Aug 03, 2021
Discover Some Of The Most Popular Homeschooling Philosophies And Methods
Homeschooling is as old as humanity. Yet, the modern homeschooling movement began in 1970's when John Holt expressed his views on traditional schooling methods. Followed by the Christian Homeschool movement in the 80's and 90's, Holt's writing on Unschooling marks the beginning of the reform. Later, homeschooling was legalized across all 50 states.
When it comes to homeschooling, one of the biggest challenges is the plethora of options. The market is flooded with school choices, methodologies, curricula and resources. Thus, it is natural for parents to get overwhelmed by the sea of options available.
Thus, to help you hunt down the ideal homeschooling style, we have jotted down a list of popular homeschooling methodologies. As you read about each of the homeschooling methods, think of how it might help your child get the best possible education. With a brief overview, we have also listed a few benefits of each method along with the best resources.
Also known as Steiner Education, the Waldorf Education is based on Ridolf Steiner's educational Philosophy. The curriculum integrates academics, arts and practical skills. Children learn by engaging head, heart and hands—the learning process is threefold. The Waldorf Education curriculum follows these principles for teaching children in different age groups:
Early Childhood—Develop Limbs Through Doing
The curriculum follows play-based activities set in sensory rich environments to teach children through age seven. The homeschool curriculum is based on the principle that young children learn best through imitation. Thus, all the activities let children explore nature, build social relationships and expand their imaginative power.
Middle Childhood—Develop Heart Through Imagination
Children between ages of seven and fourteen should learn through methods that enliven their creative forces. Thus, the Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum integrates elements of storytelling, visual arts and music into lessons. The curriculum is full of fairy tales, biographies of historical figures etc, boosting a child's thinking, feeling and will. Children not only learn academic fundamentals, but also develop morally.
Adolescence—Develop The Mind Through Discernment Of The World
Children through ages 14 to 21 develop independent intellect and the ability to examine the world. Also, they learn to exercise discernment, judgement and critical thinking. The Waldorf Homeschool curriculum gives high schoolers the chance to learn under expert teachers.
The Best Waldorf Homeschool Programs
Oak Meadow combines the essence of Experimental Education, Homeschooling and the Waldorf Curriculum in a brilliant way. The curriculum follows rigorous academic standards, with personalized education.
Though the program is not purely Waldorf, it is somehow inspired by Waldorf. Parents can either choose to enroll their kids in the school or can use the curriculum for independent homeschooling. For families who use the curriculum independently, Oak Meadow offers Homeschool Support Consultation Service.
Waldorf Essentials integrates the beauty of the Waldorf Curriculum with the flexibility of homeschooling. Instructors follow the Watch, Listen and Learn to make young minds grab fundamental concepts with ease. Along with free videos, there are hours and hours of free podcasts focused on Waldorf free schooling.
The platform has a dedicated grade curriculum for children of every age group. There are Waldorf Essentials of Early Childhood, along with curriculum for elementary, middle and high school. Other Waldorf Curriculum Training includes Planning for Peace, Thinking, Feeling, Willing and Seasons of Seven Virtual School in the form of Hybrid Waldorf Learning.
Charlotte Mason Method
Along with the regular curriculum, the Charlotte Mason Method combines elements of Reading and fun to enrich a student's learning process. Each class is 15-20 minutes long for elementary schoolers and 45 minute long for high school students. There are short breaks between these classes, where students go for nature walks, practice narration and memorization. Reading plays a major role in the Charlotte Mason Method—students read biographies, classics and other living books. The method follows a child-directed approach that is flexible and affordable.
Talking of the benefits, the CM method combines the best of Uncholloing, Classical and Unit-studies methods. Yet, it is more well-structured when compared to the Montessori or Unschooling method. The curriculum supports a lot of distinctives, making it popular among parents.
The curriculum takes help of nature walks to help students learn observation, recording, processing and creativity. Thus, it is not expensive to learn science through the Charlotte Mason Method. Students end up loving nature through active exploration.
The Charlotte Mason method follows the Christian learning model, based on solid biblical training. The websites and materials followed in the curriculum reflects the Christian approach to learning. Bible Studies and Stories, along with Christian Character formation are a major part of the Charlotte Mason method.
The Charlotte Mason method does not require the teacher to be professional. The methodology is well suited for non-professionals, unlike the other homeschooling methods. Teaching is easy and does not require a teaching certificate, especially at the elementary and middle school level.
The Best Charlotte Mason Homeschool Programs
Ambleside Online is a free online homeschool curriculum that uses the Charlotte Mason method. The curriculum supports detailed schedules, time-tested methods along with extensive teacher resources. Moreover, the Ambleside Online Library hosts a large collection of Charlotte Mason materials, in the digital form.
Not only that—the community provides support to educators and homeschooling parents in the form of a wide variety of resources. As part of the Ambleside community, children develop a rich relationship with God, Humanity and the Natural World.
Simply Charlotte Mason
Simply Charlotte Mason comes with a curriculum purely based on the Charlotte Mason method, along with living books and open-and-go daily plans. For homeschooling parents, the platform brings support in the form of discussion forums, live events and the resource library. Also, there is the CM organizer— a unique online planner and record keeper.
The planner helps CM homeschoolers save time and stay organized. Also, Simply Charlotte Mason supports an extensive bookstore, full of Charlotte-Mason style resources. Parents can also take help from the weekly blog articles and podcasts, available at the platform.
Coined by Maria Montessori, the method follows a humanistic student-based approach. The elements of the curriculum are multi grade classes, large unstructured time blocks and individualized learning plans. Instructors use a wide range of tools and objects to impart lessons, often asking children which to choose.
However, this method requires a planned classroom with a lot of furniture, tactiles and constructs. Yet, the method is a child centered model used for young learners, and thus makes it to our list.
Special Needs Friendly
The method was originally developed for teaching learning disabled and mentally handicapped children. The method was effective and grew out of Montessori's psychology work with special-needs children. Later on, she replicated the method for other children as well.
The Montessori method fits well in for extraordinary students. They can not only work at their own pace, but also have the curricula adapt to their own specific needs. Thus, gifted students are able to move through the curriculum faster.
The Best Montessori Homeschool Resources
American Montessori Society
The American Montessori Society is the leading member advocacy organization, research forum and resource collaborative for the global community of Montessori educators. The organization involves school accreditation, standards for Montessori School, Public Policy, Research etc. It follows the principle of Capable, Accountable, Knowledgeable and Sense of Self. Parents can look for homeschooling options, member schools and reading materials at the official website.
Living Montessori Now
Living Montessori Now is a blog by Deb Chitwood, a Montessori teacher with a certification for teaching children ages 2 to 5. Through the blog, she writes about using Montessori principles and methods in traditional classrooms and homeschools. Though it is not a full fledged homeschool platform, parents might find it helpful as Deb shares tips and tricks to make Montessori homeschooling fun. She has also listed monthly themed activities and free printables on her website. Thus, Living Montessori Now can be your ultimate Montessori homeschooling guide.
The Classical Method
One of the most popular homeschooling methods, the classical method follows the educational principles from ancient Greece and Rome. The Classical Method employs the Applied Trivium framework along with Great books(Adler, Hutchins and Van Doren). The method even goes far as incorporating latin and greek learning, though they might not be required.
Also, the Biblical-classical method follows the "Principal Approach", emphasizing the Bible and the biblical worldview training. The areas of subjects are ordered chronologically into a reading plan. Thus students end up learning fundamentals historically and are able to understand the consequences over ideas over time. When compared to other homeschooling methods, the Classical method does not reserve history for a separate subject area. Talking of the benefits, there are:
Logical and Critical Thinking
The Classical Method teaches one of the most neglected life skills—logic in a brilliant way. Students learn it through classical Aristotelian logic, as lateral or critical thinking, or through problem solving. Thus, the Classical Method reserves a special place for logic learning.
Students get to learn different Classical and Modern languages under the Classical Method. Based on the approach, the languages taught vary. The principle or the Biblical approach teaches Koine Greek or biblical Hebrew. However, the modern classical education uses Spanish, French and German or any other useful modern language.
The Best Classical Homeschool Resources
The Classical Curriculum
The classical curriculum brings an extensive list of resources and reading materials which has been adopted by homeschoolers. The creators of the curriculum have sought to address the lack of any sound classical curriculum. This curriculum is entirely free, and is based on the 19th century German-Latin method, following the great books method. The list is perfect to be used as a stand-alone curriculum.
However, parents can also use it to supplement any other Homeschool curriculum. The outline available on the platform covers classical languages, literature and history and is one of the best available on the internet.
The Critical Thinking Co.
The online educational platform brings 200+ award winning educational books, ebooks and apps based on the classical approach.The platform has designed its curriculum to adopt critical thinking into reading, writing, mathematics, science and history. The best thing is, the educators do not teach through drill and memorization, but on empowering minds. Moreover, The Critical Thinking Co is recommended by Learning Magazine, The Well-Trained Mind, College Prep Genius etc.
The Eclectic method, also known as "relaxed homeschooling" is one of the most popular homeschooling methods. The eclectic method does not follow a favored curriculum. Thus, parents are free to share ideas and resources between different methodologies. The eclectic method is child-directed, resourceful and not at all curriculum-based.
The method gives parents the liberty to combine the elements of various different curriculums, rather than forcing them to follow one. Thus, parents can prefer the Classical or Waldorf method for a few days, reserving the Charlotte Mason method for others. Moreover, the "Hybrid Homeschool" that combines part homeschooling and part traditional schooling is growing as a popular option. Talking of the benefits, there are:
Well Suited for Mature Educators
The Eclectic method does not require a person to be an expert in order to teach the curriculum. The method allows parents to make adjustments, just as a mature educator would.
Flexibility and Resources
Eclectic method is one of the most flexible homeschooling methods there is. Parents have the liberty to mix the elements of whatever curriculum they like and make one of their own. Thus, they end up personalizing a curriculum best suited to their child's individual needs.
The Best Eclectic Homeschool Programs
Time 4 Learning
The language arts, math, science and social studies curriculum at Time 4 Learning forms a base for eclectic homeschooling. The curriculum is best suited for children of all types—gifted ones, those who learn differently or those who learn typically. Parents can use up the resources and materials as a core curriculum or supplemental tool. The Time 4 Learning has been proven effective with eclectic homeschoolers, is affordable and easy to use.
Learning Style Test
The Learning Style Test helps parents mix and match many different methods of homeschooling and eventually find the one that works. Parents can go deep and broad with core subjects and design a schedule that makes every day different.
The platform uses a questionnaire, to know if a child is more of a sequential learner or a global learner. Also there are questions to find out if a child is an auditory, visual, creative or read/write learner. Thus, the Learning Style Test might be your first step towards an effective and rewarding Eclectic homeschooling journey.
There are numerous different approaches and methodologies to homeschooling. However we have listed here the most popular ones— Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Classical and Eclectic Methods. We have included the benefits of each of these methods, along with the best resources.
If one of these methods really appeals to you, you can dig deeper with the resource link provided. However, you should keep in mind that many of these educational methods overlap. Thus, you can share and borrow ideas from different styles. Homeschooling teachers and parents often mix methods and materials to build a curriculum that suits their children the best. So, which method have you fixed your mind on? Comment down and let us know.