deschooling, Home-Based Education, Natural Learning, Unschooling

The flexibility of home-based education

In preparing research for my PhD dissertation, one of the participants in an interview made the following statement:

“… over the years we went through times of more flexibility in academic learning.  At times we were less academic, and more kinaesthetic.  In town we sometimes reverted to natural learning.  We went backwards and forwards in methods.  Over time we saw that development of character was critical; the development of godly character.”

This is one of the most powerful features of a home-based education: total flexibility.  Parents need to be deschooled, and that takes time.  The home-based journey may begin looking a bit (or a lot) like school, while confidence is being built.  However, everyone learns together, and if there is constant communication, instruction modes and ways of learning can be trialled, embraced or laid down for a time.

There are many, many ways of teaching that parents can study, trial and consider the benefit of for specific children, for specific learning objectives, for specific seasons of learning.  No one style is better than another, and all of them can sometimes be a wrong fit in a particular context, but a right fit in a totally different context.

Above all else, it has to be kept in mind that the objective is character development.  Listen to the children.  Children love learning, and if they are not loving the experience, work out why.  Is it an instructional misfit?  Are they not ready for that phase of learning?  Are they bored and need a fresh approach to the same thing?  Are they simply having a bad day, and need a big hug, a break from it all, and an opportunity to make a fresh start after a good, long sleep.





5 thoughts on “The flexibility of home-based education

  1. ronald slyderink says:

    ‘Learning’ and ‘teaching’ have always intrigued me. We are multimodal beings able to learn in a variety of modes. I find the best description in God’s word, when we are asked to love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul and body.


  2. ronald slyderink says:

    ‘Teaching and Learning’ continued…..the multimodal holistic model that takes into account our nature and therefore how we function, communicate, act, think, are motivated…We may bring into it other qualities or categories but basically if we neglect any one of the three (heart, mind, hand/body) we are potentially reduced. One of the glaring weaknesses of modern mass education is the lopsided emphasis placed on the ‘mind’ or academic know about aspect of learning and teaching. The best we can say about this is that it leads learners to know verbally (speak, write) about something, whatever the concepts or ideas were revealed and communicated to be. It is basically communicating and reasoning without necessarily applying that knowledge. The other aspect to this is that the knowledge may be false and potentially harmful. Also it may give people the false impression that this constitutes learning, even understanding and wisdom. What educators should say is that this constitutes one kind of learning and maybe it is not what we really want our students to learn. Hence we have other forms of learning which may be more appropriate singly or in combination. ‘Hand’ learning is more about manipulative, techniques, on ‘how to’ knowing and learning. ‘Heart’ learning is more to do with our emotions and motivations and will and values. Together, these are powerful aspects of authentic learning, as they incorporate who we are and what we can do. I will use one example to illustrate. Stewardship. How do we learn and or teach it? We can focus on the concepts which would be more an intellectual academic approach (know what), we could learn the skills and techniques that demonstrate being a steward (know how), we could also focus on motivating ourselves and students to care and seek to interact and make a difference in people’s lives and the environment we live in (encourage empathy and values conducive to acting). Ideally all three components are relevant and should be focused on to teach stewardship effectively and meaningfully. What God wants is our hearts and minds and hands to recognize and value him, to be in union with him as he is not only the source of all we see and can know, he is our Father who loves us and wants to restore and bless his children, and live over and in them. The greatest thing we can learn is to put our faith and trust in God and follow him earnestly as he is the key to everything, to all knowledge wisdom and power. To ignore or reduce God in the way educators have done is not only foolish in knowing how to live in peace and harmony but it is dangerous as God will not be mocked and substituted for. it will lead to our destruction. We need to repent and turn to Jesus Christ and become genuine learners and disciples, sons and daughters of the King and God’s Kingdom, producing fruit which glorifies God and benefits everyone, now and the future. Where and how we do this is not crucial, being under the rulership of Christ is. Leaders including parents need to be right with God and focus on discipling children and young people to learn to know and love God in the context of who they are in Christ, the rest will follow. If God rules the door is open to do great things and have the greatest impact. We can start with ourselves and reach out.

    All praise and thanksgiving belong to our loving God, who deserves all the glory and honor. We adore you Lord, for your grace, goodness and faithfulness! Teach us and fill us with your Spirit so our hearts, minds and bodies are attuned to you dear Father and your Son Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

    Note: I will try and send you my thesis, “Development of a Science Curriculum Focusing on Quality of Life, Sustainability and Stewardship Concepts in Science Learning and Teaching at the Secondary Level.” which addresses questions of learning and teaching from a general and Christian perspective.


  3. Hi Lance, I hope you received the thesis in pdf form either through email or dropbox. I included a model of Teaching and Learning as well as Recommendations for Implementation. There is quite a bit there. I hope it makes sense and you can see its relevance and importance. God was in this. It took me about 10 yrs to complete while I was teaching and Head of Science at Dalby Christian School. Lots of lessons and personal growth. You can pass this on if you wish.

    God bless.


    • Thanks, I have got it. Will give it a read, and maybe blog on it later.

      Really have appreciated your encouragement.

      You are a good friend.


      *Lance A Box Jangala,* PhD (Candidate), MEd (Leadership), BEd, DipT (Primary), DipPCBM, DipBibStuds (Honours), Cert IV TAE, AdvCert LEM Phonics, Cert Spalding Phonics, Cert 4S LitProg, Cert AdultLit.

      On 13 August 2014 22:31, lanceaboxeducationresearch wrote:



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