As more parents make the decision to move away from a private or public school setting, there are a myriad of choices on how to do it. For parents who are just embarking on this homeschooling journey, it may seem a bit daunting to try to figure out all the different methods that abound. The important thing to remember is that your number one priority is that your child’s education gives them the most opportunities to excel.
When it comes to understanding the difference between homeschooling, roadschooling, worldschooling, deschooling and unschooling, keep in mind that “homeschooling” is an over-arching term for all styles of home-based teaching. De-schooling is a process of transition between a traditional school setting and a home school setting.
While it is important to know and understand the different styles so you can choose what is best for your family, don’t get hung up on what the learning method is called. After all, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So, whether you’re homeschooling, road-schooling, or world-schooling, just make sure your home education method meets the needs of your student and spurs your child’s interest in life-long learning.
Usually done at home. The parent(s) are the primary teachers and they cover a host of subjects following a curriculum they create themselves or a professional homeschool curriculum obtained from other sources or a distance education school. Parents may also hire a tutor for some subjects, especially as the students get older or find an interest in something that the parent’s expertise doesn’t cover. Or the parent may decide to learn with their son or daughter. Support groups are another part of homeschooling. A good one will offer various classes and the children may go to learning groups for that. They may also work together to take the children on field trips to various facilities around their area.
*Remember* The term homeschooling can be used to refer to all forms of curriculum, learning styles, and teaching methods. Roadschoolers are homeschoolers. World-schoolers are homeschoolers. . . and all homeschoolers transitioning their son or daughter from public school to home school will have a period of deschooling.
A lot of parents are digital nomads, a term that has come about for those who work exclusively online and so can spend time traveling the country. These families utilize road schooling as a term used to describe teaching their kids while on the road. Road-schooling can also be used by traveling workers—from nurses, to oil rig crews, to campground hosts, and many other professions where short-term help is needed.
Many roadschoolers travel in recreational vehicles and converted buses or vans. In addition to the “three Rs”, children have the opportunity to learn about the area in which their family temporarily resides. Schooling on the road comes with some complications, and special attention should be taken in regards to state laws and how to enroll and remain compliant. There are support groups and plenty of advice on how to handle the mobile situation and the particulars of this style. Many traveling families meet up at preset festivals and other rendezvous spots, and may even travel or park for a while in a group so children can interact and learn social skills and get in other activities that wouldn’t be able to be experienced outside a group setting.
This is similar to roadschooling, except the world is the student’s classroom. Many parents who travel overseas to different countries for their jobs take their children with them. Rather than depend on the traditional school system (if there is one), which can be unpredictable depending on the part of the world, parents opt for home education. In addition to standard math, science, and English skills, children learn about different cultures, languages and celebrations. Parents can incorporate whole unit studies on local customs, different religions, ethic food, and such. Kids can have hands-on experience about places many of us have never seen, which brings a whole new dimension to education. In this situation, there may even be a support group of like-minded individuals from the same or other countries who are teaching their children.
Deschooling is the transition from a public or private school system to the more intimate setting of learning at home. This is an important step in the process of homeschooling, and it takes time. The deschooling period can vary. In fact, it is unique to each child. It isn’t unusual for this process to take months. In fact, the longer a child has been in school, the longer the deschooling process will take. There is a significant difference between a classroom setting and attending class in a family environment. One of those changes is the time it takes to cover each subject. Children may feel uncomfortable in what seems to be a less structured environment. Even if parents set up a structured setting, there will be fewer distractions, so classes will often take less time. This means that children may have more time to themselves.
Even though they are used to interacting with other students in their age group, some kids may feel strange or apprehensive about meeting and joining in with other homeschooled children.
Whatever the emotional and structural challenges, it’s important to be patient. Deschooling is all about making the transition as easy as possible. Talk to your child about why you chose homeschooling. Assure them that their grades, their curriculum, their less structured environment is mean to be comfortable and to help them attain a better education than you feel they would have otherwise. They need to know you have good intentions and will help them with the transition no matter how long it takes.
If you have removed your son or daughter from school because of a problem such as bullying, understand that they may need to spend more time with you or their siblings. This is normal. When taken in stride, deschooling can help family members gain life-long trust in one another and bond in a way that actually enhances learning in the long run.
To allow the child to learn in their own way, following their interests to a conclusion. Many children do well with this natural learning method, because it incorporates a child’s interest and allows them to imbibe the world around them organically as they pursue something that fascinates them and holds their attention for a while or even for life. They become “expert” in the interest, absorbing as much as they can about it over whatever period of time it takes them to educate themselves. This style usually works best for children who already know how to read and write, although that is not always the case. The parent will have to act as a guide so that the learning isn’t one-sided. There are many ways to incorporate an interest into each of the subjects being taught. While the interest may not cover all the subjects, it will generally be within the purview of a few.
With so many different approaches, parents may find themselves doing a combination of several styles as they settle into the teaching of their children. Since the child has the undivided attention of the parent(s), it is much easier to get to know their interests and help them to explore new things. There may be days or weeks when there’s only one subject as the child follows an interest, and then other days and weeks where an eclectic assortment of experiences and learning happen to cover other subjects. There is no right way or wrong way to teach your child. You will work together to find the system that works best for both of you. Learning is lifelong, and if you keep that in mind, it’s not so difficult to see every experience as an exciting way to absorb what is being presented.