MARCH 25, 2020
Homeschool Day in the Life: Child’s Perspective!
Have you ever wondered what the homeschooled child thinks about homeschooling? Understandably, most of the information out there on homeschooling is focused on the parents’ perspective. Parents considering homeschooling can easily find answers to questions like, “How many hours a day should you homeschool?” and advice on how to set up a typical homeschool schedule. However, equally important to understanding a homeschool day in the life is the view of children who are homeschooled. Here is just one child’s perspective—my 6th-grade daughter’s perspective—about her recent change from traditional schooling to homeschooling:
Questions About Homeschooling
Homeschooling was a joint decision, and my daughter was involved in the conversations. Initially, while I wondered, “How many hours a day do you homeschool?” she wondered, “How long is a homeschool day?” They are essentially the same question but with definitely different viewpoints. I asked her today about the questions she had when we first started:
- “Would the family like me homeschooling?” In the beginning, some members of the extended family were opposed to homeschooling (and quite vocal about it!). That had bothered her. Now, though, she says that those who were not so “on board” originally are asking her about homeschooling and seem to understand the good it is doing.
- “What about my friends at school?” This was perhaps the most important question for my very sociable daughter. Since she started homeschooling, she really doesn’t see her friends from school very much, but she says that she has since realized that she didn’t see them much outside of school back then either. She has made some new friends through homeschooling programs and other activities, and we are constantly exploring other opportunities for peer friendships.
- “Will it be awkward with my mom teaching me?” She wondered, “Would I do something in school that my mom wouldn’t like?” We did discover some note-taking methods that needed some help and some gaps in knowledge that were (frankly) shocking, but we started on a new journey and just began from where we were. Aside from the occasional tickle torture for a snide comment or pushups for playful cheating on a learning game, my daughter says that it is totally NOT awkward at all!
- “Will homeschooling be harder or easier than school?” Although a common myth is that homeschooling is easier, my daughter would say “bit of both.” It depends, she says, on “how hard the material is and the format it is in.” She is happy to have already begun homeschooling prior to the COVID-19 outbreak as her days have not really changed much.
- “Will I get to spend enough time with the other members of my family?” She wondered if homeschooling would spill over into family time, and she wouldn’t be able to spend time with anyone else. What she found instead was that she “got to do some classes with [her] family.” Sometimes, for example, we watch a documentary and discuss it as a family or do a whole family technology class. She sometimes studies with her older brother, learns a particular topic with her dad, or does art or gym class with her cousins.
Benefits of Homeschooling
Now that we have been homeschooling for about seven months, I asked my daughter what she saw as the benefits. Here is what she listed:
- “Less stress!” She says, “my stress levels have gone down tremendously.” In the early days of homeschooling, we had to work to lower that stress level, but we soon learned that there are just a few things (i.e., getting behind) that can get her stressed about school. Now she is getting better grades with more confidence because she is no longer comparing herself against the others in her class. She comments, “Others are not finishing before me. It’s just me.”
- “Not hearing a lot of bad words!” My daughter did not like hearing the way her classmates in school would talk. There was a lot of negativity, and even bullying, and she is thrilled to not have to deal with all that middle-school drama all day long every day.
- “More flexibility!” She likes that she can sleep in a little sometimes—particularly if she stays up a little later for some reason or doesn’t feel good. Although it took time for us to break out of our traditional views of school time, we now know that we can move some learning to the evening or weekend in order to stay on track. What we found is that the homeschool daily routine is not routine at all.
- “Traveling!” Part of our homeschool plan involves traveling. We have been able to take one-day road trips and several-day plane trips for various reasons, and we just bring homeschooling with us. She is also learning more about our country!
Favorite Things About Homeschooling
I also asked my daughter what her favorite things about homeschooling were. I hoped that I wouldn’t get a big “nothing,” but what I did get surprised me. I had not thought about some of the things she listed as positives for homeschooling, but—as usual—she was right. Her #1 favorite was “less stress,” but she also listed some new favorites:
- “Getting to stay home with my puppy dog!” She has always been an animal lover, so being with her dog is understandably a favorite. We take him for a walk every day between lessons to get refreshed for the rest of the day.
- “Switching up the environment!” My daughter loves that we can learn in different places “rather than the same old boring room.” We may go outside for learning ELA or to a café for bubble tea and some math. Sometimes we do classes at the library, at a bookstore, at a diner, or even at the mall.
- “Comfy chairs!” This goes along with changing the environment, but even at home, we might sit on the couch instead of at the table. We might use the rockers on the front porch, a blanket on the grass, or an exercise ball as a chair. She might read in her bed or sit cross-legged on a recliner.
- “Having snacks!” While her classmates now must wait until 12:45 p.m. to eat lunch, we can eat when we want and have a healthy afternoon snack if we want. She also helps me with lunch and dinner preparation and is therefore learning to cook and bake.
- “Doing what I normally do to help me learn!” In school, my daughter would get in trouble for humming while she worked, shaking her knee, or tapping her foot. She is very musical. Now she is doing those things while working, and we often play music in the background or as a way to learn certain content.
- “And a good teacher!” This was mumbled with a shy smile, but I heard it. Awww….