Homeschooling Methods: From Charlotte Mason to Classical Education

Homeschooling? Unschooling? Charlotte Mason? Waldorf? Part-time? Full-time? The variations within homeschooling can be overwhelming. But don’t worry — it’s not as scary as it first seems.

Consider these common curriculums and educational philosophies used by homeschoolers. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but does cover many major programs and should help you feel more comfortable deciding what kind of homeschooler you are.

Unit Studies

In unit studies, one subject is intensely focused on at a time. This can teach the ability to both compartmentalize and synthesize information. Examples are doing an in-depth study of the presidents of the United States, or spending the month before a vacation to the ocean studying the sea and weather patterns. Unit studies can also use a child’s interests to study a broader subject; for example, studying fashion trends through the ages in order to see how major events in history affected day-to-day living.

Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason method is based on the work of British educator Charlotte Mason. She believed that “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” She believed that atmosphere makes up one-third of a child’s education, that cultivating good habits makes up another third, and that children should be taught living, practical ideas rather than dry facts.

Waldorf

Waldorf education aims to educate the whole child, “head, heart, and hands.” Waldorf tries to encourage a genuine love of learning in each child and incorporates arts and activities to create students who are able to create meaning in their lives without external help.

Montessori

The Montessori method focuses on student-directed learning that aims to support a child’s natural way of learning. Montessori involves one-on-one attention and teacher observation and emphasizes all five senses rather than just the visual and auditory senses used in reading, listening, and watching.

Multiple Intelligences

Multiple intelligences education is based on Dr. Howard Gardner’s eight areas of intelligence and learning styles: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Each individual has strengths in one or more of these intelligences, and the multiple intelligences method involves discovering those strong areas and teaching through them (for example, a student strong in bodily-kinesthetic, or touch-related, knowledge will be most likely to learn by doing, whereas a linguistically-strong child will learn best through reading, writing, and playing with words).

Classical Education

Classical education utilizes three age groups or learning periods, called the “grammar period” (which focuses on the building blocks of education, memorization, and and rules of basic math, phonetics, etc.), the “logic stage” (when cause-and-effect relationships are explored and the child is challenged to ask “Why,” engage in critical thinking, and synthesize ideas), and the “rhetoric stage” (when the student learns to use language to clearly and powerful explain his/her ideas, and begins to focus on areas of knowledge that draw his/her interest; this stage can sometimes involve internships, apprenticeships, college courses, and other forms of higher/specialized education).

Thomas Jefferson Education

Thomas Jefferson Education, also known as “Leadership Education,” also follows three periods: the “foundational phases” (which focus on core values and love of learning), “educational phases” (which teach study skills and discipline; at this stage students engage in a mentor-guided program such as an internship or setting and reaching a personal goal), and “applicational phases” that exist after formal schooling and last the rest of the student’s life (during which the student focuses on contribution to community, and acts as a mentor or community leader). Thomas Jefferson education focuses heavily on love of learning, commitment to values, and seven keys to great teaching.

Accredited Curriculum/Long-Distance/Internet Schooling

This type of homeschool, sometimes referred to as “public school at home” is highly structured and uses state-approved curricula that mirror the curricula being used in public schools. The parent acts as teacher and there is usually a satellite teacher or mentor that the student reports to. Examples include K12.com, LUOnlineAcademy.com, and various university-affiliated high school programs such as Penn Foster High School and BYU Independent Study.

Delayed Schooling

This type of schooling follows the belief that children are not ready for formal schooling until the ages of 7-9. This approach encourages play and natural curiosity in the early years and moves toward more formal learning as the child reaches age 7 (with flexibility depending on the child). This philosophy, though sometimes challenged, is becoming commonly accepted even in some mainstream schools, particularly in the U.K., and is fairly common among unschoolers.

Principle Approach

The Principle Approach to education, which is based on the writing of Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall, looks at all subjects and information through a Christian worldview. The Bible is used as a major textbook and the student creates notebooks that incorporate both school material and his/her thoughts and meditations. The Principle Approach uses “the 4 Rs,” Research (finding God’s word and identifying religious principles), Reasoning (discovering cause and effect relationships), Relate (applying information to the student), and Record (writing down or otherwise recording the student’s applications and impressions).

Faith-Based

Similar to the Principle Approach but more flexible and not specific to any belief system, faith-based homeschooling incorporates both secular and religious knowledge, and religious beliefs and the family’s values are worked freely into learning and discussions. Though this intermingling is a natural side effect of being homeschooled in a religious household, faith-based education more obviously connects academic knowledge to religion. Spiritual beliefs and experiences are considered as or more important to the child’s education as secular knowledge, and the parent actively seeks to incorporate religious beliefs into the student’s curriculum/educational experience.

Learning Centers

Though not often used full-time as a replacement for public or private school, many homeschoolers find it useful to supplement their curricula with courses and/or tutoring at learning centers such as Kumon, Sylvan, and Huntington. These centers can be especially useful as a student approaches college, as many of them offer ACT and SAT prep courses.

As always, homeschooling is a deeply individual individual matter that should be altered to fit your family. As long as your homeschooling method works for you, keep it, love it, change it as needed, and enjoy the adventure.

The Impacts Of Home School Education To Children

Home education is simply conducting learning discussion at home. The parent or tutor is the teacher while the children are students. Studies found out that there were about 2 million home schooled students in America and the number increased up to 5 – 12% over the previous decade.

Long before the constructions of academic institutions such as universities and colleges, home school education has long been practiced at home. As the old adage goes, "the home is the first school of children while their parents are their first teacher" holds so much truth. Unless parents are teachers, education at home provides alternative venue and option to teach children basic lessons such as colors, shapes, and basic math and science as well formative values.

Probably the best thing about this approach is that the parent and child are able to spend more time together. This will deepen their bond or relationship and will provide opportunity to exchange familiarization of their own personalities. This way of teaching makes it possible to customize the time and be flexible about. Parents are able to choose the discussions to suit their children's habit, preferences and ability. They are also able to monitor their children and work with them closely. The following are found to benefit and create impact on home schooled children and parents as well:

1. Individualized Attention – the most effective benefit of home schooling is that child enjoy the privilege of having a "teacher" closely and solely focusing on the child's progress

2. Freedom to Diversify – Parents are also able to customize the curriculum and make sure it fits the needs of the child. Parents should take note that Home school education still follows particular federal policies and laws.

3. Social Adjustment – Children find extra-curricular activities exciting and fun. Incorporating field trip with cousins ​​of same age, or trip to museums with a kid next door is a fun way to learn. It will also help children overcome lack of social interaction as critics say of this method of teaching.

4. Family Bonding – bringing the parent and children closer

5. A Good Education – having to create a venue to foster holistic development of the child

When considering this approach to your children, it helps that the entire family is involved in the decision – making process as well the discussions, activities and other home school components (such as field trips, trip to museum, zoos and playgrounds) as well. Also, assessing your financial capacity will help your visualize the amount you are willing to shell out for home school education. If financial sources are uncertain, be resourceful and look for alternative materials to suffice the needs. Families who have tried home schooling have good lessons and experiences to share. So talking to these families will help you visualize what you are putting yourself into.

Either way, the parent must be sensitive and conscious to children's needs and wants. Although it has been proven that this type of methodology is beneficial to children, the parent must always assess the development of the child to make sure that the home school education fits their children.