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Beginning the Search for a Homeschool Method



Beginning the search for a homeschool method requires thinking about both the curriculum and the children who are being homeschooled. Some homeschool methods can be used in a variety of circumstances, while other homeschool methods are specific. This article has tips on researching homeschooling methods.

Some homeschool methods are all encompassing - they guide pretty much every aspect of homeschool curriculum presentation in every subject for all students; they may even be connected to specific homeschool curriculum. Other methods may be particular to a subject area, to a unit of study, to an age or developmental stage, to only one of your children, to individual or group activities only, or to a particular time in your homeschooling experience.

Whether you want to incorporate a singular homeschool method for all of your teaching or choose to combine various methods will depend upon all these factors, as well as on your personal bent and approach, how much time you have to sort through resources, the length of the teaching day you are planning, your materials budget, etc.

Overarching Homeschool Methods

There follow brief descriptions for some overarching methods - methods that you can use in all areas of teaching if you wish. You can find these homeschooling methods by searching on the Internet.

In addition to looking at and reading about these materials, it is also a good idea to see the homeschooling method in action. You may be able to find a homeschool near you that has put the methods into practice, and if not in a homeschool, you may be able to find some of these methods being carried out in private schools - certainly Waldorf and Montessori are methods you are very likely to find.

Unified Programs for Homeschoolers 

  • Great Books Homeschool Program - Based on fine literature and the concept of a liberal education, the Great Books program is an all-encompassing preschool-Grade 12 curriculum. It is an offshoot of the educational thought of Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler. 
  • Montessori Homeschooling - The Montessori method is based on the educational ideas developed by Maria Montessori. It focuses on child-centered learning, and is practiced internationally. 
  • Waldorf Homeschoolers - The Waldorf method grows out of the work of Rudolf Steiner, who wished to educate the-whole child-in a creative way, based on stages of development.

One Philosophy: Varied Approaches 

  • Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Company Homeschool Highlights - Charlotte Mason was an educator whose approach begins with traditional curriculum and branches from there. Her method can be applied to materials that you choose. 
  • Classical Education - A classical education looks back to the study of the Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric, that used to be the core of education. There are different guides for following this course. 
  • Distance Learning - Distance learning programs may provide materials on-line or send CDs, which may prove important if you don't have Internet access. Correspondence schools are another form of distance learning. There are many, many alternatives for distance learning, and web directories like Yahoo! Education Directory are good places to begin your search. 
  • Thematic Units (also called Unit Studies, Integrated Curriculum) - Under any of these names you can find curriculum that seeks to find the links and connections between different areas of knowledge, and present them as a whole. So, for example, a unit might cover the history, geography, natural history, and arts and literature of a country, while including mathematics as applicable. This kind of material is available both from commercial sites and also from individual educators who choose to share units they develop. 
  • Unschooling is a term originally proposed by John Holt for child-directed learning in which the curriculum and where and how it is developed is chosen by the student, supported by the parent. This means that unschooling is unique in every situation in which it is practiced.

Mix and Match Methods

Some homeschoolers, in an approach sometimes referred to as Eclectic, may elect to mix and match methods to create the best fit for their student(s). If you have not discovered a single method that suits you, or if you just with to browse through a materials from a number of suppliers. The Home School Curriculum Fair offers curriculum from many different suppliers in one place.

Written by Mary Elizabeth