Kirstee tells how the decision to homeschool brought her family together.
Part of our series: 10 Great Reasons to Homeschool
‘Why do you homeshool?‘ is a question we homeschool mamas get used to answering. For us it always comes back to valuing the time we get to spend together as a family.
How family time lead us to homeschool
Homeschooling was never in our game plan.
Both my husband and I went to public schools. Neither of us had heard of anyone homeschooling their kids. It was just a given that we would send our kids to school like everyone else.
The only problem was, our family wasn’t like everyone else’s family.
Our eldest started school right at the peak of Australia’s resource boom. Like a lot of tradesmen, my husband took advantage of this and took a ‘fly in fly out’ job, spending four out of five weeks working in remote areas of the country.
That gave us a grand total of only seven days out of thirty-five to spend together as a family. And when five of those seven days are taken up with school, that only left a measly two days out of five weeks for my husband and son to spend together.
That is just not enough!
We lasted a year in the school system before we started homeschooling. We decided time together as a family was more important than doing things the way everyone around us did.
And it is the best decision we have ever made!
A lot of families are faced with shift work, deployment or ‘fly in fly out’ jobs. If this is your family, homeschooling might be a good option for you too.
When you have an unusual work schedule, home education can give you the family time you crave.
The perks of time together
We may have started homeschooling because of a crazy work schedule but when my husband took a local job less than a year later we decided to keep homeschooling. Why?
Because we had discovered there were a lot of perks to spending so much time together as a family.
My two children are almost six years apart. It wasn’t my ideal age gap but sometimes that’s the way life works out. I’ll confess I was worried they wouldn’t be close.
Homeschool gives my kids the opportunity to spend more time together than other siblings.
Despite the age gap, my children play well together and enjoy spending time with each other. Well, most of the time they do. Homeschooling didn’t miraculously give me children that never quarrel…
But spending so much time with your brother or sister does encourage the development of conflict resolution skills.
Our kids get a chance to work things out in a supportive environment rather than figuring it out alone in the playground. In other words, yes they bicker but they spend enough time together that they learn how to sort it out well. And there is always a loving adult on hand to help if they need it.
Homeschooled siblings also get to opportunity to learn from each other in ways they wouldn’t if they went to school. They aren’t just siblings, they are classmates too.
If you have a large age gap, or just want to give your children a better chance of becoming each other’s best friend, home education could be for you.
Homeschooling can help create strong sibling bonds based on shared time and interests.
The whole family gets to share
Something I didn’t anticipate when we began homeschooling was the depth of inter-generational learning that would occur.
Extra family time doesn’t just mean we spend more time together as a nuclear family. For us it has meant more time for the extended family to enjoy each other’s company as well. Many of our extended family members play a role in my children’s education.
My grandmother, my children’ great-grandmother, has become a wonderful part of their education. It is a true gift that my children can spend so much time with her, for them and for her.
So often in our modern society our elders spend their later years feeling lonely and without a purpose. Imagine instead that they are able to share their stories and wisdom with our youngest generation. Our children don’t just benefit from the shared knowledge, they also grow up with a deep respect for our elderly citizens.
Grandparents, aunts and uncles are a wonderful resource for handing down cultural knowledge too. Our kids get more time and opportunity to learn about their cultural background than they would if they were in school. In a multicultural family this is really important for us.
Homeschooling can help bring extended families closer together.
Out of the many reasons we love homeschooling the closeness of our family is the number one reason we keep going. Whenever I start to question our choice I remind myself of this and feel renewed.
The truth is, I think my kids would miss each other too much if we decided to try school again. And I know I would really miss them.
About the Author: Kirstee is a homeschool mama from Australia. She has one husband, two children and a mastiff who thinks she’s people. Nikolai is in fourth grade and Wynter is almost four. Their days are spent learning around the kitchen table or wandering the mountains and forests with friends. You can find her in her half renovated home, nestled between the mountains and the sea, or on the pages of her blog This Whole Home, where she offers practical advice and inspiration to Waldorf-Inspired mamas and holistic homeschoolers.
Read more from the Series: I homeschool because…
- 10 Reasons to Homeschool; What’s Yours?
- Pros and Cons of Homeschool – Finding What’s Best for Your Family by Ashley
- My Children have Dyslexia and Learning Differences by Kim
- I Don’t Agree with Common Core or Standardized Testing by Katrina
- We Wanted More Time as a Family by Kirstee
- My Children are Twice Exceptional by Ginny
- Unrealistic Expectations Caused Stress and Anxiety in my child by Heather
- I Want a Simplified Life – Minimalist Homeschool by June
- My Public School Experience Sucked by Erin
- I Want an Individualized Education for my Kids by Amber