As a new home schooler one of the things I found frustrating was
the so-called names given to various methods of home schooling.
As a devotee to Charlotte Mason, I am asked all the time if we
are teaching using a 'classical' approach or if we are 'unschoolers.'
I am not an expert on home schooling methodology so I am just
going to give a very brief definition of these forms and then
you can go and research them yourself.
Classical Education / Classical Christian Education
Classical education depends on a three-part process of training
the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts,
systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the
middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the
high school years, they learn to express themselves. This classical
pattern is called the Trivium.
Charlotte Mason (See Using AO - Help
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who was born in 1842 and
died in 1923. During that time she developed a Philosophy of Education
that has proved very adaptable. Designed for homes, private schools,
and home schools, her blend of practices (for she never claimed
to have invented these, only to having adapted and combined them)
includes Narration and copywork, Nature Notebooks, Fine Arts,
Languages, a Literature based curriculum instead of textbooks,
and real-life applications. She also did not claim to have finished
or perfected her Philosophy. The complete title to her last book,
Volume 6 of her Home Schooling Series, conveys this concept -
"An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education". She was
constantly developing, refining, adding as she learned herself.
Her practice was to stimulate others with ideas and suggestions.
Some methods that include aspects of Charlotte Mason but are
not completely patterned after her methods and philosophies:
The term "unschooling" was coined by John Holt to mean
not sending children to school. The term has been stretched and
changed since then, and those of us who refuse the entire school
model have taken the word "unschooling" for our own.
Other terms associated with unschooling are natural learning,
child-led learning, discovery learning, and child-directed learning.
We don't divide our day into "school" parts and "non-school"
parts, because there are no school parts. We live; we learn; we
try new things; we go back to things we've loved a long time.
The unit studies method intertwines hands-on experiences with
the unit's reading and writing, locking the child's mind on the
wavelength of the unit thereby increasing retention, since all
subjects are interrelated.
There are many prepared Unit Studies available now -- see http://www.rainbowresource.com
for a listing of some of the most popular ones!
Waldorf education is designed to address the whole child: the
head the heart and the hands. It stimulates the mind with a full
spectrum of traditional academic subjects; it nurtures healthy
emotional development by conveying information experientially
as well as academically; and it teachers the hands to be valued
members of the child’s being through a broad range of artistic
and physical activities.
Eclectic Home schooling
Eclectic home schoolers strive for a functional education that
helps their children become people of great inner beauty and strength.
Traditional / School at Home
Traditional home schooling relies upon the foundation set by
secular and Christian Schools. Key components to traditional home
schooling include textbooks, workbooks and other materials to
create a school environment at home. There are many excellent
curriculum publishers who lean towards a traditional approach
of schooling at home.
Methods that Don't Fit a Category
There are a number of curriculum publishers that don't really
fit into any category. They often include methods and materials
that cross boundaries. Many families will pick and choose curriculum
and will use methods that seem to make sense to them or meets
their children's needs. There is no "right or wrong"
way to home school your child. It is vitally important to consider
the needs of your child, your families dynamics and goals as well
as your budget when choosing home schooling curriculum.
Copyright 1998-2010. Carol Hepburn.