One key benefit of homeschooling is the opportunity for flexibility and fun. Children can still achieve an excellent education without the chains of a set school year or fixed schedule. These homeschool perks mean families can maximize memory-making together. Here are a few ideas for making the most of the flexibility you have as homeschoolers. I think every family should take advantage of these five homeschool perks.
1. A Spontaneous Day Off
There’s no need to plan far ahead or to coordinate schedules weeks in advance. One day, just wake up and decide to do something entirely different from your normal school routine.
I was about 9 years old when this day happened in my family. It was in the middle of one of Michigan’s long winters. After days cooped up indoors, Mom decided we’d have a completely abnormal day. We bundled up went to the theater to watch a movie—even buying us snacks to eat while we watched the film! That was one of the first times we kids had ever been to a movie theater. Perhaps it was the sheer novelty, but so many years later, well into adulthood, I still remember the delight of that surprise day with no school.
Don’t do it too often, or the wonder might wear off and you might get too far behind in your schedule. But don’t underestimate the memory-making power of a spontaneous, unexpected day of fun!
2. Extended Travel
There's no need for a year-long round-the-world trip unless that’s your style. In which case, go right ahead, because with homeschooling, you can!
- Maybe you can borrow Grandpa’s motor-home for a couple weeks and do your math at the picnic tables at campgrounds or read your next Read-Aloud by the light of your evening bonfire.
- Maybe Dad needs to stay home to work, but Mom can take the kids for a long visit to stay with relatives in another state.
- Or perhaps a business trip for one parent can serve as a trip for the whole family.
With Sonlight’s clear Instructor’s Guides, you can easily see what books you’ll need to read during which weeks, and pack what you need for a season of roadschooling.
3. Errands as Field Trips
I know that the thought of packing up all of your kids for every trip to the grocery store is exhausting. It’s easy to see errands as a distracting time-suck. But when we shift our perspective, we can see mundane errands as field trips where our kids get to put their learning into action.
- Weekly grocery store trip
- Visit to the bank to take care of financial business
- Annual well-check at the doctor’s office
- Mailing packages at the post office
It’s on these trips when children prepare for life as you get the chance to teach them life skills. During these field trips, your children learn how to interact with strangers under a variety of circumstances. Making errands into a family event, something that you get to do together, can become a great shared memory rather than drudgery to be squeezed into the weekly schedule.
4. Volunteering as a Family
Homeschoolers have more control over their schedules which means they typically have more flexibility to volunteer as a family. Here are options:
- reading to residents of a local nursing home
- serving at a food bank
- tutoring ESL for immigrants or refugees
- taking part in local clean-up projects
- a short-term missions trip
Seek out a volunteer opportunity in which you can all put your hands and feet to work. You will create family memories while building relationships with others.
5. Your Own Yearly Traditions
Don’t neglect the beginnings and endings of school years just because you’re a homeschooler. Celebrate your family’s accomplishment as you finish another year of school! Find family traditions that are meaningful to you.
- Decide on a photographic tradition to open and close each school year, and collect the photos in one location as the years pass.
- Organize at-home an recital or open-house and invite grandparents.
- Have actual parties to celebrate milestones.
My own family developed an annual book-burning party tradition. We built a big bonfire on the beach near our home and burned whatever filled-up workbooks or notebooks full of spelling tests we had left at the end of the year. Because we used Sonlight, we kept most of our books through the years—but we always had enough used-up notebooks for our party!
We’d invite friends and sit around the fire on the beach with the ocean waves beating against the shore a half dozen yards away. We’d roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the ashes of a year’s worth of math worksheets and have a glorious picnic.
Homeschool families have the the perk of spending a great deal of time together as a family unit. Make the most of your flexibility with these memory-making experiences.
Sonlight makes teaching multiple children at different ages easy with Couch and Table Subjects.