Put away the chalkboard, desks and workbooks! Home education does not have to resemble traditional classroom education. When teaching at home, look for a method that fits your goals and your children’s learning styles. Here are descriptions of the most popular homeschooling methods:
- Charlotte Mason – The Charlotte Mason method focuses on literature, short lessons and nature appreciation. In this homeschool method, children learn primarily through literature, which is referred to as “living books.” Students acquire language arts and writing skills through the use of copywork, narration and dictation.
- Classical Homeschooling – Classical Homeschooling breaks learning into three stages known as the Trivium. These stages are grammar (birth through elementary school), logic (middle school) and rhetoric (high school). Each stage of the Trivium corresponds to a child’s natural brain development. Classical homeschoolers focus on academic achievement, exposure to the great books of western civilization, and knowledge of Latin and Greek.
- Computer Based Homeschooling – Children who are visually oriented and prefer working alone may favor online or computer based homeschooling. Computer courses work well for children who are self-motivated and not easily distracted. These programs come with structured lessons and pre-planned schedules that help busy parents save time. Many of online courses also come with systems for grading and record keeping.
- Eclectic Homeschooling – This style of homeschooling involves choosing from a variety of methods depending on the needs of the child. An eclectic homeschooler may use traditional workbooks for some subjects and computer courses for others. Some eclectic homeschool families may even choose to unschool certain subjects.
- Montessori Homeschooling – The Montessori method focuses on learning through multi-sensory, self-directed activities. Parents serve as facilitators, not teachers, in a Montessori homeschool environment. Many Montessori activities mimic those that occur naturally in the home.
- Relaxed Homeschooling – Relaxed homeschoolers focus on tailoring education to fit the needs and goals of a child. In a relaxed homeschool, formal curriculum is used as needed, but many lessons occur naturally in the course of daily life.
- Traditional Textbooks – This method of homeschooling most closely resembles traditional school because of its reliance on textbooks and workbooks. Although some homeschoolers believe this style of homeschooling is dull and tedious, others enjoy the lesson plans, structure and successful outcomes of traditional workbook programs.
- Unit Studies – This homeschooling style combines the study of history, science, math and language arts into the study of a single theme. Homeschool unit studies are great for larger families who need to combine children of multiple ages, and hands-on learners who enjoy working on projects.
- Unschooling – Unschooling, or delight-directed learning, involves letting the child choose what he or she will study. Unschoolers focus preparing a learning environment and leaving their child free to explore it.
Home education will look different in each family, depending on the family’s needs and goals. Take time to observe your children and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the homeschooling method that is right for you!