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Educational Philosophies


Biblical/Christian

This approach is based upon Biblical reasoning and a Biblical or Christian worldview, which requires considering and pondering the purpose of everything in God's universe. The curriculum is designed for parents and educators who recognize that their children are a gift from God. Therefore, it is their solemn, God-given responsibility to educate their children with a program that meets their physical, social, and spiritual needs. Most often this philosophy follows are Traditional approach and the curriculum is complete and inclusive as described under Traditional. Some curriculum leaders in this philosophy are:Abeka~Bob Jones~Sonlight~Calvert~Catholic Heritage Curricula~Kolbe Academy~KonosMy Father's World~Oak Meadow~Rod & Staff~Seton Home Study School.  


Charlotte Mason

A method of education in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits. Mason's philosophy of education is probably best summarized by the principles given at the beginning of each book in her six volume set. Two key mottos taken from those principles are "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" and "Education is the science of relations." She believed that children were born persons and should be respected as such; they should also be taught the Way of the Will and the Way of Reason. Her motto for students was "I am, I can, I ought, I will." A Charlotte Mason, or CM, educational philosophy features short lessons (10 to 20 minutes per subject for the younger children, and longer for older ones) with an emphasis on excellent execution and focused attention. Narration, 'living'' literature, nature study, artist/picture study, and habit training are some of the unique aspects of a CM education. Websites that you might find helpful are: Simply Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online


Classical

The heart of a classical education lies in the trivium - the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages. These coincide with natural learning abilities during childhood. For most families, classical education includes a dedication to in-depth studies of Latin, mathematics, the arts and sciences, and a deep understanding of world history. Many classical homeschoolers follow a four-year or six-year cycle of repeating science and history topics. Some helpful websites might be A Well Trained MindClassical Conversations or Sequitur.  


Eclectic
Eclectic homeschooling is what most of homeschoolers do when they choose to teach using many different forms - for example: using the Trivium, use living books, having your children narrate to you what they just read, doing a unit study when you begin learning about Ancient Egypt or Light and Color, and having lots of engaging materials and manipulatives of all kinds in your home for every subject. 

A traditional definition of "eclectic" from the American Heritage Dictionary says, "1) Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles: an eclectic taste in music; an eclectic approach to managing the economy. 2) Made up of or combining elements from a variety of sources: 'a popular bar patronized by an eclectic collection of artists, writers, secretaries and aging soldiers on reserve duty."

As for curriculum, Eclectic homeschoolers will use resources exactly as they see fit for their family and not necessarily as the instructions indicate.  In this way the Eclectic homeschooler uses many different homeschooling philosophies to accomplish their educational goals.  Absolutely EVERYTHING can be considered curriculum.  For more information visit EHO or Young Scholars


Montessori
Although this method is often used in a school setting, it is experiencing a growing popularity among homeschoooling families as well.  A Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child?s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society. Although a range of practices exists under the name "Montessori", the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential:  Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common; Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options; Uninterrupted blocks of work time; A Constructivist or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction; Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators.  For more information on using this method at home visit International Montessori Index of Schools.  Here's Montessori Homeschool Curriculum


Traditional
This is the method which most closely follows a traditional school model, and strives to mirror that type of classroom setting in the home. The study proceeds according to written lesson plans. Daily work is turned in and graded, lessons are followed by tests, and grades and records are kept. A report card may be issued on a quarterly or semester basis.  Some families relax this approach somewhat, still following structured schedules and grade levels, but choosing their own curriculum and creating their own lesson plans.  The traditional method looks very similar to how you were likely taught in school and is sometimes referred to as school-at-home, structured homeschooling, scope and sequence schooling, or school-in-a-box. Traditional homeschoolers usually purchase a complete curriculum, which includes textbooks, parent guides, tests, schedules, and grading and record keeping materials.


This method usually follows a structured schedule each day, Monday through Friday, September through June, following a traditional school system. Often times this curriculum is available on DVD, CD-Rom or the Internet. Some people choose to integrate some traditional subjects with another philosophy. Although there are many curriculum sources for this philosophy here are a few places to start looking - Clonlara School Home Based Education Program or Oak Meadow. Many of the curriculum found under the Biblical heading offer Traditional homeschooling curriculum too.  
Some curriculum leaders in this philosophy are: Abeka~Bob Jones~Sonlight~Calvert~Catholic Heritage Curricula~Kolbe Academy~KonosMy Father's World~Oak Meadow~Rod & Staff~Seton Home Study School


Unit Studies
For a unit studies homeschooling approach the basic concept is using one topic to incorporate the majority of the school subjects. Learning takes place around a central topic, a subject, or an area of learning. One popular site for a unit studies curriculum is Konos. Unit studies are a popular homeschooling method because they are typically hands-on, literature-based, and can be molded to fit into other homeschooling philosophies. Individual topics can encompass all of the scholastic subjects or be very specific to only cover science, history or a literature selection, for instance. Unit studies can be found on the Internet for almost any subject you or your children can desire. Simply type "(topic) unit study" into your Internet search engine. 


Unschooling
Unschooling is also known as "natural learning", "experience-based learning", or "independent learning". Many children coming from other learning environments or school settings spend some period of time"?deschooling" before becoming ready to unschool. Unschoolers believe that children are sufficiently motivated to educate themselves by their own natural curiosity.  The student chooses how, when, why, and what they learn. The parents act as facilitators and advisors rather than teachers. Emphasis is on providing an environment rich with opportunities (google "strewing") for experimenting and exploring, along with a wealth of resources and support. Some additional web sites for more information are Sandra Dodd orJohn Holt


Waldorf
Waldorf education is based on the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher. Learning is interdisciplinary integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The educational philosophy's overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny. It can appear similar to Unschooling and Montessori approaches. A Waldorf education requires more description than is possible in this space. Please visit these websites to find a more complete picture of this educational philosophy: Waldorf Without Walls or Christopherus Homeschool or Waldorf Homeschoolers.  Here's a website that offers free pre-school curriculum.

How to plan your day...

Consider your top three scheduling goals, do you want to:

  • finish the book
  • get everyone organized
  • be less stressed
  • accomplish a daily task
  • school 4 days a week
  • finish in (fill in the month)
  • not ignore the youngest or middle child
  • focus on life skills
  • master a subject

Consider these options when scheduling your day:

  • Be flexible (take time out for fun and rest)
  • Set weekly goals
  • Use Block or Loop scheduling
  • Select a few subjects to complete daily
  • Allow kids to help plan the day
  • Do hardest subjects when ideal for child
  • Use travel time to review
  • Incorporate outdoor time in your day
  • Teach while the babies are napping
  • Rotate busy bags for toddlers

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