highly important that we teach them at home.

Choice of Curriculum – Homeschooling curriculum choices are virtually limitless.  Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there are certainly many more choices available to homeschoolers than to those in public school.

Independent Thinking – Homeschooled kids tend to be much more independent in their thinking.  They learn beyond the scope of what is taught in public school because topics can be expanded upon when a child shows increased interest.  I allow my daughter’s to use their free time to learn independently when they’ve shown interest in a new topic.  This allows them to research on their own, which is an important skill as we get older.

Character Building – Just as homeschooling allows for increased family time and transition of values, homeschooling also allows for character building under the parent’s supervision. I prefer to be the person who teaches my children how to handle a difficult person, for example, or how to problem solve.  I also prefer to be the person that my children turn to when they have a problem because, frankly, I’m the person who will be around once they’re out of school.

Confidence –  I have noticed that my children are more confident now, after their homeschooling years, than when they were in public school.  Whether that is due to the increased family time, or due to the decreased exposure to negative influences, I’m not sure, but I’m ok with it!

Museum and Park Visits – It has become super easy to visit museums and parks now that my girls are homeschooled.  We’re able to attend events in different locations that are planned specifically for homeschooling families, which allows us to visit locations that would otherwise be extremely busy (like on the weekends), and also allows us to meet other homeschooling families who share similar views and values.  In our area, there is a large homeschool community and the local museums, parks, and community organizations are fantastic about setting up educational, homeschool visits during the week days.

These are the top 10 reasons why I homeschool my children.  If I had to choose the number one reason, for me, it would be the flexibility.  I can allow one of the kids to take a day off if they’re sick, or if they have an activity that takes most of the day.  Because there is learning going on all of the time, I never worry about them losing out.

 The Best Part – These Are All Free!

You can totally educate your kids for free! We’re all on a budget these days, so I’m going to give you an awesome list of totally free sites that you can use to homeschool your child(ren)!

  1. – Khan Academy has a multitude of math topics as well as lessons for grades K through high school. They also have Science and Engineering, Computing, Arts and Humanities, Economics and Finance, as well as test preparation classes!  This is a fantastic resource for all!
  2. – Discovery K12 is pretty awesome! Their FREE curriculum is secular, non-Common Core, and all planned out for the school year and each day’s work is listed, by day, on the student’s account.  Day 1, Day 2, and so on.  This is a full curriculum, to include extra subjects such as art, personal finance (for the older kiddos), Spanish 1, HTML Coding, and Healthy Living!  A parent can sign up for a parent account for the additional cost of $50 per year (regularly $99 a year).  The benefits of having a parent account are pretty substantial.  Attendance reports, grade books, test results, transcripts, certificates of completion, high school diplomas and a ton more benefits!  It’s worth the price!
  3. – Awesome, and free foreign language lessons! I adore this site so much!  It’s set up so well.  The step-by-step lessons take you through everything you need to start learning a new language.  At this time, the languages they offer are: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and Swedish.  Quite a nice selection, if you ask me!  The interface is magnificently user-friendly, students receive “badges” each time they complete and pass a lesson, and the graphics are fun and enticing for any age.  You also receive immediate grading for the exercises so you can determine whether you need more practice on that topic or if you can move forward.  Duolingo is also available on iOS, Android, and Windows phones, so you can take your lessons on the go!
  4. – This is a favorite of mine and of my kids! Super fun and engaging, e-learning for kids offers math, science, environmental skills, computer skills, health, language arts, and life skills for children ages 5-12.  Some of the life skills lessons include: emotions, bullying, stress, relationships, and much more.  Just choose a topic, select a grade, and see what they have to offer.
  5. – Another awesome site! Lots of subjects are covered here!  To be honest, I had forgotten about this site over the last year or so, but after looking it over again, I really need to start having my kids use it again!
  6. – I still need to check this one out further, but it has curriculum for math, science, and English. From what I can see, there are video lessons, as well as interactive exercises for students to practice what they’re learning.  It looks to be a great resource that can be added to you student’s daily assignments.
  7. – While there are some Common Core elements to this site, you’ll find some fantastic videos here for your kiddos! I couldn’t even tell you how many thousands of videos there are on this site, and on every topic imaginable.  You’ll have to go check it out for yourself!
  8. – I had never heard of this site before doing my research for this article. It looks to be really fantastic and you can download their curriculum for free.  Subjects include: History and Geography, Language Arts, Music, Science, and Visual Arts.  I’ll be checking into this site more, as it looks to be quite comprehensive.
  9. – I’ve heard of this site before, but have never used it. I signed up for an account, totally free, and will update when I’ve used it!  Definitely worth a look.  They offer: ELA, math, science, social studies, and Spanish for grades K-12.