Many parents who are interested in natural living and holistic health also seek alternatives to public education. We have many options here in the Orlando area, and one of these options is home education. People are often surprised to hear that we have a thriving homeschool community right here in Central Florida!
As a former public school teacher, I really never had any intention of homeschooling. I saw major problems with the public school system, but I didn’t look into homeschooling as an option for my family until my son turned 3 years old. Around this time, all the other children his age seemed to disappear from our local playgroups.
Sending your little one to preschool at 3 seemed to be the norm but it didn’t sit well with me. I wanted him to just be a kid. I didn’t want to see that natural love for learning squashed. (This had been the case for most of my students, and I had also worked with reluctant readers as a private tutor.) I started looking into alternatives to traditional schooling, including the local Montessori schools. After considering all the resources available to homeschoolers in this area and the cost of Montessori school, we decided to homeschool our children using a relaxed, child-led approach that utilizes children’s literature and focuses on real life experiences.
There are many approaches to homeschooling, and I often hear people say that they can’t imagine “sitting and teaching” their child all day. While some do choose a school at home approach, it’s important to note that there are many other more natural approaches to home education. My background is in education and I’m a big believer in the constructivist approach to teaching in which a child plays an active role in the learning process (rather than a passive one). Our day consists of co-ops, lessons, trips to the library, field trips, and lazy afternoons. Parents who use a more traditional approach still only spend a few hours on seatwork each day and have plenty of time leftover for field trips, club events, and more.
Want to know more about different homeschool philosophies? I recommend the following articles:
As previously stated, Orlando is a great place for homeschooling families with many groups, classes geared towards homeschoolers, and exciting places to visit. Here are some of the local groups we participate in, either online, in real life, or both:
OPP-Homeschoolers (a new subgroup of Orlando Peaceful Parents)
I’m also the co-editor of a new homeschool site that reviews all the hands-on learning experiences available to Central FL families. Not sure if homeschooling is for you? Take a moment to check out Hands on Homeschooling to get a feel for what Orlando has to offer local homeschoolers.