There are a variety of philosophies and methods you can follow (or not) to educate your children. Families educate at home for a variety of reasons and it’s best to find the way which suits your family best.
Although every home school is unique, certain homeschooling “styles” have become very popular. Most home educators do not follow one style or method exactly. Instead, they select the ideas and suggestions that fit their family and eventually end up with a method all their own. It may take some time to develop your own routine and you may discover that you start out more structured in the beginning and become more flexible and relaxed as time goes on.
Some more information on some popular home education philosophies and methods:
School-at-home is the style most often portrayed in the media because it is so easy to understand and can be accompanied by a photo of children studying around the kitchen table. This is also the most expensive method and the style with the highest burnout rate. Most families who follow the school-at-home approach purchase a boxed curriculum that comes with textbooks, study schedules, grades, and record keeping. Some families use the school-at-home approach but make up their own lesson plans and find their own learning materials. The advantage of this style is that families know exactly what to teach and when to teach it. That can be a comfort when you are just starting out. The disadvantage is that this method requires much more work on the part of the teacher/parent and the lessons are not as much fun for the children.
Autonomous education does not require the teacher to pour knowledge into the child on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling on an “on demand” basis, if at all. This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work. This philosophy does not follow a fixed curriculum.
Unschooling is an educational method，ways and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child. While courses may occasionally be taken, unschooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in the education of each unique child.
The Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling uses rich literature and “living books” rather than textbooks or dumbed-down twaddle. Charlotte was a British educator in the late 1800s and early 1900s who emphasised respecting each child as a person and giving him a broad education. Her approach works with the way children naturally learn and presents a generous curriculum, including nature study, art and music appreciation, and handicrafts, as well as the usual academic subjects. It seeks to “spread a feast” before the child and let him digest what is appropriate for him at the time. And it uses methods that will nurture a love for learning and reinforce good lifelong habits, not just present a body of information.
Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd or Leadership Education) is an educational philosophy and a methodology by which great individuals throughout history have been educated.
Unit studies are a popular homeschooling method because they can be hands-on, literature-based and geared towards anything you would like to study.
Classical homeschooling involves teaching based on the three stages of learning: the Grammar stage, the Logic stage, and the Rhetoric stage. The Grammar stage involves learning facts, memorisation, and knowledge gathering. The Logic stage is when reasoning and logic begin to be applied to the knowledge.
Literature-rich curriculum uses great books as the centrepiece for learning. Where others choose to rely on textbooks and other educational media, we opt for outstanding books and delightful stories that will capture children’s imaginations and instruct them at the same time. Carefully and strategically selected literature serves as the base of the core of a curriculum: history, literature and geography.
Discussion questions and activities centred on these books make for a complete learning experience. Families can use this “core” with children of multiple ages at the same time. They then add other key subjects (Language Arts, Math, Science, Bible and electives) as best suits each child. Some literature-based companies suggest or produce curriculum for these additional subjects that compliments the approach of the core curriculum.
Project-based homeschooling is the same educational values applied to learning at home. It’s about combining personal interests with long-term, deep, complex learning. It is a way of learning centred on making, doing, sharing, collaborating, and acquiring real skills.
If you are interested in finding out more about a particular philosophy, google it or contact us for more information.