If you are new to homeschooling you might hear people talk about the different types of homeschooling. In the beginning it can be overwhelming especially when you have no idea what they are talking about. To help you understand homeschool lingo, let me explain the 6 main types of homeschooling.
Traditional homeschooling is the closest to traditional schooling. Most people start with this approach as this is closest to what they are used to. Traditional homeschooling is also sometimes called “school at home” and is in a way a replication of the conventional schooling system at home.
Traditional homeschooling means you have an all-in-one curriculum covering every subject per grade as it is done in the school system. Usually learning happens according to a fixed schedule and some people like to create a school area or school room where all teaching takes place.
Many people move away from this approach as they become more confident with homeschooling but it is a good place to start
Eclectic homeschooling is an individualized approach towards each child and each subject. With this approach you take into consideration your child’s individual learning style, strengths and interest and choose subject material according to your child’s needs.
Following this approach you will use a variety of different educational methods and resources. There is no gold standard as each family’s resources and methods will be different. While it might sound overwhelming, it is believed that most homeschool families use this approach or variations of it.
The classical approach is to teach and learned based on a three-part process of training the mind (the trvium). The overall goal of the classical approach is to teach children to think for themselves.
The learning process moves children through their own state of development. They learn skills when they are mentally and developmentally ready for it.
The three main stages of learning are:
Concrete learning (grammar stage) – The Grammar stage is the foundation with lots of memorization and repetition.
Critical learning (logic stage) – The Logic stage is around the fifth grade when kids are ready to ask more questions and get introduced to logical thinking.
Abstract learning (rhetoric stage) – In the Rhetoric stage, the foundation and critical thinking learned from the previous two stages are put together. Your child is now ready to reason their opinion through debate or use persuasive writing.
Charlotte Mason was a British author and teacher. Her philosophy about education was to teach the whole child, not just the mind. According to Charlotte Mason, education is “an atmosphere, a discipline, a life”.
She believed in reading high-quality literature (living books) out loud. Living books teaches through story telling in an engaging way. Instead of trying to learn boring facts, you learn through imagination.
Mason also believed learning means to spend plenty of time outdoors while exploring nature. She also put a heavy emphasis on developing appreciation for art, music and nature.
The learning process involves a lot of journaling, narration, dictation and copy work.
Unit studies are a deep focus on one topic at a time. All other subjects gets connected into this one topic. This is a great method for kids with special interests.
This gives you the opportunity to master a specific topic while using various methods of learning for different subjects. If your kid is interested in horses (yes, we did this one), you can let your child practice handwriting through writing down different breeds of horses or practice reading through reading a horse story. Study the anatomy of a horse for science.
I am sure you get the picture.
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Unschooling focuses on the child’s interest. There are no class schedule, no assignments and no tests. No defined curriculum is used and your child is trusted to gain knowledge organically.
In our journey, we tried most of the above methods and eventually settled on unschooling and are loving it. Unschooling is an active learning process for your child who learns through an experimental process rather than somebody actively teaching. As a parent you are a facilitator. You are there to assist when needed but also need to stay out of the way and not try to force learning. (This is harder than it sounds.)
There are more homeschooling methods like Roadschooling, Worldschooling, Montessori, Waldorf and more. One is not necessarily better than the other. The best method is the method that works for you and your children.
Thank you for reading this article and enjoy your homeschooling journey while building a stronger life.