Since every child is different, every home schooling education is different, and this is in fact especially valid for home school educated children, since many children start to learn at home precisely because of their individual needs. However, there are distinct routes to home teaching a child, some more structured than others. For most families, the style of home education that a parent (or personal tutor) will depend on whether a formal curriculum is being followed, and this factor itself will often depend on whether a child is studying for formal qualifications like GCSE’s.
If this is the case, a timetable which clearly lists when and what subjects a child will learn may be necessary. Other parents choose a less organised scheme of learning; this might be particularly useful for older children, with awaked senses of educational curiosity. This articles discusses the options.
Independent LearningSome parents and children opt to follow an educational route (although the term ‘route’ sounds more organised than the concept it describes!) known in America as unschooling. This is where children gain much of their education by studying alone, with parents providing help only when their children ask for input.
This type of learning is very child centred, and is more usually elected when a child has never attended school and seen first-hand the structure of education. This is often a popular method of learning for the period once a child has become used to learning at home, since a child who has left school might feel bewildered by the contrast between a school education and entirely independent learning.
Parents should think carefully about selecting this route, since it will only suit certain types of learners who will usually have a great deal of self-motivation. Other children might use their ‘education time’ for exclusively playing games on the internet, or watching television, for example, focusing too much time on too few activities. While activities like the internet and TV obviously do have some benefits, they are too narrow to provide a rounded education for a child and should be incorporated with other types of learning activities.
A More Structure-based, Timetabled Education
Another method of home education is providing a learning structure through timetables. Some children appreciate their education when there are clear targets such as completing a whole-day timetable, finishing a workbook and having his or her work marked. In this method of learning, it is important to retain a difference between school time and non-school time, for example not working on weekends. Most home-schooling teachers also like to have ‘school holiday’ time when mainstream schools do, too.
One of the best features of home teaching and learning is its flexibility, so remember that you do not have to stick to one ‘method’, such as a structured lesson plan and curriculum, but have alternate, for example having more formal learning time in the morning and independent-style learning in the afternoon. See other articles on this website for more specific educational philosophies and sample routines.