Homeschooling is as unique as the children and parents homeschooling. In one family it can look like traditional school classroom with individual desks in a room, curriculum from one of the major publishing houses, and regular recording of grades. In another family in the same local community, it can be a child designing cross-subject projects that combine math, science, history and writing all in one several week unit. In yet another family, children use online courses for math and science, and do unit studies combining history, literature and writing.
We have found as a family that our most rewarding and impactful homeschool educational experiences have been when we have gone out in the community, learned from an expert in a subject, and took it on at home on our own. No “teachers”, no “standardized” curriculum, no daily routine where each day is the same as the last.
Metaphorically in my mind this is the idea of the Aboriginal Australian adolescent walkabout laid on top of modern culture and completed in bite-sized chunks, rather than one long several month period. The goal of the walkabout is to transition a child into adulthood by having them find their way of being in the natural world over a several month period. We don’t live out in the wilderness; we live in 21st century American society, and it doesn’t work to send my children out on their own at 14 to figure out the world. What has worked for us is our children interacting with adults out in the world, adults who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about some subject. That interaction over the years has encouraged and guided them into pursuing their own interests and passions in a purposeful way.
The idea of a walkabout while homeschooling also captures for me all the different ways of “doing school” we have tried over the years. Children change fast and each child has had a preferred method of learning and their own interests, so rarely has the school year ended in the way it began.
This blog is my attempt to capture our homeschool journey – all the things we tried and where we’ve ended up as on this walkabout over the past 8 years. When we first decided to pull our children from public school and homeschool, I spent many a day on the internet searching for inspiration. I hope my experience and perspective is valuable to others and a contribution to the homeschool community wherever it may be..