Growing Up Homeschooled: Photographer’s Intimate Portraits Of Kids Learning Outside The Traditional Classroom Walls

Home schooling children is a very controversial subject. Many people do not understand the thinking behind the decision, and often homeschooling is frowned upon. Rachel Papo has compiled a collection of photographs of children who are homeschooled. She spent two years compiling the collection which shows children of all ages, and in all aspects of their lives.

Mostly Rachel has focused on the lives of the children in an attempt to capture the spirit of the way they grew up outside the classroom. The collection takes a look at children in the classrooms – which may also double as bedrooms, children at play and experimenting with nature, and the children at rest.

The pictures give us a glimpse into the lives and routines of life outside the traditional schoolroom, and allow us to share some of the ways that the children learn. Some parents choose to integrate their children into nature, instead of study it from a book. Children learn to grow up with first hand experience of animals and how they live.

The artist: A little girl draws with chalk on a giant black board in her room which also doubles as a classroom 
The artist: A little girl draws with chalk on a giant black board in her room which also doubles as a classroom

“I chose to focus particularly on the lives and routines of the children, in an attempt to capture their spirit, and the meaning of growing up outside the conventional four classroom walls,” Papo wrote on her Kickstarter for her photo series entitled, ‘Homeschooled’ that can be pre-ordered in book form on the site by pledging $50 or more.

In nature: Photographer Rachel Papo said that some of the families made the choice to homeschool their children so that they could learn in nature as oppose to in a classroom 
In nature: Photographer Rachel Papo said that some of the families made the choice to homeschool their children so that they could learn in nature as oppose to in a classroom
At play: A little girl pays with a hula hoop as her mother and teacher looks on with delight 
At play: A little girl pays with a hula hoop as her mother and teacher looks on with delight
One with the animals: This little boy's parents chose to integrate a wildlife education and practical skills into his daily learning as oppose to sending him off on a school bus 
One with the animals: This little boy’s parents chose to integrate a wildlife education and practical skills into his daily learning as oppose to sending him off on a school bus
Spirit: 'I chose to focus particularly on the lives and routines of the children, in an attempt to capture their spirit, and the meaning of growing up outside the conventional four classroom walls,' Papo says on her kickstarter which has raised thousands 
Spirit: ‘I chose to focus particularly on the lives and routines of the children, in an attempt to capture their spirit, and the meaning of growing up outside the conventional four classroom walls,’ Papo says on her kickstarter which has raised thousands
Alternate to traditional education: 'As the criticism of the U.S. education system grows among parents, so does the appeal of homeschooling. Together with today’s increasingly fast-paced, connected culture, this choice seems an almost natural one for many families, 'writes Papo
Alternate to traditional education: ‘As the criticism of the U.S. education system grows among parents, so does the appeal of homeschooling. Together with today’s increasingly fast-paced, connected culture, this choice seems an almost natural one for many families, ‘writes Papo
Schedule: 'As I was photographing them I allowed myself, for a few hours each time, to escape into their mysterious, magical world – one which emphasizes an embrace of nature in environs that nurture the imagination,' writes Papo
Schedule: ‘As I was photographing them I allowed myself, for a few hours each time, to escape into their mysterious, magical world – one which emphasizes an embrace of nature in environs that nurture the imagination,’ writes Papo
'Though still a controversial and heated topic, the number of homeschooled children in America is growing rapidly,' says Papo who photographed a little boy at play 
‘Though still a controversial and heated topic, the number of homeschooled children in America is growing rapidly,’ says Papo who photographed a little boy at play
Another perspective: ''I devoted two years to my photographic research and the result is a quiet meditation on the home education movement, from the children's perspective,' says the photographer 
Another perspective: ”I devoted two years to my photographic research and the result is a quiet meditation on the home education movement, from the children’s perspective,’ says the photographer
Pious: Some of the families chose to homeschool their children so that they could focus on their religion 
Pious: Some of the families chose to homeschool their children so that they could focus on their religion

The collection shows unique shots of alternative ways that children can learn, with their parents all agreeing that homeschooling is the best method for their children. As criticism grows for traditional teaching methods, these parents agree with the alternative method of education. In an increasingly fast paced culture, this seems a way to slow life down to a point where children can learn from nature.

“As the criticism of the U.S. education system grows among parents, so does the appeal of homeschooling. Together with today’s increasingly fast-paced, connected culture, this choice seems an almost natural one for many families,” writes Papo.

“Though still a controversial and heated topic, the number of homeschooled children in America is growing rapidly. For the past year and a half I have been photographing a small number of families living in the Catskills who practice homeschooling,” she adds.

Nap time: A homeschooled child takes a break from all her studies by taking a little nap in the snow 
Nap time: A homeschooled child takes a break from all her studies by taking a little nap in the snow
Rachel Papo wanted to capture the perspective of the children in all their unique learning and living spaces. Pictured here is a little girl name True  
Rachel Papo wanted to capture the perspective of the children in all their unique learning and living spaces. Pictured here is a little girl name True
Nature's classroom: Those who homeschool their children opt to nurture their creativity by allowing them to learn in nature 
Nature’s classroom: Those who homeschool their children opt to nurture their creativity by allowing them to learn in nature
Music maker: Others chose to homeschool their children so that they could focus on making music or art 
Music maker: Others chose to homeschool their children so that they could focus on making music or art
Silly: A number of parents sought to nurture their children's creativity and their ability to have fun without judgement from their classmates 
Silly: A number of parents sought to nurture their children’s creativity and their ability to have fun without judgement from their classmates

The amazing collection of children and their school activities can also be purchased in book form.

“I devoted two years to my photographic research and the result is a quiet meditation on the home education movement, from the children’s perspective. As I was photographing them I allowed myself, for a few hours each time, to escape into their mysterious, magical world – one which emphasizes an embrace of nature in environs that nurture the imagination,” writes Papo.

Interest: Papo began photographing the families after she moved to Woodstock, New York in 2010 with her husband and her baby daughter 
Interest: Papo began photographing the families after she moved to Woodstock, New York in 2010 with her husband and her baby daughter
Hand-on learning: She grew interested about how each family chose to educate their children outside what is usually considered the American norm 
Hand-on learning: She grew interested about how each family chose to educate their children outside what is usually considered the American norm
Working: Some parents sought to teach their children practical working skills rather than have them learn in a chool environment 
Working: Some parents sought to teach their children practical working skills rather than have them learn in a chool environment
Reading: Siblings read at their home in the Catskill mountains which also doubles as a school 
Reading: Siblings read at their home in the Catskill mountains which also doubles as a school
Cooking: A young girl cooks in the kitchen as part of her home-school education in the Catskill mountains 
Cooking: A young girl cooks in the kitchen as part of her home-school education in the Catskill mountains

Read More: Growing up homeschooled: Photographer’s intimate portraits of children learning outside the conventional classroom walls