If you’ve been partying with us, you’ve read some great posts by homeschool moms sharing a total 31 Reasons We Love Homeschooling. The reasons are varied, and many fit with the purpose Mike & I defined for our home learning lifestyle.
- To guide our children to love God and others well and much
- To nurture a lifelong love for learning and pursuit of purpose
- To teach our children HOW to learn and equip them with the tools needed for self-education
My homeschooling momma’ friends here have shared lots of inspiration for anyone considering homeschooling and much encouragement for those of us already in the midst of it all. But today, I am going to get all practical on you.
One reason I love homeschooling is that it‘s not as costly as sending my kids to school. Consider not only the financial costs, but also the time and relational costs expended when a child’s primary education happens outside of your home.
I’ll be the first to admit it….I’m frugal. If I’m going to spend money, something better be worth it. For our family, home learning is more economical than school learning would be.
We’re not big fans of the public school system, so, if they did go to school, my five daughters would be enrolled in a private school. In fact, one of my daughter’s does attend a private school part-time. [Related post: When Homeschooling Doesn’t Work (for just one of your kids)]. The expense of her education extends beyond tuition to fundraising obligations, book orders, and drama fees. Just today I needed to buy her 3rd set of new pants since September because it’s against the dress code to wear pants with holes in the knees (or elsewhere).
I wanted to find out what other moms thought about the cost of home learning vs. school. Homeschoolin’ mommas at Hip Homeschool Moms Community and Homeschooling Mom’s Hangout (two Facebook groups you should join) pointed out all these expenses of school…
- Tuition & supply fees (for private school and even some public schools)
- School lunches
- School clothes…uniforms or peer pressure to buy the latest trend
- Classroom supplies
- Fuel if drive to and from school
- School pictures
- Special events…field trips, social events
- Medical expenses for more frequent illnesses (lice!)
- Teacher gifts
- Extracurricular fees (sports, musical instruments, chess club travel)
Some moms admitted that home learning is more expensive for them because of the curriculum and tools they choose to buy. But, spending is more economical because we get “more bang for our bucks.” We can choose to buy learning supplies and tools that we’ll directly benefit from. We can choose what mid-day meals our kids eat. And we can choose to take a field trip to the zoo in 3rd grade (instead of the school-mandate aquarium field trip). And we can choose to purchase curriculum that points our kids towards God. That, my friends, is the real value of funds spent on home education.
I love homeschooling because my family has the time freedom to learn whatever we want, whenever we want. In Wasting Time: The Hidden Public School Crisis, author Mike McDaniel assessed the time spent actually learning in schools. After considering time taken for things like state test prep, remediation for slower students in class, early dismissal for sports, class “business”, he concluded that students, “have less than 50% of 185 days available for actual learning.”
I’m blessed to live in a state that doesn’t require me to “teach” my children certain topics each year. My girls can explore their interests, which nurtures a love and excitement for learning. My 14-year-old night owl can stay up drawing and writing until 11 pm (when she is naturally more productive) since she doesn’t need to catch the bus at 7am. I love that my children know learning is a natural process that doesn’t only happen between 7:30 am and 2:45 when the school bells ring.
We are teaching our children that all of life can be a learning experience (if we choose to grow from our experiences). I love my kids can spend 100% of their waking hours “learning”. We have a relaxed homeschool style, so they aren’t in front of “the books”, but they are exploring their world and growing in character and skills.
Many of the other “31 Reasons” mommas have shared how valuable homeschooling is for nurturing their relationships. Consider the relational “cost” of sending your child to school. Not only are they physically away from you and younger siblings, but they start emotionally investing in other people… people who may not be a positive influence.
I had a rude awakening about this through a co-op experience. My daughter was stressed out over getting an assignment done. I recognized that she was more concerned about making a good impression on her instructor than the learning taking place. My heart broke. My daughter was taking too much stock in the emotional return-on-investment from someone who didn’t really know her and her heart. She was developing a “people-pleaser” attitude and losing self-confidence. There was an emotional cost, and I can’t even imagine how much more relationally expensive it would be for her to be in school.
You can’t deny that the more time you spend with someone, the stronger your heart-level connection will be. I love that my kids recognize our family as their source for wisdom and love. I love that they know our home is their training ground for future relationships. As my girls are growing older and spending more time out there in the “real world”, they’re making healthy choices about who they spend their time with. They are benefitting from a good return on their emotional investments.
When it comes down to it, in counting the costs the homeschooling, I came up with this equation….
Choice to purchase the learning tools we need + time freedom to pursue interests + having my children’s hearts = PRICELESS