One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to develop close relationships between parents and children as well as between siblings.
The girls standing in front of
the Christmas tree.
When children are in a school setting, relationships with teachers and friends compete with loyalty to parents and siblings. School schedules and homework assignments take priority over family time, and children may be taught values that conflict with those taught in their homes.
Having attended public school as a child and teen, this definitely describes my school years.
When families homeschool, they operate as a team. Parents are confidants; and siblings are close friends. Schedules are set according to the family's needs, and children are taught their parents' values. This is very true for the way I've set up homeschooling for the girls.
At home, the curriculum and activities meet the needs of each daughter - not the needs of a classroom or school system. Both girls are treated as individuals, and are truly known and loved.
The girls celebrating the anniversary of
Olivia's 7th adoption day.
I'm able to customize their lessons based on their interests as well as their developmental abilities/skills. The curriculum and schedule is flexible so if something isn't working, I can modify it to better fit their needs. The goal is to make learning fun and educational...and inspire a love for learning.
Another benefit of homeschooling is that the girls have been able to develop a closer relationship with their grandparents who live 50 miles away.
The girls with their grandma and me on
my mom/Nana's 80th birthday.
The girls with their grandparents
on their First Communion Day.
Sophia reading to Papa.
She chose to read him his favorite book when he was a child.
Another benefit to homeschooling is that children within a family have stronger relationships. There is generally more camaraderie than in siblings who attend school. Since Sophia and Olivia are each other's primary playmates, deep relationships have been and will continue to be formed and nurtured.
The girls have traveled as part of homeschooling
with their grandparents and me.
This was taken at The Shrine of Guadalupe in Wisconsin
(a place where the girls' grandparents wanted to visit).
As Sophia's and Olivia's teacher, we spend a lot of time together in two main ways - educationally and as a family. This time that we spend together learning, working through any problems, and communicating keeps us all well aware of one another.
An educational trip to northern Minnesota.
Here we're near Lake Saganaga where
my Dad/Papa took many trips during the 1960s and 1970s.
Good relationships and communication extends beyond the immediate family. Generally, homeschooled children can easily communicate with people of many ages and from different walks of life. They learn to adjust to the group to whom they are speaking. Because of this, they often comes across as thoughtful and mature.
The girls picking strawberries with their aunt.
The girls enjoying spending time with a
family friend (Alice) and her dog (Maggie).
Gathering together as an extended family brings together people of all ages - from newborns to seniors - giving the girls opportunities to play, talk, and build relationships with others.
Thanksgiving at the farm.
An opportunity for playing, talking, and having fun together.
Homeschooling has given the girls opportunities to form friendships with people of different ages who live in other countries. They have met and hosted people at our home including two exchange students from Brazil who lived here in the late 1990s; and my friend from Japan who visited here a couple years ago.
The girls with Ruth (from Brazil) and their grandparents.
Their grandparents invited us over for lunch, and
to visit with Ruth.
The girls also have enjoyed making friends with other homeschoolers as well as children who attend public, private, parochial, and charter schools. This have given them insight into multiple ways that children learn, and introduces them to a wide variety of children.
The girls having a tea party with some of their friends.
Sophia and a friend before one of the choir performances.
The girls holding pumpkins they picked
from our pumpkin patch.
They have participated in community activities - theater, community ed courses, camps, homeschool swimming lessons, choir, and sports - which introduces them to a diversity of children who have a wide variety of interests.
Olivia with three other girls who were in a
play/musical with her at a local community theater.
The girls also have had the opportunity to learn from other adults - whether it is at the homeschool co-op where they take a variety of classes; or through special education/speech therapy. They have developed special friendships with some of the teachers and therapists who have helped them learn and gain new skills.
Sophia with one of her teachers at the homeschool co-op.
Ms. Dawn was the American Girl teacher, and this is the
Olivia with her speech therapist, Laurie.
Homeschooling is represented by strong and varied relationships. As the girls get older, this will continue to be an important area and benefit to homeschooling.