Resources for Exploring Various Homeschooling Methods
Homeschooling is a term that encompasses a spectrum of educational methods from highly structured to no structure. There are as many ways to homeschool as there are families homeschooling. Explore the various methods and choose which works for you and your child.
The Charlotte Mason Approach
Charlotte Mason was a 19th Century educator and teacher. She developed a literature-based education, founded on reading real (“living”) books, short lessons, narration, copywork and dictation, and nature study. She encouraged parents and educators to avoid “twaddle” (graded readers, etc.) and textbooks, and instead use good literature as the basis for the school curriculum.
Popular books on utilizing this method:
- A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal reflections on the gentle art of learning, by Karen Andreola
- Charlotte Mason Study Guide, by Penny Gardner
- A Charlotte Mason Education, by Catherine Levison
- More Charlotte Mason Education, by Catherine Levison
Many families who want to offer a liberal arts education to their children, including lessons in Greek and Latin, as well as formal instruction in logic, opt for the Classical Education approach. This method is based on the Trivium, an educational philosophy used in ancient Greece and Rome. Education is divided into three stages, Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. Grammar (grades 1-6) is at the heart of the Grammar stage, as well as memorization of facts, figures, and basic skills. The Dialectic stage (grades 7-9) deal with logic, or understanding the why and how behind all the facts they learned in the grammar stage. The final stage, Rhetoric (grades 10-12+) focuses on reasoning and applied logic, explaining and using this learned knowledge to create new ideas and also applying them to real and hypothetical life situations.
Books about Classical Homeschooling:
- The Well Trained Mind, by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
- The Trivium: The liberal arts of logic, grammar and rhetoric, by Miriam Joseph
Web Sites related to Classical Education:
- The Trivium Pursuit Online
- The Well Trained Mind Web Site
- Classical Education links web page
- ClassicalHomeschooling.org (Classical Christian)
- Well-Trained Mind–Secular discussion list
Dr. Raymond Moore, and his wife Dorothy, pioneers of the modern homeschooling movement, created this approach. The Moore Formula focuses on a balance of Study, Work, and Service. Formal academics are not begun until the ages of 8-10, and once formal study is begun, the child’s interests are the focus of unit studies created by the parent to teach basic skills as well as content subjects. Informal learning before the age of 8 happens as the child works and plays within the family.
Web Sites pertaining to Delayed Academics:
Books Pertaining to the Moore Formula/Delayed Academics:
- The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore
- Better Late Than Early, by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore
Eclectic, by definition, means combining different philosophies or styles, and that is what eclectic homeschoolers do. They select whichever materials and methods best fit their children, and frequently adjust to suit the needs of the family and children. Not tied in to only one method or style, they can create a totally unique homeschooling atmosphere based on their children’s needs, interests, and strengths.
Books about Eclectic Homeschooling:
- Homeschool Your Child for Free: More than 1,200 smart, effective, and practical resources for home education on the Internet and beyond, by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski
- And What About College?: How homeschooling can lead to admissions to the best colleges & universities, by Cafi Cohen
- Anyone Can Homeschool: How to find what works for you, by Zan Peters Tyler, Terry Dorian
- The Art of Education: Reclaiming your family, community and self, by Linda Dobson
Web Links for Eclectic Homeschooling:
Unit Study Method
The Unit Study Method of homeschooling, sometimes called thematic units or integrated studies, involves creating units of study which link multiple subjects around a common topic or theme, rather than teaching the subjects as separate courses. This method lends itself very well to hands-on learning, teaching several different ages at once, and creating a natural atmosphere for exploration and learning. Many packaged unit studies are available, and some parents create their own units based upon their children’s interests.
Books on Unit Study Method:
- Unit Study Journal (Unit Study Adventure), by Amanda Bennett
- How to Create Your Own Unit Study, by Valerie Bendt
- The Prairie Primer: A Little House Unit Study, by Margie Gray
Unit Study Web Sites:
Unschooling is not easily defined. When John Holt, the “father” of the modern homeschooling movement, coined the phrase, he simply defined it as any learning that took place outside of conventional schooling. Since then, it has evolved to encompass many ways of natural learning; trusting children will learn what they need to know as they find a need to know it. Traditional curriculum is usually shunned in favor of following a child’s interests. Parents are viewed more as facilitators and mentors rather than teachers, although teaching can be a part of the process, but it is at the initiation of the child rather than the adult.
Books on Unschooling:
- Teach Your Own, by John Holt
- Learning All the Time, by John Holt
- The Unschooling Handbook: How to use the whole world as your child’s classroom, by Mary Griffith
- Deschooling Our Lives, by Matt Hern
- The Art of Education, by Linda Dobson
- Christian Unschooling: Growing your children in the freedom of Christ, by Teri J. Brown
Unschooling Web Sites:
Waldorf Homeschool Method
Waldorf Education is based upon the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, who developed a philosophy called Anthroposophy. A Waldorf curriculum is based on the developmental stages of the child’s awakening consciousness, with a heavy emphasis on the role of the teacher to nurture and guide the children. Steiner believed all children pass through the same three developmental stages at about the same time, with few exceptions. The first stage begins at birth and continues losing of the baby teeth, and education at this stage focuses on fairy tales and archetypal stories, carefully chosen to teach moral principles and are used to introduce alphabet and number concepts. The second stage begins at the eruption of permanent teeth and continues through the onset of puberty, and the focus is on the child’s emotional nature. The third stage, adolescence, is when reasoning predominates, and the child develops his independence and own personal way of interacting with the world around him.
- Waldorf Education: A family guide, by Pamela J. Fenner
- Magical Child, by Joseph Chilton Pearce
- Straight From the Heart: Educating your 6th through 12th grader, by John-Michael Dumais
- Children at Play: Using Waldorf principles to foster childhood development, by Heidi Britz-Crecelius
©2002, Susan McGlohn. All rights reserved.
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