Home School/Education Philosophies - an Explanation
If you home school or home educate, you will probably be asked what home school philosophy you follow. And if you are looking into home schooling, you might be trying to find a philosophy that fits your lifestyle.
Following is a partial list of some of the more prominent home school philosophies and/or curricula.
Charlotte Mason is sometimes credited with being the founder of the home schooling "movement." She emphasizes good habits and character development in her approach. A home school teacher who follows the Charlotte Mason (CM) model would seize learning opportunities as they come, and work with the individual child's learning style and interests. All of the core subjects are covered in CM, and an emphasis is placed on classic literature and poetry. As with all styles, people pick and choose what suits them.
This approach is based on a "trivium" - grammar (birth to age 12), logic (ages 13-18) and rhetoric (high school) - that are said to be compatible with the natural way the child's brain learns and develops. Classical education involves learning Latin, math, world history, the arts, and science.
3. Structured or traditional
This type of home schooling is the closest in style and approach to "regular" schools. The subject matter and lessons are divided into grades, and planning is essential so as to avoid gaps. Every subject is covered each day, and students are tested as in an educational institution. Textbooks and teacher's manuals on each subject are standard with this philosophy.
4. Unit study
Learning via unit studies is a way for home educators and their students to delve into a subject in-depth and hands-on. A unit study-based curriculum takes one broad subject and integrates the core subjects into the main one. You can create your own unit study curriculum; choose a broad subject - art or science, for instance - and design all other lessons with an art or science theme. This can be an awesome way to start your home ed journey as you do not have to have a set curriculum and can pick an interest and go from there. For example : Olympics - Geography, History, Physical Education and Health, Culture Studies, Mathematics (100 mtr sprint, distance to throw a discus etc) Art, flags, uniforms, languages and so on.
5. Biblical principle & Religious principle
This type of home schooling philosophy bases the core subjects in the Bible or which ever philosophy you follow. For eg: A Christian worldview and Biblical reasoning are taught. The development of Christian character and Biblical principles are emphasized. In a way, it's something like the unit study approach with Biblical themes.
6. Design Your Own
Some home schoolers do not really subscribe to one particular philosophy. Instead, they choose to design their own curriculum and philosophy, which may or may not be based on one of the main approaches. You may want to combine approaches. The important thing is to have some sort of identity to your home schooling philosophy. Another great way to learn about your child's learning style and interests. The Australian Curriculum is free and you can look for free resources to meet it with creativity.
7. Eclectic education
Similar to Design Your Own but a more relaxed approach. A lot of families will say they are eclectic in their approach because they do not fit into just 1 philosophy. They may pick and choose and trial a variety of ways. I highly recommend this approach.
Unschooling is another ideology people use to educate their children. It is more of a lifestyle.
It has no curriculum, no peer comparison, no timetables, no schedules and no school like materials unless requested by the children. Parents and children are actively engaged in providing resources and experiences that support their child’s passions and desire to learn. Unschooling is very much a homeschool method that is lifestyle based. And this where Life Schooling comes in, it is not completely child led like in Unschooling, but utilises more life skills, commitments and often more life structure to suit the parents and children.
In fact they wouldn’t even call it a method.
Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy.
The core of Steiner/Waldorf education is learning through doing. Using natural fibers and products, open ended play to nurture natural imagination, little to no technology, plenty of art, craft, handwork, dancing, drama and general creation. Often the creatives and artistic embrace this model.
The Montessori method of learning is an educational approach where children make observations based on their play with Montessori materials. It is not the same as Waldorf/Steiner - The Montessori theory successfully teaches abstract concepts through play with physical objects. When children master a lower level of play, they can move onto a higher level of abstraction. This makes learning fun and is a reason why many homeschooling parents want to adopt Montessori homeschooling. Montessori education involves free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, - parents will often set up learning areas using Montessori style equipment and toys.
There is no right or wrong philosophy to follow, what works for 1 family may not work for another. It is important to remember that the benefit of Home education is to do what works for you and your family. Often families use a variety of styles because their children have different learning styles and interests. It is why I discourage people from buying ready made curriculum's, it can lead to stress and a waste of money.
We have many free, affordable and easy to find resources available. Play and explore and see what works for you.
If this over whelms you and you are not sure about what may suit you and your family, reach out.
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