I think you can officially call yourself a homeschooler when your child is at the age of legal, compulsory school attendance and is not attending a private school or public program (there are public school run and operated school-at-home programs).
My oldest was the last one to see a traditional, daily classroom and we pulled him out as he would have entered his Pre-Kindergarten year. We did it more out of necessity than any statement against a system per se. There wasn’t a good placement for him. A teacher I respected told me that my concerns about the available options were very valid, and that if we could swing it financially–we should keep him home. We did.
My oldest would now be entering 5th grade. We’ve gone from “daily work” to fully unschooling. We’ve had years of being what looked “overscheduled” to some and years of what looked like “doing nothing” to others. There have been physical challenges (health, relocation) and there have been emotional challenges (PTSD, adoption issues). There has been some testing (physical, emotional, cognitive) and lots of experiences. We’ve learned a lot.
What faces me now is that I need to be educating my kids differently and in a way that I’m not really accustomed to doing. We need to be doing more rigorous work for my oldest and we need to have a fairly full schedule or none of us functions. It’s a balancing act. Wait–that’s a lie: I actually know very well how to educate in this manner because I’ve done it both in the public schools (high school) as well as in a technical school. I just don’t love it as a means of educating in general. But that is the mode my oldest is seeking–in no uncertain terms.
So, the oldest and I chose the era of history to focus on for the next year; and the lessons I bought about “worldview” and calendar creation arrived. I feel like I need to educate my kids (or at least my oldest) about things that affect how history is recorded so he can better analyze what he’s reading and try to filter through potential biases.
It’s been a rough start. I’m blogging about it (when I remember… and to vent and reflect). I am committed to child-led learning. We do what the kids want to do and weave the rest in as opportunities arise; and since we’re with our kids more often, we have more opportunity to weave in “the rest”.
Currently I am finishing my draft of an e-book to help parents sort out what they want for their children’s education and how to evaluate environments or situations that would provide those learning opportunities. Be sure to join my mailing list to be notified when that e-book is published.