September 26

Home-School – A Family or a School?


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It seems like we are stuck with the term, “home-school” and I will use it in my article just because we all know what we are talking about, but it really conveys the wrong idea. It makes us think that we are “doing school” at home. We are not.

All of life is education. Home-Education is a much more comprehensive term. We are instilling character,
teaching worldview, developing life skills and growing in knowledge, enlightening the understanding and pursuing wisdom, and this is not happening between the set hours of 9.00am -3.00pm. It is all day and
night, every day, through holidays, sickness, excursions…yes…through all of life!

How can we educate as a family without home-“schooling”?

We need to live life as a family. Yes, it is important (I believe) to structure our days and lives, but real life mustn't be an interruption to our “schooling.” We need to view the whole of our day as a teaching moment. It is not necessarily easy to view interruptions as a part of the plan, (I don't find it easy), but the way in which we handle these times are just as important as teaching Maths. Having another baby in the home is not an interruption!
As a family, we can break free from thinking in terms of school hours and school terms. As we home-school, we need to remember that we are primarily a family and we can arrange our days and holidays to suit our family needs. For many years now, I have worked for 5 weeks and then had a one week break. This enables me to focus on a block of time and plan out a course of work. Then, I can home-school solidly for the next five weeks. If my term was to go for ten weeks, I would find it really hard to keep up with those frustrating bits of housework that stare you in the face. I can keep going with my work for a solid five weeks, knowing that the overflowing cupboard will be dealt with in the next week.
We also need to remember not to measure productivity by “book-work”. Education is not confined to books! Sometimes we may feel disappointed when we do not have a lot to show for our children's efforts, but we must keep in mind that the nurturing and development of character will mostly come about through conversation and discussion and relationship building. The fruit of our efforts in educating our children should not be summed up in a score or a mark or a status or placement.
We do not have to follow a school's curriculum. We are a family. Through prayer, reading and research, we can set our own goals for our home-school and for our children's education. After all, the goals that one sets for their family determines what they will be studying. If music is a priority in your family, a goal you have set, then you will make time, find excellent teachers, and insure practice takes place – all because it is one of your goals. If you want your children to have a solid Christian worldview perspective, then you need to think carefully about what you teach, the materials you use and how the education you are giving displays the Lordship of Christ over all- and over all education. These decisions are for your family.
As a family, we are teachers who care about our children's weaknesses and struggles. It sounds ridiculous, but at times, I have found myself marking work with the aim to find out what my children don't know – and ready to point out their deficiencies without the encouragement and kindness that should accompany my marking pen. At times I thought it was cheating to give my children the tricks and tips to get the right answer. Now, I understand that that is why we are there – we are home-schooling them to be gentle with those who struggle and give them all the tools, tricks and tips to promote learning in their area of difficulty. It also means we are strict with those who are lazy and who do not give their best effort, and we need to look for ways to help the struggler and challenge and excite the child who never struggles. We do this because we care – about them and their character.

So, do we “home-school”?

Yes – we provide an education for our children.

No – we live life and teach through the moments of each day.

Written by Marianne V from

Are you looking for a Guide to help you uniquely design-your-own homeschool to suit your family?s goals, and develop your own individual approach that relects these goals and complements your lifestyle and needs.

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