We are often asked why we decided to homeschool, or rather, why our daughter decided to allow me to homeschool our grandson. Our immediate answer is always the same, I was retiring from a long-term position and my husband and I were planning a several weeks long road trip so we thought it would be a good opportunity for our grandson to travel with us. Simple as that, retired mama who loves to write and travel and a willing young man who loves road trips as much as she does.
Fortunately, our most wonderful and accommodating daughter agreed it would be a good opportunity for him to learn about the places we would visit (even though she would miss him like crazy while he was gone) and agreed to our plan.
That was three years ago now and we are still homeschooling (and still traveling) and have realized there are many more reasons homeschooling is the right choice for us.
Here is our “Top 10” list:
1. We can travel whenever we want. There is no worrying about staying on a school holiday schedule. This works really well since both hubby and our eldest daughter work for the railway and have a tough time getting their vacation during school breaks. We’ve also taken advantage of traveling with our daughter to conferences and visiting the local area while she is busy with meetings. Being able to travel during low season also helps with our travel budget.
2. We get to spend a lot of time with our grandson. This is a wonderful bonus for us and (I trust) for him as well. I was fortunate to have my mom’s parents close by for most of my childhood and I cherish those memories. Children can benefit greatly from spending time with their extended family.
3. Learning together. A bit like Alice following the White Rabbit, EJ loves to head off into a sea of research when he finds something in our studies what catches his interest. He loves it when we can learn new things together.
4. Being flexible. Just like with travel, we like the ability to be flexible in our school days. We may decide that the sunny skies outdoors are too hard to resist and pack up our books and cameras (cameras are a must!) and head off to the nearby Rocky Mountains where we spend our day working at a picnic table under towering spruce trees, taking breaks to watch for squirrels and birds passing by (oh that sounds lovely like something out of Snow White doesn’t it 🍎) Seriously though, it truly is a breathtaking place to spend your day. Of course, there is usually a stop for ice cream on the way home as well (even homeschooling grandmas can spoil their grandkids right?)
5. We can design the curriculum that works best for our grandson. OK, I admit I am a bit of a curriculum junkie, I love checking out all of the new items each semester but mostly, I love to find things that work best for EJ and his individual learning style. I can also be sure that we cover the basics that are important to our family (cursive handwriting and good grammar are top of my list.)
6. We can plan ahead and take advantage of learning opportunities when we travel. Did you know that the King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharoah will be in Las Angeles this summer? This will be the last time to see these rare artifacts before they are placed in a brand new museum in Giza, never to tour again. As soon as we learned of the opportunity, we began to make plans for our visit, especially since we’ve been studying ancient Egypt this year so it fits right in with our curriculum plans.
7. We can design our own school uniforms. These may look like pajamas but they are in fact the latest in homeschool uniforms. And because we design our own, they can also look like bathing suits, shorts and T-shirts, or even snowsuits. My point is, we dress for the moment and if we decide to change into our jammies after working outside in the garden, it’s ok, we can still do our math equations.
8. Snow day? What’s that? This winter alone we’ve had a number of days where the roads have been terrible or even closed down due to winter weather. Does this affect our homeschool day? Only if we had planned an outing, but not because the school bus couldn’t get through.
9. The opportunity to witness weather events in person. Ok, so maybe this is not the best of reasons to homeschool but in our travels, we’ve managed to teach EJ the importance of listening to local news and weather forecasts and to be ready for anything. He also learned how to get prepared for a hurricane even though we live far from their path (my girls say this is because I like to travel in late August when the prices are low but the chances of bad weather can be high) and has made sure we have our 72-hour kit ready at home.
10. Homeschool days at local (and distant) museums, science centers, and historical parks. We love taking advantage of special homeschool programming both at home and during our travels. Some of the venues we’ve visited have had amazing guests and programs that have the added bonus of small group sizes. There are also groups who arrange special events for traveling homeschoolers that provide wonderful educational opportunities.
So there you have it, our family’s top ten reasons for homeschooling. I’d love to hear about some of yours.