14 Reasons Life is Easier When You Homeschool
The big question I get from non-homeschoolers, after “what about socialization”, is “how do you find the time?” Most people already feel like their lives are too busy; how can a parent who already feels stretched too thin possibly succeed at homeschooling? Like the socialization question, the answer is that homeschooling is actually superior to site-based schooling in this respect. If that answer makes your jaw drop and say, “What?!” please hear me out.
I’d like to present fourteen reasons why homeschooling not only saves time but can also save stress for families. I realize that homeschooling isn’t for everyone; and, for some people, it’s not even an option. However, for me and my family, it has proven, after 25 years of homeschooling, to be an incredibly positive experience. These top fourteen reasons reflect that personal experience.
1. No Homework
This is a matter of perspective. In a certain sense, all homeschooling coursework is homework. But in another sense, none of it is. Traditional homework is work sent home with the child by the teacher to be completed outside of regular school hours. The child thus has to spend 6+ hours at school and then commit time to homework time on top of this. Because homeschooling eliminates the distinction between work done at school and work done at home, coursework can often be finished within the homeschool day without adding extra time in the evenings. In addition to this, you do away with the stress of having to interpret someone else’s instructions—have you ever had your child bring homework to you with a question, and you look it over one, two, three times or more and have no idea what the teacher is asking or how to complete the assignment? Homeschooling does away with this highly frustrating situation since you are the one assigning the coursework.
2. No “Warehousing“
A considerable amount of time in an on-site school is gobbled up by what professional educators call “warehousing.” Warehousing is classroom activity that does not pertain to education, but rather to the logistics of keeping a large amount of children in a facility all day long. Examples of warehousing include taking roll, shuffling students from one room to the next during passing time, explaining classroom protocols, fire drills, announcements, classroom discipline, and all that good stuff. It has been estimated that warehousing consumes as much as 35% of class time in an on-site school. Obviously, the vast majority of these obligations do not exist in a homeschool environment—which means, the average homeschool parent has 35% less work than an on-site teacher just by virtue of homeschooling.
3. Sleep in Late
The cliché of the homeschooling family getting up late and doing school in their pajamas is a stereotype… but a stereotype with some truth at the core! On-site schools usually require parents and students to get up extremely early; some public school families I know need to be up at 6:00 AM in order to get ready and get their children to the bus on time! When homeschooling, there are no busses to catch and no mandatory start times. If you want to sleep in until 8:00 or 8:30, have a leisurely breakfast, and start school afterwards, there’s nothing stopping you. This alone is a big de-stressor!
4. Access to Libraries, Parks, etc. When Empty
I have personally found this one of the greatest perks of homeschooling. Since you operate outside of the conventional school schedule, you can get access to public parks, libraries, and other family venues when they are empty as well as take advantage of off-season pricing. Taking your children to the library at 11:00 AM on a Wednesday is a much different experience than coming back at 5:30 PM when school is out. You get quicker and more exclusive access to resources by taking advantage of their “empty times.” This also holds true for recreational activities: I remember taking my children to Cedar Point once at 2:00 PM on a Thursday in mid-September; there were virtually no lines. We got to walk right on to every ride with no wait!
5. No PTA Meetings
Anyone who has been involved with public school knows that public education comes with considerable extra time commitments. PTA meetings. Fundraisers. Occasional school board meetings. Constantly being recruited for volunteer work. Ah, the sweet bliss of homeschooling, where all these onerous responsibilities fade away!
6. No Need to Work Bingo for a Discount
If you’ve ever put your children in Catholic school or any private tuition-based school, you know the stressful quid-pro-quo culture: get your child on the football team for free if you volunteer for coaching duty; get a price reduction on the field trip if you chaperone; get a tuition discount if you run the Bingo fundraiser on Tuesday nights. When you homeschool, you free yourself from the endless quid-pro-quos of tuition-based schooling by eliminating the tuition altogether!
7. Don’t Have to Catch the Bus or Carpool
One of life’s great stressors is not being in control of your own transportation. There is always an added bit of anxiety when we have to rely on somebody else to get us or our children where we need to be. We have to worry about catching the bus, or making it to the carpool on time, or driving the children to school and getting them there before the doors lock for the morning. When you homeschool, you don’t need to go anywhere—school is right where you are, with no need to stress about busses and carpools and getting somewhere before a certain time.
8. One-on-one Instruction Takes Less Time Than Large-Classroom Teaching
The amount of time it takes to deliver instruction rises proportional to how many people need to be instructed; it takes a lot longer to instruct 20 people than to instruct 1. As a homeschooler, this means you will spend much less time-on-task than your on-site counterpart. When I first started homeschooling, I would set aside an hour each day for a given course—not because I knew the coursework required an hour, but simply because the hour-long-class is what I was familiar with from public school. I was constantly surprised by my children’s ability to comprehend instructions and do the coursework in under the allotted time, sometimes as quickly as 30 minutes. I soon realized that the course did not really take an hour; the extra time allotted in an on-site school was to compensate for the longer time it takes to instruct larger groups, field questions, etc. (not to mention the time spent “warehousing”, as explained above). As a homeschool parent, you can expect to spend much less time on one-on-one instruction than an on-site teacher in a conventional classroom.
9. No After-School Programs for Lessons That Didn’t Get Taught in School in the First Place
One of the most frustrating experiences in public school is when a child does not grasp a concept because it was covered too quickly by a teacher, who needs to “get to the end” of a lesson by a certain time to keep up with the arbitrary pace set by the school and state educational authorities. Then, when your child requires help to master the content, the teacher requests them to stay after school for special study sessions. One of the great blessings of homeschooling is teaching at the pace your child requires, so they never need to be “behind” relative to other students.
10. Can Deal With Family Catastrophes
Illness, death, and accidents are part of the human condition. Homeschooling permits much greater flexibility in responding to these catastrophes than on-site schooling. If your children have to miss a few days from a conventional school because of a family disaster, instruction is still going to continue in that school without your child there. Then they are expected to catch up when they return, plugging away at backlogged work while being expected to learn new material all while still trying to cope with the tragedy pulled them from school to in the beginning. How stressful is that!? As a homeschool family in these unfortunate situations, it is tremendously easier to deal with schoolwork and pacing out catchup work.
11. No Dealing With Bullies
No matter how much we try to eliminate it, bullying is ubiquitous any place there are large concentrations of children. When you homeschool, your children don’t have to deal with bullying. Well, unless they have older siblings who give them grief, but as a parent you can crack down on that much easier than you could a bully in a school.
12. Can Combine Subjects into Unit Studies
As a homeschooler, you can combine various subjects together to make comprehensive unit studies. An excellent example is coordinating history, literature, and art all around medieval study, or tying science, math, and economics together in a unit on statistics. This kind of collaborative integration of different subjects generally does not happen in conventional schooling, where each teacher is focused on his or her own individual curriculum plan without reference to what other teachers are doing.
13. Self-Directed Students
Homeschooling teaches children to be more self-directed than conventional on-site schooling. Over time, this means less hands-on work for parents as students learn to take initiative for their own educational progress.
14. Co-Ops: Combine Efforts With Other Parents
Homeschoolers can leverage the skills of individual parents by creating living-room or formal co-ops. This allows you to combine efforts with other families without fundamentally giving up your vocation to homeschool. Don’t know much about chemistry? Another parent who does can teach that course. Co-ops can be a great way to tap into the collective talents of other families.
There’s probably more we could go into, but the bottom line is this: instead of thinking of homeschooling as “additional work” on top of an already busy schedule, think about all of the work and stress you already deal with as a result of on-site schooling, and how much of this would evaporate if you transitioned to homeschooling.
What other ways do you find homeschooling makes your life easier? Leave your comments below!
**If you’re already homeschooling, check out the Catholic homeschool online curriculum provider, Homeschool Connections, which makes homeschooling easier, affordable, and faith-filled.