Why homeschool? Free Time for Personal Interests, Hobbies, and Skill Development

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… Stop waiting for time to pass, and start choosing how to pass your time!

I bet a lot of you are like me and attended public or private school growing up. Large class sizes with one teacher often meant wasted time sitting at my desk. I would whittle hours of time away… just watching the clock and waiting.  Waiting for the teacher. More waiting for other students. Still more waiting for the class period to be over. Waiting for the bell to ring. More waiting for the lunch line to move. Even more waiting for the school bus to come. WAITING! Well, that brings me to one more reason why you should homeschool… so you can stop waiting for time to pass and start choosing how to pass your time!

Free time gives children time to pursue personal interests, develop  hobbies, and learn new skills.

There are so many things our children can do with their free time! When children are young, free time simply gives children time to think, to imagine, and to play!  Free time such as this for young children is the springboard for future interests, hobbies, and skills.  God has given each child different gifts and talents, and free time gives children time to discover them.

An Example of Free Time Helping Children Pursue Personal Interests

One of our sons as a young boy loved to build with legos, castillos, and blocks. Heart of Dakota‘s art, history, and science projects helped him learn how to build things systematically, step-by-step.  I was glad Heart of Dakota’s hands-on projects allowed for creativity, so he could design his own project rather than make a cookie-cutter project. Through the years, I have watched his creations become more and more intricate. With a lego computer program, I have seen ample 3-D creations be designed and then be built.  I imagine this personal interest could impact his future career, in a field such as drafting or engineering.

An Example of Free Time Helping Children Develop Hobbies

Our sons as young boys rode old 3-wheelers that my husband fixed up one at a time. They could often be seen racing around the yard on their 3-wheelers in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, they made a figure-eight track through the snow, hooked up a sled to their 3-wheelers and raced some more. I asked my husband for his brothers, who are excellent welders, to make small trailers to hook up to 3-wheelers. Soon I saw 3-wheelers with trailers whizzing to the garden to pick raspberries, down the gravel to exercise our dogs, and around the yard to pick up sticks.

One by one, each of the 3-wheelers broke down. They were old, so it was inevitable. I watched my husband fix each of the 3-wheelers, one by one, with whichever son owned the broken down 3-wheeler. Recently, I watched one of our sons rebuild an entire 3-wheeler with my husband’s help. I believe this will be a lifelong hobby for this son!

An Example of Free Time Helping Students Develop New Skills

Our sons as young boys built a tiny snow fort that promptly fell down. However, as they matured, they discovered making snow ‘bricks’ out of ice by adding water to slabs of snow made stronger bricks. I watched their tiny snow fort grow to a massive snow fort through the years.  This was all under the tutelage of one of our sons. He took a keen interest in building things, systematically, step-by-step in a way that would cause them to last.

I watched him lead his brothers in carefully creating a final fort that would withstand the elements for longer and longer periods of time.  In fact, I took a picture of one of their snow forts surrounded by grass!  The fort withstood the spring’s warmer temperatures for longer than I’d have imagined!  A few years later, I watched as this son built our retaining wall with cement bricks using a similar concept! Brick by brick, the retaining wall emerged, and it still stands strong today!

In Closing

I have found giving our sons free time gives them time to pursue personal interests, develop hobbies, and learn new skills. I think you would find the same to be true with your own children! So, in closing, why should you homeschool? So your children can have free time to discover the gifts and talents the Lord has given them! Why not homeschool, so you can stop waiting for time to pass, and start choosing how to pass time?!?

In Christ,
Julie

 

Give your children a Christian education for a fraction of the cost of private school!

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

We often get asked why we homeschool, and if you homeschool, I am sure you do too!  This series is something you can share with friends or families who are considering homeschooling. There are many valid reasons to homeschool. We have been sharing some of them in this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Third, we talked about how you get to run your own schedule. Fourth, we talked about how you can give your children immediate feedback. Fifth, we talked about how homeschooling is naturally the ideal education model of multi-age, multilevel, and looping. Today, we will talk about how you can give your children a Christian education for a fraction of the cost of private school.

Do you long for your children to have a Christian education?

Today more than ever, we as Christian parents long for our children to have a Christian education. We can see the changes in our public schools, and we know they are not good.  Private schools offer a Christian option for schooling, but we often find them to be too expensive, too far away, or too understaffed.  As Christian parents, we long to share our faith in Jesus with our children. Well, the good news is, with homeschooling, you can!

Does Jesus have a seat in your children’s school?

There’s an extra seat in our house where we homeschool. It is for Jesus, and He is invited every day. His wisdom governs our learning, and His light shines, so filling our house with love that it is transformed! It is now a ‘home’school because He has made His home there. Conversation flows freely, and we can talk with Him all day long.  Lord, what do you think about how the world began? Let’s read about that today in science. Lord, how would you like us to live? Let’s open our Bible for Bible study and see!  Lord, what can we learn from the past? What should we do in the present? And what can we expect in the future?  Let’s look at your Living Word and see how your plans show past history, history unfolding, and history to come!

It is difficult to have a Christian education where Jesus is not welcome.

We will find it difficult to give our children a Christian education where Jesus is not welcome. If our children cannot pray, read their Bible, or use educational materials that are Christian, how will they be able to receive a Christian education?  If Jesus is not welcome, our children will have a very difficult time becoming like Him. We wonder why children are so difficult to discipline, why they have behavior problems, and why they can’t get along. When we remove Jesus from their education, we will be hard pressed to find Him in their behavior.

A Word of Caution

One word of caution – just because you homeschool, it is not a guarantee your children will receive a Christian education. There is pressure today to leave Jesus out of homeschooling too. Government funded programs offer to pay a portion or all of your homeschooling costs – as long as the materials you use aren’t Christian. Various co-ops, programs, groups, etc. outside of the home offer to teach your children for you, but they leave Christ out of their teaching. Even homeschool curriculum programs that used to be solely Christian are publishing a second secular version of homeschooling materials. We too have been advised to do this, but we refuse.  Leaving Jesus out of our curricula would take the ‘heart’ right out of Heart of Dakota.  We have not given into that pressure, so please, don’t you either!

In Closing

In closing, one of the most important reasons why you should homeschool is you can give your children a Christian education. Open the door to Jesus by opening your mind to homeschooling.  Invite Him into your home and into your children’s education, and you will see more and more of Jesus in your children’s thoughts, words, and actions. Moreover, you will see Him in their hearts, souls, and minds – and THAT is an education that lives on forever.

In Christ,

Julie

Why homeschool? A Multi-age, Multilevel, and Looping Opportunity

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

Prior to homeschooling our own children, I remember attending an educators’ conference in New Orleans. Carrie and I were flown there to represent our school district of 26 elementary schools. Why? Our school district’s test scores in reading were dropping, and we were to find a way to remedy that. After the conference, we were to report back to the district about what we had learned. Then, we were to provide training for teachers in inservice education classes we led for our district and in classes we taught for teachers to receive college credit.  Needless to say, we felt just a tad bit of pressure going into this conference!

What unique education opportunities are available for children?

After attending ample lectures, our first small group breakout session started with a question I still recall today.  We were asked to share what unique education opportunities our school district currently offered.  As teachers responded to this question and each turn moved closer to our position in the circle, we realized there were a whole lot more options to educating than we knew!  French immersion schools, charter schools, fine arts schools, online schools, boarding schools, private schools, magnet schools, dual language schools, performing arts schools, public schools – oh my! We found this to be so exciting!  It was freeing to think we could possibly think outside the box a bit, which in a public school setting is a rarity.

Multi-age Classrooms, Multilevel Lessons, and Looping

Many good ideas came out of that conference that we put into practice. Mainly, we began to implement multi-age classrooms, multilevel lessons, and looping. We were blessed enough to be able to implement them all in our school district!  As we were doing our master’s degree at the same time, we were able to write and receive grants for teaching this way. We taught inservice education classes and college classes on these topics.  Carrie and I were inspired!  We often stayed up until midnight planning for our multi-age, multilevel, looping classroom.  Best of all, we got to do this together because our school district also let us job share! So many funds and grants were poured into providing this education, and the results? Reading scores went up, and surprisingly, so did math scores and writing scores!

We found the one drawback to be the amount of time it took to write the plans, but we couldn’t go back to one plan, one age of students, and one classroom.

As Carrie and I taught inservices and college courses on teaching in multi-age classrooms, writing multi-level lesson plans, and looping students from year to year, one response began to emerge from teachers. They loved the results, but it was taking them way too much time to plan.  We agreed. Carrie and I were staying at school planning on the weekends until midnight sometimes. We were exhausted. However, we believed in what we were doing. We saw our students all happily moving forward in skills so well! Going back to one reading lesson, one math lesson, one writing lesson, and one grade level was impossible for us. We loved what we were doing too much!  We’d seen the results. Taking students where they were and moving them forward in all subject areas was the way to school. We couldn’t go back.

Our Last Year of Public School Teaching

In our last year of public school teaching, we had a class of about 28 students with one educational assistant.  Over half of the students in our class were on IEPs (individual education plans for special needs students).  We still believed in the multi-age classroom, multilevel lessons, and looping. But, there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all we wanted to accomplish. We had too many students with too many needs with too many interruptions. Though we were ready to begin the interview process to become principals and the prospects looked promising, we couldn’t see putting another year into teaching other children at the expense of not teaching our own at home. In short, we longed to try our hand at teaching our own children, in a Christian way!  Once we began homeschooling, we never looked back. We’d found our home!

Homeschooling is multi-age, multilevel, and looping at its best!

We began homeschooling when Cole was turning 5 years old. He is now 22 years old! My how time flies!  We took turns homeschooling Cole our last year of teaching for our school district. Since we job shared, we could do this. On my days off, I’d homeschool Cole. On Carrie’s days off, she’d homeschool him. We also watched each other’s smaller children. We loved it!  It didn’t take long for us to realize homeschooling is multi-age, multilevel, and looping at its best. Homeschooling is multi-age for families that have more than one child. It is multilevel for families using HOD, as each guide has multiple lesson plans and levels for customizing math, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and more. Finally, it’s looping, as each year the parent gets to teach the same children again.

So, why homeschool? You can have a multi-age, multilevel, looping education for your children!

So, in closing, there are many valid reasons why you should homeschool, and we have been sharing some of them in this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Third, we talked about how you get to run your own schedule. Fourth, we talked about how you can give your children immediate feedback! Finally, today we talked about how in homeschooling you can give your children a multi-age, multilevel, looping educational experience without ever having to leave your home and without having your child be one of 28 students rather than one of just your family’s size. Who knew all those years of research and study would lead Carrie and I back home? God, that’s Who, and we are so thankful to Him for His leading!

In Christ,

Julie

Why homeschool? You can give your children immediate feedback!

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

With so many schooling options, you might wonder why you should homeschool. Or, maybe you are already homeschooling, and you need fresh reasons why you should continue to do so. Well, I’m happy to say, there are many valid reasons to homeschool, and this  Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series is focused on sharing them First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Third, we talked about how you get to run your own schedule. Today, we’ll talk about the fourth reason, which is you can give your children immediate feedback!

I have found it so helpful to give immediate feedback on schoolwork being done incorrectly!

Why is immediate feedback on schoolwork an important reason to homeschool?  Well, students have a much better opportunity to form good work habits with immediate feedback.  The reverse is also true; students all too easily form bad work habits with delayed feedback – especially if it is delayed by days, weeks, or even months.  A child with 20 math problems that is incorrectly working the steps of long division will have a much better habit in place for this skill if the error is corrected with immediate feedback. Likewise, a child that is incorrectly spelling ‘friend’ as ‘frend’ in written work will have a much better chance of spelling it properly if the spelling error is corrected right away rather than weeks later.

I have found it equally helpful to give immediate feedback on schoolwork being done correctly!

Students not only benefit from immediate feedback on schoolwork being done incorrectly, they also benefit from immediate feedback on schoolwork being done correctly! A child who knows they correctly answered the first 5 problems in math will be more likely to confidently work through the remaining problems. Likewise, a child who knows from immediate feedback that he chose a good essay topic, chose good resources, and chose good prewriting ideas will be more likely to successfully and happily write their essay. Children left for days, weeks, or months with no feedback begin to wonder what the purpose of their work is at all.  If no one cares to look at their work, why does their work matter? This is a valid question.

I love Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on the formation of habits! 

Charlotte Mason had much to say about the formation of habits, and habits are greatly impacted by immediate feedback. I will share a few of my favorites below:

Each of us has in his possession an exceedingly good servant or a very bad master, known as Habit.  (Vol. 4, p. 208)

Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend. (Vol. 1, p. 118)

Every habit has its beginning. The beginning is the idea which comes with a stir and takes possession of us.  (Vol. 2, p. 230)

In closing

In closing, it is such a blessing that you can give your children immediate feedback in homeschooling. Whether your feedback is to correct a poor habit or to encourage a good habit, it always has the power to help your children.  Providing immediate feedback is one of the powerful tools to positively impact students’ learning and achievement. In homeschooling, you can more effectively provide immediate feedback. Even the best of public school teachers with the best intentions of giving immediate feedback simply can’t match you. Twenty-some students just makes it near to impossible!  But, in homeschooling, smaller ‘class sizes’ make immediate feedback easy. So, now you know one more reason why you should homeschool!

In Christ,

Julie

Why homeschool? You run your own schedule!

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

There are many reasons to homeschool, and at Heart of Dakota, we are focused on sharing them in this From Our House to Yours series!  First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Today, we’ll talk about the third reason, which is one of the biggest reasons I love to homeschool!  Simply put, you get to run your own schedule.

#3 – You run your own schedule.

Are you tired of someone else telling you what you have to do, where you have to be, when you have to be there, and how long you have to stay? If you homeschool in your own home and you are the teacher, no one else gets to tell you these things. Why? Because you run your own schedule! This reason to homeschool is so big, I really could divide it into multiple posts. I’ll just touch on some of the big ideas here!

Whether you homeschool or not can depend on the weather!

We have blizzards in South Dakota, and what do public schools do? They call off school. Where are our South Dakota children during some of our nicest months temperature-wise, like spring and fall, when they could actually enjoy playing outside? Indoors, at school. In Arizona, one of the hottest, most unbearable months temperature-wise is July. Where are the children? Stuck indoors, at home, not doing school.  Where are they when Arizona has some of the nicest temperatures, and they could actually enjoy playing outside? Still indoors, but now at school. However, if you choose to homeschool, you run the schedule. If it’s nice outside, your children can be outside. If it’s either a freezing cold blizzard or a stifling hot summer day outside, you can be indoors homeschooling.

Vacation when no one else can!

Do you know how much money you can save when you can vacation when no one else can? A lot! We love to vacation in September. Why? No one else with children in school can. Hotels can be half the cost. Lines to rides or shows or entertainment of any kind can be half as long. Airline tickets can be half the price. VRBO’s can be a fraction of the cost. Restaurants can have half the wait time. National Parks can have half as long of lines of cars. Parking lots actually have places open to park. Hiking trails can have half as many people. Pools can have room to actually swim. Nothing beats vacationing when no one else can!

Pick the best time to homeschool for your family and your children!

Are you an early riser or a night owl? How about your children? When you homeschool, you can pick the best time to homeschool for you and for and your children.  Best of all, not everyone must have the exact same schedule.  If you are an early riser, you can partner with one of your children who is also an early riser and start school earlier with that child. Meanwhile, your child who is not an early riser but is more of a night owl can do some homeschool work at night and sleep in the next morning. Each person can have a say in the homeschool day, and that makes everyone happier!

Sick days, field trip days, special days – you can take them off whenever you want!

It is hard to take days off from public school. You can’t really take them off because the teacher is still assigning work to the rest of the class. That work must be made up, and it piles up, making it almost impossible to catch up or maintain good grades.  This is why sick children are attending school. In homeschooling, if your children are sick, you simply do school a different day. They rest. Recuperate. And no work piles up. They return to homeschool healthy and ready to learn. Likewise, if you want to take a field trip, you can. Or, if there is a special day you want to take off, you do!  We always take our birthdays off.  The birthday person chooses what to have for breakfast, lunch, and supper. He picks a board game to play, a movie to watch, and an activity to play. With homeschooling, you run the schedule, and fun is allowed.

Mealtimes, movement, and moments with Dad are at your discretion!

When does your family like to have mealtimes? Early morning? Late morning? Noon? 1 PM? It’s totally up to you in homeschooling. In public school, your child may need to eat breakfast at 6:30 AM to be able to catch the bus. But, school lunch might not be until 1 PM. That’s a loooooooong time to go without eating and not be allowed to snack!

Do you have an active child? In school, movement is limited. Your child may be sitting at a desk doing seatwork in a crowded room with 20-some other students for long periods of time. Just getting permission to go to the bathroom can be tough!  However, you run the schedule in homeschooling. If your child needs a break, he can get up and move, and return to homeschooling with a fresh mind ready to learn.

Does your husband like to fish? Or to hunt? To toss around a baseball? Or to bike ride?  In homeschooling, your children can join him at any time. He can round up the children impromptu when the weather is just right, and enjoy the day with them anytime his schedule allows it. Moments with Dad can happen any time it works with his schedule, and if your husband is anything like mine, he will love that! These are just a few reasons I think you will love to homeschool!  Fellow homeschool moms and homeschool moms soon to be – never underestimate the blessing of being able to run your own schedule!  It is one of the very best reasons why you should homeschool!

In Christ,

Julie