Homeschooling Methods: From Charlotte Mason to Classical Education

Homeschooling? Unschooling? Charlotte Mason? Waldorf? Part-time? Full-time? The variations within homeschooling can be overwhelming. But do not worry – it's not as scary as it first sees.

Consider these common curriculums and educational philosophies used by homeschoolers. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but does cover many major programs and should help you feel more comfortable deciding what kind of homeschooler you are.

Unit Studies

In unit studies, one subject is intensely focused on at a time. This can teach the ability to both compartmentalize and synthesize information. Examples are doing an in-depth study of the presidents of the United States, or spending the month before a vacation to the ocean studying the sea and weather patterns. Unit studies can also use a child's interests to study a broader subject; for example, studying fashion trends through the ages in order to see how major events in history affected day-to-day living.

Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason method is based on the work of British educator Charlotte Mason. She believed that "education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life." She believes that atmosphere makes up one-third of a child's education, that cultivating good habits makes up another third, and that children should be taught living, practical ideas rather than dry facts.

Waldorf

Waldorf education aims to educate the whole child, "head, heart, and hands." Waldorf tries to encourage a genuine love of learning in each child and incorporates arts and activities to create students who are able to create meaning in their lives without external help.

Montessori

The Montessori method focuses on student-directed learning that aims to support a child's natural way of learning. Montessori understands one-on-one attention and teacher observation and emphasizes all five senses rather than just the visual and auditory senses used in reading, listening, and watching.

Multiple Intelligences

Multiple intelligences education is based on Dr. Howard Gardner's eight areas of intelligence and learning styles: linguistic, linguistic-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Each individual has strengths in one or more of these intelligences, and the multiple intelligences method involves discovering those strong areas and teaching through them (for example, a student strong in bodily-kinesthetic, or touch-related, knowledge will be most likely to learn by doing, whereas a linguistically-strong child will learn best through reading, writing, and playing with words).

Classical Education

Classical education utilizes three age groups or learning periods, called the "grammar period" (which focuses on the building blocks of education, memorization, and and rules of basic math, phonetics, etc.), the "logic stage" (when cause- and-effect relationships are explored and the child is challenged to ask "Why," engage in critical thinking, and synthesize ideas), and the "rhetoric stage" (when the student learns to use language to clearly and powerful explain his / her ideas , and begin to focus on areas of knowledge that draw his / her interest; this stage can sometimes involve internships, apprenticeships, college courses, and other forms of higher / specialized education).

Thomas Jefferson Education

Thomas Jefferson Education, also …

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