This post is part of the How Do I Homeschool series.
About a year ago, I wrote about how to choose the perfect homeschooling curriculum for you. Today, I will expand on this issue and discuss some of the most popular homeschooling styles.
Whenever I talk to someone about starting to homeschool, they usually give the same objections. These include:
- Won’t my children lack social interaction?
- I don’t have qualifications to be a teacher.
- The responsibility of teaching is too overwhelming.
- I don’t know what curriculum to choose.
Today, I will focus on the last objection, which can easily be fixed by learning about various homeschooling styles.
When my mother first started homeschooling in the 1980s, it was barely legal. There were very few resources. Parents either had to make their own curriculum or choose from one of the three or so currently available (often they were from schools that offered accredited long-distance learning, like ABEKA).
Modern homeschoolers have the opposite problem. For someone new to homeschooling, it is like entering into a completely unknown universe with hundreds of options. It can be quite overwhelming. As a new homeschooler, attending a book fair, or even browsing an online catalog is scary and overwhelming. There are so many options, that many people give up before they even start.
If you think of the schooling universe as a new language or hobby, it is easier to break down all the options. Just like a new language, once you learn the basic parts of speech or syntax of the language, it is easier to understand everything else.
The Basic Homeschooling Styles
Pros: Children really learn what you go over. The child initiates the learning, which eliminates conflict. Children have the chance to become experts on what they learn.
Cons: Children may not do as well on standardized tests. Children are unlikely to learn on the same timeline as their peers. Unschooling is difficult past 8th grade.
The classical homeschool style is based on ancient learning styles often employed in the 1800s and earlier. This style of learning uses the “Trivium” approach, which includes, reason, record, research, relate, and rhetoric. A classical curriculum will include things like learning ancient languages, reading many classic literature books, and focuses on the logic and reasoning side of learning.
Pros: Children receive a well-rounded education that teaches them to really think and use logic effectively.
Cons: Some curriculum does not focus on math and science as much, which could hamper children once they enter college.
The home classroom is basically the same style of learning that a child would get in public or private school. The subjects are designed to take up a full 6-8 hour day, and include everything a child in school would cover. Many video and box curriculum use this learning method.
Pros: Children will learn everything they would in school at the same time as their peers. Children will be able to handle standardized tests. Preparation for college may be easier with this method of education. Home classroom learning prepares children to re-enter the school system at some point (middle school, high school, or college).
Cons: Many children find this method of education boring. This teaching style is time-intensive. It can be difficult to use for multiple grade levels.
A unit study is one of the most popular homeschooling styles and is similar to unschooling, but rather than base learning off of what the child wants, the unit studies simply focus on a sequence of intense learning periods. Unit studies can cover anything from ancient history to the life cycles of birds and everything in between.
Pros: Most unit studies are activity-based, which is beneficial for active children. With an active teaching style, children may find school more enjoyable.
Cons: Children may forget information between units. Unit studies may not prepare older students for college effectively.