Home education FAQs: How do you home educate?

How do you home school?

As y’all already know, we have a bit of an alternative lifestyle thing going on as a home educating family. We started thinking about home education when our eldest daughter was a newborn; as every parent will understand, we were looking into her future from day one to make sure we were doing the best we could for her. After extensively researching the subject we were pretty sure we wanted to home educate, but we looked around a small private school to see if it could sway us. Although there were many aspects of it that were lovely, we remained confident that home educating was what we wanted to do.

But which method? When people ask us now how “homeschooling” is going, I often wonder what they are imagining our days are like. Do they think I ring a bell at 9am, present classes like a teacher and structure in playtime? (Where would they do homework?)

A stereotyped view of homeschoolers would dictate this was the case; however the reality is that there are as many ways to home educate as there are home educated children. The spectrum ranges from doing the national curriculum at home during school hours (we are yet to meet anyone doing this) to a child-centric philosophy based on developmental science, and everything in between. Some often-talked-about ‘methods’ or educational philosophies are:

  • Traditional (National curriculum at home): This would perhaps suit families with children who have had to leave school for some reason and who want to ensure they stay learning the same things as their school peers for a time.
  • Project-based: Think Scandinavian-style, with learning divided up into more holistic projects than subjects. Using a theme such as  “The Romans”, children explore lots of different aspects of learning through a specific focus.
  • Religious: Most often Christian or Muslim families, these home educating families purchase a homeschool curriculum that encompasses learning about their chosen religion; this may include scriptural and moral education too.
  • Charlotte Mason: Developed in England in the 19th century, this method encourages children to focus fully on their task as long as they are developmentally capable for, and to prioritise a love of learning over rote facts. The arts and nature are big players in a Charlotte Mason home educating family household.
  • Worldschooling: Home educating families who use travel as a primary method of education. A lot of families who apply this term to themselves are nomadic, ie permanently travelling. Some of my favourite bloggers are Worldschoolers! (Check out our recent trip to Bulgaria.)
  • Autonomous education / Unschooling : This philosophy is underpinned by the idea that children do not need curriculums, or to be forced to learn any particular topic or subject. Unschoolers will watch their children carefully to ensure that they provide a rich environment whereby children can progress in things that they love and are good at, while also being prepared to offer resources to help in the less confident areas. This does not exclude classes, structure at home, clubs, workbooks etc; it simply means that the child gets to choose which of these resources they use.

Often, home educators will use a blend of these methods and will dip in and out depending on the child and the season (of the developmental sort, not the weather- although that affects stuff, too!). Can you guess which category we fall into?

We would love to hear about your alternative lifestyle or home educating journey! Ping us a comment or DM on Insta, or of course drop us an email 🙂

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<p>Travel journalists, home educating our lovely brood of 3 girls. Planning a year-long RTW trip late Summer 2017.</p>

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. We’ve done almost all of those options in our nine years. Like literally. Except that we are Canadian, so no common core here. And we have never enrolled with the province. We have a lot of freedom to do what we want–and we have definitely taken it. In the beginning, I searched to find my identity in homeschooling-home educating. Now it’s a lifestyle, that ebbs and flows as we live out our lives.

      • We travelled half our life for seven years. Right now, I want to build roots in our small town. We’ve been around Europe, arctic, all over Canada & Bc and twice to Africa.

        I like variety–so I want to change up our seasons. Literally. More traditional from October to April and unschool the rest of the year. Classical homeschool content done charlotte mason style. Susan weise bauer for ideas and guilt. John holt for freedom & ease. Also, whatever works & whatever makes you (& the kids) happy!

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