Many families have an image of what homeschooling looks like.
But here’s the thing…
There is MORE than ONE WAY to homeschool!
Homeschooling is NOT a one-size-fits-all model.
Not at all!
Because different personalities learn best using different methods. What works for one family might not work well for another family.
This is actually GREAT NEWS!
Because this means that you have countless options. You have the freedom to create the flow of your days. And you have the ability to focus on the learning styles of your family members.
But how do I know where to start?
Where do I track down legitimate information?
How in the world am I going to learn about all of the different approaches?
These are great questions! Believe me, I know how overwhelming this whole new-to-homeschooling thing can feel.
But don’t despair!
I will be providing you with information on some of the most commonly used homeschooling philosophies. And this snapshot will help you figure out which approaches will work best for your family.
So read on to see what resonates with you!
The Main Types of Homeschooling for You to Consider:
1. Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason was a 19th-century homeschooling pioneer. She believed that children learn best using short periods of study. She emphasized the importance of nature, journaling, history, memorization, and narration.
The Charlotte Mason approach is rooted in Christianity and usually includes Bible study. Also, instead of reading textbooks, “living books” are preferred.
Now please don’t let the term “living books” scare you!
This is really just a fancy name for books that are considered to have high literary value. Some examples are stories with moral lessons, classics, and biographies.
Interested in more information? Check out the following:
Simply Charlotte Mason: https://simplycharlottemason.com
2. Classical Education
The classical approach is based on something known as the Trivium.
Sounds intimidating, right?
Well, please don’t worry, it’s really not that complicated. I promise.
The Trivium includes three stages:
- Grammar (elementary school)
- Logic (middle school)
- Rhetoric (high school)
First comes the Grammar stage. This serves as the foundation for the entire educational model. This is when students are learning tons of facts and data. There is A LOT of memorization involved during this time.
Next is the Logic stage. The main focus becomes critical thinking which builds upon the foundation created in the Grammar stage.
Finally, the Rhetoric stage is implemented. Self-expression and rhetoric are the main focus. And the Socratic method is used, which encourages discussion and debate.
Throughout all three of these stages, instruction in Latin and/or Greek is usually prioritized. Additionally, great importance is placed on teaching a biblical worldview and teaching history in chronological order.
Want to learn more? Head here:
The Well Trained Mind: https://welltrainedmind.com/
Classical Conversations: These are Christian based communities located worldwide. If you are interested in this philosophy, there is a strong chance that a Classical Conversations community is located near you. https://www.classicalconversations.com/
The eclectic approach is all about variety and flexibility. Families pick and choose from several different homeschooling methods and resources. A lot of time is dedicated to topics that the student finds interesting and engaging.
Does this pique your interest?
As you can imagine, there are COUNTLESS resources available for eclectic homeschoolers. The best way to decide if this is the path for you is to review all of the homeschooling methods covered in this post. And make sure to visit all of the links I’ve provided too.
The physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori created this approach in the late 1800s. Throughout her career, Dr. Montessori studied children in various learning environments. As a result of her observations, she determined that children learn best when they are in environments that promote exploration and independent learning.
Using the Montessori approach, students select activities they find interesting. Then they work through these activities at their own pace. Self-discipline and cooperative learning are encouraged across all subjects. And while this method was originally developed for small private schools, it has also been adapted for homeschooling use.
Want to learn more?
North American Montessori Center: http://www.montessori-home-schooling.com/
5. School-at-Home (a.k.a. “Traditional” Homeschool)
The school-at-home or traditional model often uses the same curriculum as the local public or private school. The only difference is that the coursework is completed at home. This is usually done independently and administered by a parent or offered through an online school. Due to the highly structured nature, comprehensive curriculum packages are usually arranged by grade level and completed during the school year.
Interested? Look this over:
K12: http://www.k12.com/ (An online school)
6. Thomas Jefferson
This approach comes from the book “A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century”. This book was written by Dr. Oliver Van DeMille, who serves as President of George Wythe College.
George Wythe was an 18th-century teacher. He developed an educational method strongly against any prescriptive form of education. Priorities are daily family learning time, reading, discussion, journaling, and plenty of free time. The implementation and study of classic literature are also very important.
Using this approach, parents serve as a mentor. They assist their child in achieving their individual goals.
Curious about this? Take a peek:
7. Unit Studies
The unit studies approach dives into one specific area of interest. This area is then incorporated across all major academic subjects. Let’s say your daughter is obsessed with baking. A unit study might incorporate fractions and decimals, metric and customary measurement conversions, chemistry, and the history of baking.
Consequently, the result is total immersion. And since the student is already excited about the subject, this is usually met with interest and enthusiasm.
Interested in learning more? Here are a couple of great sites:
Five in A Row: http://fiveinarow.com/
Homeschool Share: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/
This philosophy is based on the work of homeschooling pioneer, John Holt. Holt began his career in the public school system but eventually became disillusioned. He determined that children learn best when they are self-motivated and interest-led.
Parents provide lots of educational opportunities using the unschooling approach. But they never force their child to learn anything. Instead, they act as a facilitator, trying to nurture interests as they arise. The belief is that skills are learned best through direct life experiences.
Because of this unstructured approach, traditional curriculum products are rarely used. Instead, when a child shows interest in something, parents provide a variety of resources. Typical and effective methods of learning are games, outings, art projects, reading, and hands-on experiences.
Does this look appealing? Check these out:
Unschool Rules: UnschoolRules.com
John Holt GWS: https://www.johnholtgws.com/
The Waldorf method was introduced by Austrian educator Rudolf Steiner. Steiner outlined this philosophy In 1907 in his book, “The Education of the Child in the Light of Spiritual Science”. And while the Waldorf approach was originally created for use in small private schools, many homeschoolers have successfully used this approach at home.
Steiner believed that children learn in specific 7-year cycles. These cycles determine what a child should learn and when depending on the current developmental stage they are in.
For example, formal education is delayed until age seven. This is when reading and writing instruction is introduced. Before age seven, arts and crafts, music and movement, natural science, spirituality, and group socializing are the main focus.
Does this sound intriguing? Head here for more info:
Waldorf Homeschoolers: http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/
Christopherus Homeschool Resources: https://www.christopherushomeschool.com/
As you can see, there are many homeschooling options! I encourage you to take your time exploring these different approaches. It really is the best way to discover which methods you find most appealing.
My hope is that these brief glimpses I’ve provided will leave you feeling inspired and motivated. I want you to discover what will serve your family best in a straightforward and simple way.
For more information on getting started with homeschooling, head over to my Homeschooling FAQs and Covering Your Legal Bases posts for more helpful tips. And please let me know if you have any other questions. I am always happy to help!
Is there a specific approach that interests you? Do you have any questions about any of these methods? Let me know – I’d love to help!