|There are many misconceptions about homeschools. Some people think that children who are homeschooled miss out
on socialization, learning opportunities and that their parents are radicals. More often than not, soccer moms start homeschools. The average homeschooling parent has
a college degree and is simply looking for a better way of education their children.
There are many methods that parents can choose from when starting a homeschool. The methods include eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Christian, classical, Montessori, unit studies, natural learning and Waldorf education. It may take a parent or child a year or more to decide which category they fall into. Many parents find that they take the eclectic method approach because they can combine several methods to teach their children.
The Charlotte Mason method is defined as an applied philosophy, which is individualized by the family to best suit their child. Charlotte Mason stated, "The duty of parents is to sustain a child's inner life with ideas as they sustain his body with food." Ideas children have are as important as the lessons found in books. Lessons are kept short and children learn by doing activities and by reciting what they have learned back to the teacher. There is no grading or competition in this type of homeschool. This method also focuses on humanities, unedited literature and a favorite of all children, free afternoons with no homework.
The Christian method is simply teaching children classically but with emphasis on teaching Christian moral values. This method is a favorite among parents that don't want to send their children to parochial schools but don't approve of public schools that appear to be anti-Christian.
The Montessori method builds on each previous lesson so that a student masters each aspect of their education before moving onto the next. This is also a form of child-led education. The three principles of a Montessori education are observation, individual liberty and preparation of the environment.
The Unit Studies method used in homeschools integrates all school subjects into one theme or topic. For example, if a child shows particular interest in butterflies then all aspects of schooling could be applied to this unit; math, science, English and history.
The Natural learning method is child-led learning. The child's interests determine which direction the learning will take. This doesn't mean that the child designs the curriculum; rather you can expand upon topics of special interest when teaching.
The Waldorf education method is gaining in popularity in homeschools. Its basic tenets are to balance academic subjects with artistic and practical activities. It also teaches that children should enjoy learning and there is no need for competitive testing and grading. Central to the teaching are classes, which are considered expendable by public schools. These include music, art, gardening and foreign languages. Children also learn practical activities such as knitting, toy making and sewing.
Families that are just starting their homeschools are going to have fun deciding which method best suits each individual child. Parents may choose one method for a child and a different method for a second child. Each child learns differently and that is the beauty of homeschooling children.
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Magic Learning Systems also provides excellent products to enhance the homeschool experience for teachers and students.
Dr. J. Elisha Burke
Editor, Homeschool Success Newsletter
Copyright 2005 Burke Publications All Rights Reserved
About the author:
Dr. J. E. Burke, Editor of Homeschool Success News, a minister and college instructor, has been involved in various educational and business enterprises via Burke Publications for 11 years. Dr. Burke is an educator, writer and motivational speaker on a variety of topics.
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