Home Educating is a slightly unfortunate term. It’s a misrepresentation of what happens in most family households when they decide to educate their children outside school.
Firstly it suggests that children are isolated at home learning by themselves. This is rarely the case, as you can read in this post here.
Secondly, it also suggests that the home is where all the learning takes place, which is also untrue for most families. The flexibility of home education means that much of the learning takes place outside of the home.
There are ample opportunities for home educators to visit museums, galleries, nature reserves or do field trips, as schools do and this takes some of the learning out of the house. There are also swimming pools, sports facilities and other physical activities like orienteering, wall climbing, ice skating or gyms which home educators also enjoy.
But another aspect of home education that is not so commonly known comes with the understanding that focussed learning, study, research, or most academic exercises, do not actually have to be undertaken in the home. They are also equally effective if undertaken in other venues.
Just as you may see people in coffee shops working with laptops, books, tablets or phones, the learning that young people do with these facilities can also be transported anywhere; library, beach, back of the car, park, other people’s houses, gallery or museum space. There are no rules as to where learning, research or study can take place.
You might think that there would be too many distractions in these other venues, but that would surely also be true of a classroom with the noise of thirty others. And some people work much better with a buzz around them and the stimulation of a fresh environment different to the norm. Home educating families can take their study anywhere which enriches and reinforces it by association.
Another extension of this out-and-about approach to learning is to apply what might be merely academic to the real physical world. Whatever theory children learn needs to be transferable to reality for it to be truly educative. So the physical world is actually a far better place to learn it as it brings meaning and relevance.
Science topics lend themselves particularly well to this idea. For example; rather than studying habitats at home families can take the learning out and experience some. Children can experience the geography of places, or construction, population or the traffic pollution, or what happens to waste by being there. There’s a good example of experiencing history here.
At primary level, so much of what a child is expected to theoretically understand can be transported to real life situations out of the home. For example; the numerical understanding a child needs to grasp can be applied to shopping or saving or anything they see or experience.
There are plenty of opportunities to take learning out of the home and home schooling families do so regularly. Education takes place as much out in the real world as in the home because most learning is actually doable anywhere. And the more variety there is in the venue and experience, the more children remain engaged and motivated, keeping it vibrant and fresh.
So the term home education is rather unfortunate. More often than not it is anything but at home.