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5 Things Prepper Parents Should Know About Homeschooling

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A growing number of homeschooling families are members of the preparedness community and vice versa. Some families choose home education and are introduced to emergency preparedness and homesteading concepts by others in their local homeschool groups and co-ops; some are already involved in prepping and decide homeschooling is the best option for protecting their children during a time of school shootings and political upheaval.

As well, many families who love their public or private schools are very interested in resources for teaching children prior to their school years, during school cancellations, or in a neighborhood one-room schoolhouse post-collapse. Whether you've considered dipping your toe into homeschooling or just want to know more about how homeschooling works, there are plenty of great resources out there if you're willing to look.

#1) We all homeschool to some extent

First of all, it's important to understand that every involved parent is actually homeschooling part-time, whether they realize it or not. Offering support of your children's passions and interests, stocking your shelves with great literature, heading out on family field trips, and involving children of all ages in the work of the homestead are key factors in "life schooling".

There's so much to learn if your family practices a back to basics lifestyle, and there are always ways to integrate each family member's talents and innate skills as both an educational experience and something that serves the whole family. The young child planting beans beside you today may be the one whose farm supports an entire community twenty years from now. The mechanically inclined child (you know, the one who is always taking apart the lawn mower) is the one to involve in research about solar and wind power to make your homestead energy-secure.

Watching for these interests and talents doesn't just help us understand our children's learning styles, which is vital for choosing a method of homeschooling. It also helps us find ways to empower each child as they contribute to the family's preparedness efforts and as they find their way into adulthood and the job market. These habits help lots of families, regardless of children's school attendance.

#2) There's no "right" way to homeschool

Secondly, when examining home education, please understand that there is no one "right way" to homeschool. Every family – and every child – is different, so even two families who use the same curriculum from the same publisher will have days that are unique. Just a few methods of homeschooling include:

Traditional textbook method, which could just mean a pre-packaged curriculum for each child, completed on the couch with a flexible schedule, or a dedicated school space and firmly set schedule and a parent teaching lessons at a whiteboard while the children work at their desks.

Unit studies, where the entire family can join together to study all subjects via a focus on a specific topic, theme, or book/series. These studies can last a few weeks or an entire school year. One example of this is the Prepare and Pray curriculum, which is based on a study of The Swiss Family Robinson and is meant specifically for families who wish to learn survival skills while studying other cultures, learning about farm animals, and reading great literature.

Waldorf (or Waldorf-inspired) programs, which incorporate the teachings of Rudolf Steiner into both education and lifestyle. Families who practice permaculture, biodynamics, and handcrafts, and wish to focus less on formal lessons at a young age, as well as those who eschew media such as television and smartphones for littles, may be interested in Waldorf resources.

Delight-directed learning, or unschooling, often appeals to homesteaders because it creates lots of space for the pursuit of individual interests and the routines of daily life. Pure unschooling would mean letting children pick up skills as they need or want to know them, but many unschoolers, including myself, do not hesitate to bring in a few more formal lessons in certain subjects, especially math for the higher grades. (Daisy unschooled her daughter, too.)

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