I remember as a kid wanting the latest thing, making long Christmas lists, picking out the perfect outfit to wear on the first day of school. We'd get new shoes and get fixed up at the salon (or in someone's kitchen with the hot comb heating up on the stove). There was the first day and then picture day and any dances and social events.
It's all commercials and peer pressure really.
Since my kids have never attended school, they haven't had any of these school-related experiences. We don't do back to school shopping in July and August -- although I do take advantage of some of the sales. The kids don't dress any differently when we end our Summer break. We don't always have a Summer break, anyways. Sometimes, it's a baby break, and then, we wear whatever is (most) clean.
So, for fun, I thought I'd make a list of some of the side benefits we've experienced because of homeschooling.
In no particular order.
1. New clothes come from your brother's closet or the Salvation Army, and no one could care less.
2. No need to scarf down your breakfast and flag down your bus driver. Most of the time we are in no rush at all to go anywhere.
3. Technically, my kids don't have any homework.
4. Are you worried about the state of recess in schools today? Your kids can play all day long if you want them to.
5. The best time to go anywhere fun is on a school day. My kids know nothing of the long, hour or more, wait-times at amusement parks. There was almost no one at LEGOLAND when we were there last November.
6. The way my kids pester each other is nothing in comparison to school-time bullying.
7. Got friends knocking on the door unexpectedly? Yes, of course we can play.
8. Getting new (or new-to-us) books is fun. The kids really value books.
9. School supplies can be gifts! We wrap up pencils, packs of paper, math curricula, and workbooks for Christmas and birthdays all the time.
10. If you choose the wrong outfit -- like putting on shorts in the winter -- or go outside without your jacket, you're not stuck. You can always go back in and change.
11. Sick? That's fine; it usually doesn't affect our school day at all.
12. Mom is the barber and hairstylist, and nobody could care.
13. You could only find two different shoes? No problem, you're just going out to the backyard anyhow.
14. Constipated? Daytime incontinence for a bit? Wet your bed but don't have time to take a bath until evening? Not a problem at all. Go ahead to the bathroom whenever you need to. You don't even have to raise your hand. And take a bath whenever you get to it; your siblings will still play with you if you stink. Chances are, they won't even notice your foul odor.
15. My kids don't know much at all about celebrities and pop-culture. If it has nothing to do with PBSkids or LEGO, they've probably never heard of it. So, are you worried about the latest thing Taylor Swift said or Hannah Montana (or whoever) did? Who?
16. I'm a bit of a homebody, and I happen to like having no place in particular to be most days. Really, that sums up the benefits of homeschool #1-10, at least; you're free to be you. Nothing wrong with that.
17. Your 8-year-old likes to stay up late reading every book he comes across?
18. Your 4-year-old is really Captain America this week?
This list is mostly just fun, much like this similar post from May, and I could go on forever. It's worth the reminder though that we're not martyrs and the kids aren't deprived. Their experiences will probably differ from their non-homeschooled peers, but that's fine. It might even be good.