It’s a perk of homeschooling that you can stop to look at skeletons on the side of the road.

Homeschooling does have many other advantages, of course. It allows for one-on-one instruction, for customized educational plans, for self-paced work, and time to explore personal interests. But there are some perks that you don’t really think about until you encounter them in the day-to-day journey of homeschooling.

Like skeletons.

We’d taken an afternoon off school to drive around and listen to one of the CDs that Gamerboy bought at the library book sale. He normally listens to “metal remixes of game music,” so Debussy and Tchaikovsky were pretty edgy choices for him. Suddenly, over the strains of clarinet and piano, Sparkler exclaimed, “I saw a skeleton back there!”

I turned around and parked along the road. All four kids and I scrambled out of the van and to the edge of a deep ditch. Sure enough, the rib cage and legs of what had once been a deer lay in the grass. The kids were somewhat disappointed that we hadn’t discovered a much more exciting skeleton. Still, we took pictures and discussed how, in fiction, this discovery would open up an entire story to the characters. Then we piled back into the van to listen to Debussy. It was a micro field trip that no curriculum plan could have included.

It’s a perk of homeschooling that you can skip workbook pages.

Here in the Jones Homeschool, we’re officially within sight of the End of the School Year. This is the point where Darren and I take stock of everyone’s progress. In some subjects, we’re on track to finish on time. In other subjects, we need to buckle down. Sparkler will easily finish her science and math, so we’re using the extra time to catch up on grammar. For each new page, I conduct an on-the-spot assessment test. If she has trouble with the concept, we work those pages. If she’s already familiar with the material, I turn the page and keep on going. It moves us faster through the book and avoids getting bogged down in tedious repetition.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank one of the best basic grammar tutors available—Mad Libs.

It’s a perk of homeschooling that students and faculty learn communication skills.

Darren assigned Gamerboy to take a history test on a Monday morning. Darren likes tests on Monday mornings—he feels fresh and it’s nice to get it over with. Gamerboy doesn’t feel the same way, something he’d mentioned in passing once. So when he saw the Monday-morning test, he assumed Darren was deliberately ignoring his stated preferences. He called Darren very upset. Darren wasn’t having a good day at the office, and he assumed that Gamerboy just didn’t want to take the test at all. I had to step in as liaison between the two of them just to figure out what went wrong. Eventually, they were able to talk it out.

The next time they hit a glitch, Gamerboy sent an email to Darren explaining his feelings, and Darren said he would reconsider. Way to bring your “interpersonal relationship” grade up, y’all!

It’s a perk of homeschooling that . . . well, I can let Bookgirl explain this one.

She took the SAT at a local high school. When I picked her up, she remarked, “I’m really glad you and Dad decided to homeschool me all the way up.”

Warmth and relief spread through my whole heart. “Good! We think it was a good choice, but I’m glad you think so too.”

“Yeah,” Bookgirl went on. “Because those desks are so uncomfortable. If I went to public school, I’d have had to sit in them for hours every day.”

Oh. Well. To be fair—she’s not wrong. Another score for homeschooling.

What are some of the lesser-known perks of homeschooling that you’ve discovered along the way?


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