We asked new 2020 homeschoolers about the simple joys they have discovered this school year, and boy, did they tell us! Although many of these families were forced into schooling at home when schools closed or changed to virtual models, they find themselves pleasantly surprised at how delightful the experience has been.
In pre-pandemic days, they assumed they could never homeschool or that it would be an impossible sacrifice. Yet now with months of pandemic schooling under their belts, their perspective has drastically changed. Not only is homeschooling doable, it's enjoyable!
These families have experience firsthand the benefits of homeschooling and many want to continue this lifestyle even once schools reopen. Sarah L. expresses it so well, "Homeschooling is the blessing we didn’t expect. We are planning to continue as long as the Lord leads!"
More Quality Time as a Family
"I am so happy just to be spending extra time with my kids. I was always a little sad when summer ended and they went back to school. But now with Sonlight I get to enjoy being with them every day! I know they are getting a great education that is personalized to their needs, and they both say they want to keep homeschooling forever. That makes my heart glad." —Christy M.
"I love how much closer together we have all grown, especially our kids. Their relationships are stronger now than they were pre-pandemic because they get to spend more time together instead of in separate classrooms and going to different activities and trying to get homework done. We have more time to play games together, and we love reading new books together, which we had already been doing prior to homeschooling but now we can do way more. We know we will continue homeschooling at least one more school year, and then we'll see what God wants for us. But I'm so glad God revealed this path to us, and that we finally listened." —Regina N.
"The cuddles are amazing! My kids can reach out for hugs whenever they need them, and so can I. It has completely turned my older daughter into a hugger, and kept my younger daughter connected. Both were starting to pull away before, when they were attending public school. I figured it was part of gaining independence, and it is—but now I know it doesn’t have to be that way. I love being able to meet their social-emotional needs as well as their academic needs." —Lindsey C.
"I have enjoyed watching my children play together more and forming closer relationships with one another. They've spent more time together than they would have at school and two of my children went from constantly bickering to enjoying one another's company over the course of this year at home together. Our family is closer now, and while that doesn't have much directly related to education, it has been the greatest gift." —Caroline R.
"I’ve had more time with my daughter. We’ve become closer, and I have seen her anxiety go down. Homeschooling suits her very well!" —Johanna S.
A More Peaceful & Joyful Pace of Life
"I have enjoyed the fact that I schedule our day, and so we’re not constantly rushing. We read over long breakfasts, we lay outside in the sunshine to do science, and we take breaks when needed to focus on emotional and mental health, because we have the time!" —Meg R.
"I have a teaching degree and I have been a stay at home mom for the last 18.5 years. I always said that I would never homeschool. But after Covid hit and I saw how little my youngest two kids were learning and how stressful virtual school was for them, I knew I could do better. After using Sonlight book lists for years for reading ideas for my older kids, starting Sonlight curriculum this year was a no-brainer. The surprise for me was how much I absolutely love homeschooling. I love that my sons are getting exactly what they need academically every single day. I love that we are able to seamlessly weave our faith into their learning. I love that we can follow their interests to dive deeper into topics as they come up. I love the relaxed feeling that our home has every day. I’m not sure what God has for our family going forward, but I’m incredibly grateful for the gift of this school year with my sons." —Amy O. R.
"The biggest blessing of homeschooling for our family is the ability to hold space for joy. We aren’t boxed into a rigid schedule. This morning beautiful fluffy snow was coming down and my daughter loves the snow. We did our morning work and had the ability to go out and play and then pick it right back up. We fit school around our life which feels so much better than trying to squeeze life in around the school." —Tracy N. A.
"We're halfway through our first year now, and our lives are dramatically less stressful. My son is learning perseverance and is actually enjoying learning again. We can travel when we want, we all get enough sleep, and there's more unstructured time for his interests and character and spiritual development (mostly lots of LEGO building). My husband travels for work monthly and not having to worry about school stuff like packing lunches, waking up early, distance learning schedules or other external stressors is a huge relief. Overall I think we're all much happier and I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying this process. I plan to continue with my rising Kindergartener. I'm incredibly grateful for Sonlight and how wonderful it has been for our family." —Mari F.
Kids Are Learning So Much More
"While we considered homeschooling prior, Covid restrictions pushed us to finally take the leap. I'm so glad we did! Kids are engaged and learning and retaining more. I've been able to adapt the curriculum when things did or did not work as well for us. The kids are far less stressed and able to participate in activities of their interest more easily without worrying about the pressures of a traditional school day. They are enjoying being schooled at home as well and have no interest in returning to a traditional school setting." —Cassie W.
"Watching my kids come alive with learning! My 8 year old son just asked when we were going to start school other than math. I told him we’d need doing it all year and his eyes got huge. He told me 'I thought we were just reading stories!' I asked him about the different stories we read, and he was able to spout off the information. He then informed me that I was sneaky teaching him like that!" —Katie J. B.
"We've found that our life is so much less stressful with homeschool. Our kids are thriving and growing and we can meet them exactly where they are. I never thought homeschool could be so easy. Our 1st grader wants to be homeschooled through college, and we just started kindergarten with our 4 year old. Our favorite part is snuggling up together and reading so many amazing books. I'm learning right alongside my kids and am amazed at the wonderful rich experience they are getting." —Amber L. B.
Homeschooling Works for ADHD
"Love the flexibility and more relaxed atmosphere for our ADHD daughter. Loving taking off to do other things is great. Loving the read aloud a lot!" —Sherie D.
"I was a homeschooler, but never wanted to homeschool my children. Not because I had a bad experience, but because I didn’t want the extra responsibility. Then 2020, COVID, and school shut downs (which never opened up this school year at all) happened and I decided to pull my two boys out of the public school system. Have not regretted that decision even in the slightest. I love the flexibility that homeschool has given us. We are a military family, and live 1500 miles away from home. I’m not tied to a school schedule where we can only travel in the summer. 🙌🏼 Secondly, I know exactly where they are in their education. I know which subjects they struggle with and which to challenge them on. I’m no longer guessing at common core mathematics, and struggling to help them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m in complete control of the information they receive, and I know that the education they are receiving now is light years ahead of where they were in the public school system. My oldest was medicated for ADHD in public school, and is now off the medication. Instead of medicating, we just take trampoline breaks in between subjects. Love homeschool. Thankful for uncomfortable situations that forced me to find an alternative to traditional schooling." —Kelsey C.
Time for Extracurriculars
"We have found many benefits to homeschooling for my twice exceptional 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. We do school in the morning and then have time for rest and activities in the afternoon. We have enjoyed horseback riding, swim practice, reading to the pets at our local Humane Society. My son has time for music therapy because we are not confined to these activities being after a full school day. When he was in public school, we spent our afternoons, evenings, and weekends avoiding meltdowns but now we can enjoy activities again!"—Rachel B.
Making Room for Our Christian Faith
"Coronavirus was the icing on the cake for us to homeschool. I was tired of being confined to school rules of attendance and when we could take a vacation and the kids constantly being sick. We wake up when we want, do not pack lunches or wash containers. We don't have to buy new clothes or shoes. We go to my moms whenever we want. My kids are no longer picked on by others. No more teachers to deal with. My kids get any special attention they may need. My 11 yr old has made over $700 doing work for neighbors since the virus started and shut down schools. School always comes first but now he sees the opportunities available by not being in school from 8-3! We have more time to love on each other as a family. It is especially important that my kids are not swallowed up in the ways of the world! We have been born again Christians since my son was about 1 yr old. This curriculum makes the Bible a certain priority. Hoping we never look back!" —Gina M.
"Greatest joy: bible time every morning (which was hard with public school schedule and all the after school activities), studying world history together (get to know the rest of the world is my goal for my child), much more bonding time and sleep time for all of us." —Queenie C.
"My husband has wanted me to homeschool all along. I was very hesitant. I come from a family of public school educators and knew they would never approve! I also didn’t think I could do it. This [pandemic] gave me the opportunity. I still received push back at first, but it has gone so well. The thing I have enjoyed most is starting our school days out every morning in the Word of God. It has led to lots of important and precious discussions with my kids that I wouldn’t have otherwise had." —Megan M.
"We had used Sonlight for pre-k but got pushed to homeschool for 2nd grade this year. Being more intentional with my kids' spiritual development has been wonderful. We started reading our devotional and working on memory verses together over breakfast every day, and it has been so great!" —Angela G.
Being My Child's Teacher
"Homeschooling has been such a blessing this year! It’s been the bright spot in a challenging year. My son is doing Kindergarten this year, and I cannot believe the progress he has made. He has gained so much confidence in his ability to learn, which I do not believe he would have gotten in a traditional school setting. I have been dreaming of the day that he would learn to read since he was born, and being able to be the one to teach him is something that I will cherish forever. Thank you, Sonlight!" —Elsie L.
"Being the one to see the lightbulb moments, not just hear about them. And man, not messing with my two baby boys' naps for drop off and pick up has been such a blessing!" —TiAnna A. W.
"I didn’t want to upset my kids more with all the mix-ups that being in school or remote learning would bring. I wanted peace and I truly believe we got it! My top silver linings:
- Family time, especially with a new baby brother
- No homework! Takes away pressure from all of us.
- More at-home reading. This was a huge goal of mine to increase amount and enjoyment.
- My understanding of homeschooling increased. I’ve gone from being the “It’s not for me” to “Anyone can do it!”
- I love knowing where my kids are in their academics. I didn’t pay this close attention when they were in traditional school.
- School is done in 2-3 hours rather than 8! So much time for other things like play, chores, music, sports, etc." —Jaime B.
"Our simply joy has been the blessing of deepening our relationships as a family, the freedom and ability to complete whatever course work is needed to move forward, and being able to study the Bible together every morning which has lead to deep and thoughtful conversations. My daughter is going off to college in August, and homeschooling her this year has without a doubt contributed to her success of being accepted into multiple colleges, which is allowing her to choose where she really wants to go. My son is thriving academically and socially. He is having so much fun learning, especially his science and math lessons. He will complete two years worth in both subjects in just one year! That’s how much he is just loving it! But it’s the bonding that has been the bow on top 💕." —Iris T.
Flexibility that Public School Can't Provide
"The great benefit for us has been meeting my kid where he is at. We can move at my child's pace and be many grades at once. I can also extend him by going out into other subjects or deeper into history etc. at school our only options were move up a grade or do work well below his level." —Tamara L.
"My simple joy is being blessed to ignore conversations about the local school board requirements and virtual learning shenanigans. It feels like a hug to myself to be able to walk away from that noise and have control over one consistent thing this year. #thanksSonlight" —Liz H.
"I never intended to homeschool, but my son was falling so far behind in math in public school. The pandemic gave me the opportunity to give him the one-on-one attention he needs. Our relationship and bond has grown stronger and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world." —Sarah S.
"More sleep for the kids and myself 😊 Complete confidence in God-centered curriculum and lots of family time. 👪 We like that when a behavior issue arises, instead of pushing it aside to send kids on the bus or run to a school activity we deal with it right away. Homeschooling next year as well!" —Alessia C. H.
Learning Alongside My Children
"After moving past the fear of all the unknowns of homeschooling, the flexibility and freedom found through Sonlight was both a relief and a joy. Having everyday laid out for us guiding us through this journey has been exactly what we needed and it's afforded us the time to simply enjoy homeschooling. And the fact that I get to learn along side my son is a bonus. Sonlight has truly made learning enjoyable, memorable, and stress free." —Maria S. J.
These are just a sampling of all the answers we got to the question about the silver linings to pandemic schooling. Truly, God can bring beauty out of ashes! These stories are a testament to how God works all things together for good.