For our family, the past few months have been rather hectic.
We’ve been very thankful for the flexibility that homeschooling has provided.
But beyond the blessing of scheduling flexibility, we have found other advantageous perks as well.
Here are just three recent examples of some of those “real-life” homeschool benefits.
Opportunities to Engage in Civic Involvement
We live in a small town in the middle of southeast Iowa, so there are not many opportunities to meet state officials and politicians.
Recently, Governor Kim Reynolds made an early afternoon campaign stop at our local Hy-Vee, along with candidates Christopher Peters and Joe Mitchell. We were able to attend the campaign stop, listen to the candidates speak, and get a picture with Governor Reynolds.
We had signed up for the Secretary of State’s Iowa Straw Poll so, when we returned home, we were able to look at the information the SOS office made available to students. This led us to a discussion about the candidates we had just met, along with their opponents.
We looked up information online about their positions on various issues and talked about why voting is so important. We submitted our votes and were able to see our little homeschool listed on the SOS’s emailed list after the Straw Poll votes were tallied!
Opportunities to Learn How to Work Through a Crisis
We have two 5-year-old black labs. They are energetic and fun, but recently one of the pair, Stormy, got out of our yard, and was kicked by a cow. The result of her reckless behavior was a broken leg.
By the time we discovered that Stormy was missing, she had been gone for at least 30 minutes.
We mobilized and went searching for her – me in my truck, one kid on foot, and the second on his bike.
After 5 minutes of searching nearby, we all loaded up in the truck and started searching a little farther out.
We found Stormy a solid mile away from our house, laying on the side of a neighbor’s yard, and stinking like cow manure.
We quickly checked for visible injuries.
We realized her leg was broken, but did not see any other injuries, so we loaded her up and called the vet.
Unfortunately, it was the afternoon when the vet isn’t in the office, so we called a neighboring vet and took Stormy there.
Once there, we waited – and then waited some more. They x-rayed Stormy and gave us three options, all of which were exceedingly expensive and none of which could happen until the next day.
We decided to leave Stormy at the vet’s office because they could keep her comfortable. Upon returning home, we plunged into some research and extensive discussions of our options. We decided that the best course of action was to call our regular vet first thing in the morning.
He had us bring Stormy in and was able to cast her leg for a quarter of the price we were quoted by the other vet.
We brought Stormy home, and she had a few good days. My son and I figured out how to give Stormy water without having it splash all over the house and without her getting overly excited because we were opening her kennel. The kids added her extra walks into their schedules, and we proceeded to care for her while doing school until she developed an infection.
We took Stormy back to the vet and were dismayed to find that she had some circulation damage that resulted in the need to amputate her leg.
We left her with the vet again and went home to learn all about caring for a tri-pawed dog.
Stormy is home now, and I’m thankful to have the kids help in walking her, giving her water, and helping to keep her entertained while she is on kennel rest to heal.
Opportunities to Encounter Unique Experiences
Another huge “real-life” benefit we have found with homeschooling is that it allows us the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities for unique adventures and encounters.
We will call and talk to museum or nature center directors, tell them that we are homeschoolers, and ask for a recommendation on a good time to come to their facility.
Many times, that simple call opens the door for unique field trips for us – either as a family or as a shared group experience with our homeschooling friends.
We visited with the postmaster at the local post office a few years ago, and later were able to opt for an immediate field trip when he called with a friendly invitation: “Today would be a great day to visit the post office.”
We often plan family trips to popular areas during the school year because we’re able to incorporate the excursions into our educational plans while enjoying the benefits of smaller off-season crowds.
In the past few weeks, each of my kids have been able to take advantage of very exciting opportunities made possible because we homeschool.
My husband is a manager in a manufacturing facility and is currently working about five hours away from home. He took our son, Brandt, with him to spend a week there recently, and was able to bring Brandt into the plant for a whole day.
Brandt learned all about the manufacturing and bottling processes at the facility. He was able to try things hands-on, see how the machines work, ask questions of a variety of people, and spend a day with his dad in a unique way.
Our daughter, Chantae, wants to be a veterinarian. After Stormy’s amputation surgery, Chantae thanked our vet for his care for our pet and shared her future career aspirations. When she told him how much she appreciated all of his answers to her many questions, he invited her to spend a day at the office shadowing him. She’ll be doing that this week.
We’re so grateful for the flexibility homeschooling offers, allowing us to rearrange Chantae’s learning schedule so that she will be able to spend a whole day seeing what it would be like to be a vet.
Homeschooling Brings Benefits
The benefits of homeschooling are numerous, and you can likely add many “real-life” examples of your own.
I appreciate all of those perks:
- the ability to craft my children’s education plans in individually designed ways
- the means to teach our children Godly character traits
- the joy of having my children with me as we go through our days
- and so many more things I could list.
Right now, though, as we enter the month of Thanksgiving, I’m most grateful for the unique “real-life” opportunities my children have had so far this school year, all made possible because we homeschool.
Homeschool Iowa Magazine Editor
& NICHE Marketing Director