I can’t say that I use any one method to homeschool my children. I am an eclectic homeschooler. This means I weave together multiple methods and materials to homeschool. And though they vary greatly from one another, when woven together with great care and in away that is complimentary and goes together, they make a beautifully designed program that works well for our homeschool. Therefore, it’s fair to say a little something about the 10 methods for an eclectic homeschool that I use and why.
[tweetthis]An #eclectic #homeschool is woven together to work well. [/tweetthis]
1. Traditional/ School @ Home
I do use traditional methods of education. By this I am talking about following a standard scope and sequence and working within that framework. This approach is a framework for me but not a law. It’s OK to deviate from it but having the framework keeps the material at grade level and measurable in terms of seeing progress. Many states require testing or some demonstration of progress so this method is employed as a guide but not a constraint.
2. Unit Studies
I like to break off from the planner – and focus on a subject, topic, or even a book by doing a unit study on it. Here are a few examples of unit studies we did this year: Middle Ages, Tidepools, and Seabird. Adding a unit study approach adds variety to our learning. We can break from doing subjects separately and for a time cover those subjects through the unit learning style. It can be refreshing to take a break from the books for a while and do more hands on activities! I wait till mid to end year to do a unit study so that other methods are well established. Sometimes there can be a holiday unit for fun, but it’s good to get the other routines in place first so it is easy to go back to.
I really like the Montessori method. I think it is wise and makes sense that learning is natural, self directed and follows a fundamental natural law and “planes” of development. It is very helpful for me and I employ it mostly on the terms of a “prepared learning environment”. I really like her ideas about offering materials to be manipulated and having only what is useful for the moment. No clutter allowed here. It keeps my materials up to date and rotating by relevancy. This keeps our environment relative to our study and fresh.
4. Charlotte Mason
This is my favorite approach. An ideal method. I wish I could go it fully. But I have found that for me I need even a bit more structure and planning. And my children require less freedom with their learning. Her philosophies are lovely and I most apply them through regular nature study and routine. We even have a section here for our digital Nature Notebook.
|From my daughter’s Nature Notebook 2009|
This is most apparent in our literature selections. No “twaddle” here as Ms. Mason would say. I depend on good classical literature to bring in the influences of the classical education, and we tend to incorporate Latin and logic whenever possible, though subtle, the influence is there.
6. Unschooling/ Relaxed
There are times for this too. Sometimes a situation in life will dictate the amount of structured plans that I can make a reality. Moving would be one such situation. I would say this method is also employed when there is an unplanned teaching moment. This is real learning but the children don’t know it.
7. Distance Learning
This is employed for mostly the high school years to fulfill a requirement I can’t or don’t want to teach. Or perhaps for supplement. I have used Time 4 Learning as a supplement and Seton Home Study School.
8. Co-op and Extra Curricular
My children and I have also benefited from a co-op opportunity now and then. My favorite way to use co-ops is for P.E. Something I have no interest in and something for which I can’t possible keep my energetic 9 y/o boy interested. Sports are not in my skill set. Also it just isn’t the same one on one as it is in a group playing games.
9. Text/ Workbooks
Sometimes you just have to use them. For some learning styles your better off with out them. My first two children were such, but my third child does actually like the straight forward approach of a workbook. So we use them also. I like to look at them as helps and that I am the teacher, not the books. These are simply tools and not the driving force. I probably have never used every page in a textbook or workbook.
|At the Quinalt Rainforest|
10. Learning Lifestyle
Learning is a Lifestyle.
Saved the best for last. What we study is a reflection of our interest and experiences. I would not be giving a complete picture without stating that our location and interest drives much of our choices. For example, I want to be a nurse and my youngest in interested in medicine. So we will be studying Sonlight F this year for science. And where we live can also make an impact on our studies. When we lived in Washington near Quinalt Forest then we studied the rainforests.