9 Homeschooling Methods: Which one is right for you?
May 8th, 2013 posted by Randa Clay
Are you interested in homeschooling, but don’t have any idea how to go about it? Generally homeschooling families fall into one of nine different homeschooling “methods” or some combination thereof, depending on what appeals to and works best for the family. Ask yourself which of these methods appeals to you most.
1. Literature Based Method
Rather than use textbooks, which can be rather dry and uninteresting to many children, literature-based curriculums use “living books” like Charlotte Mason advocated. Students read historical fiction, first-person accounts and books written by people with a passion for their subject. Sonlight Curriculum is probably the oldest and one of the most popular of the literature-based home school curriculums.
2. Computer Based Learning Method
There are many options for homeschooling using the computer, from complete curricula to single courses. Children do most of their work guided by the program and there is less need for heavy parental involvement than with other learning choices. Options include students attending classes remotely, purchasing DVDs or working through a website. This works well for children who like to be able to work at their own pace and use a computer.
3. Traditional Homeschool Method
This approach seeks to mimic a public school setting with compartmentalized subject areas and a focus on public school standards for grade levels. Parents use textbooks, testing and grades and rely on teacher-driven content.
4. Classical Method
A Classical Curriculum includes reading great works of literature and studying rhetoric and logic. Their main goal is to cultivate independent thinkers, and develop great communicators and leaders. Focus is on the three stages of learning (grammar, logic and rhetoric) and often includes instruction in logic, Greek, Latin and the great works of western literature.
5. Lapbooking and Notebooking
Both lapbooking and notebooking are similar to Unit Studies in that there is a focus on a particular concept or theme. Lapbooking allows the student to create an abbreviated “show and tell” of what they learn, while Notebooking carries it to the next level, creating an on-going notebook on a subject. Parents have confidence in the process of learning, and don’t mind if not all of a child’s learning can be documented by a written test.
6. Unit Studies
This method uses a particular theme to teach a variety of subjects. Unit studies incorporate various learning styles and are a good way to teach a variety of ages. You can do so without having to make different lesson plans, as each child completes age-appropriate activities that relate to a topic based on a theme, historical event, science topic, a piece of artwork, etc.
7. Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method
Charlotte Mason was an influential educator in the 19th century who advocated developing the soul and spirit of a child. Her method is literature based, with English and other subjects taught in an integrated way. There is a focus on outdoors and nature, “living books” and fine arts and languages. You can get a complete free curriculum for this method at Ambleside Online.
8. Unschooling Method
Based on the teachings of John Holt, unschooling allows children to take control of their educational choices. Unschooling is student-directed instead of teacher-directed. Unschoolers often take issue with the current, expert-based education system, choosing instead to trust the individual’s ability to guide their own education by following their interests. The focus is on a child’s natural desire to learn as they experience life.
9. Eclectic Homeschooling
Eclectic homeschoolers pick and choose what works best for them and are not afraid to make decisions about what their children are learning or change their mind. An eclectic homeschooler may use one publisher for math and another for science. Or, they may even use a different math for each student. Eclectic homeschoolers are confident that they know what is best for their children and are highly independent in decision making.
You can read more detail about these methods at HomeschoolRoundup.com. Remember that there is no one perfect method of homeschooling, and for the most part, homeschooling will look rather different than public school. The beauty of homeschooling is the freedom to work with the learning styles of our children to grow a love of learning in them.