It’s a good question, and one I’ve answered possibly a thousand times since making the decisions to homeschool our 2 young children. It’s a conscious choice, and certainly one that’s not made without a lot of thought and careful consideration.
Being a Homeschooler can have it’s challenges. Not by the act itself (that’s the easy part!) but by the barrage of questions that are sure to follow the line of ‘We homeschool our kids’. It’s unusual, not ‘the norm’, outside the box, and like anything of that nature it can evoke a world of opinions, questions and sadly a whole lot of judgement.
I love what we do so answering the questions is easy for me simply because I believe in it.
This might take a while but if you bear with me I’ll attempt to cover a few of the reasons, and also circumstances that lead me to this decision. Keep in mind that this is my personal account of the reasons that ‘we’ decided to embark on this journey, it will differ for everyone.
And, you never know, maybe it will help someone out there get a little closer and clearer to making a conscious choice around schooling their own precious children.
First and foremost – It works for us – and it works beautifully!
Our decision to travel, and the choice to homeschool all came about at around the same time. The two fitted together like the pieces of a puzzle, perfectly. The decision for me was an easy one.
We travel and we intend on travelling without time restraints for as long as it fits in with our plans. Homeschooling, or more appropriately named ‘Roadschooling’ allows us to fulfill our goal of traveling without time restraints. We don’t have to abide by timetables and school holidays, we can travel within school terms, which not only reduces the costs considerably but also allows us to discover places without having to fight our way through peak time crowds. There’s nothing quite like seeing the sights solo!
I believe, without reservation, that homeschooling is the best education that we can give our kids. I think it’s also important to mention that I’m not ‘anti-establishment’. I loved school as a kid, I did pretty well and I was well liked. I was bullied about as much as the next person but overall I had a pretty good time – and my husband would agree that his experience was pretty similar to mine. So – our reasons for homeschooling are nothing to do with an ‘anti-school’ attitude. If either one of my children expressed the desire to go to school in the future it wouldn’t send me into a spin, I’m absolutely ok with that and certainly not opposed to the idea. I simply think that we can do a great job in educating our kids and add so much more to their lives through homeschooling.
When we were considering this path we wrote down a list of what we really wanted for our kids. Most on that list was outside the perimeters of what I think the education system can handle – things like overall happiness, kindness, acceptance and to foster a love of learning. We want our kids to be creative, well-rounded and confident little people, we want them to be extra-ordinary! and we believe that there’s no better teachers in life to handle those life lessons than us.
There are many, many different ways to homeschool. That’s the beauty of it – like two children are never alike, nor should be the methods and approaches to homeschooling be.
I have one child that loves ‘workbooks’ and one that’s more an experiential learner so my approach needs to allow for both little minds to engage in their own processes. It’s pretty simple really, when the workbooks get the thumbs down we head for the garden or outdoors.
Yes, having two very different learning styles takes a little bit of creative thinking at times, and by most part we tend to fly by the seat of our pants, but our days are fun and varied and our focus is on ‘having fun’. If there’s no fun involved then we re-assess.
We are mainly ‘Natural Learners’ although I do add some workbooks and online programs into the mix to make sure all areas are covered. These are mostly reading and maths and they are all Australian based programs. I do often wonder though, whether this is more for me than the children? Sometimes, it seems, I’m the one that needs a little ‘unschooling!’
We are registered as homeschoolers in Western Australia where the Australian Curriculum is freely available to us. In the past I have waded through the pages … and pages and pages and pages…. of information, and I ended up in a coma of codes and data and numbers and averages. I dreamt about finding a way to decipher all the educational jargon and I woke in a cold sweat only to discover that my kids are A-OK!
From my experience, travelling through, and living in different countries is about as educational as it gets. It ticks all the boxes and if curriculum is important to you, travel alone can create it’s very own without too much manipulation and effort (and codes and jargon)
Children are naturally curious and have an innate desire to work out the world around them. Learning is a natural progression and the more you allow this is evolve as it’s meant to – naturally – the sweeter the experience and the more profound the learning. I am forever amazed and delighted in the learning process that evolves right in front of my eyes everyday.
All children have this amazingly pure and lovely sense of enquiry about everything around them, and our world acts as one enormous classroom. It’s totally natural for children of all ages to find exactly what they need to learn from their environment. Actually they get a whole lot more than that – they learn to love learning, to love discovering and working out how it all fits together.
I’m constantly experiencing, first hand, what this journey is giving my kids. It’s wonderful to watch.We’re continually surrounded by different cultures, beliefs, language and nationalities. We live in different climates, taste different foods, and take in a world of amazing art and workmanship.
I’ve seen my two darlings learn acceptance and patience and kindness. They aren’t afraid of change, or dirt or chaos! When we’re faced with the inevitable challenges that come with travelling, my kids are in the forefront, experiencing and dealing with the challenges and uncomfortable situations as much as we are. They know that life can sometimes be tough and they can handle it.
They’re resilient, robust yet still beautifully naïve.
Ego is yet to enter into their personalities because they are free to be just who they are, no distractions, no conditions.
Not sure about you but that’s what I consider the perfect learning environment!