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Homeschool 411: Educational Philosophies Summarized

As a Family Liaison for Inspire, one of the questions I hear quite often, is how and where, can one learn about the variety of homeschool educational philosophies and approaches? New families want to know about the different ways they can homeschool. New homeschool teachers are curious about the educational philosophies some of their families adhere to. Experienced homeschoolers are discussing the changes in their approach and style, and experienced homeschool teachers are discussing ways they can support their families who are making a move toward a new homeschool method. Whatever perspective you are coming from, please enjoy following the links below to learn more about some of the most popular homeschool educational philosophies and approaches. And, as always–Happy Homeschooling. Keep being Inspired

Some of the Common Approaches to Home Education

Traditional—This seeks to replicate the traditional school model at home using grade-based textbooks and curriculum. Traditional home education can be a very creative approach by employing different ways of organizing the classroom, and school supplies for a fun, enriching environment.

Please visit this site: How to Home-School: Traditional Method and visit this link to see the organizational Workbox approach.

Unit Study—This is an integrated learning approach, focusing on one thematic unit at a time with a strong emphasis on hands-on learning and the development of skills that the student can build upon, and access continually. Please visit this site: What is a Unit Study? Please visit this site by The Homeschool Mom: Unit Studies, to read reviews of unit studies and find links to popular, as well as free homeschool unit studies.

Charlotte-Mason—This approach puts a strong emphasis on creating an atmosphere for learning in nature, with nature journals, and an emphasis in the home that focuses on good habits, including academic discipline and an immersion in Living Books. (Living Books are books that pull a reader in, coming “alive” to help them remember facts).

Unschooling—Interest driven learning, led by a child’s interest and immersion in a subject. Unschooling involves allowing children more freedom to focus on what they are curious or passionate about. Unschooling will look different for each family, and for some families, it may even look similar to what traditional homeschoolers do, if that’s what the children prefer. Radical Unschooling–a form of Unschooling– is a whole-life approach to parenting and education that involves parents and children working together as equals, enjoying life and learning together. Contrary to popular belief, Unschooling is a very active approach. Unschooling parents are often very involved in their children’s lives, and enjoy developing their own interests alongside their children. Unschoolers might be very involved in their local communities, following and supporting their children’s interests and goals in the wider world.

Please visit this site: What is Unschooling? Please visit this site to see an unschooling high school curriculum plan, and please visit this site, to learn more about Radical Unschooling.

Classical—The Classical Method is named after the way children in classical civilizations learned (there is a strong emphasis on Greek and Roman foundations). This method emphasizes the Trivium–three distinct stages children work through as they are naturally developing and maturing. It also utilizes Living Books.

Please visit this site: What is Classical Homeschooling? And please visit this site, if you’ve heard about Classical Conversations, and wondered what it is about.

Waldorf—Based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, the Waldorf method emphasizes the education of the whole child and places a strong emphasis on arts and crafts, music, movement and nature in the early grades. Children in older grades learn about subjects as complex as geometry by representing shapes visually, with beautiful, yet simple watercolor paintings that help visual learners get excited about math.

Please visit this site: The Waldorf Method, for general info, and this site for resources for Waldorf homeschoolers.

Literature-Based Method—This method strives to integrate most subject learning through reading and lessons based on “Living Books”. This approach emphasizes the natural way that learning occurs when children become passionate, engaged readers of high quality literature.

Please visit this site: Literature Based Learning for Homeschoolers and visit Moving Beyond the Page, a popular literature based homeschooling curriculum.

The Leadership Education Method—Often called the Thomas Jefferson Education Model— This method emphasizes how children learn differently at different stages of life. This draws upon work by Jean Piaget, the pioneering child development psychologist and the study of successful leaders and how they learned. Thomas Jefferson Education also emphasizes how parents can model leadership education for themselves,to in their home.

The Eclectic Method—Picking and choosing, drawing upon different approaches. This approach allows families to customize learning methods and approaches depending on what is most beneficial for their child. Families might also employ different approaches for each of their children, allowing them to relax into what works best for each child.

Please visit this site: What is Eclectic Homeschooling? And visit this site, run by a family who has been eclectic homeschooling for nine years: Eclectic Homeschooling: Raising Global Kids

Do What Works For Your Family

Whatever approach you employ, be sure you and your family are enjoying your homeschooling lifestyle and all the opportunities for learning, and growing together. Please feel free to share with us here at Inspiration Station what method works best for you and what you like about it. We would LOVE to hear from you! Submit your comments below or write a Day in the Life blog post for us about your homeschool educational approach/philosophy, what it looks like for your family, and we will publish it here on the blog! Please email blog submissions to us here:

Thanks for reading and being a part of our community here at the Inspire Family Liaison Blog! 🙂

Paige McKinney is an Inspire Family Liaison serving the Orange County area.

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