The reaction is often one of surprise when I tell people I homeschool my children. Usually it’s an old friend, distant relative, or random stranger asking where they go to school or whether they’re off school sick today. It can be one of two responses and in most cases because people are caught by surprise they give off honest reactions!
Either they’re silently wondering what sort of hippie I am and doubt the whole home schooling concept. Or – and this one is more common – they are enthusiastic and respond with a “Wow! Good on you! I couldn’t do it though! How DO you cope?”. The very next thing, 99% of the time, is a question about whether they get to spend time with any other children! I have to hold back the laughter when I hear that. No, I dont have them locked up in a cage, clearly.
I think a common misconception about home educated children is that they don’t interact socially. False. And if they don’t there is a reason and in many cases they’ve actually been pulled out of a school system which is failing them due to their condition or learning type. I have two children who have many friends of differing ages, and are learning how to navigate the world like any other children. I think what many people don’t understand is that those parents whom have chosen to home school believe in a social life with people of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds. Thus providing the opportunity for varied and passionate tutors and mentors, life perspectives, and joyous occasions to learn and to grow.
I get asked sometimes what our day looks like and since no day is alike for many “homeschoolers”, “unschoolers”, “natural learners”, or distance education families, this is just sample from many, many, many different types of days. The truth is that there is no “typical” day for those who have chosen to do this.
So here it is – I’ve bullet-pointed it simply so I can review it before posting!
- Wake and prepare for the day, breakfast and tidy up
- “Morning Circle” – sing songs, sit together, plan our day, gather materials, discussions and choices made by both myself and the children.
- Craft or similar activities for the children while I exercise in our home gym.
- Snack time (they usually prepare their own ‘picnic’)
- If no social outing is arranged we generally have a more structured activity where I facilitate or organise what is set out, catered to each child’s age and developmental stage. I am using a Montessori approach/plan and marrying that with Natural Learning, and I find it fits quite well with our family.
- Free play, then lunch and tidy up.
- Story time, discussion about the story (and many questions from the toddler!), drawing or construction/building.
- Sometimes a movie or documentary depending on current interests, iPad math games, or another interest-focused activity.
- Research or discussion about an upcoming holiday destination, or part of the world a friend or relative lives.
- Either circus training, swimming, outside play, or play with friends. Outside play usually includes water play/experiments, chalk drawing, hanging from the clothes line, and discovering bugs, flowers, birds and nature. Pretend play and games with me.
- Dinner and tidy up, bedtime routine.
- Story time and sleep.
I think that’s it! Today we managed to fit in ‘tinker tray’ craft, origami, sweeping/tidying/chores, dinosaur documentary, dinosaur names and their place on some of the continents, siphoning water, trampoline and clothes line circus practise, chalk drawing, cooking/mixing/measuring/pouring, creating art as gifts, reading, reading and more reading, climbing & balancing, letter recognition, animal recognition, and more! Life is interwoven into our day and since the children work with me to complete the everyday simple tasks of creating shopping lists, or deciding where to have an adventure, or what to draw, or which proteins and carbohydrates they’d like on the plate to balance their meal (before preparing it themselves), I feel confident they’ll develop a healthy and functional independence.
To be honest it is challenging catering to two children with different learning styles of different ages and developmental stages, while trying to parent also. It’s a tough gig sometimes, but I get immediate feedback, joy, cuddles, and see their learning every day. I am there to assist with the difficult emotional processes, and I get to be with them while they grow! I am lucky as well, that I have the opportunity to have this lifestyle with them, so I am thankful for that. Some wouldn’t wish it but I believe in our choice.
So that wraps it up nicely I think. Like I said there’s no typical day, but if you were curious to see how it all works for us as a family, I hope you enjoyed the snapshot!