I never planned to have a large family. Two, maybe three kids. You know, so we could fit into a sedan without worry. I never planned to homeschool, either. Homeschooling was for families that wanted to shelter their kids from the real world. What do you know, a few years later we’re expecting our fifth baby and will be homeschooling a 4th grader, kindergartener, and preschooler this year. Even though this is definitely NOT the journey I planned, here are three things we love about large family homeschooling.
Three Things We Love About Large Family Homeschooling
Now before you go thinking that everything is roses and sunshine over here, remember that this is a part of a ten day series on large family homeschooling, and tomorrow I’ll be sharing what we definitely do not like about it!
Our Kids Are Best Friends
This is by far my favorite part about large family homeschooling. My kids are all best friends. I mean, sometimes they hate each other, like all best friends. But for the most part? They play and hang out with each other and have fun and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
I know that all siblings can be close, but I feel like our kids wouldn’t have the same relationship if half of them were gone from immediately after breakfast until right before dinner. Separate classes, separate sports, and after school activities, when would we actually get time as a family?
Being together so much has also helped our kids learn to be pretty adaptable. Just in our house, we have one gifted kid, one autistic kid, one kid with a global developmental delay and severe SPD, and one kid that’s neurotypical. Who knows what Sweet C will add to that mix, but we’re already a lot more diverse than most public school classrooms.
Because of that, Mr. C can often be heard saying “some people’s brains and bodies make it harder for them to be nice” when kids are mean to him at the park. You can often see Cap’n M “stimming” just like A-Man because he wants to do everything his brother does. All three boys are often playing with tea pots and unicorns because that’s what Miss S wants to play with. Overall I think having so much time around their siblings is making our kids pretty great.
We Have Tons of Flexibility
Oh my word the flexibility that comes with homeschooling! When I have a baby this year, we’ll take time off lessons, or we won’t if we’re still feeling up to it. Whatever we want to do. Some days we start lessons at 9, other days we don’t start lessons until 11, and still other days we realize it’s 2 pm and we haven’t started lessons so we call it a “reading day” and everyone reads books.
This flexibility is even more appreciated when it comes to the fact that we are a blended family. Mr. C and A-Man go two days a week to visit my ex-husband, their bio-dad. See, he works retail, so the traditional “every other weekend” schedule just wouldn’t work for our family. He’d never actually see the boys. Since we homeschool, he gets the boys on Tuesday mornings and they come home Thursday mornings. On a good week, he does one day of “school” at his house, so we each get one “weekend” day to spend with the kids.
It’s So Much Easier to Balance
Balancing everything in a large family is hard. There’s work schedules, co-parenting schedules, therapy schedules, specialist doctor visits, not to mention filling the sippy cups 247 times a day. Point is, there’s a lot. When you add more kids, you add more of all of that. Homeschooling takes away a little bit of the chaos for us.
I know that might sound counter intuitive. Public school would give us 6-8 hours of break time, right? Well, it would mean that we’d have to get up and have the kids ready by the time the bus comes at 7. (Or 8? I don’t actually know when the bus comes…) Even if we were up all night with the baby. Even if A-Man is having a meltdown about his cereal. We would have to get them ready and on that bus.
It would also mean pulling the kids out of school for their ten thousand appointments. At one point we were going to five different therapies a week between two of the boys. That’s a LOT of time to miss out in public school. I’m actually pretty sure it’s enough to get truancy warnings… Which is a huge headache that I’d rather not deal with.
We can’t decide we’re taking a long holiday off of school for all the kids from Thanksgiving to New Years, even though there are a ton of holidays between those and it’s always when our whole family takes turns getting colds. Since we’re a large family homeschool, we can put our family’s needs as the priority instead of following arbitrary schedules and regulations that don’t fit with our family.
These are just a few things that I love about large family homeschooling, even though I never planned to have a large family. Or to homeschool! What are your favorite things about homeschooling your family?
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