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Practices in Homeschooling Process

1. Homeschooling gets practiced with flexibility, freedom of choices and variety of approaches / methods

When families make conscious choice of children's growing sans formal schools or not outsourcing children's education / learning to institutions for variety of reasons and in variety of circumstances, such living / growing gets identified through labels like 'Homeschooling', 'Home Education', 'Open Learning', 'Self-learning', 'Unschooling', 'Natural Learning', 'Living / Growing Without School' etc

In the mainstream formal schooling models, most schools follow more or less similar structure & process of having annual grade curriculum / syllabus for academic outcomes and associated textbooks / workbooks and assessments / exams and linear progression through grades with facilitation through teachers.

'Homeschooling' or 'Growing / Living Without Schools' instead offer families more flexibility and freedom of choices. And home schooling families use this freedom to have more flexibility and choice to have variety of individualized / customized homeschooling styles / methods / structures / approaches / practices for learning / education, parenting, growing & living.
These variety of homeschooling methods / styles are practiced to serve different individualities, needs, aspirations, philosophy and contexts / circumstances of different families.

In the practice of homeschooling thus there is flexibility, variety and relative uniqueness in 'When', 'Where' and 'Through Which Medium' learning / education / schooling gets facilitated for children in different families. And many families are doing homeschooling / unschooling / without school living not merely as replacement for school, learning or education, but for them it is conscious, mindful, holistic living / lifestyle choice.

2. Who is teacher / facilitator in Homeschooling?

2.1. Parent Teachers / Facilitators and Tutors / Classes

- In the practice of home schooling in some families parents / guardians become primary facilitator or teacher to facilitate formal academic or informal learning.
- Some families may take assistance of general or specialized tutors or classes or alternative learning centers to facilitate specific academic subject learning or skills or interests like coding, sports, music, dance etc.

2.2. Self-Directed / Self Learning / Unschooling

One may not necessarily need a teacher / facilitator to acquire every learning or skills sought. Human children are innately capable of self-learning. And some homeschooling practices / without school living put more focus and trust on self-learning of children. One such practice is 'Unschooling' where parents do not feel compelled to facilitate learning proactively or as a rule through teaching or teachers or predetermined curriculum, And instead relatively substantially allow self-learning to emerge from within children through natural everyday living. Life / living may become curriculum or syllabus, as learning can happen everywhere, every moment through variety of means and pathways.
Roadschooling, worldschooling through travels also gets practiced by some families.

2.3. Homeschooling Co-ops and Community Learning

- In some locations some families form homeschooling co-ops or communities, and parents in co-op may facilitate
- Study tours, travels may get organized

2.4. Online Home schooling Program Classes and Teachers

In recent years, especially during and after covid pandemic, many remote learning / distance learning / online homeschooling programs and virtual schools have emerged which facilitate / teach through teachers online or recorded classes. Many families join these online home schooling programs / virtual schools, and such practice also gets identified as homeschooling.

3. Homeschooling Curriculum / Syllabus / Pedagogy

- Some families may use predetermined curriculum for homeschooling, some may not have such needs.
- Some families follow existing curriculum & material being used in public schools in the area or specific to their states or countries.
- Some use curriculum / pedagogy like Montessori Method of Education, Waldorf Education, Charlotte Mason etc.
- There are many curriculum / programs provided by private curriculum providers.
- Global / International School Learning or Online Homeschooling Curriculums are also available on internet, which also are used by homeschoolers.

From the above options, home schooling families may choose homeschool curriculum suitable to their needs / philosophy / lifestyle.

4. Homeschooling Structure / Routine / Styles

Homeschooling structures & styles vary from styles which are relatively more 'Structured like a school' to 'Radical unschooling' which questions the culture & structures of schools.

4.1. School at Home Homeschool

Many families structure homeschooling more like a school, albeit at home. Families use the same grade curriculum / syllabus and study material which would be used in corresponding age appropriate grade at school and do the process of subject learning at home. Days and weeks could be structured to do the home schooling at allotted times.

4.2. Unschooling

Unschooling families may not necessarily do subject learning like in school and may not have need for structured learning or curriculum or time tables. Rather than unilaterally imposing routines, structures, rules etc., Unschooling parents / families instead may focus on 'Joyful Living in the moment', and 'Being curious & respectful about the choices and natural drives, rhythms of the child'.

4.3. Relaxed / Eclectic Home Schooling

Relaxed or Eclectic homeschooling families may combine elements ranging from structured homeschooling to unschooling. They may neither practice very formal structures like schools at home nor use radical unschooling approach in every aspect, and there can be flexible, customized approach and structure to suits needs / lifestyle of child & family.

5. Board Certificate / Certification Exams in Home Schooling

Many homeschoolers or their families may have need (and some may not have such need) for (10th) Secondary or (12th) Senior Secondary Board Certificate for certification from a recongnized board for school certication or to be eligibale for college admission or entrance exams for higher education. Homeschoolers prepare and appear for these board certificate exams as open school or private candidates.
For ex in India, most homeschoolers in India appear for exams and take NIOS Open school Certificate or Cambridge IGCSE as private candidate.
For these exams, some homeschoolers may do regular structured learning throughout their homeschooling journey or some may start preparing for exams only 1 2 or 3 years before appearing for exams ie after age of 11-12 years.

Author : Muzaffar Shaikh (Chief Editor, Unschooling parent associated with alternative education, open schooling, homeschool community since 2009)
Last updated : 24 May 2023

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