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Have you considered a homeschool apprenticeship?

Homeschool apprenticeship–I wrote this article for my homeschool blogging site. This article originally appeared on SDAhomeschools.org. You can view the original post at the address below, but I have tweaked it a bit here.


I am excited to share some experiences that I believe will turn your home education journey into a memorable and enriching time–using homeschool apprenticeship!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you use my link, I will receive a small percentage, and you don’t pay any more!

This is the core of my homeschooling philosophy: apprenticeship

Homeschool Apprenticeship is learning at its best–whole-body, hands-on, fully engaged!  This is what our family has been involved in this year, and is total immersion learning.

I wrote this article for our homeschooling blog site, and found that it resonated with many families. Especially with boys, this kind of learning is key to getting the whole child involved and engaged.



First wall going up!

Homeschool Apprenticeship — what is it?

Why would a homeschooling parent want to find out? How could it help your child to prepare for his adult life? I hope to answer some of these questions, as well as give a peek into a homeschool apprenticeship experience our boys have been enjoying recently.

This post will especially focus on our young men. If you have young ladies, take the principles and adapt them to their unique situations and skills.

Consider this statement by John Taylor Gatto, former public school teacher, and now an advocate for a different way of educating.

“Independent study, community service, adventures and experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships — the one-day variety or longer — these are all powerful, cheap, and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force open the idea of ‘school’ to include family as the main engine of education,” John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.

Definition of Apprenticeship

1a position as an apprentice an arrangement in which someone learns an art, trade, or job under another 

  • He obtained an apprenticeship with a carpenter.

So, apprenticeship is just a word that means “learning under someone else,” and is usually thought of as a period of time in which someone with a talent/skill helps to communicate that skill to another. In former days, this was a primary way of obtaining a means of employment, since a higher education was out of the reach of many. You will remember that many famous men served as apprentices — Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Jesus.

I think of apprenticeships as opportunities for our youth to get their hands into a skill that they are interested in. This can help them to see if they’d be interested in doing that for their life work. I also see them as a neat way to experience a new interest in order to gain a talent, which would broaden their horizons. Also, an apprenticeship could be a way to see what a talented craftsman or artist does. This can help youth to decide whether they would want to pursue it or not, in a more active way, since they’d be helping, not just observing.

Present-day Apprenticeships

While it’s true that in former years, apprentices served an average of seven years, this is not the type of apprenticeship I am suggesting, as an active homeschooler. Rather, I am thinking of shorter-term home school apprenticeships. This can help our youth to get a feel for something they’re interested in. It can also be a way to learn a useful skill that could help them provide for themselves. This apprenticeship may or not be what they ultimately do for a career. These experiences could take place over the whole school year, many years, or just a few days or weeks. Long or short, I believe that these experiences will serve an important role in your young person’s educational experience.

“When children reach a suitable age, they should be provided with tools. If their work is made interesting, they will be found apt pupils in the use of tools. If the father is a carpenter, he should give his boys lessons in house building, ever bringing into his instruction lessons from the Bible, the words of Scripture in which the Lord compares human beings to His building,” Child Guidance 355.4.

In our homeschool…

With that in mind, here’s how our current homeschool apprenticeship is happening. Much of this has involved the summer months. As we begin our school year, we will continue our apprenticeship, just working it into our school routine. I’ll be honest — it may take over our school day sometimes, which will mean squeezing more hours in the textbooks on the off days. However, we believe in hands-on learning, so some of the apprenticeship hours will count for electives in high school, and the work/service aspect of our lower-graders.

We chose carpentry as our current area to explore. Actually, it chose us, or fell into our laps. It’s natural to choose what is close and accessible. We’re in a building project (workshop/future house), so what better opportunity than the one in our own backyard? Think about your circumstances when you choose your homeschool apprenticeship.

Here’s what we are doing.

The Procedure:

  • Make up class outline, based for the building experience off the Pathfinder honor in carpentry. (me)
  • Record number of hours worked each week, and have supervisor sign off, and fill out a work experience log report (with space for suggestions for improvement). I made up a sheet that we are using, but am probably going to switch to the one off the NARHS page since it has a grade. (Work Experience Log NARHS one)
  • Record skills learned as they go, on the work experience log.
  • Print pictures for a portfolio. (me)

To wrap it up

In the end, I plan to have the boy(s) write up a paper on what they learned. Since we are not technically in school yet (summer break), I’m not adding this in yet. For each major section or skill, I will have them type up a summary of how it was done. For instance, framing the walls, building stairs, roofing, making the floors/ceilings, etc.

When I originally wrote this article, it was mid-summer. Now, we are almost in April of the next year! This apprenticeship has continued throughout all the year. As a result, we have already learned a TON! Presently, we have a house with workshop at the bottom, framed walls, a roof, and some siding. True–we still have much to finish in order to live in the house, but our boys are gaining confidence and so many skills! But…back to my post!

Our goal

By the time we are finished with the project, our boys will witness and participate in every aspect of taking a standing tree, help with felling it, observe it get cut and milled into lumber, and help with the sorting and drying process. Finally, will have seen (plus helped) that tree get utilized in the construction our building. Pretty awesome to be a part of that process, in my opinion! It’s a true homeschool apprenticeship!

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23 Replies

  1. I think its a great way of adding to your homeschooling adventure! Homeschooling is one of my fondest memories with my children! Thanks for linking up to the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 37

  2. This is a lot like how we engage our boys in learning too. They have all helped out at the sawmill and used those boards to make their own projects. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home.

    1. Thanks for the chance! I will try to see what wisdom you have to share, as being a mother to three Boys is a unique challenge and adventure!

  3. This is truly inspiring – in France where I live apprenticeships are widely available and there are certainly farming type ones and plenty of courses young people can take as part of their higher education. They are so important as we need our youngsters to learn these skills more than ever now. #FarmFreshTuesdays

    1. That’s neat!
      They are catching on here in a small way. But they are becoming more important, as the demand for knowledgeable tradesmen is increasing.

      No matter what our kids decide to do in life, having a practical skill will serve them well.

      I’ll be focusing on practical skills in future articles as well. Hope you can come back!

  4. Congrats! Your post is FEATURED at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 38! Party starts tonight, Wed, June 5, 2019 at 9:00 PM CST.

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️