V is for vacations. One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that it frees you from the school calendar and lets your family take vacations during the school year, when tourist havens are uncrowded and so are the beaches.
We often took vacations in May and September and spent the hot, muggy summer afternoons doing school in our air-conditioned house. It was a win-win situation. When we traveled, our kids loved when we drove past schools with children trapped in classrooms while they were free to have fun.
In May 2000, we watched a shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida and were tickled to see that many of the cars, vans and campers lining the road near where the spectators stood had bumper stickers proclaiming homeschool status. Let’s hear it for vacations any time of the year!
E is for excellence. Homeschooled children have the time to pursue their specific interests to the point of excellence. As writer Malcolm Gladwell famously noted in his book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve excellence in a given pursuit. Children who spend their days in school lose eight or more hours a day to school and homework. But the homeschooled child who loves to paint or play the violin or program computers can easily carve out five hours a day for every weekday of the year and achieve excellence in their chosen area in 8 years. Imagine how many more accomplished citizens our country could produce if every child with a strong interest was homeschooled in order to have time to pursue that interest. Let’s hear it for homeschooling!
In Thriving in the 21st Century, I described how to assess whether or not your teen is “college material.” In this video, a man who holds a Ph.D. and has taught at several universities explains just how crucial it is that parents ask the right questions before sending their sons or daughters to college. This is well worth watching: