At the moment my eldest son is 4.5 and has never been part of any institution such as nursery or school. We have chosen this because we have seen how well our son learns without being in school and we enjoy him being around at home. We have also made our lives more simple and have made it so we can work around the children. It’s working really well for us at the moment, but one thing is that everywhere we go people ask him “have you been to nursery/ school today?” or “which school do you go to?”. He’s very good and just answers “I don’t go to school.”. I then never really know what to say, but usually tell people he is home schooled and then feel I need to explain and validate it to them.
I have been thinking though I am now going to say “he is educated out of school”. This is because we don’t do home school, we don’t sit at home all day doing lessons and pretending we are at school. And I don’t like the quite popular term ‘unschooled’ as to me it kind of sounds like they are uneducated.
I like educated out of school because that is exactly what is (kind of without trying) happening in our family.
My son learns when we go to the shops and do errands, when we go on our various play dates and to various playgroups/ ‘home-ed’ groups/ clubs each week, in the car when we drive past lakes and mountains and get into conversations about the earth and how things form. He learns by spending time with family and friends and seeing the different jobs they do. For instance my dad is a builder and he gets my son involved with various projects now and again. His other grandparents own the hotel we live in and my husband works in and he helps with various jobs such as laying tables and pool maintenance. He learns by playing with his lego and helping me cooking and baking. He learns from his storybooks each night. He learns how to write when he see’s us writing cards or lists and wants to do the same. And he learns through watching me caring for his little brother and through my relationship with my husband.
Most importantly he is learning who he is, what he enjoys and has time to do what he is passionate about.
I think we often think that education needs to be from a set curriculum but we forget that before school and after school we learn in the most natural way – just from living life, having an interest in things and finding things out as we go along. This works so well for toddlers and also for adults so why not for children too?