When first beginning to homeschool, parents often think back to what school was like for them. Unless the parents have been homeschooled themselves (now becoming a greater possibility), they usually imagine homeschooling to be a lot like the traditional classroom-teacher-student model they experienced when they were kids.
In setting up the homeschool, these families enjoy setting aside classroom space in the home, decorating that space with classroom helpers like posters and chalkboards, having invididual desks or tables for the children, purchasing textbooks and other resources, and so on. The intention is to create a traditional schoolroom, only at home.
Families choosing the school-at-home approach may also follow a traditional school schedule, beginning and ending at the same time each day, moving swiftly from one subject to another, enjoying scheduled breaks for lunch and recess, and duplicating the school experience as much as possible. These families often follow their district’s school year calendar, too.
For families with little homeschooling background, or in situations when children have recently been withdrawn from school and homeschool begins right away, this approach is can be very comforting. And, for many, at least at first, it’s fun too.
And though the school-at-home approach is legal and works in many families, it is not for everybody. In fact, over time, families often begin to realize that trying to duplicate a school-like experience at home creates too much artificial pressure, perpetuates a dislike of learning, undermines overall progress, or even reminds them of the reasons they removed their children from school to begin with. The truth is, it’s not really what homeschooling should be like.
So over time, these parents then begin to relax their requirements and reconsider their own notions of what education is all about. And while many continue with the school-at-home approach for the next 15 years, most at some point adopt either a slightly more flexible model or a radically different one to better match the way the family works together.
Whether to follow a school-at-home approach to homeschooling — or going with another model altogether – is always the parent’s decision. Staying educated about homeschooling and the other methods that are available is a good way to remind themselves to constantly re-evaluate their decisions and make sure they continue meeting the family’s needs.
To learn more about other ways to homeschool, check out THIS LIST.