Really, it’s not! Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. After we’d decided to homeschool, the next big question was… ‘Ok, so HOW do we actually do this?’ Where was I supposed to start?
There are so many styles of home education…school-at-home, distance education, Montessori, eclectic, natural learning, unschooling, and lots more in between. I quickly decided school-at-home and distance education were not for us and that I really liked the idea of a more natural learning approach, following our children’s interests.
To me, education is not so much about learning all the right things and filling them up with all the knowledge I think they should have, but teaching them how to learn, and protecting their love of learning. Children are fascinated with the world already and come out ready to explore it as soon as they can. If you know how to learn and find the information you need, if you are inspired by life and supported and encouraged in your interests, then you can learn anything! Information is so easily available today that we never have any problem finding the answers to our questions.
If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work but rather, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
So I decided, for now, our curriculum would be life and play and we would see how that went! In theory, I wanted them to learn through play as long as they could but I did wonder how that would work. We continued how we always had, living as if school didn’t exist. Playing, imagining, doing lots of art, getting messy, reading books, visiting friends and family, talking about the world. And you know what? It is all just happening so naturally. We are half way through Prep now and recently I had a look at the Australian Curriculum (which is online for anyone to see). I was amazed to see that we had covered almost everything already and much much more in some areas, just through my kids natural curiosity and questions. My 5 year old wanted to learn to read, so we taught her the letter sounds and got her some reading books and she is reading. She asks questions about maths all the time and so we’ve covered all that and more too. They have so many questions about the world and bugs and animals and the stars that science was covered long ago.
And they just continue to amaze me! Every day. I had this lovely image in my head of what our homeschooling life would look like and wondered if my expectations were too high, but so far it is all working out exactly as I had hoped. I’m sure there will be tough times in the future, but I think that’s just life and parenting and you get that whether you homeschool or your kids are in school.
My ‘job’ is far easier and much more enjoyable than I had imagined. I am not their ‘teacher’ and I’m not sitting up at night and planning everything for hours. There is no stress of a schedule to stick to, or set times we have to get work done. I don’t have to get up early every morning to pack lunches, get uniforms ready, and be out the door at a certain time. There’s no need to be home at a certain time in the afternoon to pick them up, and fit in homework and reading around the already hectic dinner time hour. Most people think sending the kids to school would be the easier option, but truthfully this seems much easier to me than school life would be. When people say to me ‘I don’t know how you do it, I’m not organised enough!’ I feel like it’s the other way around! I’m not sure I would ever be able to keep up with that schedule.
What my job is, is more of a facilitator of their learning. And that’s the role I already played as a parent anyway. I listen to their questions, I help them find answers, I see what they are interested in, I provide resources to expand on their learning when needed, I leave things around that I think might spark an interest for them, I keep track of where they’re up to, I support their ideas and projects, and I learn alongside them.
So if you’re considering homeschooling and wondering if you’re up to the task. Really, it doesn’t have to be that hard.