What style of homeschooling should you choose from?
After making the big decision to homeschool, we needed to decide just how we were going to approach curriculum & teaching style.
Were we going to make our own school? or use the aid of the independent charter schools? If we were going to use the help of the charter schools, which one would we choose? We decided on a charter school with a teacher we check in once a month to. This keeps us in check & motivated. We also get a little bit of a allowance to use towards curriculum, supplies etc. each year which really helps out.
Some styles to choose from were:
We very much love Rudolph Steiner & his genius contribution to the world. Among the many things he has done, Waldorf education is probably the most known of.
From birth through about age 7, children live most strongly in their bodies and should be allowed to actively explore their environments. Whilst little children need to be active, it is healthy and strengthening for them if the parent frames the child’s days with strong and balanced rhythms, weaving between active and quiet times: outdoor play, followed by quiet story time, followed by a meal, followed by creative play, etc. Young children learn best through imitation and it is important for the child to be surrounded by the good example of adults doing meaningful work for her to copy: for instance, she should be encouraged to join in while her mom tends the garden and home. There should also be plenty of time for unstructured creative play. Simple playthings such as wooden blocks, sandboxes and a few pots and pans from the kitchen are best as they provide plenty of scope for the child’s imagination to stretch and grow. There is no formal teaching during this time.
From 7 – 14, the grade school years, children are viewed as living primarily in their ‘feeling life’. This doesn’t mean that children don’t ‘feel’ before this age, rather that during this period they learn best through an artistic and imaginative approach that stirs their feelings. By hearing the great myths and legends of various cultures, the adventures of heroes and explorers, and the struggles of men and women throughout history, children’s feelings are deeply affected and a moral basis to their learning is laid. By using an artistic approach to all material – drawing, painting, modeling, acting, etc. – the teacher helps each child unlock his or her artistic abilities, further deepening the child’s experience of and feelings for what he is studying. Each child makes a ‘Good Book’ for each topic studied, a beautiful record of the experiments, essays, poems and drawings created as part of understanding the topic at hand. In creating these Good Books, in exerting her will to use best handwriting and to work with care, each child sees that she is a creative person who is able to work hard and make something beautiful. This can help dispel the nonsense that only some people are artistic. We’re all artistic: it’s part of being human. Some of us may have special gifts and be ‘artists’, but, if our upbringing and education allow it, we can all create beautiful things.
A few further hallmarks of Waldorf education include:Activity always precedes ‘head work’. For instance, children learn to write first, copying letters and, later on, words into Main Lesson books.Reading follows writing and it is the children’s own writing which serves as their text.The approach to learning is holistic – the arts, humanities and sciences are viewed as interwoven with one another, not as separate fields of life or experience. Throughout the school years there is an emphasis on moral qualities such as truth, beauty and goodness. These are not sermonized to the children but rather than children are surrounded by these qualities, in the way the classroom and school is built and cared for, in the actions of the adults around them and in the content of the lessons. Fairy tales, legends from many cultures and tales of heroes and saints help lay moral foundations for the children, as do reverential celebrations of the religious and seasonal festivals of the year. Electronic media such as television and computers – and especially hand-held electronic games – are viewed as detrimental to the healthy development of children, especially young children. Children need to learn from people, as ‘learning’ involves much more than the mere conveying of information.
Waldorf education is not anti-intellectual. It is, however, anti-early intellectual. At heart, Waldorf education aims to be therapeutic and its goal is to foster the development of healthy well-balanced individuals. It is deeply felt in Waldorf circles that premature intellectualism can drain and deplete a child, and that the recognized overlapping of the label ‘gifted’ with the label ‘ADHD’ is no coincidence. By avoiding early intellectualism and really allowing our children the time and space to develop their imaginations and to experience life at their own pace, we can allow children to develop the physical and emotional strength to really fly with their later academic learning. Waldorf seeks to avoid the scenario of hothouse flowers, plants which bloom early and bright, but often lack the strength and substance to grow and flourish over time.
2- Charlotte Mason Method
The Charlotte Mason method is based on charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.” Some call this Living Methods.
For example, Charlotte’s students used living books rather than dry textbooks. Living books are usually written in narrative or story form by one author who has a passion for his topic. A living book makes the subject “come alive.”
And the students were required to tell back, or narrate, in their own words what was read in the living book, in order to secure it in their minds. No fill-in-the-blank or multiple-choice for them; they practiced using rich language as they pointed out the ideas they gleaned from the reading and any mental connections they made between it and other ideas already residing in their growing minds and hearts. She taught handwriting and spelling by using passages from great books that communicate great ideas rather than using just a list of words. She encouraged spending time outdoors, interacting with God’s creation firsthand and learning the living ways of nature. She introduced the work of great artist and composers to her students and let them spend time with each, getting to know their works personally.
She spread before her students a feast of ideas from a wide variety of sources—from shakespear to knitting to Bible to trampling through the woods to algebra to singing to foreign languages. And woven throughout it all, she emphasized the habits of full attention, best effort, and learning for the sake of learning.
Unschooling is becoming very popular. The idea is that the child gears what he/she wants to learn by the childs interest. Although this is the most against the grain, it has great results. Children learn that life is for learning and anything they want to learn about they can. This is all very true and actually could make life and school pretty exciting. What’s the hardest part of this is making sure you don’t slack from learning & inspiring new lessons. Life is so distracting.
The trivium is most easily understood first by realizing that it is not some fly-by-night modern educational theory, but tried and true laws of learning. It can be looked at in two ways: as instructional stages that correspond to cognitive development, and as a natural process that is followed anytime any person of any age learns something new. As instructional stages, the trivium follows this progression: the grammar stage, emphasizing memorization of concrete facts and corresponding to the elementary grades; the dialectic stage, emphasizing understanding and analytical thinking and corresponding to the junior high grades; and the rhetoric stage, emphasizing expression and abstract thinking and corresponding to the high school grades. The stages of instruction should not be confused with the specific core subjects of grammar, logic, and rhetoric; which are best taught during their corresponding stage and provide the tools of learning which are the goal of the trivium. Comprehending these basics about the trivium will go far in helping to unravel the mystery of how the trivium ought to be applied to each subject in each stage.
5- Unit study
“So just what is the Unit Study Method? A unit study is simply an extensive study of one topic (or unit) and the integration of all subjects (social studies, science, language arts, math, Bible, music, art, etc.) around that topic. This allows the child to see the purpose for learning because the disciplines (subjects) are applied and the knowledge is interconnected, creating a more logical and natural way to learn. It is the opposite of the fragmented method of spending 50 minutes on history, which is totally unrelated to the next 50 minutes of science, which is totally unrelated to the next 50 minutes of literature, and so on.” — Vicky Goodchild,
6- The Traditional Homeschooling Method
This approach to homeschooling is also known as school-at-home, structured homeschooling, scope and sequence schooling, or school-in-a-box. It is the method which most closely follows a traditional school model, and strives to mirror that type of classroom setting in the home. Traditional homeschoolers usually purchase a complete curriculum which includes textbooks, teacher’s guides, tests, schedules, and grading and record keeping materials. Each child will most likely have his own set of textbooks and workbooks, and will study each subject separately according to grade level.
Most traditional homeschoolers follow a structured schedule each day, Monday through Friday, September through June, following a traditional school system. The study proceeds according to written lesson plans. Daily work is turned in and graded, lessons are followed by tests, and grades and records are kept. A report card may be issued on a quarterly or semester basis.
Some families relax this approach somewhat, still following structured schedules and grade levels, but choosing their own curriculum and creating their own lesson plans.
The greatest benefit of this method is the security of knowing all necessary material is being covered, and there will be no gaps in learning. If and when the time comes for these children to re-enter the school system, they will be able to make the transition with the greatest degree of ease.
In making this huge decision, I feel it is not about what style you like most, but what works for you & your child. We use a mixture, taking the best from all.
My children are growing up on a farm, so they are not deprived of nature, we have naturally been living the waldorf life their whole lives. My children really love rhythm & repetition throughout the day, they love nature journals. I also give them time to have unstructured play & learning. They will learn as much as I want to teach. Everywhere we go is a chance for another lesson, everything we do is a chance to inspire, so we are bit of unschoolers as well. We allow our children to guide our lessons and when they don’t I have a plan. I take personality into account as well, my daughters are both pretty shy, so I’m adding a bunch of classes with other teachers as well. I have friends & family teaching them spanish. They take music lessons at a music school. I feel a major part of my job is inspiring my children to ask questions & steer us in the interest they have, but at the same time have a very basic idea of other activities to do in addition. We let the holidays guide us as well with themed activities. I suppose I have been using a bit of trivium to teach my daughter to read, at first she memorizes sight words then she puts the connection of sounds together later on. Taking many of charlotte mason approaches have been great for us, my children pay attention more when I read them a story because they know they will need to narrate it back to me afterwards.I do believe teaching the whole person makes much more sense. They love studying nature, poets, composers & hearing stories. I feel like our style will change to the way our children need it to in order to learn.
I hope this information helps you in your homeschool journey!