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Today is the first day in a week-long series of Back to Homeschool Blogging. There are over 70 homeschool bloggers participating in this series.
Along with this series, I am going to be having a giveaway each day of some great homeschooling books- these are all used books that we no longer have use for- and are all in great condition. Be sure to enter these giveaways at the end of the post each day.
The theme for today is Homeschool Methods. I remember when I was just starting to research homeschooling I quickly became overwhelmed. This post is to help you learn a little about some of the different methods, as well as where you can find more info on each of them. You don’t have to choose one style or method- don’t feel pressured to do that! Just find what feels right for you and your family, or take a little of the good from each, like I tend to do!
Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the late 1800’s whose teaching methods included using “living books”(written by someone with a passion about the subject) instead of textbooks, narration, short lessons, the development of good habits, and the study of art, nature and poetry. One of her mottoes was “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” This kind of approach is gentle and flexible, yet still the parent guides the learning process.
You can check out Ambleside Online or Simply Charlotte Mason, to get more of an idea of what the Charlotte Mason home schooling method is all about. Ambleside has a free curriculum guide & outline with book lists, artist, and music study ideas. It is a WONDERFUL resource! I use it a lot for book ideas. I use a lot of ideas from the Charlotte Mason method in my homeschool. I really love her philosophy.
In the unschooling approach the parent offers support, resources and encouragement, and the child leads the way in learning. In this home school method, the belief is that the child will learn best if he is interested and self-motivated. Because the student sets the pace for learning, he may learn things at a later date than the traditional scope and sequence would suggest. However, when a child is ready to learn and motivated, he may very very well be able to catch up and move quickly beyond others his age. It is great for parents who want their kids to follow their own interests and not be tied down to routine and structure. You just create a rich learning environment.
A good book on this topic: The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith. It has been quite a few years since I read this, but I do remember enjoying parts of it.
Unit studies focus learning around one topic for a certain period of time- for instance you may choose to learn about Space- you will focus your reading, writing, history, science, math, etc, all around this theme for a week or more depending on how long you choose to do the unit. In this way, the student is able to make connections between these different subjects and learn the material well. It also helps the teacher not have to prepare as many distinct lessons. Some unit studies are arranged such that different ages of students can study the same material at different levels. Students may also remember information better than in some methods, thereby minimizing how much reviewing you have to do. You can create your own unit studies, but there are lots of great ones already produced online- some free some not. Five In a Row is a Unit Study Curriculum that I have heard great things about. Here are some free ones from The Homeschool Mom. Also Amanda Bennett sells some wonderful unit studies, as well as CurrClick (they also have lots of free stuff on their site).
Based on the philosophy of education used in ancient Greece and in Europe during the Middle Ages, this is a rigorous style of education that views education in three phases. These stages correspond to the development of a child’s ability to reason. Also known as the Trivium. The first stage is when the student learns how to learn and has the ability to memorize many facts. The second stage is when connections are made of the facts already learned. The third phase is when the student is able to use the connections of facts and formulate and articulate his own opinions. Grammar, logic and rhetoric are all important components of the Classical method, as is Latin, usually. This style has a lot of structure and is very academically focused. I pull some from this method as well. I am planning on using a lot of the curriculum from Memoria Press this year which is a classical-based curriculum.
Also Susan Wise Bauer has written some great books- The Well-Trained Mind is excellent!
Or Thomas Jefferson Education is a philosophy based on the books by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, the first titled A Thomas Jefferson Education. This is another philosophy that I have studied a lot and really try to focus on when I need inspiration.
Thomas Jefferson Education uses the seven Keys of Great Teaching as the focus in their method. There are seven principles of successful education. When they are applied, learning occurs for any learning style or interests. Classics, Not Textbooks; Mentors, Not Professors; Inspire, Not Require; Structure Time, Not Content; Simplicity, Not Complexity; Quality, Not Conformity; You, Not Them
TJEd also focuses on these phases of learning:
- Core (birth to 8 years of age): good and bad, relationships, family values, routines and the value and love of work.
- Love of Learning (about 8 to 12 years of age): family reading of classic literature, project learning, clubs, inspiring the kids to love learning and learn a variety of subjects.
- Scholar (approximately 12 to 18 years of age): students study long hours and work with a mentor to refine their academic skills—the emphasis placed a personalized approach to studies.
- Depth, Mission and Impact Phases follow in the older/adult years.
Distance Learning/ Online Education:
This one is pretty obvious. There are many websites that offer full online curriculum. There are lots of options for online learning here are a few that I am aware of: K-12, Time-4-Learning, Compass Learning. We have used Time-4-Learning and K-12 in the past. I am happy to answer any questions about either of those.
School at Home:
This home schooling method bases its model on the traditional idea of a classroom school, with workbooks and textbooks. Learning is usually laid out in a clear scope and sequence. Children are studying material in a similar scope and sequence as other public or private schools. Typically home is set up like a classroom and with the same styles and routines as a traditional school with tests and quizzes, workbooks, and textbooks.
Like the name implies, in this method the parent employs a variety of home school methods depending on the needs of the child. Rather than stick with a single philosophy or method, parents who choose this method tend to take a bit from many sources. I would say that my family definitely falls into this category. I have read and loved books on all kinds of philosophies and feel I take little bits away from each of them making different parts fit for our family. Each child learns differently and things need to be catered to them individually. That is one of the joys of homeschooling. When something doesn’t quite work, you find something that does.
What I love & try to use:
- I love the “Living Books” from Charlotte Mason as well as the art, nature & music study ideas
- The freedom of Unschooling- filling my house with educational items & letting the kids explore them & learn from them
- The routine & studying of ancient classics from Classical
- The theme of “Inspire, not Require and structuring time, not content, as well as the phases of learning from TJEd
- Centering all studies on one theme from Unit Studies- I often try this in an informal way in our homeschool
- The variety from Distance Learning- sometimes we just need a change of scenery or routine & these kind of programs help us out!
Hopefully this will help you in your journey of discovery. It is definitely a journey discovering what works for each individual family. I am still learning a little more each year and with each child!
Have I missed your favorite method? I am always trying to learn more, so fill me in if you have one you think I should know about! 🙂