I'm sure that someone, somewhere has already circulated a generic list of reasons to be thankful you're a homeschooler. This isn't that list. This is a rundown of the things that popped into my head as I pondered my many blessings as my coffee brewed this morning. Maybe some of them apply to you; maybe some of them are shared between homeschoolers and traditional schoolers. I don't know. But I do know that today, of all days, I feel very blessed to teach my own.
1. The hardest work has already been done before we even came on the scene. The pioneers of homeschooling sacrificed their time, energy, talents and in many cases, privacy, so that those of us who teach their children at home today could do so within the bounds of the law.
2. I have more resources than I can justify using. There are so many good, solid choices out there in terms of curriculum, books, websites, lesson plans, videos, unit studies and the like that I actually can't use all of them without tacking a few more years onto my childrens' educations. Since I don't really envision them playing with Legos and listening to read-alouds at 22, I have to make the choice to leave some items on the shelf.
3. I have to pick and choose between a whole host of wonderful learning opportunities for my children. Co-ops. Classes. Lessons. Groups. Clubs. Field trips. There are so many worthwhile ways to spend our time that it is hard to walk away from some of them. Who says that homeschoolers only see the inside of their own homes? :-)
4. My 5 yo thinks it's strange that there is a separate "Gifts For Teachers" section offered on the shelves of our local store during Christmas. As far as he's concerned, everyone's teacher wants a new apron embroidered with "Mom" and a Mary Pride book or two.
5. While Thanksgiving is a special day, it's not a rare occasion for our family to sit down to a full meal and talk about the many ways that our lives overflow with God's goodness. As a matter of fact, it's the norm. We enjoy long family meals without the pressure of homework to be done, buses to catch, or after-school activities to attend.
6. My daughter has never asked for a Bratz doll, and to the best of my knowledge, neither has her closest friend. They are far more likely to try to figure out a way to get money to a missionary in Africa than they are to covet a scantily-clad doll.
7. My children are getting the best education money can buy ... for about $500 a year total. They have a 1:3 classroom ratio, but spend about 50% of their instruction time one-on-one with their teacher. Show me that kind of cost-effective excellence in a traditional classroom and for that price!
8. When my children have a question, chances are good that we have the resources to answer it--in depth. A good homeschooling library has an abundance of books on a variety of topics so diverse as to make your head spin. Ours is no exception. Add in the internet and a host of friends wiling to share their expertise, and there is no end to how far an interest can go.
9. We live in an area where homeschooling is not seen as being abnormal. It's still slightly against the grain to homeschool here, but the vast majority of folks you encounter are familiar enough with the concept so as to not look at you as if you've suddenly announced that your favorite historical figure is Adolf Hitler.
10. In a nation obsessed with the lack of quality time available in any given day, my family's cup runneth over. Morning devotions that don't have to be cut short to catch a bus. Long afternoons with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Reading lessons that can last ten minutes ... or an hour. Middle of the night wake-ups to witness meteor showers. Half an hour comforting a child who is frustrated, sad or just having a bad day. Teaching my children to bake. Coloring at the kitchen table. Playing board games. Breakfast (and sometimes lunch!) in our pajamas. This is "the good life" you hear so much about. Thankful doesn't even capture how grateful I truly am.