Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reasons to Homeschool: Family Time

One of the many benefits of homeschooling is family time. As a parent, I am pleased to see how well connected my children are to each other. For most people, the bond between siblings will be the longest and most resilient relationship in their life. I've been married for 14 years. I have one friend from high school (25 years) with whom I keep in regular contact. My sister and I have a 40 year long relationship. History matters.

The following was compiled by students taking HDFS 433: The Transition to Adulthood and HDFS 239: Adolescent Development at the Pennsylvania State University.

* Sibling relationships aid the adolescent in many ways: as a preventive measure against depression, and in forming social networks and building social skills.

* The sibling relationship fosters many skills for peer relationships including intimacy, trust, conflict resolution, and identity formation.

* Parents and siblings are significant sources of social support in lowering the risk of depression.

* Siblings are a key component during adolescent development. Even though adolescence is thought of as a time when familial ties are severed and peer relationships become paramount, scientific evidence proves this popular myth wrong. Although peer relationships are an important part of adolescence, it is the family that the adolescent still turns to most in times of need.

Today, my 9 year old taught her 5 year old sister to ride a two wheeler bike. She spent a few hours in the backyard running beside her sister, holding the bike upright while the 5 year old learned to balance. Both of them are quite proud of themselves. This is one of the magic moments.

If my 9 year old had spent today at school, came home tired, completed her homework, finished her chores and piano practicing, there would have been very little time to spend with her sisters. I also don't think she would have wanted to spend the time.

This does not mean my children get along wonderfully all the time. I play referee more than I like. However, there is a depth to their relationship that is a result of the increased time they spend together. Homeschooling makes this possible.


Anonymous said...

The strength of homeschooling is that it makes such things possible, but they are not guaranteed. Some assembly is required.

One of the delights of homeschooling is how much fun that assembly process can be.

Janine Cate said...

>Some assembly is required.

That's a fun way of saying it.

I have a funny follow up on the learning to ride a bike story.

The next week, my 9 year old went to our homeschool park day and taught another little girl to ride a bike. That girl's mother said that it had taken them two summers to teach their older child to ride a bike. I think my daughter may have a career path: bike trainer.