Each family has their own ideas about the best vacation, and so they will for planning homeschooling, too.
Q. I am overwhelmed about all the homeschool options out there. How do I plan what will be best for my family?
A. Have you ever planned a family vacation? One where you need to take everyone’s interests into account, as well as your family budget? Hence, figuring out your homeschool life is a lot like doing vacation planning.
Which sort of family are you?
Are you the sort of family who prefers a vacation package? You love to go on tours where a guide makes sure you miss nothing in the area you go. Every minute is planned, even down time. There is little risk that you will go all that way, and not see every famous fountain or rock formation.
Are you more like the Disneyland sort of family. Just pay to get your family to the resort, and you’ll all just pick and choose among the entertaining options.
Are you the sort that just likes to go on extensive road trips, where the journey is part of the vacation. Although you have a destination in mind, you are willing to take side trips along the way as interesting landmarks appear.
Are you the type of family that just wants to get to the cabin, and just totally relax for two weeks, playing in the water, boating, fishing, hiking, barbecuing, napping in a hammock? Whatever appeals from minute to minute.
Are you the sort of family that wants a challenging vacation. One that stretches you minds and bodies. You want to go to an unfamiliar landscape, strap on your backpacks, and go exploring, meeting the native people who live there.
Are you “staycationers,” and maybe feel that you live in best place on earth? Consequently on vacation you just explore more of what is around you, taking day trips.
Do you see your family in one of these? Can you suggest another? There are probably more examples.
Which sort of homeschool family are you most like?
The Package Deal
This family will probably be happiest selecting a homeschool program or charter school where the curriculum is all planned out, and an instructor is available every day to help you stay on track. Every concept taught to a public school student will most likely get covered. The pace will be intense. Breaks will be scheduled. Your main expense is program fees.
Disneyland of Homeschooling
While someone planned the structure around you, you can still chose what you want to do at any point in time. I like to think on my site like this sort of learning style. I have plenty to offer. You can thrive on the advice and educational links on this site for years, and some have written to me that they have. You find other homeschool families with similar interests and do things with them. Your main expenses are for internet access, and entrance fees.
Some do this quite literally: get an RV and just take off, sometimes having structured activities in the vehicle, but dropping that when some other educational experience pops up along the way. You can do this without an RV, too. Little time is spent at home. Your main expenses are gas and entrance fees.
These are the unschoolers. While a few necessary events may be scheduled, not much is. The whole point is just to be available when the mood strikes to learn something, or just to lie in the hammock thinking. Having time to think and dream is important. Ideas are born, and there is time allowed to make them come to fruition. Your main expenses are hobby equipment and supplies to act on new ideas.
Homeschooling with Challenge
These families want the most challenging curriculum they can find, and their children thrive on such challenges. They don’t want the package deal because it isn’t flexible enough to allow their child to focus on their gifts. They locate mentors for their children so they can learn from many people. They set goals for themselves, and delight in path they have set for success. Your main expenses are for hefty text books, and saving for Harvard.
These families just love the familiar. They figure that they have all they need right at home and in their town. No need to involve strangers. They’ll design their own curriculum, cobbled with things around the house or borrowed from the library. Not to say they are unfriendly. They’ll probably be active members of their local homeschool group. Your main expenses are for educational stuff to have around the house, and food for all the friends coming over.
Family vacation plans change as children get older, and so will homeschooling planning also change through the years. Most likely you won’t take the same sort of vacation year after year, and nor will you homeschool identically each year. Your child’s needs will change. Your energy level will change. Your income might change, and you’ll probably need to adjust.