Top 9 Homeschool Styles: Which One is Right for You?
Just as there are many different kinds of people out there, there are also a vast variety of homeschooling styles, approaches, methods, or philosophies (choose your own label) to suit each one. There is no perfect style that will work for everyone but there is one that will work for you.
This is what most people think of when they think “homeschool”. This style requires buying a pre-made curriculum that generally doesn’t allow for much customization but tells you exactly what to do. It is the choice of many beginners because it is comparable to the public school approach so they are more comfortable with it and it makes for an easier transition.
The polar opposite of school-at-home, unschooling is unstructured. The activities are chosen according to the child’s interests and learning is done all the time and not just during a set time. There are no rules about curriculums or activities and anything goes. All pressure is removed and learning becomes easy and natural but some unschoolers might have trouble re-entering public school or passing traditional tests.
Classical education is based on the three phases of learning: concrete thinking and memorization in elementary (the grammar stage); analytical thinking and understanding in middle school (the logic stage); and abstract thinking and expression in high school (the rhetoric stage). It uses a lot of classical books and a lot of focus is given to art, music, and literature and the teaching of ideas.
Charlotte Mason lived in the late 1800’s and was a pioneer in revolutionizing homeschool. She believed in viewing the child as respected human being and educating them following the natural way children learn. The Charlotte Mason method uses narration in place of tests and teaches the child to self-educate. It uses “living literature books” that come alive when you read them in place of textbooks. It includes nature study, real life learning, and notebooking.
The Waldorf method focuses on arts and crafts, music and movement, and nature. It teaches the child to think for themselves and children create their own books in place of using textbooks. It discourages the use of electronics.
Named after its founder, this learning-by-doing approach focuses on movement and hands-on activities. It emphasizes giving kids choices and interest-led learning and building the perfect environment for learning. Tidiness and clean lines is a must.
This method is based on the idea that children have different intellectual abilities. It teaches you how to recognize your child’s abilities so that you can take an approach that is best for them. There are eight or so different approaches such as the visual-spatial intelligence which refers to the ability to understand information best visually.
Online homeschooling is popular because it is all-inclusive and it appeals to many who already embrace technology and use it on a daily basis. There are countless great online homeschooling curriculums and many states offer a free online home-learning option to public schooling.
A mix of anything and everything, the relaxed, eclectic homeschooler has found a way to tailor the curriculums and methods to suit the needs and wants of their family. Eclectic homeschoolers may use textbooks, activities, and methods from a variety of those listed above. They often use whatever works best for them in each different subject.
Since the idea of homeschooling came from following your heart, it should also remain your choice as to how your children are educated at home. Choose what works for you and don’t be afraid to try something new if you feel what you’re doing just isn’t right for your family. With so many choices, you will find what fits your family if you simply follow your heart.