When we decided to homeschool I was absolutely overwhelmed with the different homeschooling methods out there. I felt like I needed to pick one method and stick to it without wavering, but I couldn’t do that. I found so many pros in each method that I really wanted to mix them up. We chose the eclectic route because of this. Christine Allen has done a great job with this article describing the different homeschooling methods and how they can be combined.
What Are the Different Homeschooling Methods?
When parents decide to start homeschooling, they sometimes find it hard to choose the most appropriate method. No wonder! There are so many of them and each one seems interesting enough to try.
Let’s start with the most obvious method: the traditional one. It doesn’t differ from ordinary schooling at all. You teach your child using textbooks, workbooks, and teacher’s books, assign them homework, and run tests. This method is probably the easiest to try, as many parents know its principles well.
The main benefit of such method is its structure. You’ll always know what subject should be taught next and your child will be better prepared to traditional college or university education.
The Classical method teaches children in three stages that are called the Trivium. When children are still young (ages 6-10), they enter the Grammar stage, which is all about concrete thinking. During this stage children memorize different basic rules and facts about various subjects. The next stage is called the Dialectic one and is meant for older children (ages 10-12). It is focused on analytical thinking and includes lots of logical discussions, researches, debates, and thesis writing. Then starts the Rhetoric stage suitable for the older children (ages 13-18). It is focused on abstract thinking and includes lots of tasks that help students learn how to present and reason their point of view in the correct way.
The Classical method includes studies of Latin and Greek languages, classical works and literature. That’s why it allows your child to learn more subjects than traditional schooling offers and to become more thoroughly educated.
Maria Montessori, who was a founder of this method, believed that children need to learn through all five senses. That’s why Montessori method is all about choosing activities that children like the most and letting them learn at their own unique pace. There are no textbooks or traditional lessons. Children are free to explore the world using special Montessori materials, to go on field trips, to do research, to create art projects, and so on. These materials are quite expensive, but it is possible to find parents using this homeschooling method in the neighborhood and borrow some materials from them.
Montessori method can be taught at home, in school and even in small groups, so if you think that your child needs company, you can always combine ordinary homeschooling with group one.
Unit studies method.
This method is focused on different topics: you choose a topic with your child and try to incorporate all main school subjects into it. For example, your child is interested in dinosaurs: this means that you’ll have to teach them about history periods and facts related to dinosaurs (history), about the types of dinosaurs (biology), about how to calculate their weight (math), read books about dinosaurs (literature), and so on.
This method is really fun and interesting for a child; however, you’ll have to do a lot of research and be as creative as possible. After all, the process of incorporating school subjects into a very specific topic can be tough.
Unschooling allows a child to learn through things that interest him: starting from hobbies and games and ending with household responsibilities. Basically, this method depends on a child a lot. Parents educate them basing on their desires and interests at the moment.
Unschooling is considered quite a controversial method because it doesn’t have much structure. However, this method can always be changed or combined with the others. Moreover, it is very fun for a child who is curious by nature. Children not only learns traditional subjects but also builds different useful skills (social, for example).
Charlotte Mason method.
One of the most interesting homeschooling methods. Charlotte Mason believed that children have to learn from the best. That’s why she gave them books written by famous authors instead of ordinary textbooks. These days such method is focused on humanities mostly. Children read poetry and classical literature, focus on crafts and fine arts.
This method is good for children as they receive all necessary core information and at the same time have enough time to enjoy and discover life.
There are many other different methods too (for example, a Principal one, which applies a Christian viewpoint to homeschooling process), which can be used in certain circumstances. However, the most important thing is that you don’t have to stick to one method if it doesn’t seem right to you. Actually, most of the homeschooling methods can be easily combined with each other: this is called eclectic homeschooling method. For example, you can choose a traditional homeschooling system and combine it with the unit method. Your child will listen to lectures and do their homework, but all this homework will be related to the picked topic (dinosaurs).
Choose those methods, which seem the most effective and right to do, and think about how you’re able to implement them into homeschooling process. We wish you good luck with that!
Christine Allen from Chicago, USA, is young writer and blogger. She believes that you can get everything that you want. You just need to be sure in what you really want and be patient. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+.