An educational philosophy is a personal statement of the guiding principles about education-related issues.
Our home ed life is quite split – sometimes we’re structured, other times we follow a more unschooled approach. If I had to be honest about it, I’d say we’re structured between October and May, and unschooled when the weather gets better between April and September! The fact that we live on an Island that comes alive with tourists and activity in those months giving us a lot to keep us busy probably has a lot to do with it.
It’s all education, either way, just less structured.
As a single, self-employed, home educating parent, I am always aware that circumstances might change and the children could have to go to school with very little notice, so while I don’t follow a school-at-home approach I do keep an eye on the national curriculum and during our ‘structured’ months, use it as a guide to influence what activities we do. If a visit to a planetarium isn’t on the curriculum, but we have the opportunity to go, we do, of course, go anyway, but if we’re not really sure what to do, we’ll have a look at what’s on the curriculum – for example Anglo-Saxons – and do some exploration and learning around that topic.
A lot of our learning happens through the medium of books and stories – you can see many of these on our old blog – I find having a general theme – i.e Winnie the Pooh, or Peter Rabbit, prevents me from spending whole evenings on Pinterest trying to decide what to do the next day.
There’s another reason we follow the curriculum loosely: Ameli, the nearly 8-year old, really likes having some structure. She thrives in it and relishes it, and during our unstructured times, actually asks for it. She doesn’t love doing endless worksheets (who would?) but likes having a folder available that she can reach for at any time, with stuff ready to go. She’s even downloaded a ‘school bell’ on the phone that she can ring before doing the worksheets she feels like doing.
But that’s the beauty of education at home for the children – they can do what works for them, what engages and inspires them, and we can provide a little bit of everything allowing them to grasp on to what catches their attention and take it further.
And for me, the beauty of education at home is that they can learn everything their piers are learning, but in less time, in less hours, and for the rest of the time they can play, read and imagine, and simply be children.