There are many was to home educate and everyone is different. There is every approach from autonomous to very structured, Charlotte Mason style, Steiner and Montessori, and everything in between. Many home educators are eclectic - choosing bits from each style to suit their and their children's needs.
We are currently somewhere in the middle. At the moment I am finding whilst the children are young they need, and ask for, more structure. Being an ex teacher I am conscious of not making the home education experience too timetabled and school like, in time I would like the children to work fairly autonomously. However the children have other ideas and actually crave routine and structure. R in particular hates routine change, and they both fight if left too much to their own devices.
I try to add new things into the routine gradually until they become natural. For example as soon as R found out that he could read in his head he refused to read aloud to us. Only by incorporating reading aloud into our daily routine has it become acceptable to him again, but only at the proper (in his mind) time. Having some kind of routine also ensures that we get things done. Without routine it is very easy to spend the whole day playing snakes and ladders!