Today we’re working with Disney Book Group to share how Mo Willems’ new book, Because, got our family talking about how small moments make a difference, and the many reasons to homeschool! Free time, family connection and deeper learning opportunities are things we get to enjoy with our kids at home. Here's a detailed list of our reasons to homeschool.
Reasons to Homeschool are as Unique as Each Family
In his new book, Because, number one New York Times best-selling author Mo Willems demonstrates how one person's love of music can culminate into a beautiful orchestra. In traditional domino effect style, he shows how one decision can impact the entire world. When one girl discovers her passion for music, her whole world changes course as she decides to chase after her dream. As she inspires others, the magic continues.
Reading it aloud to the kids got me thinking about how homeschooling has changed our lives. Our reasons to homeschool were straightforward, really. My boys were struggling with boredom under the weight of too many rote tasks. Learning differences went unaddressed.
Because my 7-year-old one day declared that he “hates school,” I decided we could do better.
Freedom to set your own schedule
I try to do bedtime stories with the kids as often as possible, but sometimes life gets hectic. For two-year-olds especially, the hours before bed can be the witching hour. That's a bummer for our older children who are behaving wonderfully and listening quietly, but it is what it is. One of our reasons to homeschool was the ability to do bedtime stories, or pre-nap stories, or lunchtime stories! We can cater our schedule to what works with OUR lives.
We saw the ugly side of bullying take hold very quickly. As a former third grade teacher, I knew that kids could be MEAN. Even with that knowledge under my belt, I was appalled by some of the things that other children did and said to our kids as young as five and six years old. I'm glad to have more control over the things our kids are exposed to now. Schools also don't allow “mental health” days, but our family does. Our kids are learning from a young age to listen to their bodies and be attentive to their own needs. They're also more productive than when they were in school full time, now that they have the freedom to work when they feel up to the task and dive deep into subjects that they care about.
I believe that it's very important for children to socialize, but I think true confidence starts with the family. Our kids get to spend a ton of time with their parents and their siblings, so they're able to face the world with more strength. They don't need to seek outside approval, knowing that they always have a solid foundation to rely on.
Ability to Explore the World – and Save Money
We often get to have cookies and milk in a hotel room – on a Tuesday! Travel is much cheaper during the week and off-season as compared with weekends or holiday breaks. When our kids ask us about a curriculum, we're able to take a trip to the nearest destination learning area. The photo above was taken when we took a jaunt to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and stayed in Beverly Hills on a whim.
No Need to Conform
We can get totally messy! We can play with sticks, jump in puddles, run around in the dirt and not stress about our appearance or worry about getting a clean pair of clothes on in time for the school bell.
Impactful Learning Opportunities
Our family is able to dive headfirst into a topical curriculum however we see fit. If our kid shows a particular interest in the history of knights, we can take him to a Medieval Times show and try to pull a sword out of a stone. There's no rubric here, we're making it up as we go and pacing ourselves based on our own performance goals. The end result is that our whole family is able to learn a LOT as we follow our children's lead.
Homeschool Programs are Individual, Too
There are about as many ways to homeschool as there are reasons to homeschool. We tiptoed into it with an independent study program, transitioning to modified enrollment at our local elementary school program and eventually working our way into a guided charter with a remote supervisor. We've tried four math programs, three reading programs, two handwriting sets and an endless number of boxed kits. We live in California which has incredibly supportive laws for our charter school system, so every single product we've tried has been covered by state funds.
There ARE Breaks, if you seek them out
People always ask how Nate and I carve a moment out for ourselves if the kids are always around. Fact is, the kids AREN'T always around. We're fortunate to have relatives nearby, babysitters we hire, neighbors who are happy to watch the kids once in awhile, and friends who are eager for playdates with the boys. There's also the YMCA, library programs, the park, community center classes and tons of other opportunities to get some responsible adult eyeballs on the kiddos so we can squeeze in a date night, time to work, or just an occasional nap.
The Homeschool Community is Amazing
Homeschooling rules vary state-to-state – and so does the ability for kids to participate in extracurricular activities and sports. If you aren't happy with the support you're receiving from your state, district, online program, neighborhood or church, there are always a dozen more doors to knock on in the homeschool world. That's one of the reasons to homeschool: it's hard to get wrong as long as you put your child's needs first. You'll inevitably find a community that supports your methods, and you'll feel more at home than you ever did in the mainstream system.
Mo Willems' Because has obviously joined our homeschooling repertoire – and prompted a lot of conversation! If you're looking to have a discussion with your kids about their passions, dreams, and how their little actions can have a BIG impact, this is a great place to start. Amber Ren's magical illustrations bring the book to life and drive home the point that a little moment can spark big dreams. Make sure you grab your copy!
One of our biggest reasons to homeschool? Because sometimes it’s the smallest moments that have the biggest impact.