A Day In The Life Of A Home Educator
"Every day is different we can't possibly describe a typical day"
"Learning just happens everywhere and anywhere"
"We are eclectic learners and like to go with the flow each day"
"We're never at home we just bounce from one activity to the next"
"We just found ourselves diving in deep alongside our 7 year old, discussing the mechanisms of nuclear technology"
Having now been a home educating parent for the last 5 years I certainly feel like I have a better understanding of these answers - well maybe with the exception of the last one, I can't say we've really deep dived into anything other than Minecraft and gory History facts (Many thanks there to Horrible Histories!).
|Have a snazzy calendar to fill up with all those exciting field trips!|
At its very essence (and excuse the use of a cliché) the world really is your oyster as a home educator. You can pick and choose what to learn and when, how often, what resources to use, where to go, you can change locations, live abroad if your circumstances enable you to, you can 'deep dive' or 'shallow surf' into whatever topic interests your child, you can drop everything to watch the clouds or dash out into a sudden flurry of snow, you can spend the hottest days pitched at the beach finding rock pools and marine life, technically (although maybe not financially!) you can try anything your heart desires.
So this does make it very difficult to pin point what a typical day looks like, because truthfully those fluffy answers were kinda right, there just isn't one.
You might find there's a cadence to your day, or a rhythm to your week; routines emerge slowly but they're usually there, somewhere, you might just not have spotted them lurking beneath the chaos of everyday life. Unless you're super eclectic that is, then maybe they just don't exist! You gradually discover what your family thrives on, which things immediately destroy the fun and learning, does your child need solid structure and firm goals or is a looser, flexible approach more effective?
Life itself often throws up things that will wreak havoc on your plans making it hard to have a 'typical' day and it has taught me that being too rigid doesn't help the situation. These events can have an impact on how your days run and dictate whether they go smoothly or if they cause friction.
- How well you've slept
- Family frictions/relations
- Major events - weddings, holidays, deaths
- Monthly women's cycles - affecting moods and energy levels
- General energy levels
- Life admin
- Major city/world events - weather, political issues, transport problems
- How well the kid(s) have slept
- Moods in general - we all know the feeling of waking up like a bear with a sore head for no discernible reason, some days are just better than others and that's ok!
And, let's be realistic, everyone just has those days where nothing seems fun, everyone's in a grump for various (sometimes unknown) reasons and doing anything seems like an uphill battle. I know I'm not alone in saying that sometimes we just throw all our plans out the window, microwave some popcorn, grab a blanket and stick on a film. It gives everyone a chance to decompress, connect and relax and sometimes that's just the thing you need for that moment in time.
All this however, probably isn't much help or reassurance to those new to home educating and most likely sounds just as vague as those answers I was turning up all those years ago.
So in an attempt to be remotely helpful I'm going to try and break down what we do each month to show how our average days play out. Hopefully, showing a month at a time will help make it easier to illustrate what we get up to and how those rhythms start to appear. Due to the slightly free nature of home educating it's sometimes useful to see these things over a longer period of time rather than being restricted to a day. It's always difficult to describe a typical day unless you adopt a strict sit down and do school work every morning style of home learning, every day does tend to look slightly different to the other.
|Being flexible means you can stumble across rare moments like this|
So, without further fluff I'll kick off with our monthly routine for March in my next post, keep an eye out for future posts on subsequent months that will hopefully give more clarity and insight as to what a home educating day can look like and perhaps some inspiration as to the variety of activities that being a home educating family can bring.
Ultimately though my best piece of advice is to relax and enjoy the journey (where you can!). It'll be a unique experience for you; if you make it full of fun, laughter and adventure then everything else will just happen around it whether you're wanting to fill their lives with music, maths, science experiments, nature, books you can create that environment!
In a world that's continually striving to personalise people's experiences, it seems about time that education should follow the same route.
I highly recommend these two books for inspiration and advice, they are seasoned home educators and there's a wealth of wisdom in these pages.