Many homeschooling parents wonder how much they should mimic the scheduled, routine-oriented structure of public schooling in their homeschooling. Many people hold up the structure of public school as one of its assets, and wonder how they can teach their children to follow similar routines and practice time-management. But is this really necessary?
The Origins of School Structure
The modern school system was designed largely with teachers and employers in mind, not for the benefit of children. In fact, the structured, fully-scheduled workday that schools provide was originally designed to mimic industrial work, to prepare students for future factory labor. In addition, what many educators admit is that even today, though industrial work isn’t the expected end result, modern teaching structures including scheduled classes, projects, tests, and even grades are in place for the benefits of teachers, not students.
Putting Students First
To put it simply, it’s easier to control and manage a large group of students if they all have set places to be, assignments to turn in, times to do specific things, and standardized grading systems to meet or beat. However, as a homeschooling parent, you can actually put your child’s needs first. There’s a reason why young children can take half an hour to do something simple like putting on shoes or getting dressed. There’s also a reason why teens tend to sleep in late. As your body grows, you have different mental, emotional, and physical needs.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can meet your children where they are instead of forcing them into routines and set schedules that were made with the needs of adults in mind. And don’t worry too much about whether or not they will be able to keep up with other students: humans natural crave routine, and your children will be able to learn skills about scheduling, time management, and other important skills naturally as they grow.
How to Personalize Your School Structure
Take time to look up what your children’s needs are according to their ages. Young children can often benefit from looser, more exploratory learning sessions and access to books and toys that let them play as they learn. Older students can gradually phase into learning things during set periods of the day. An important thing to remember is that college, which many homeschool parents worry about, is actually less structured than High School.
In High School, students must follow set schedules that take up every moment of their school day, with specific moments for breaks, lunches, and study. They have very little control over the classes they take or when they enter and leave school. College is different; your children get control over their schedule and can space classes apart, take classes only on certain days, or have them as late or early as desired.
Allowing your children control over their routines is actually going to prepare them better for college and other routines. And remember: it will naturally be easier for your children to wake up for an 8:00 AM job once they have finished their physical development and no longer need to sleep as much.
Homeschoolers can really benefit from student-focused curriculum and less focus on tight schedules that mimic an archaic public-school model. This doesn’t mean you have to throw out tests and grades and projects entirely; these can be useful ways to teach your children responsibility and time management. But remember to take advantage of the natural flexibility and personalization that homeschooling allows. Your children will be more able to handle the rigors of daily life when allowed to grow at their own pace and control their own schedules early.