There is no one "right way" to home school. Different families use different methods and sometimes within a family a different method is needed for different children. It is helpful to know your own preferred teaching style as well as your children's learning styles. Often the best method for home schooling is a combination of these two styles. Thankfully, parents are not bound to any one method! Take time to explore different methods and be gentle with yourself and your children as you engage in this process of discovery.
The following 8 methods are the most common methods
mentioned in home school materials:
Charlotte Mason - This approach uses the world and our response to it as the basis for education. Field trips, nature studies, journaling, narration, and living books form the framework for subjects. This often feels like a "natural" way of learning with much hands-on experience, reading aloud, and exploring personal interests.
- Classical - The Trivium method of the medieval ages provides the structure of learning through the years. The grammar stage of the elementary grades is based on much copy work, repetition, and memorization of facts. The middle school years focus on learning to logically argue a position well through oral and written skills well. Then, the high school years provide opportunity to analyze and form personal and well-thought out opinions. Hallmarks of a classical education include foreign language studies including Latin, formal/informal logic, persuasive essays, research papers, and debate skills.
- Delight Directed - This is a child directed form of learning that is facilitated by the parent through specific use of materials. Unit Studies may form the basis for some or all of the subjects as a means for providing instruction which feeds the child's interests.
- Eclectic - This is nothing more than a mix-and-match of the other learning styles across different subjects in order to achieve purposeful accommodation of each child's abilities and goals.
- The Principle Approach - The characteristics which supported American liberty as defined by the Founding Fathers form the framework of this approach. Specific principles such as self-government, individuality, character development, conscience, stewardship, duty to country, and unity are woven throughout curriculum. A biblical principles and a Christian Worldview are brought to every subject matter.
- Traditional Textbook - This method follows the traditional public school approach of textbook reading, workbooks, testing, and record keeping. Its framework is an identified scope and sequence across grades and students.
- Unit Studies - A topical study that covers many important subjects such as math, writing, history, and science. A variety of resources as well as activities are utilized in order to teach and document learning. Over a period of weeks, students may read a "living book", watch a movie, make a notebook, create a map, write an essay, or memorize a speech all pertinent to one topic. Some supplementation of math and science may be necessary.
- Unschooling - A very relaxed method of schooling where the pursuit of learning and of materials is strictly directed by the student. It is a very hands-off parental approach.