There were several reasons why we decided to homeschool, most importantly because we lived in an area with poor public schools and we didn’t have the money to pay for private school for three kids.

We decided to homeschool for a year and see how it went.  The kids and I both enjoyed it, and Bookworm continued to excel academically, so we decided to stick with it.  Now we’re on our fourth year, and each year, we seem to find more unexpected benefits.  One of the benefits I enjoy most is the imaginative play my girls have time for.

When Bookworm was in school (from preschool to 3rd grade), he spent all day at school and then came home tired and grumpy.  He ate a snack and watched a tv show for 30 minutes, and then it was time for homework.  He usually resisted, so homework took over an hour, often two.  Then we had dinner, got ready for bed, and well, there was little time for him to play or be imaginative.

The girls’ experience is completely different.  We usually spend three hours on their homeschooling, but we break it up throughout the day.  We tend to tackle math, reading, spelling, and writing in the morning.  Sometimes we’ll throw in a read aloud.  Then they have at least an hour to play before lunch.  After lunch, they have 30 to 60 minutes to play outside.  Then we do another hour worth of additional homeschool such as religion, Spanish, or science.  Then they have another 90 minutes to play before it’s chore time.

The girls are so creative!  Right now they’re working on a book.  They took a spiral notebook, and PB & J Girl writes the story and Cuddle Bug illustrates it.  They’ve finished their first notebook and are now working on their second one.  They easily spend an hour a day on this.

PB & J Girl loves all things horse related, so they watch as many horse shoes as they can find on Netflix and Dove Channel.  When they’re outside, they often use a stick to create a horse to ride.  They’ve set up an obstacle course and they pretend to jump over the different obstacles with their horses.

They also have elaborate games that they play with their dolls and stuffed animals.  Then occasionally they’ll ask me to be the judge.

Math-U-See manipulatives become outlines for houses they build, and then they create stories about princesses that live in the houses.

When I compare the early elementary years between Bookworm and the girls, I have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness.  Bookworm was under a lot of stress, and now I know that he didn’t really need all of that homework.  He didn’t have much time to just have fun.  The girls are learning, but since their not in school, they have much more time to just be kids, and I love that.  That’s the way I want them to experience childhood.

This post is part of Blogging through the Alphabet, Letter I, hosted by A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool.  To read more posts focusing on a topic starting with the letter “I” click on the button below:

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