11 Positive Side Effects of Homeschooling Your Kids
Do you know what homeschooling your kids really means? It means YOU'RE NEVER ALONE. And it means that the house is in a constant state of flux. Gone are the days when I could catch up on the clutter and mess while the kids were at school. But then again, you're never alone. And I think that's a good thing! That's just one of the positive effects of homeschooling your kids!
11 Positive Effects of Homeschooling Your Kids
1. You Learn to Embrace a Messy House
In the past few years, I've been able to better embrace the messiness of living in a house with four people and two dogs. I have a print in my house that says, "Excuse the mess, but we live here" and it sums up my feelings, exactly.
Pinterest-perfect houses are not reality. That doesn't mean we have to completely throw in the towel and become hoarders.
Homeschooling has forced me to embrace the mess even more. There are unfinished projects on the dining room table, toys in the family room where they were putting on a play, and half finished Monopoly in the kitchen (who can play that game straight through??). You get the idea. The unschooling vibe is wild and free and that's how we roll.
I have learned to give myself some grace and not strive for perfection. My mom always kept an immaculate home (with EIGHT KIDS), but she told me when mine were toddlers, "the dishes can wait...play with your kids."
Plus, now I have two "helpers", so it's an opportunity to get them involved with the state of the house (see #2).
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2. The Kids Contribute to the Family Community
Because they are underfoot and because they are causing more of the daily messes, they are naturally picking up more responsibilities. I told Joe the other day that, "the kids never complain when I ask them to do house chores."
I'm not saying they're perfect and maybe it's because the chores are assigned ad hoc, but they just get 'em done without whining.
I think if we had a strict chore chart that I was constantly nagging them about, it might become more of a battle.
Deep down, kids love helping and contributing to the greater good of the family. And I'm trying to focus on raising people who can take care of themselves at some point. (Even though Townes says he wants to live with us forever and be our "house boy". HA!)
3. Homeschooling Breeds Closer Relationships
Saying we're never alone is only a slight exaggeration. While we are together a lot, I still sneak out to run local errands or grab a coffee with a friend. And there I times when we're all home, but doing separate things in the house.
I will say, homeschooling the kids reminds me of when they were toddlers and I couldn't finish a thought without being interrupted. That was the hardest part about having little kids and it feels very similar now.
But I couldn't be happier. They say that life happens in between the big moments and I'm so glad we are able to share those in between moments.
There are so many important things that come up in the little gaps between our to do lists: questions, fears, laughter, frustration, and did I mention questions? (see #6)
Having the gift of being able to just be there with them. To be in their space and offer support, or join in their laughter, or hear out their frustration is a gift. Oh, and those questions? I get to show them how to find answers.
Kids grow up so fast and having the opportunity to peacefully parent them while they still live with us is nothing short of a gift.
4. I Have a Sous Chef
Having Kate at home means that I have a very willing sous chef--and sometimes she's even the chef! I hate cooking, but seeing Kate's excitement to learn in the kitchen has forced me to try and cook more and be more deliberate about cooking.
We've even been doing batch cooking sessions to stay on top of my keto diet. I admit, it's hard enough for me to cook in an organized fashion and having another person getting up in my flow can make it challenging. It's just one of those things that you suck up and do.
5. Our Dogs Get More Attention
This is mainly thanks to Kate, but Townes has grown his relationships with the dogs, too. Townes gets so much out of Maggie and Rex, but he doesn't think to engage with them on the regular. It just doesn't occur to him.
Kate is constantly on the floor giving pets, scratches, and pep talks to those dogs. And I'm grateful. I think Kate is a 'dog person'.
Joe and I used to think we were dog people until we actually met dog people. We love dogs, but we don't live for our dogs, you know? I think Kate might end up being a true dog person.
In fact we were having a laugh about Rex's crooked teeth (they drive Joe and Townes nuts, but Kate and I get a real kick out of them!).
I told Kate that some day people will probably pay for dog braces. She deadpanned: "yeah, I'd probably be one of those people." Hey. You have to respect someone how is true to their convictions LOL
In the end I think the kids get more out of the dogs than they get out of us. I love that they have something else besides themselves to care for--and they always brighten our day!
6. Homeschooling Leaves More Time for Questions
OMG, the questions. Some days it's just question after question after question. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that they're asking questions. It shows me that they are curious and have a desire to find an answer. But I literally can't keep up with their questions!
I even put a notebook on the kitchen counter so they could add any question that they wanted answered and we wouldn't forget about it. That was a nice idea, but they forget to write down their questions and I forget to even look in the notebook.
Instead of a notebook on the counter or in the car (where lots of questions come up), I've started handing them my phone and asking them to google their question (if I don't have a halfway smart answer to their question) or if we're home, we ask Alexa.
This has helped tremendously. I used to say: let's look that up when we get home! And guess how many times we remembered to do that? It rhymes with 'hero'. :)
The Amazon Echo and Siri (and even simple internet searches) have saved me. Let's face it: me answering their questions usually starts and ends with a Google search ;) Side question: How did people homeschool before the internet?
7. The Kids Get My Undivided Attention (well, more undivided)
Our general unschooling routine ideally means that we do out of the house activities, free play, and other things off-screen in the morning (screen time starts at 1pm on a normal day).
During this time, I try very hard to put chores, cooking, my phone aside so that I can be there for them. For questions, support with an idea, or just general conversation and hanging out.
Many days I find myself doing a chore, or answering an email on my phone while trying to carry on a conversation. I hate it when Joe does this to me and I recognize that look on their faces when they can see that I'm not giving them my eyes---or my undivided attention.
Recognizing that I can do better in this area is the first step, right? And knowing that I have the time to do to just be with them--and that it's one of the main reasons we are homeschooling is very motivating.
8. Public Spaces/Fun Activities are Less Crowded
One of the best 'side effects' of homeschooling the kids is that we get to do fun stuff without the weekend crowds! We made the mistake of hitting up a popular trampoline park during Spring Break and we were thanking our lucky stars that most days, we don't have to deal with those crowds!
Museums, activity centers, restaurants, the library--everything is less crowded and we love it!
9. Time for More Free Play
Oh free play, how I love you. Given the chance, kids always find something to do and my kids never cease to amaze me at how much they can get lost in free play.
Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity. --Robert M. Pirsig
They may start with Lego and end with a stuffed animal store. They might battle Beyblades and then use their Lego minifigures to act out a Gravity Falls episode. They might play a game of Sorry or Chess and then end up racing each other around the house on their 'salon chairs'.
Having the freedom and space (head and physical) to let their minds wander and just see what they feel like doing is a gift. Play is the way children question and learn and experiement and I wouldn't give up the time they have for free play for the world :)
10. We're Saving Money
While I've been adding to our board game collection among other things to get the kids' learning without them knowing, our monthly budget for home expenses has gone down!
For one, our trips to fast food and our carpool morning Dunkin Donut runs has been slashed by 90%! Those quick stops add up. If we're home, we can eat at home. Easy!
Aaaand...I'm shopping less. I had a lot of extra time on my hands and I was always milling about at Target or Home Goods. That's just not something I do anymore. It's so nice to not be buying more crap for the house LOL
11. Less Pressure on the Kids
School is not like it was when we were growing up. It's intense. The curriculum and homework is amped up and the social pressures are insane--even in elementary school!
Our kids are so much less stressed now that they are homeschooled. And using the unschooling approach has kept their stress level in check. This was a top priority for us. Nothing is worth making our children nervous wrecks!
Anxiety and depression runs in both sides of our families. It can be devastating. Any way that we can maintain mental health in our family is a win to us.
And we wanted to cultivate their natural curiosity and love of learning. That wasn't happening at school. It was like torture (for them and me!).
I know there are plenty more benefits of homeschooling the kids, but I hope this shed some light on why we think unschooling our two kids was the best decision of our lives!
Got questions? I'll answer in the comments :)