Homeschool Methods 101: Which One is Best for Your Family?
One of the major reasons many parents choose to homeschool their children is the desire to tailor their education completely. Being able to consider your child’s learning style and staying in line with your educational goals are just some of the areas in which homeschooling offers greater flexibility than other types of schooling.
Homeschool Methods 101 : Which One is Best for Your Family?
Choosing a specific educational style can provide a helpful framework when it comes to planning your curriculum choices. Here are a few you might want to explore. Don’t worry if multiple homeschool methods speak to you. You don’t have to feel like you need to pick one.
According to the classical method of schooling, learning occurs in three stages: Preparing, Grammar, and Dialectic. The classical method of learning dates back to the Middle Ages and was used by some of the greatest minds in history. The focus is on teaching students how to learn for themselves. The Trivium, or five tools of learning, are reason, record, relate, research, and rhetoric. These form the basis of learning throughout the stages.
Favorite Classical Education Books
The Montessori approach is used for a lot for younger children. However, some parents do continue their Montessori journey throughout the schooling years. Montessori emphasizes open learning where the child picks what they want to learn about and what materials they want to use. This approach favors beauty and clean, uncluttered spaces to maximize learning and order for young children. Specific Montessori materials are used in classrooms, but Montessori at home can work without having to own everything.
Child-size real life tools, wooden materials and toys, with minimal electronic use are essential elements of this style of learning.
Great Montessori Books
Some homeschooling families choose to follow the education style pioneered by British educator Charlotte Mason . This style is characterized by an emphasis on real-life learning situations, nature and play, and “living books” – books that make subjects “come alive.” Another key element in the Charlotte Mason approach is favoring narration and writing over traditional test-taking.
Great Charlotte Mason Books
Sometimes referred to as “child-led learning,” the unschooling approach rejects the notion that children must be taught how to learn, instead favoring a style where resources are provided based on the child’s interests. As with any method, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach: children may have more time to become experts in their preferred areas of interest and become more passionate about learning. They can follow their own path and learn about whatever they want. The downside could be, they may struggle with certain subjects and have a hard time if they are required to enter the school system at some point.
Favorite Unschooling Books and Alternative Learning
The traditional method could also be referred to as “school at home.” With this method, parents try to mirror the classroom experience as much as possible, perhaps even setting up a school room with desks in their home. This method relies heavily on worksheets, textbooks, and teacher-led learning. This approach is attractive to parents who want to stay in line with the school system as much as possible – for example, if they plan to have their children return to public or private school at some point.
The Waldorf style of education is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. This approach could be described as “holistic” – educating the child’s “body, mind, and spirit” is emphasized. The arts, music, and nature studies are highly utilized, while textbook use is not common. Older children are encouraged to develop reasoning skills and learn through great literature. Electronic use is discouraged within the Waldorf approach. They also start at a later age and more gentle approach for academics.
Favorite Waldorf Books
Unit studies center all subjects around a specific theme. For example, a unit study on birds might feature lessons such as:
- A Science lesson on bird anatomy
- Reading stories about birds
- Bird Watching
- Making Bird Treats
- Using feathers as math manipulatives
- A History lesson featuring legends or folklore about birds
Unit studies are ideal for families who want to consider their child’s interests when it comes to what is studied. They can also work well for families with children of different ages, since lessons for different grade levels can still work together around the same theme – then be used over and over again throughout the years as children progress. You can think of the unit studies you put together like awesome “hand-me-downs” for learning!
Reggio Emilia is an early childhood education approach to learning. It’s set up for a child or student centered, self-directed way. Reggio Emilia otherwise known as Reggio is based on respect, responsibility, and community through working and learning through exploration and discovery. The Reggio learning environment is seen as the 3rd educator, not just space for children to work.
With the Reggio approach, children build, create and experiment with hands-on materials. The children should be/are supported with their views and work.
An eclectic approach to homeschooling is quite common – with this approach, families can choose what resonates with them from each style in a way that helps them meet all of their goals. This is definitely us 🙂 For example, a family might use unit studies for everything except math. Another family might “unschool” for the most part, but follow a rigorous curriculum for one specific subject. Or maybe you love using aspects of Montessori for your preschooler but do things completely different with your older children.
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Methods Will Help You Pick a Teaching Method Perfect for Your Family
As you can see, there are many ways to approach homeschooling. Keep in mind that most homeschooling families don’t actually follow one approach for all of their children. Feel free to take elements from each approach in a way that works best for you and your family – that’s one of the greatest perks to homeschooling there is! You can do whatever you want 🙂
Other homeschool methods you might hear used are Literature based, Delight Directed and Project Based. Which homeschool method works for your family?
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