When I am asked what I enjoy most about homeschooling, I usually respond with “freedom”. I think people expect me to say something about all the time I get to spend with my children. While that is certainly a plus, it is not always my favorite thing. I mean, after all, they are kids and I am their authority. What does any kid like to do? Challenge authority. So, today, when my kid had a math problem that he was working on and he decided that he was right and I was wrong, and he wasn’t even going to try to solve the problem, it was not my favorite thing. Not every day has moments like this. In fact, they are rare.
So what do I mean by freedom? Homeschool opens up so many avenues of freedom for our family. For starters, we choose our schedule. As along as we meet our required days and hour quota, we can set the times that we work. We typically start around 7:30 a.m. My husband works and this is when he leaves. Rather that waste time, we get started so that we are finished when he is done with his work day. We break for lunch around noon and then end the day around 3:00 p.m. My husband is off on Fridays, so some weeks my kids choose to “double up” on days, and finish all of their work by Friday. Usually on these days we add extra hours at the end. This many mean that on Thursday we are working on our Friday materials until bedtime, but to them it is worth it. Friday is our co-op day, and we can leave after co-op to spend some family time together. We have even worked on Saturday or Sunday, in order to alter our schedule during the week for birthdays or celebrations. Learning, for us, doesn’t have to take place between 8 and 3 every day.
With the altering of our schedule, we are free to take vacations any time we want. We don’t have to travel when the school schedule allows it. Case in point. Our district has fall break the first week of October. However, we are working through that week and choosing to go on vacation right after Thanksgiving. My husband will have vacation time accumulated then. It is cheaper to travel during this time than the peak times. We found a great deal and we can take as long as we need for our vacation.
We also have the freedom to homeschool from any location. We have schooled at doctor’s offices, the ballfield, the car, the park, a camper, the front porch, etc. We can school at times that normally would have been non-learning times. However, by doing this, we aren’t wasting time. When we go to Branson after Thanksgiving, and are in the car for nine hours, what better way to pass the time than to do our school work? We won’t have to make these hours up later.
We have the freedom to choose the curriculum our kids are exposed to and the manner in which they learn it. We chose Abeka as our curriculum this year, for everything but Reading. For Reading, we are using the “I Survived Series”. This allows us to incorporate more History into their education. We use the story to learn comprehension, figurative language, vocabulary, etc. We like Abeka because it provides the kids with plenty of practice on their skills, not just when they are learning it, but also in the form of reviews. It has a lot of quiz or tests, but they actually like those days because they are quicker than the lessons. Abeka is religion based. We are able to build in bible verses and we know that there will not be any material or language that is not appropriate.
We have the freedom to learn without worrying about being distracted by other children, bullies, or what we are wearing. There are no outside forces that they are concentrating on instead of their learning. If they need to go to the restroom, the go. Hungry? Get a snack. Feeling a little overwhelmed. Take a break and try again. We set the tone, and pace of our day. We have the freedom to make sure they are at their peak ability to learn.
The freedom to homeschool has afforded our family the opportunity to be happier, and to live on our own terms. The freedom that homeschool gives us is worth the disapproving comments from others.