25 Reasons to Homeschool

When our family decided to abandon the ideal of traditional school I was MOTIVATED. I knew exactly why we needed to homeschool. As time went on, however, (and the realities of homeschool sunk in) I needed to remind myself why we had chosen this path -- why we had chosen to swim upstream.

Because let's face it -- when you homeschool you are doing something different. You will find yourself swimming upstream in so many ways.

Why do you homeschool?  

I posed this question to the Homegrown Learners Facebook and Instagram communities and received many insightful, heartfelt, and passionate responses. 

I pray this list will encourage you - lift you up on the hard days - and serve as a reminder to you why we do what we do for our precious children. 

(And at the end of the post I've included a printable list so you can put these reasons somewhere you can see them on a regular basis!)


25 Reasons to Homeschool

One mom in our Facebook community put it so beautifully, and I needed to share her thoughts with you.  This mom is living inside MY head and MY life - because these are my thoughts, too.

I never would have dreamed I would homeschool my now ninth grader. It kept coming to my mind and heart for two years straight before I even considered it. I know now that God was pressing it on my heart to prepare me. My child had wonderful teachers. He was a very good, well behaved student at school, yet something was crushing his soul...I could not put my finger on it...I just felt it at a gut level. I could see his eyes turn bright as we started any holiday from school. His curiosity and love for learning flourished at home. I could see his spirit dim each time it was time to return to school. I had a epiphany as I dropped him off at school one morning. As he walked away, it was in the sad way he carried his shoulders. I decided in that moment that I had to listen to my heart. I had to get out of the panic of the all or nothing thinking. I knew we had to try. I had to ask myself; what if we try it a year, and it does not work? The world won’t stop turning. That was going on four years ago. It is the best decision I have ever made. It was a very personal decision, but has opened doors for growing our faith, growing our family ties, and opportunities for interest led learning that a public school setting could not do. It was a gut thing. For the first couple of years, I said we will see how this year goes. We are in for the long haul now. It has become a lifestyle. It suits us, and my son is thriving in every way. It is daunting sometimes, and brings me to my knees regularly. So very grateful and blessed that we gave it a try.

Don't you love that?  

Following are 25 reasons - compiled from moms all over - to homeschool. 

I pray it will encourage you -- and don't forget to print your list for extra encouragement!


25 Reasons to Homeschool


 1.  Children are glorious square pegs that don't fit into schools' round holes.


2.  Your kids are worth it!


3.  Our children deserve to enjoy their childhood without any added pressure to grow up too quickly!


4.  We want kids to be who they are, not who their peers tell them to be


5. Common core has no place in our children's education.




7.   Time. Time for family. Time to enjoy learning.


8.  It keeps coming to your mind and heart for years before you even consider it.


9.  Children's curiosity and love for learning FLOURISH at home!


10.  More time to spend with DAD.


11.  It opens doors for growing our faith, growing our family ties, and opportunities for interest led learning that a public school setting cannot do.


12.  To raise children with a Biblical worldview

25 Reasons to Homeschool Your Children


13.  So children can meet new people, travel to different places, learn at their own pace, learn to love God and others,  and learn to serve.


14.  Children can more easily develop their own identities.




16.  Children can more easily develop a love for learning.


17.   It is safer for children with severe medical needs/allergies.


18.  It is the parents' responsibility to train our children in the way they should go, loving and disciplining them all the way through. 


19.  You've been teaching them since birth.  Why stop now?




21.   You want MORE for them.


22.  To be with your children for every daily triumph and tragedy


23.   So much learning occurs through field trips and hands on learning - only achievable through homeschool!


24.  To let BOYS be BOYS!


25.  To have the freedom to play outside all day on the beautiful days and spend all day curled up with books on the rainy ones.


The day will come (and it WILL come, believe me) that you will be discouraged on your homeschool journey. You may consider sending your child to school. You may question the value of all of your sacrifice and swimming upstream.

Please print this list to encourage you.  Keep it in your school area, in your homeschool planner, or somewhere you can see it DAILY. 

We often need reminders about WHY homeschooling is the right thing to do. 

Download the 25 Reasons to Homeschool Printable

This download is 2 pages. 

Do you have a reason to homeschool?  Add it in the comments below!

25 Reasons to Homeschool

Essentials: Our First Year in Review

Like many of you, the end of our school year is in sight. Whew!

We have just completed our first year of Essentials in our Classical Conversations community. This time one year ago I was wondering how in the world to prepare myself and my son for our first year of Essentials. He was already getting a little apprehensive about it. We had visited an Essentials class and attended a Faces of History event. He was starting to get an idea of the work involved in Essentials. I knew he could do the work, but he wasn't so sure. 

Today I'm providing a review of our first year in Essentials and how things turned out for us as well as trying to answer some questions that many of us have when facing Essentials for the first time. 

Essentials is the afternoon portion of Classical Conversations that is available to fourth through sixth graders and covers English grammar, writing, and mental math. 

(*Thanks to Amy for providing this post today!)

Classical Conversations Essentials:  Our First Year in Review

Essentials: Our First Year in Review

Help! My child is apprehensive about Essentials!

When my son was in third grade, we visited a couple of Essentials classes to get an idea of what we were going to be getting into. I left there giddy with excitement! Grammar and writing are interesting (and fun!) to me. But my son, my fun-loving, active boy was apprehensive about what was in store. The closer we got to the beginning of fourth grade, the more uneasy he became.

Sometimes that just happens when kids, or any of us, are faced with something new and unknown. 

I eventually got to the root of his concerns. He was concerned about writing, which in his mind equaled handwriting. He thought there were hours and hours each week of handwriting in his future in Essentials. I assured him that we would work through it all together, and that he would not be on his own.

He also needed to hear that I would still be his teacher and would be determining his work load and assignments. His Essentials tutor would lead the class each week but I would be setting his individual assignments. I love this aspect of Classical Conversations; that they consider the parents the teachers who are best equipped to teach their own children.

Some kids face new things like an adventure. No uneasiness at all. Truthfully, my son is like this with most things. But if your child is experiencing a little uncertainty, you may just need to get to the root of it and provide some reassurance that you will be facing this together. 

What should I do in third grade to prepare for Essentials?

There are no prerequisites for Essentials. Your child can start Essentials without having any previous formal grammar or writing instruction. 

But my son had been exposed to grammar in earlier grades. We did IEW's Fix It Grammar in third grade. It was a simple course that took a small amount of time each day. While I don't think it is necessary for a student to have had grammar prior to Essentials, for my child, I'm glad we did. It gave him more confidence that he would be successful in Essentials. 

In third grade I also used IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style to gently introduce writing. I snagged a used set of the older version of the DVDs and went through the first few units in third grade. Primarily we used the key word outline format to prepare my son's Classical Conversations weekly presentations. Again, this was definitely not necessary. But for my son, he was ready and it helped him with his weekly presentations. Once we started Essentials, he was already familiar with key word outlines and it helped jump start his confidence. 

If you haven't done any formal writing or grammar programs before Essentials, it's okay. Essentials is designed as a three year program so you will continue to cover the same material for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. But if you want to get a head start on a formal grammar or writing program before Essentials, and you feel your child is ready, I certainly recommend these two programs because they work so well with what is covered in Essentials. 

Reviewing the English Grammar memory work from Foundations is also great preparation for Essentials. Practicing multiplication facts will also help them with the mental math games played during Essentials. You can have your child work on these throughout the summer.

How should I prepare myself for Essentials?

  • Connect with your Essentials tutor. Our Essentials tutor scheduled meetings with the parents prior to Essentials starting. We spent time putting together our notebooks and she helped us get organized. She gave us lots of encouragement for the upcoming year as well as helped us know what to expect.
  • Study your teacher's manuals: Classical Conversations Essentials Guide, IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style and IEW's History Based Writing Lessons. The info you need to know is in your teacher's guides. Just take the time to get really familiar with them before the year begins.
  • Organize your materials. Okay, I've said it before, but it's really true. I can't use something that isn't organized. I end up just putting it aside and never using it if it's not organized. This was not an option with our Essentials materials. I should have spent more time before our classes began to get myself better organized. That would have helped with the panicky feeling I felt those first few weeks.
Classical Conversations Essentials -- Our First Year in Review

This is what worked well for us this year:

  1. CC Connected - there is a wealth of resources on CC Connected created by other CC moms. Make sure you add Essentials to your subscription to access the Essentials materials. 
  2. Getting organized - once I got myself and my child organized, our days and weeks flowed well. 
  3. Essay illustrations - our tutor suggested that the students illustrate their essays. From that day on, my son illustrated all of his essays. He enjoyed adding that element of creativity to his papers. Our tutor included the illustrations in the end of the year book she made for each student with the collection of their essays. I'm thrilled to have this keepsake. Turns out that my son was the only one in our class that illustrated their stories. It's not for everyone, but my child really enjoyed including that with his papers. 
  4. Dictation / typing - my son dictated his papers to me and I typed them. This was a lifesaver! Remember that stress he was feeling about handwriting, well this completely solved that issue. I am planning for him to work on his typing skills over the summer and am hoping that he will be ready to type more on his own next year. But I don't want him to miss the process of composition just because he is stressed about getting it down on paper. I will help him with that until he is ready to do it on his own. Mary recommended us using Typing Tutor for Kids this summer. 
  5. Pacing assignments - we didn't do every assignment this year. I paced my son's assignments based on his overall workload and abilities. And this was not a problem. Again, CC is setup so the parents are the teachers. The tutors do provide an outline of assignments, but it's up to the parents to decide what each individual student is assigned to do. 
  6. Faces of History - each student chose a person from the Cycle 2 time period, the Middle Ages, and wrote a research paper on that person. They dressed up like the character and read the paper to the parents and students at our Faces of History presentation event. My son thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. That's him in the picture above dressed up in his version of Lief Erickson, Viking Explorer. 

In summary, our first year at Essentials was a success. Although it started off a bit shaky as we both were trying to figure out what to expect and how to be organized with our materials and lessons, we ended the year well. I am thrilled at all that my son learned in Essentials! He grew by leaps and bounds in his writing, grammar, and mental math this year. I am more than impressed with how well he did.

I share all of this as an encouragement to you mamas who may be concerned about Essentials. You know your child best! Just come alongside them and encourage them on this journey together.  

We are already talking about what we will cover next year in Essentials. Just this morning, my son was talking about Faces of History for next year and is wondering who he will write his paper on. That's a huge jump from where we were a year ago! 

Classical Conversations Essentials:  Our First Year in Review

If you are an experienced Essentials mom, what other words of encouragement would you share with an upcoming Essentials family?

Teaching Music Appreciation in Your Homeschool

How do you approach music appreciation in your homeschool?

So often music gets pushed to the sides in our homeschools, and this is such a shame, because it nurtures a part of our children that is deep and meaningful. It speaks directly to their hearts and inspires beautiful thoughts and quiet contemplation.

Do you have a background and feel comfortable teaching this -- or do you feel woefully inept and therefore sometimes avoid it (even though you are aware of its value)?

As with so many areas of homeschooling, I believe we're educating OURSELVES - especially when it comes to areas where we don't possess knowledge.

(My favorite book for music self education is Raising Musical Kids. This books teaches parents how to teach their children to LOVE music and also how to motivate your children to develop their own musical abilities - it's definitely worth finding a copy and keeping on hand for reference.)


Teaching Music Appreciation in Your Homeschool

I love the words of Jim Henson:

 “Music is an essential part of everything we do. Like puppetry, music has an abstract quality which speaks to a worldwide audience in a wonderful way that nourishes the soul.” 

Martin Luther, ever the master of directness, said this about music:

"I always loved music; who so has skill in this art is of good temperament, fitted for all things."

Today I'd like to talk about how to go about beginning the study of music appreciation in your home.  

First, a crash course on the basics:

The Eras of Music

There are 4 basic eras of music (more if you count early music before the 1600s). For our intents and purposes we begin music appreciation in the 1600s.

(For a detailed description on these periods you can read The History of Classical Music.

Baroque : 1600-1750

Classical: 1750-1830

Romantic: 1830-1920

Modern: 1920- Present

Using The Eras of Music to Guide Music Appreciation Studies

I believe there are two logical ways to approach the study of music appreciation:

1. Study the era of music that coincides with the era you are studying in history.

If you are studying the Renaissance, a survey of Baroque music would be appropriate. If you are studying the Revolutionary War era, then a study of Classical music would be in order.


2. Study an era of music in depth, exposing your children to the great composers of that era. 

This era can be chosen at random or based on a special interest in your home. For example, last year in our homeschool we took a trip to the Oregon Trail. I wanted my children to learn about modern music and how that music was a direct reflection of the adventurous spirit of that time. 

Know the Composers and their Famous Works

As you decide on an era to study, research some of the composers that were prominent during that era and their most famous pieces. 

There are many sites online that will help you with this. I also love the book Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and their 1,000 Greatest Works.   

{It's always bothered me that we refer to all "old" music as "Classical" - because this isn't really correct, is it? You now know that music is divided into eras and "Classical" is one of those eras, but many people refer to classical music in general terms.}

Listen, Listen, Listen!

Whatever you do, just LISTEN to beautiful music. Even if nothing else than pulling up a "Classical" station on Pandora, it's still valuable.

Make time to incorporate a little great music each day. Maybe you want to accompany one meal a day with music or maybe you want to play music at bedtime. Choose a time of day and stick with it!

Dig Deeper and Start Teaching Music Appreciation

In my years as a classroom music teacher and now in my time as a homeschooling mom, I have found enormous value in listening to a piece and then talking about the musical elements of that piece.

Just like we read a classic novel and analyze the elements of that work, we must do the same thing with great pieces of music.

To that end, I have put my heart into my music appreciation curriculum -- SQUILT -- or Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time

The SQUILT Curriculum

This course is designed for parents who have LITTLE OR NO MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE.

Of course, if you have musical knowledge, that's fine, too!  

Through listening to a piece once SUPER QUIET, and then listening again and recording observations about the elements of the music, our children learn to be better listeners.  The SQUILT curriculum provides you, the teacher, with the "script" for taking a child through a piece of music. The answers are all there.

You can print the listening notebooking sheets and reference sheets that help your child learn the "grammar" of music appreciation.

(image courtesy The Unplugged Family)

Everything is in one convenient PDF file - no need to purchase music.

Simply OPEN AND GO. 

I also provide supplemental resources to make music FUN -- cartoons and classical music, different performances of a piece of music, and interesting facts about composers and instruments. It's all designed to keep your child engaged and learning. 

The SQUILT Curriculum includes many different option to make music appreciation simple and easy in your homeschool:

  • Eras series --- 4 different volumes focusing on Baroque, Classical, Romantic & Modern Music
  • Composer Spotlights -- shorter volumes focusing on specific composers
  • Meet the Instruments -- a printable instrument flashcard and accompanying video resource to make learning instruments of the orchestra fun

If you'd like to give SQUILT a try you may download a free lesson sample.


Do you teach music appreciation in your homeschool?

If you don't, do you mind sharing WHY?  I'd love to know! 

I'd love for you to try SQUILT -- please use the code HGLMUSIC until Monday, May 22 at midnight EST to take 20% off any SQUILT purchase!