Homeschooling: A Student's Perspective
For the third instalment in our homeschooling series, we sat down with 9 year-old Molly to talk to her about her experience of learning at home. Molly hasn’t always been homeschooled. She started out at a Steiner school for a year and then went onto a traditional school for a further three years.
When her parents learned that school was not providing her with an optimum social experience and that she had been receiving less than satisfactory treatment from her teachers, they decided to look into alternatives. Currently Molly splits her time between a local community school and home learning. We had a chat with her about what this set-up looks like.
What does Molly’s homeschooling look like?
If we’ve learnt anything from researching this series, it’s that homeschooling has many different faces and when it comes to transferring education to the home, there really is no one-size-fits-all. But we were interested to know what this homeschooler in particular can expect from a typical learning day. Molly explains that, while no day looks the same and her parents emphasise a flexible approach, structure is an important part of their set-up, even if it’s not as rigid as at her old school.
Molly’s homeschool routine
Molly wakes up every day at 8am and learning begins. She and her parents don’t work to a strict timetable but they do incorporate a routine and aim for broad-brush scheduling to guarantee day-to-day structure. Sitting down and going from subject to subject is not how they tend to operate but there’s always maths and weekly three-hour Portuguese sessions (the family are British expats in Portugal). Sometimes she’s set homework, sometimes she isn’t.
The beauty of Molly's schooling is that it stays away from rigidity, meaning her parents can decide what her learning should look like on a flexible basis according to what they feel would benefit her in the moment.
Molly is a creative and active 9 year old, and a homeschooling set-up means her parents are able to experiment with different ways of encouraging her to engage with less creative subjects, such as Maths. For instance, she loves using the Maths learning app Smartick. From her enthusiasm, it’s easy to see how valuable the freedom to pick and choose resources is, especially with more challenging subjects.
Alongside this, there’s a lot of emphasis put on creative subjects, which Molly thrives in. She particularly loves pottery and ballet, neither of which she was able to study at her old school. Without the commute she has plenty of time for practising the piano and she’s eager to start singing lessons soon.
What is Molly’s favourite part of homeschooling?
For Molly, it’s the simple things. She enjoys learning in a place that’s comfortable and familiar, and where restrictive rules, such as “no eating in the classroom”, don’t apply. She finds it far less boring than her old school and loves that every day is a bit different. As for any potential downsides to learning at home, the occasional unwanted intrusion by pets - namely Coco the cat - comes to mind, but beyond that, it’s safe to say she’s a fan.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Molly! If you’re interested in testing out homeschooling, contact our team to discuss what a home education plan might look like for you. Read about homeschooling from a parent’s perspective here and a tutor’s perspective here.