Homeschooling is a great option for parents who want their children to receive personalized instruction and a unique education outside of traditional schools. But homeschooling your child can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many different ways to homeschool, and the numerous methods can be hard to know where to start.
We wanted to set up a guide for you to help you understand the different methods of homeschooling so that you can get a feel for what each one is like and help you decide on what teaching style and curriculum may be best for your family.
You don’t have to employ just one particular method in your homeschooling journey. You can combine different approaches as long as you meet the required requirements.
Charlotte Mason Method
The Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling comes from the British educator Charlotte Mason who lived between the late 1800s to early 1900s. She advocated for children to be respected and given a broad-based education regardless of societal class.
The Charlotte Mason method aims to develop kids holistically. It uses rich literature and living books written in narrative format to bring the stories to life. Through this homeschooling style, kids play, create, and are involved in real-life situations to learn from, which include nature walks and visiting art museums.
The classical approach uses educational practices from as far back as Ancient Rome and Greece. It teaches kids in three stages known as Trivium. Trivium is a Latin word that means where the road meets.
- The first stage is grammar. It focuses on memorization and repetition of the rules involved in subjects such as math, science, history, grammar etc. This stage is for kids between kindergarten to grade 4.
- The second stage is called logic or dialectic. In this stage, students learn logic, debate, critical thinking, writing, discussion, problem-solving and much more. The kids are between grades 5 to 8.
- The last stage is rhetoric. It is an advanced stage as students learn communication and persuasion. Students in this stage are between grades 9 to 12.
Deschooling involves unlearning behaviours to attitudes learnt from traditional schooling. Deschooling is a child-led approach. Deschoolers follow the child's interests, motivation, and the natural rhythm of waking up and sleeping.
Eclectic or Relaxed Method
The eclectic or relaxed method of homeschooling is arguably the most popular approach to homeschooling. Eclectic homeschoolers will pick and choose different aspects of the various homeschooling methods.
They may choose to use unit studies for a given subject, charlotte mason for another, classical for another, or even unschooling. The advantage of this method is that it allows students to learn from different approaches rather than just sticking to one.
Multiple Intelligences Method
Multiple intelligences is a theory developed by Howard Gardner. In his theory: Gardner states there are eight main bits of intelligence. They include: interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial and verbal-linguistic.
The multiple intelligences style believes that everyone is intelligent in their own way. Therefore, this method of homeschooling sets out to discover a student's strength (intelligence) and teach them through it.
School at Home or Traditional Method
The school-at-home approach is also another popular method of homeschooling. It mirrors the public or private school experience at home. Homeschoolers who use the traditional method follow a curriculum with textbooks, workbooks, quizzes and tests. They also have typical school hours, calendar year, and holiday breaks.
Unit Studies Method
Unit studies take on a linked approach. In traditional schooling, each subject is different and in its own field. However, through unit studies, all subjects are incorporated into one unit.
An example of this is let us take ancient Egypt. If a student is learning about ancient Egypt under unit studies, they will learn about its history, literature, math, science, art, geography and more. Therefore, the student never deviates from ancient Egypt and learns from the perspective of each subject area.
Unit studies are advantageous because an educator finds a topic a student finds interest in and integrates that into all the different learning subjects.
At Our Ancestories, we have wonderful unit studies based on the picture books we recommend checking out. We have our Idia of the Benin Kingdom unit study and Njinga of Ndongo and Matamba unit of study.
An unschooling approach is a child-led or interest-led approach. Parents use a non-coercive approach to learning and encourage kids to learn naturally without a specific tool or curriculum. If a child is interested in aeroplanes, they will research the topic until their curiosity is satisfied. If they develop an interest in lions, the same approach is employed.
Unschooling came from the homeschooling pioneer John Holt. He had worked in the school system for years and believed it was flawed. He advocated for homeschooling and the use of a non-coercive approach to learning. He stated that children should learn naturally by following their interests. That is how the unschooling method was born.
In conclusion, there is no single perfect way of homeschooling. You can decide which method is best for you after considering the unique needs of your family, the pros and cons of each approach, and your experiences with previous education methods. For a little added inspiration and encouragement, see our list of black homeschooling Facebook groups and why more black families in the US are choosing to homeschool.