But then, there are the benefits. I know EXACTLY what my kids are learning. And in all honesty, yes, they may not be doing the same thing their school-bound counterparts are doing, we're learning all sorts of things! I get to WATCH them learn--and that's pretty cool! I LOVE that little lightbulb that turns on when something clicks and they turn to me with wide eyes--"I get it, Mom!!" SO COOOOL!! I know my kids on such a personal level now. Yes, it's only been a few months, but I've been able to be with them almost 24-7 and man, I have some good kids! I get to see their real strengths and weaknesses--not have some third party tell me what they've observed.
Here is another benefit, though: The other day, we had a loooong day. We stuffed in some subjects in the morning, had 2 hours of Arabic tutoring, had a quick lunch, then grabbed a taxi to get to group PE (Gymnastics and Ballet across town), and when we got home in the afternoon, I was tired. I almost suggested an afternoon movie, but I didn't (I've told the kids they can't watch movies during the week unless they're documentaries related to our unit study), because I wanted to see what they'd do. I was honestly ready to cave if they asked...but no one did!! They all went off to play! Andrew and Peter pulled out some cars; Josh went to his bed with a book and sat down to read; Claire pulled out some barbies and ponies... Wow! Then, a little while later, Josh asked if they could go work on building castles out of our UAB boxes for our Medieval unit that we're currently doing. They all spent the rest of the afternoon designing castles and painted and cutting and having a marvelous time. Wow. I was impressed. I think that's a benefit right there!
Another benefit: Josh has always had some issues in school. He tends to get frustrated and angry quickly and have these what we call 'Mr. Furious' outbursts. He was always the one to come home with the 'incident' note, or I'd get the dreaded phone call from the teacher or principal--I felt like I was always in meetings with principals, teachers, specialists and guidance counselors on how to help him overcome his anger and to interact properly with other kids. Since we've been homeschooling, I can count on one hand the number of times he has had an inappropriate anger outburst!!!! He is kind, loving, generous, always thinking of his siblings before himself... When we're at co-op or group classes, he is thoughtful, respectful and friendly. He gets along with the other kids and has made some great friends. I can't help tearing up as I write this as, to me, this is the greatest blessing I could have hoped for. Josh's teachers wanted me to have him tested for all sorts of things (Asbergers, Autism, even Schizophrenia!!!!)--but having him home, every single one of those symptoms has 'mysteriously' disappeared. He jumps right in to his lessons and works hard. He helps others around him to do well. He's had a mighty change and I am SO grateful! How could homeschooling be bad and have this horrible stigma about it when it brings such wonderful blessing to pass????
Other benefits I've found: I learn TONS right along with my kids! We get to do super cool presentations and show off all the things we've done and learned! So fun! And I'm sure there will be more benefits as we go!
I also get to have awesome conversations with my kids. One that stands out...yesterday, I was having lunch with the kids, and Andrew piped up with something about his birthday and then announced that Satan HATES birthdays! I asked him why, and he told me that it was because he never gets any birthdays or any presents from anyone, so he hates birthdays! I love that kid SO MUCH!!
To me, these benefits outweigh the 'cons'. I don't mind being with my kids all day long. I don't mind the INCREDIBLE amount of time and effort it takes to do this. I don't mind not having the 'free time' that comes with having all your kids in school (really, though, how much free time do you get when you have to volunteer for all your kids' classes and go to meetings for discipline and spend all night doing homework with them and taking them to after school stuff?? but that's just me). For now, we're doing exactly what is right for our children and I take so much comfort in that knowledge.