When people hear that we home educate they often ask me what type of educator am I ? They want to put a label on it, on me. A label makes everyone happy because they know what to expect. Am I a conservative Christian or one of those hippie types? Do we unschool or do we follow a curriculum? Are we Waldorf inspired and if not why not? Are we vegetarian and follow a sugar-free diet? Do I really only have 2 kids, don’t all home educators have LOTS of children? Do I only wear tie dyed, home-made clothing and Birkenstocks?
The truth is I battle to choose one word or phrase because we are a mixture and I know that a lot of home educators also fit somewhere in the middle. We don’t unschool and we don’t follow a set curriculum. Sorry, but those are not the only two options out there. We have a semi-structured approach to Maths and English and then a very much child-lead, interest driven, topic based style of learning to a lot of our other subjects. We use workbooks but we also watch documentaries and go on lots of outings. The kids learn by a mixture of doing, experiencing, getting lost in books, using good websites and watching documentaries.
We don’t have a timetable but we do have a rhythm to our day / week. Yet even with our rhythm every week ends up different. Some weeks are jammed packed to the brink of exploding and other weeks are quiet stay at home type weeks. We do have some weekly activities and we do lots of one-off activities. We have certain favourite places to visit and favourite Museums that the kids enjoy but we also like to try new ones.
And yes I only have 2 kids, honest there is no “number of child criteria” to home educate – I promise. And food wise, really I try for healthy eating but some days I am just happy to get food in them.
I get that it is difficult for people who are not involved in home educating to understand what we do and I get that having a label to use is comforting for them but like so much in life there is often a mix, a middle group. Each family is unique so everyone is going to tackle something with their own individual interpretation and way of doing things that suits their family.
And no I don’t own 1 piece of tie dyed clothing or any dungarees but yes I do LOVE Birkenstocks.