Homeschooling Methods and Supplemental Resources

Many home schooling methods and philosophies are used around the world. Read on to leanr more about four of the most popular methods used today as well as the supplemental materials and resources designed to accompany them.

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As homeschooling has increased in popularity, many different teaching methods and philosophies have been established. By learning about other people's methods, parents are able to adapt these and create their own approaches. This article deals with four methods: Charlotte Mason, Eclectic Homeschooling, Unit Studies, and Unschooling.

Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason, who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s, created a teaching philosophy that she wrote about in six volumes of work. Her method incorporated the major subjects taught in school along with an appreciation of nature and the arts. Parents who use the Charlotte Mason method are encouraged to start their young children with very short lessons that gradually increase in length as they age and mature. Charlotte Mason also used dictation and narration in her teaching, along with journaling and the use of 'living books' as opposed to text books. Her philosophies have withstood the test of time and many of her works are still in print today.

The Eclectic Homeschooling Method

The eclectic homeschooling method was created by Terry McKee. She coined the phrase while evaluating the homeschooling methods used by her family. The eclectic homeschooling method is not an actual method per se but more of a combination of methods. According to McKee, eclectic homeschoolers look at different homeschool approaches and methods and take from each approach and method what works for their families, forming their own unique philosophies. Terry McKee created a unit study guide book and formed an eclectic homeschool group in Alabama, and other states now have similar groups.

Unit Studies

The unit studies approach combines all school subjects together to match one theme or topic, perhaps a specific time period or location. For example, parents who use this method may design a whole unit around the state that they reside in. A state unit would teach children about the location's history, flora and fauna, minerals, famous people, and literature about the area or that came from local authors. The possibilities of unit themes are endless.

Unschooling

Unschooling allows children to decide what they learn. This helps keep them interested in education because they are learning about the subjects that are of interest. Many parents who chose this method believe education is not something to be practiced between the hours of 8 to 3 five days a week. Instead, they try to show their children that education can be a way of life. Children who are 'unschooled' are also given the teaching reign and the opportunity to learn by themselves instead of being taught. Proponents of this method emphasize that unschooling does not equal uneducated and that children raised with this philosophy have a greater appreciation for learning.

Field Trips!

No matter which method you chose, local museums and art venues always enhance a child's education. Such explorations offer a depth to your child's education that simply can't be learned by reading a book or sitting in a classroom. Additionally, there is a live and 'real' factor in seeing a performance or sculpture in person. Visiting a museum or art venue can create a lasting lesson and impression on parents and children alike.

Supplemental Programs

Home schoolers can also benefit from supplemental educational programs such as summer camps, tutoring centers, and online tutoring. All three provide elementary, middle school and even high school aged kids with instruction on various subjects. Summer camps are offered by city parks and recreation departments, independent educational groups and colleges. The best way to find educational camps in your area is to call your city's school district or local college. Traditional and online tutoring centers focus on aiding students in core subjects like reading and math through one-on-one instruction. Many home school families have found that these lessons compliment their home school and give parents a break from teaching.

While the number of available home schooling methods can be overwhelming to begin with, research and conversations with experienced homeschooling families will help to eliminate this confusion. Conducting thorough research will enable you to choose which philosophy or combination of philosophies suits you and your family best.

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