Many families have decided to live “off the grid,” and there are usually various reasons for that decision. However, this does pose a specific problem: how can families make sure that their children still get an education? There weren’t always many curriculum options, and technology has undoubtedly made it easier for knowledge to be shared. Still, it can be quite challenging to decide on a homeschooling curriculum.
The Internet makes it so that families can truly construct a customized homeschooling lesson plan, which makes the concept of off-grid homeschooling that much easier. However, there are still some very obvious obstacles that will come up in terms of homeschooling lessons.
What subjects should you emphasize? How will you make sure that your children socialize with other children their own age? Here are some homeschooling tips to consider for families that are living off the grid.
Check Local Laws
First and foremost, there are states and cities with very different laws when it comes to homeschooling. Some cities are more rigorous than others when it comes to regulation, and there are countries where homeschooling is entirely illegal. It is legal in all 50 of the United States. However, some different laws and regulations might even vary from county to county. Off-grid homeschooling might be more accepted than it was a decade ago, but families should still research laws and regulations.
There are different laws regarding school curriculum, evaluations, and more. In states like California, there’s a significant amount of regulation around who can teach. You will either have to become a credentialed teacher or hire a tutor, and your child will have to be tutored for a specific amount of time per day.
Some states also require that a child be in some official school setting until a certain age. Other states might require standardized testing of some kind to ensure that children are meeting state education requirements.
Considering Your Budget
There is no question that off grid homeschooling can work for children, but a budget definitely affects HOW children learn. For example, are you simply purchasing as many textbooks as possible, and teaching your children that way? You might be considering project-based learning, but that usually does require more money and resources.
Project-based learning involves students solving real-world problems and learning through active exploration. If money isn’t an issue, you can tailor your homeschooling curriculum accordingly and purchase all sorts of items to supplement learning. You could also pay for museum visits and local events that can help them learn about relevant subjects, for example.
Some families might be able to pool together their resources and create “co-op classes” with other children, and that can go a long way towards saving money on educational resources. Other families can also save money by taking advantage of local events and “freebies” (such as books from a local library, for example). Of course, there are a tremendous amount of free online lessons and resources, as well.
The Right Approach
It should be noted that there are all sorts of different approaches to take to education. You might decide that education should focus on character-based learning, while other families might opt for a more traditional academic approach. Similarly, some families might focus on different living skills.
Let’s say that your family pumps water from a nearby lake for household use. Will you be teaching this living skill to your child, and when will you start? If you use solar panels in your tiny home, will you be explaining solar energy to them early on, and spending time showing them how that technology works?
Many families that live off the grid actually hunt animals for food and grow their own vegetables. It is clear that an off-grid homeschool would teach these skills to children, but will you save that for the afternoon? Is it better to save the morning for more academic lessons, then turn to more interactive and “fun” activities later on in the day?
Of course, there is also the question of how many hours children should be learning in your off-grid homeschool, and what days that they will have “off” to play, relax, etc. An off-grid homeschool can offer plenty in terms of “hands on” learning, but parents will have to figure out how to divide up the time appropriately. Also, homeschooling requires figuring out exactly how teaching changes as children grow older.
Networking with Other Families
Homeschooling can be wonderful, but the fact remains that your children will need to interact and play with other children. It’s a natural part of growing up, but it can be tough for families who live off the grid to ensure that their children make friends and socialize. Families should do everything they can to network with other homeschooling families, as it might develop into some genuine friendships.
Of course, this isn’t just about playing – children can often discuss the ideas that they are taught in their homeschooling lessons, as well. Ideally, you can find families that live somewhat close by and get together regularly so that your children can interact, share ideas, and offer moral support. Homeschooling might make it so that your children don’t see hundreds of other students every day, but you can still make sure that they interact with other homeschooling students regularly.
Make Sure It’s Fun
One of the main reasons that parents turn to homeschooling is because they believe that learning should be innovative, creative, and fun. If you have an off-grid homeschool that ends up being as rigid as a traditional school – it defeats the purpose! You should incorporate any feedback from students to make sure that lessons are as entertaining as they are educational, and make sure that homeschooling lessons aren’t overly boring or tedious.
You should do everything in your power to make sure that your children are excited about learning, and actually learn to enjoy and appreciate their off-grid homeschool lessons and activities. Children are naturally curious, but this will likely require some homeschooling revisions and adjustments on your part.