WHAT IS HOME LEARNING?
The term homeschool implies the recreation of school at home, where a parent or caregiver copies the school setting and instructional model with a set curriculum, assignments, tests, assessments, and more. While homeschooling seems to be the “mainstream” catch-all phrase for a variety of non traditional learning environments, it doesn’t adequately embrace the beauty of the learning choice; the flexibility, the individualized learning approach, or the student lead learning.
I prefer the term home based learning (although, if I’m being honest, the learning can happen anywhere) because it inspires parents and students alike (I like to refer to both groups as learners) to think beyond our traditional societal programming to a more empowering, exciting, and ultimately satisfying learning model.
Because of it’s limiting name, many new homeschool families start out focusing on the “school” aspect rather than the “learning” aspect of their new educational choice, quickly realizing it is no more satisfactory (and sometimes even less so) than the traditional school model.
With a simple shift in the name to home based learning it becomes more apparent that the learning doesn’t need to be like school; instead, it can be a continuation of how your family lived before your children became “school age.
HOW THE HOME LEARNING ROAD MAP HAS HELPED MY PLANNING
I’ll be honest. I have a love/hate relationship with scheduling and planning. I am an overthinker and extreme planning tends to cause stress. But, zero plan, no road map of sorts, leaves me feeling directionless and at the mercy of others. Can you relate?
After hours of failed homeschool planning templates with my pencil, and disappearing eraser, I secretly wished someone would hand me a personalized, ready-to-go home-based learning plan neatly wrapped with a bow.
When no package arrived, I decided to cease the sanity. I pushed pause on my futile scheduling attempts and we gently entered a period of deschooling.
While shifting my energy, I began thinking about the skills most important for my son’s growth and future success. I asked myself, “What is he learning from this interaction?” I began to observe and jot it all down. I began looking for ways to incorporate learning into our everyday activities rather than trying to carve out time to force the learning on my less-than-eager child.
And this is what I discovered: when I finally stopped trying to schedule and organize our “work”, things began to flow. I realized we had a home based learning schedule of sorts! Or, more importantly, we had a rhythm, and learning was happening.
It dawned on me that all I needed was to figure out how to plan. I needed to do more of what was already working for our home based learning. What I needed was to reverse plan.
Now, instead of trying to figure out the what, when, and how, of the learning, I have created a map with a few interesting (to us) landmarks. Voila! A rough guide for our very own inspiring, flexible, and relaxed adventure.
WHAT’S IN THE HOME LEARNING ROAD MAP
This Home Based Learning Road Map is filled with questions to get you thinking big picture so you can stop fretting over the details of “fitting it all in” and stop being swayed by another shiny new curriculum that looks exciting but doesn’t fit with YOUR home learning journey.
It might seem like a lot at first but with a little forethought and dedicated time, the road map will show you how and why home based, self directed learning can help you and your children follow a more relaxed learning approach, living a life that truly works for you.
Instead of starting your journey obsessing over your homeschool philosophy, what curriculum you will use, how you’re going to set up your space, or how to create a detailed daily schedule with all the academic subjects, (your journey may or may not include these further down the path) you’ll start with a bigger picture vision and road map for your life as a home based learning family.
How do you want your interactions to flow? What experiences and adventures do you want to share as a family before your children leave your home? What do each of your children need to learn most for their individual success in their adult life? (Hint: this may not be the same for every child.)
Under the legal umbrella of homeschooling, there is the option of following a more youth-directed approach, ranging from a young person selecting his or her own coursework, all the way to the pursuit of topics without curricula or textbooks. This is why I have created a fill-in-the-blank road map (or interview, if you prefer) for your children—so they can be active participants in their future.
Will you join me in creating your Home Based Learning Road Map?
I believe you (and your home learners) are worth it!