Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FAQ-So we've deschooled, decided to skip deschooling or my child has never been in school, now what?

Research and decide upon the homeschooling method that suits you and your children.  This is important because there is a lot of information and homeschool material out there.  Knowing the method that you choose to teach with will help you to weed out curriculum and other materials.  You will more or less know by looking at a product if it fits in with your method of teaching.  Here are some popular homeschooling methods:

  • Traditional:  This is basically public school at home.  You have a full, set curriculum, which requires grading, and careful record keeping.  Usually comes in a ‘boxed’ curriculum format—meaning everything for Grade 2 is bought as one package. 
  • Classical Education:  Based on a three-part system called the Trivium.  Stages are Fact Absorption (Grammar stage), then Thinking through Arguments (Logic stage), then finally learning to Express themselves (Rhetoric stage). 
  • Charlotte Mason Education:  This method encourages ‘real-life’ learning.  Geography, history and literature are taught from ‘living books’ that make the learning come alive.  Study of nature, art, music and handicrafts are considered necessary, as is outdoor playtime. 
  •  Unit Studies:  This is when all subjects to be taught are centered on a theme.  For instance, the student would learn math, geography, etc through his study of insects or whatever is the current theme. 
  •  Eclectic Education:  The parent takes bits and pieces of many different methods to formulate their own teaching method. 
  • Un-schooling:  Also referred to as Natural Learning.  This is a child-led way of educating.  There is a great variation in the ‘true’ definition of un-schooling and many explanations of how others go about it. 
  •  Montessori Method:  An education method based on theories of child development.  Mainly used in pre-k and elementary settings.  This method places importance on the child being provided with many manipulatives and physical experiences to foster self-directed learning.

I know this is a lot, but don’t let it overwhelm you.  Just start by learning the basics of each method and narrow it down to a couple that feel comfortable for you.  Then you can study those two in more depth.  It’s also highly likely that what you start out with will not be the only method you use in your homeschool career.  Many start out with Traditional homeschooling and gradually change over to one of the other methods that suit them better.  Don’t be afraid to make changes! 

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