The answer to how do you Home Educate? With difficulty sometimes. Home education is a huge and often daunting responsibility and on the bad days you will wonder why you are doing this.
With home education it is knowing that there are lots of ways of doing it. You can have school at home or you can be entirely child-led or there are lots of variations in between. The main point to remember is that there is not a right or wrong way. It is important that you do what suits your children and your family.
When we first started home education we were mainly doing school at home. This is probably because this is what most people know. It was the easiest way to begin our home education journey. As time passed our home education changed.
Having decided to try home education you have to sort out how you’re going to approach it. Remember that there are probably nearly as many different ways to approach home education as there are families doing it.
By all means read about all the different types of homeschooling methods but at the end of the day do what is right for your family.
I use to believe that most home educating families fell into either the child-led autonomous education or a very structured, school at home type of education. Over time though I realised that there are so many different methods for Home Educating and it is best to pick and choose what works best for your family from a mix of everything available if it suits.
When we first started home education my son had just finished half a year in reception class. After spending a few weeks doing ‘school at home’ I realised that it was not working. I changed how we were learning at home. We started to spend most of our days learning through play. As the years went by the way we spent our days learning changed to meet our needs. Home education does not stay the same but evolves as your family grows.
Our Day Home Educating
If you asked what a typical home educating day in our house looks like then there is really no such thing. Each day has something different incorporated into the day. Most days at the moment tend to fall into mornings where we do more formal work such as english, math, geography, history, science etc. In the afternoon we have a more relaxed approach to learning. This can include watching a programme on television, playing games, arts and crafts, going for a walk and a multitude of other activities.
We play a lot of board games within our education which makes math and English fun. Some of the games we enjoy are Scrabble, Monopoly, Nab-It, Flags of the World, Ticket to Ride, Pass the Bomb and Qbits. My son is also an avid Yugioh card player which helps with reading, critical thinking skills and strategy.
One great benefit of home education is the freedom it gives you to follow the flow and do what you wish . If it is a sunny day why not take your stuff outside or down to the beach or to the park. Your child is interested in Vikings, let’s explore that subject and put aside what we were going to do today.
Home Education and Socialisation
With regards to socialisation sometimes it is easy to become too busy particularly in our social lives and outside activities. My son belongs to several clubs, we have regular local home education meetings and we go on day trips and workshops. If we are not careful we can run out of space for other essential things. Also sometimes my son and myself just need time to simply recharge on our own.
With socialisation children vary widely in the amount of social contact they need. Some are happy to play occasionally with other children and enjoy having space to do their own thing. If however your child enjoys playing with others it may be necessary for everyone involved to work quite hard at times to ensure that this happens. A lot depends on where you live and how many other home educators live nearby. Home educated children often travel further to meet their friends and this can be difficult if you are relying on public transport.
Our Future Home Educating
It is important to remember that choosing to home educate is not an irreversible decision. If something changes tomorrow and either we as a family or my child decided they would like to attend school then it is still an option.
We have been home educating now for a number of years and I am sure that we are more relaxed now. Obviously we have our ups and downs, any family does, but on the whole we are finding home education to be a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Home education has given us time as a family and the encouragement to try new things. It has also given us the flexibility to realise that if something isn’t working we can change it.
We all enjoy our home educating lifestyle and feel that it is one of the best decisions we ever made. Yes it can be messy and there is nearly always some craft activity or science experiment on the go. Weeks can go by when you can never get to the dining room table because of it . Thing is I would not change it.
What does the future hold? Who knows, but I am sure that we as a family have gained a lot of experience from home educating and can face whatever the future holds together. The best part of home education is being with my child. I would hate to miss that look on his face when something clicks. I am constantly amazed at what he seems to learn without effort. It has been a privilege to watch my son grow into a thoughtful, confident young man who enjoys exploring the world around him. I would not have missed that for anything.