If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll have noticed that we don’t necessarily study the same subjects each day, we vary our resources to suit topics and circumstances, and we adjust our schedule to accommodate social events. We recognise sick days, slow days, and life-gets-in-the-way days. Despite this flexibility, I would still describe our homeschool as unashamedly structured.
We like knowing what’s happening, where we’ve been and where we’re going – in the physical world, and in our education plans. We label, we date-stamp, I grade (sometimes in red, sometimes in random colours), and I dole out lots of our favourite scratch-and-sniff scented stickers. Some home educators would find this approach to be too similar to school. However, I would say home education can never be like school, even if one tried, and our homeschool is unique to us – it’s not intended to suit any other family.
Structured homeschoolers may do many different things, but here are some of our little structured joys.
- We do formal adult-led lessons. Not all the time, and not always just me. (We hire tutors, and the kids attend extracurricular activities.) However, we do the formal teaching thing – as and when it fits the circumstances.
- We have a homeschool uniform. We don’t wear it all the time but matching sweaters can make it easier to spot the kids when we’re on a field trip, or at a group meet. Also: we need school trousers and shoes for Scouts, so we’d have to buy them anyway.
- We use workbooks, and other school resources. And do tests. And I mark them. With a red pen, if I so choose. Stationery does not equal school.
- We have a schoolroom. Well, sort of. (It’s not a whole room but it is cordoned off, and equipped as a homeschool classroom.) I don’t actually want to hunt up and down the entire house to find our homeschool books, and other miscellaneous stuff. I want it all in one place, where I’m less likely to lose or misplace it.
There’s probably more things but that’s enough to go on. You might be horrified or relieved. “That’s not like me!” Or, “OMG, that’s exactly what we do!” The thing is, either way, it doesn’t actually matter. This is our homeschool. This is our life, and our education choices. You are most welcome to take a peek, via this blog, but it’s never going to be your homeschool. And I want you to know: that is completely okay.
The beauty of home education is that it is the ultimate custom education. You can follow any style that suits your children, and your family circumstances. You can mix it up, and re-mix it, with whatever curricula and methods that mesh for you. Whether you are structured, or autonomous educators – it doesn’t matter. I support you. The global homeschool community supports you. You are the right homeschooler for your family, so feel free to own it!
I may politely invite you to feel at home, if you pop around for a coffee – mi casa es tu casa, and all that. However, my home isn’t actually your home and my homeschool is not your homeschool. My homeschool is perfect for me. Your homeschool is perfect for you!