Homeschooling methods are important because they efine how you teach your child at home. The good news is that there are many different ways to homeschool your child, and if any one of the methods does not work exactly for you and your homeschooler, you can always combine them to find the perfect match.
Considerations in choosing a method
Begin by determining your child’s learning style. Knowing how your child learns best will help you in deciding upon how you will teach your homeschooler. Also, consider what your comfort level in teaching is your child is. If you are very confident and know exactly what you want to do, are knowledgeable about many different topics, then the unit study method might be a great way to share that knowledge and be creative with your teaching.
Another consideration when deciding upon a homeschooling method is how much time you have to prepare, deliver, and assess lessons, activities, and assessments, as well as how much you have budgeted for your child’s homeschool needs. These two factors will automatically drive you toward one homeschooling method over another.
Charlotte Mason was a British teacher whose philosophy was that children should love to learn and teaching should help and nurture the love of learning, not limit or restrict it. Her approach is based upon “living books” in which the characters come alive as real people, as opposed to dry and lifeless textbooks.
Homeschool Unit Studies
The homeschool unit studies approach to homeschooling is a holistic approach in which all subjects are taught around one central theme. The idea behind this approach is that you take one topic – for example, Ancient Greece – and you design lessons and activities for all subject areas with this theme in mind. If you decide upon this approach, don't feel that you have to write your own unit studies yourself – there are many unit studies that you can purchase or find for free.
The Montessori homeschooling approach originated with Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, in 1907. Her approach focuses on the concept of a child being able to guide their own learning and development with parents implementing experiential lessons based upon their observations.
The classical homeschooling method is also called “classical Christian” homeschooling and is one of the oldest methods for homeschooling. This method is based upon the “trivium” or “three roads” of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Much of the content is based upon classical studies. The ultimate goal of this method is for your child to grow up being able to think independently and clearly on a topic and knowing what great thinking has come before us and how those contributions have impacted Western civilization.
The textbook-based homeschool method is perhaps the most structured approach of all. It closely resembles the type of schooling that takes place in a traditional classroom, from the purchase of textbooks to paralleling the school calendar.
John C. Holt established the unschooling method in the late 1960’s. Holt was a Boston educator that believed that children are naturally curious and will lead themselves in exploring and finding out about the world around them.
The eclectic homeschooling approach is a method that is used to combine the features that you like from the homeschooling methods listed. Essentially, you are piecing together your way of delivering the homeschool curriculum to your child, making it entirely customized for your child's needs and how you want to instruct.
Once you choose a homeschooling method, you will love it, hate it, or adapt it to meet your needs as a teacher and those of your child.