I think homeschooling is just a bit like marriage in that you can't really know what it's like until you are there. You can imagine how it will be. You can see how it is for other people. But until you've lived it yourself, you can't really know.
Being a public school teacher for so many years, I had a small vision of what homeschooling would look like. Now you should know I had never set foot into another homeschooler's house when we started. All I knew is that my oldest daughter had been struggling in school since she started and I thought "I could do better." So we did it.
We are not the statistical family whose children all went to college at the age of 12. Nope. Normal family over here! But what I didn't know is there is SO MUCH MORE to homeschooling than the academics. Here are some things I discovered:
Your children can learn to be friends
Kids who get enough sleep are healthier
If someone is sick, you can choose to stop school for the day, or continue school for the healthy ones, or just do some school. The call is yours. No more making those horrible dawn decisions trying to decide if the child is sick enough to stay home
If life hands you a disruption (a move, a new baby, etc.) you can just suspend school for a bit. Really. Pick it back up later. Live life.
Your kids will have time to play with their toys, enjoy their yard, and use their imagination.
There is no homework (unless you want there to be)
Your family will have free evenings together (or mornings if you do school in the evenings)
You can travel anytime of the year, off-season is cheaper!
The school calendar will not run your life. YOU make the calendar!
No worries about tardies, absences, excuse notes, or needing to pull kids out of school early for things. You just make up those days as you decide.
Your children will know their community better because they will truly live in it. They will go to the post office, the store, the library, the museums during the day.
Do you know who is out during the day? Older citizens and mothers with young children. You will like this crowd.
Places are less crowded when public school is in session. This makes for easier errand running. We prefer to do our errands early in the day and then work on school.
You will have more help with the housework as chores will be a part of daily life. Therefore your children will learn skills they never would learn at school. My kids have been making their own lunches for years. We had time for them to learn how and lots of practice.
You can chase rabbit trails. Is your child very interested in the space program? Make watching a launch part of your school day! Then set the science book aside for the day and read and learn about the space program together.
You can spend hours and hours reading with your children snuggled up on the couch. This is some of the best learning there is.
If your child isn't feeling well, they can lay in their own bed or on the couch right there by you, instead of a paper-covered hard nurse's bed in the school clinic.
You can feed them healthy foods.
No worries about their safety at school.
Kids have too much energy? Stop school and send them outside to play or swim and run off some energy. Then try the school work again. You will get better results!
No parent/teacher conferences.
You can still have Open House! We had that for years! More on that later.
You can get involved with other homeschool families and share the teaching burden. Maybe your friend is great at science but you are super at teaching writing. Swap kids and do it!
If your family runs a farm or has a business, homeschool can work around those needs.
Basically, you will have flexibility, more time together, and fewer worries because your kids are right there with you. There are so many more benefits than just the academics!
Pandemic Edit: Since reading a few of our local school district's plans for brick and mortar and online learning this next school year, I will add a few more benefits here: Not having to be tied to the computer all day, being sure to log in at the correct times to receive attendance. Working and talking alongside others while you learn. Seeing your parent smile at you. Clearly understanding spoken directions and being able to read your teacher's facial expressions. Eating your meals with other people at the same table. Not having to remember a list of new safety rules. Oh, there are so many benefits!