Structure is Not a Dirty Word

After much faffing about, managed to tweak Helen’s tick sheet system into a schedule-y thing which might just work for us – so this is what we’re going to try out for the next couple of weeks.

Emily’s Schedule

The idea is that she will aim for 20 items off this sheet each week. Under some of the subjects are suggestions for what the work might involve/which book to use, although she’s free to vary those. None of the items have a time limit except for maths, which is half hour doses. Our subject sessions normally last for anything from 45 mins to several hours, depending on the level of interest and amount of work involved in a task, so 20 of these in a week is plenty.

As a “rule” to begin with, while we see how this works, we decided that no more than 7 out of the weekly 20 tasks would be the more “lightweight” green options, and no more than 2 green options per day. That might change as we figure it all out. The final thing to say in explanation would be that this schedule covers our “working hours”, which are roughly 9.30 ish to 3 ish on a weekday, unless we’re out. Emily can and does, of course, do things like reading, playing games and faffing on the computer outside those hours too – just because those are on the sheet as fun options doesn’t mean she can’t do them in her free time too. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Was quite annoyed in a forum today over a discussion about autonomous education versus structured education. Unschooling doesn’t work for us – not for our family set up, not for the necessity of running a business from home, not for our personalities and most importantly of all, not for Emily’s personality. It suits some families perfectly, and it’s none of my business to suggest that they don’t “get it” or that they should be doing something else instead. Yet I’ve too often been made to feel silly, apologetic, or even a bad parent for doing things our way and “imposing” on my poor, hard done by child.

It’s ironic that the home ed community, which prides itself on being tolerant and welcoming, can be anything but when it comes to styles of education. Some families thrive on free range education. Some don’t. Why is structured education painted as something to pity, something to move on from once you’ve become sufficiently enlightened?

Bah. Perhaps I’m just irritable today. I don’t like being told what I should think. I’m the same with feminism, breastfeeding rights and all manner of other things I “should” support — once the holier than thou attitude emerges it turns me off completely and I find myself irked by things I would otherwise be right behind. I’m aware that many, probably the majority of home educators respect one another’s choices and styles. As ever, however, there’s a vocal minority who don’t. I don’t have a problem with unschooling, autonomous education or sky blue pink education. I do have a problem with anyone who expects me to support their ethos while waiting for me to “grow out of” mine.


About nikkielysian

Writer, astrologer, home educating Mum.
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6 Responses to Structure is Not a Dirty Word

  1. HelenHaricot says:

    think the sheet looks really good πŸ™‚ have to say that lots of ours is shorter, tho SB younger!
    And yes, I am not sure what label to put on our ed, so stuck with child led, as like you, the majority of it is what she is interested in and chooses to do, either for itself, or because its necessary for where it leads to. But i do strongly believe that in the end, most families that are enjoying home ed, have found a style that suits them and their children, and that can be anything really πŸ™‚

  2. Rita says:

    Just wanted to comment to say I agree!! And I’m probably gonna nick that ticksheet idea! πŸ˜‰

  3. nikkielysian says:

    Thanks, Rita. I could rant at (great) length on the topic, but I’m trying to be good πŸ˜‰
    Helen, I’m thinking aiming for 20 on our sheet might be a tad ambitious, if only because everything does tend to take an age. Not that that’s a bad thing (unless it’s maths being dragged out for a whole morning) as it means Emily’s enjoying something or getting into it…but does make it hard to estimate how many ticks are realistic for us. We shall see!

  4. HelenHaricot says:

    if SB spends ages on it because she is enjoying something and doing loads, i offer her more than one tick. doesn’t happen that oft, but do sometimes declare we have done ‘doublemaths’ etc!

  5. Kirsty says:

    Found here from Helen’s blog πŸ™‚

    Love your ticksheets, have tried to come up with something similar for my 2 and trying it out for the first time this week too. Shall try and blog about it later. I think mine will evolve quite a bit while we settle into it and think of other things to put on, but I think that’s a good thing.

    Agree wholeheartedly about the autonomous is best spiel from some people and it making me feel like it’s kind of a guilty secret to have any kind of structure or direction to my kids ed. But no I don’t do groups any more either.

  6. nikkielysian says:

    Hi Kirsty, nice to “meet” you πŸ™‚

    Will look out for how you’re finding your version of the tick sheets!

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