One thing that’s great about homeschooling is that fact that there are so many different options. There are many ways to home educate your child, and you can shape and mold them to fit your child’s needs and your family’s lifestyle. Here are just a few homeschool styles that parents across the country are making work for their families.
Traditional or School-at-Home
This homeschooling style takes more of a school-at-home approach, with workbooks and traditional textbooks, and perhaps, the types of regular quizzes and tests children would expect in a traditional school setting. Workbooks typically include multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank types of questions and are usually meant to support information learned from related textbooks. Sometimes traditional homeschools have desks and a designated classroom area in the home, but that is not always the case.
With this type of homeschooling, families choose a topic and incorporate a range of subjects into learning about that specific topic. For example, a unit study about American Pioneers would incorporate not only history/social studies but also science, math, spelling, geography, language arts and more. It might even incorporate art, music, and physical education as well.
When families choose classical homeschooling, they teach their children the trivium.
- The grammar stage features a focus on memorizing the rules involved in their subjects, such as math, grammar, science, etc. as well as the absorption of information taught for every subject. This grammar stage is generally the focus for 6 to 10 year olds.
- The dialect stage focuses more on applying logic to the information that is learned and uses such tools as debate, writing, discussion, and problem solving to understand the reasons behind the information that is studied. This stage is usually the focus for 10 to 12 year olds.
- The rhetoric stage focuses on topics and learning that become ever more challenging and rigorous while helping students to develop and refine their use of language. This stage is the focus for the teen years.
With unschooling, sometimes referred to as child-led learning, parents typically focus on learning the topics that interest their children. For example, an interest in gardening could spark an involved study of such topics as photosynthesis, pollination, and the food cycle while an interest in rockets could introduce children to a range of topics under the physics, aerodynamics, and thermodynamics headings. Learning is often accomplished by doing, as part of living life, through reading, and without necessarily relying on textbooks and workbooks.
The Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling focuses on the use of living books, using rich literature sources to educate children rather than the textbooks that some may view as dumbed down or mere compilations of knowledge. With this type of learning, children do study the academic basics, but home education also incorporates a significant study of art, music and nature. Likewise, this home-education style also emphasizes handiwork crafts.
An eclectic homeschooler takes what works for his or her child from the various homeschooling styles using what works but changing when it doesn’t. This allows for a wide variety of learning experiences that works well for some children. For example, a family may use traditional textbooks for math, unschool for science topics, delve into unit studies at times, and take a classical approach to such subjects as grammar and history. The mantra of the eclectic homeschooler is often use it for as long as it works, and when it doesn’t, move on to something that works better.
Which homeschooling style is the best? There’s a simple answer to what can be seen as a complicated question. The best homeschooling style is whatever suits your child’s needs and interests as well as your family’s unique lifestyle and access to resources. And interestingly, what’s best may change from year to year and vary among children in the same family.