Home schooling has been a big part of family life this past year because of the pandemic. For some it has been a trying time, and for others they have really seen a difference in their child and are seriously thinking about making it permanent.
To be clear, home schooling during a pandemic is nothing like regular home education. There are many options available on how you educate but an overwhelming positive is you get to work at your child’s pace, and on things that interest them. It can also take a while for a traditional schooled child to adjust to being taught at home by their parents – something that has not been able to happen for many during this time.
Here are a few terms that you may hear if you are considering a home education. It is not exhaustive!
Home Education: As the educator you are responsible for all aspects of learning. You are not given work from the schools or your education department – and you will lose your place at the school.
Depending on where you live there may be NO OPTION to home educate (it is illegal in Germany and Spain for example). Some countries have a set number of hours you need to prove you have done over the year (USA varies state to state). France is currently trying to make home education illegal. Portugal you can only home educate if the educator has a degree.
It is really important that you check out the rules of the country you live in before embarking on this. It is worth noting that in the UK the education departments DO NOT have a right to insist you tell them that you are home educating, and they have no right to ask you for updates and reports. There are some amazing Facebook groups available in the UK who will advise and help you if you are having issues.
Unschooling: This is the approach that some home educators use as they follow the child’s interests and do not follow a curriculum. There are many extremes of this type of teaching – we un-school as we do not follow a specific curriculum, but we do have more rules and things we believe should be taught than another un-schooling family would do. It is a flexible approach and is very rewarding.
World – schooling: This is a term that is used if you travel or spend your time outside of your home country. A lot of world-schooler’s are travellers all year round ( in normal circumstances), or for large parts of the year. There are a lot of people out there doing this (we have done this too), and again groups are available for help, advice and friendship.
De-schooling: This is a term that is used when a family has made the move from traditional school to home education. It gives everyone the opportunity to get out of the school mindset and find things that work for them as a family. This period can be whatever is needed – a few weeks to a year each family is different. This period has not been an option for those who have been thrust in to teaching at home during the pandemic and kids and families are struggling because it is a drastic change.
Home educating has been an amazing experience for us, and I hope we will be able to continue. Take the time to decide if this is right for your family. It is a time commitment, you will have parent guilt and some days it just doesn’t go well – the good thing is, you can stop the work and take it up another day or find a new approach!