Styles of Home Education
~ Summary ~
PBL is inquiry-based learning or learning by doing and is led, directed and managed by the child's interests.
Exploration of real-world problems and challenges.
Children typically learn about topics or produce work that integrates multiple subjects and skill areas.
Learning is deep, complex and layered.
Also known as "Unschooling", this approach to learning is simply a conscious decision that learning should take place in a natural manner without coercion.
Supportive home environment in which a child is safe to develop as they wish and at their own pace.
Child led with access to a rich assortment of resources in the home and community.
This approach is based on the philosophy that the child is a person and must be educated as a whole person, not just their mind.
Children must be respected and will learn best in real-life situations.
Utilises "Living Books", oral narrations and book summaries.
Nature and music studies are emphasised.
Learning activities are tied to a theme. This can provide a hands-on approach that incorporates multiple subjects such as maths, science & language arts.
A topic is chosen by the parent, child or family consensus.
Popular with families who have multiple children in different ages or learning stages.
Borrowing from the different education styles , parents "mix and match" and put together their own approach and resources for their children's education.
Not committed to one particular 'school of thought' but tends to take a bit from each.
Often an exceptionally personalised approach for each individual child based on their strengths, learning styles, and interests.
This method of education that is personalised to each child's learning style, stage of development, and interests.
Emphasises kinaesthetic and sensory learning.
Parents create a prepared environment that encourages students to explore and discover.
Discourages reward incentives for desired behaviours.
A philosophical approach to nurture a child's development by facilitating creative and self-directed learning.
Lots of arts, crafts, handwork, dance, drama and general creativity.
Focus is on experiential learning and opportunities for imaginative play.
Technology is generally not used until high school level.
An approach that stems from the philosophy that the child’s education should reflect, support, and extend from their religious beliefs.
Often many of the resources used come from a faith-based curriculum and learning environment.
The family's faith is the overarching influencer on educational foundations and imparting a world-view.
Parent led and structured by the parent or program.
Different Approaches & Philosophies of Home Education
Home education involves parents and caregivers taking direct responsibility for the education of their child or children. Also known as homeschooling, it is a legal option embracing a wide variety of educational philosophies. People from a variety of backgrounds and educational levels are successfully home educating children of all ages.
One of the seven Objects of the HEA is to maintain a respect for the diversity of philosophies and methods used by home educators.
A CLASSICAL EDUCATION
The classical approach is a history-based, idea-oriented educational model that exposes students to the great minds of the past through literature, essays, philosophy, etc. It has been successfully used to educate students for hundreds of years and has produced many of history's great minds.
The term "classical education" has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, it has been used to refer to a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a practical or pre-professional program.
Typical classical homeschools employ "Great books" (Adler, Hutchins, and Van Doren) and an "Applied Trivium" framework (Wise-Bauer). That means, the "canon" of Great Books (classics and masterpieces) get top billing, as students learn facts and data in grammar school, logic and critical thinking in middle school, and rhetoric and self-expression in high school. The Classical method often incorporates Greek and Latin learning, though these are not required. Biblical-Classical education will also place a heavy emphasis on the Bible and biblical worldview training.
The subject areas are, as much as possible, interwoven into a chronological reading plan so that students are studying the various subject areas historically. In this way, students are equipped to understand the consequence over ideas over time. This method is distinct from conventional schooling and other homeschooling methods (Unschooling, Unit studies, School-at-Home), which tend to "jump around" from topic to topic, or which reserve history for a separate subject area.
Another prominent feature of Classical learning is the use of Socratic dialogues. Socratic dialogues foster robust discussion and debate through open-ended questions, encouraging students go beyond mere "comprehension" or "skill training" in order to achieve enriching understandings of self and world. See also, TheWellTrainedMind.com and "Definition for Classical Ed."
Classical homeschooling is based on teaching children in three stages, called the Trivium. The Grammar Stage (ages 6-10) focuses on absorbing information and memorising the rules of phonics, spelling, grammar, foreign language, history, science, math, etc. The Dialectic Stage (ages 10–12) emphasises logical discussion, debate, drawing correct conclusions, algebra, thesis writing, and determining the why’s behind the information. The Rhetoric Stage (ages 13–18) continues the systematic, rigorous studies and seeks to develop a clear, forceful, and persuasive use of language.
Grammar consists of language skills such as reading and the mechanics of writing. An important goal of grammar is to acquire as many words and manage as many concepts as possible so as to be able to express and understand clearly concepts of varying degrees of complexity. Classical education traditionally included study of Latin and Greek to reinforce understanding of the workings of languages and allow students to read the classics of western civilisation untranslated. In the modern renaissance of classical education, this period refers to the upper elementary school years.
Logic (dialectic) is the process of correct reasoning. The traditional text for teaching logic was Aristotle's Logic. In the modern renaissance of classical education, this logic stage (or dialectic stage) refers to the junior high or middle school aged student, who developmentally is beginning to question ideas and authority, and truly enjoys a debate or an argument. Training in logic, both formal and informal, enables students to critically examine arguments and to analyse their own. The whole goal is to train the student's mind not only to grasp information, but to find the analytical connections between seemingly different facts/ideas, to find out why something is true, or why something else is false (in short, reasons for a fact).
Rhetorical debate and composition are taught to somewhat older (often high-school-aged) students, who by this point in their education have the concepts and logic to criticise their own work and persuade others. According to Aristotle, "Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic", concerned with finding "all the available means of persuasion." Students learn to articulate answers to important questions in their own words, to try to persuade others with these facts, and to defend ideas against rebuttal. The student learns to reason correctly in the Logic stage so that they can now apply those skills to Rhetoric. Traditionally, students would read and emulate classical poets in learning how to present their arguments well.
Classical/Principle Approach might be for you if...
You love the idea of studying the most influential books ever printed in English, the "Great Books."
You are generally unimpressed with a lot of "new-fangled" learning methods, and child psychology theories, that aren’t very time-honoured or well-proven.
You prize logic and critical thinking to the extent that you want your student to have focused study on these subjects.
You think history should be taught as a narrative and would like to see different subject areas aligned with chronological history.
You want your student to learn foreign languages, even classical languages, like Greek and Latin.
Instead of lots of tests and quizzes, you prefer guided intelligent dialogues and exercises in abstract thinking.
You don’t want to "reinvent the wheel," you just want an educational model that works.
A google search will reveal there is much information easily found about classical education. Parents can find many curricula and networks to power their classical homeschool. Also, don’t be afraid to sample outside sources, from other methods, and non-classical publishers. Most "classical" homeschools are really eclectic homeschools in nature, simply with an emphasis classical methodology.
Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education, 3rd ed. (Norton, 2009).
The Well-Trained Mind materials from Susan Wise Bauer, coauthored with her mother Jessie Wise, are probably the best place to start, along with the accompanying website. It walks the reader through the basic theory of (modern) classical education, and gives straight-forward advice and recommendations for conducting a classical homeschool from pre-K to 12th grade. Each chapter has curricula and material recommendations most of which the authors have either created, or used extensively.
The site ClassicalChristianHomeschooling.org fully aligns with the Wise-Bauer
method, but is more distinctly Christian in its framing and recommendations.
Dorothy Sayers, "The Lost tools of Learning," [Speech] Oxford Univ., 1947.
Robert Harris, "On the Purpose of Liberal Arts Education" by VirtualSalt [Online], 14 March 1991.
Peter Kreeft, What is Classical Education? [Online] (Memoria Press, 2009).
Ravi Jain and Kevin Clark, The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Classical Academic Press, 2013).
For an article length treatment of Classical, see the landmark speech by Dorothy Sayers' "The Lost Tools of Learning". This article is cited all over the homeschooling world as a groundbreaking critique of modern conventional schooling and a call for homeschooling.
You can then read Robert Harris' development of the liberal arts theme in his article, "On the Purpose of Liberal Arts Education". This 1991 article updates that conversation with a more modern answer to the problems Sayers saw in 1947.
The book, Liberal Arts Tradition, by Jain and Clark, advances beyond the Wise-Bauer method, utilising a "holistic" and traditional liberal arts method. This text is recommended for parents who are familiar with the modern classical method but would like to gain a deeper and richer understanding of the underlying liberal arts tradition tracing back through the ancient and medieval eras.
At the heart of the classical method is a list of Great Books. These great books are the time-honoured, vetted texts which have proven to be important contributions to the great conversations across the history of Western and global civilisations. Both of these lists are arranged by chronological order, but the Wise-Bauer list is comprised of roughly 100 books while the Adler-VanDoren list is much longer. Most of these books are in the public domain or can be found free at libraries (or cheap at used books stores).
CHARLOTTE MASON METHOD
The Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling uses rich literature and “living books” rather than textbooks or dumbed-down twaddle. Instead of worksheets or answering questions in the back of the book, this style asks the student to retell, or “narrate,” everything he can remember from the reading.
Charlotte was a British educator in the late 1800s and early 1900s who emphasised respecting each child as a person and giving him a broad education. Her approach works with the way children naturally learn and presents a generous curriculum, including nature study, art and music appreciation, and handicrafts, as well as the usual academic subjects. It seeks to “spread a feast” before the child and let him digest what is appropriate for him at the time. And it uses methods that will nurture a love for learning and reinforce good lifelong habits, not just present a body of information.
Charlotte Mason believed that children are able to deal with ideas and knowledge, that they are not blank slates or empty sacks to be filled with information. She thought children should do the work of dealing with ideas and knowledge, rather than the teacher acting as a middle man, dispensing filtered knowledge. A Charlotte Mason education includes first-hand exposure to great and noble ideas through books in each school subject, and through art, music and poetry.
The knowledge of God, as found in the Bible, is the primary knowledge and the most important. History is taught chronologically, using well-written history books, source documents and biographies. Literature is taught along with history, using books from or about the same time period.
Language arts skills are learned through narration, which consists of the child telling back a story, first orally and later in written form; copy-work, or the transcribing of a well-written piece of literature; and dictation of passages from their books. Memorisation was used by Charlotte Mason not so much to assimilate facts, but to give children material to meditate or "chew" on, so her students memorised scripture and poetry.
Science in the early years emphasises nature study with an emphasis on close, focused observation of creation as a means to knowledge of God. Charlotte Mason was very excited about science. She felt that all the new things people were discovering in her lifetime were part of God's revelation, including the theory of evolution which was accepted by many Christians at the time. Christians using her methods now can still identify with her emphasis on nurturing curiosity and a sense of wonder, although most will teach that from a creationist viewpoint rather than an evolutionary one.
There is some overlap in Charlotte Mason and classical schooling, especially in the upper years; but there are also differences in methods and viewpoint. CM is not unschooling, although it uses some informal teaching methods and does encourage a fair amount of free time, especially outdoors. It's not a back-to-basics approach, although the basics are not neglected, just taught in different ways. And it's not a unit study method, although history and literature studies are combined.
A CM schedule would feature short lessons (10 to 20 minutes per subject for the younger children, but longer for older ones) with an emphasis on excellent execution and focused attention, whether that is in thinking through a challenging math problem, looking carefully at a painting and then describing it, copying just a few words neatly, or listening to a short Bible episode and telling it back.
Habit training is emphasised from a young age; children are taught the meaning of the CM school motto "I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will." There are no gold stars or prizes, and competition with others is discouraged; each child is simply encouraged to do his best in everything.
Based on Miss Mason's writings, a CM education would include:
Narration, which consists of the child telling back a story. This takes the place of composition in the early years.
Copy-work, or the transcribing of a well-written piece of literature as handwriting practice.
Nature study with an emphasis on close, focused observation of creation as a means to knowledge of God.
Outdoor life is necessary to teach nature first-hand, which means plenty of time spent out of doors each day in all weather and in different environments for students of all ages. "School" for children younger than six consisted almost entirely of time spent outdoors.
Habit training as a discipline of the child's will and behaviour. Children are trained to develop the will, which is manifested in a strong resolve to act in a right manner.
Living books rather than textbooks to convey ideas. Living books, whether fiction or non-fiction, are more than just interesting books that make a topic come alive. A true Living Book has the best material, from the best minds, or at least the real story from someone who was there or has a real interest in their subject.There is a high standard in literary excellence and, while she advocated the use of many books, quality is to be preferred over quantity.
First-hand exposure to great and noble ideas through books in each school subject, rather than rote memorisation of dry facts. Besides books, children are exposed to great minds through art, music and poetry, which was read to the child daily.
Memorisation was used, not to assimilate facts, but as a means to have material to meditate on, so her students memorised scripture and poetry.
History is taught with primary sources and well-written history books.
Literature is taught along with history. For example, if one is studying the Civil War, one would at the same time read works of American literature written at that time. Once children are able to read fluently, they read the lessons themselves, except for books that need editing like Plutarch's Lives.
Reading instruction was primarily based on sight vocabulary, but did include use and teaching of phonics. Even beginning readers, she thought, ought to have something interesting to read, like nursery rhymes, rather than dull first readers, so she taught the sight words necessary to allow them to read real books.
Schooling is teacher-directed, not child-led, though the child can pursue any number of personal interests during their free time (and her students had all afternoon free.
Short lessons with an emphasis on excellent execution and focused attention and variation in the day's scheduled activities so as not to over-stress the brain on one task.
In the teaching of mathematics, the ability to reason is emphasised over "working sums", so emphasis is placed on story problems and working with numbers that are within the child's comprehension, therefore, a manipulative-based instruction is desirable.
CM encouraged proficiency in at least one other language, specifically French, as well as study in Latin.
Charlotte Mason set aside time each day for some form of physical fitness routine which included daily walks and a "drill" which included stretching, breathing exercises, calisthenics, dancing, singing, and games.
Popular Websites for more information on a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling:
Montessori is an approach to supporting the full development of the human being. The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an ‘aid to life’. As an educational system, it has a long track record of success. It is a system of education for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods. It was developed by physician Maria Montessori. It emphasises independence and it views children as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a sufficiently supportive and well-prepared learning environment. It discourages some conventional measures of achievement, such as grades and tests.
From Montessori Australia:
The Montessori approach to education, inspires children towards a lifelong love of learning, by following their natural developmental trajectory. Children become confident, responsible, independent learners, who trust in their own abilities. The inclusivity and positive social development facilitated by a Montessori program forms the basis for a persistent attachment to learning and knowledge.
Montessori setups provide a specially crafted learning environment where children are able to respond to their natural tendency to work. Children have an innate passion for learning, and a Montessori room setup encourages this by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with guidance. Through their work, children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.
Dr Maria Montessori, a physician, anthropologist and pedagogue, developed her unique method of educating children over a professional career that spanned over fifty years. The Montessori approach was developed through intense scientific observation of children from many ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds from birth to maturity. It is based upon a deep understanding of child development.
“The goal of early childhood education should be
to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”
Doctor Maria Montessori
Montessori education involves free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives. In addition to offering access to the Montessori materials appropriate to the age of the children, the environment should exhibit the following characteristics:
An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity
Beauty and harmony, cleanliness of environment
Construction in proportion to the child and her/his needs
Limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child's development is included
Nature in the classroom and outside of the classroom
Montessori homeschooling seeks to provide opportunities for the child to do it themselves. Participation in everyday activities such as chores is specifically encouraged by the provision of child-sized tools, and teaching the tasks by demonstration.
The Montessori environment is extremely important. It must be prepared so children can make discoveries and learn new skills easily. This includes having furniture to suit size, having specific places for equipment, pictures on walls at their eye level, and independent activities suitable for their ability. It is important to reduce clutter, both visual and auditory.
Some examples and descriptions of setting up your family learning environment can read in the article Setting up a Montessori Home Learning Environment
The HEA has a Partner arrangement with
Woodslane Books for 20% off!
Woodslane has a number of books on the Montessori Education Philosophy
Discount code: www.hea.edu.au/english
We are also pleased to partner with
Treasure Trunk, receiving 15% off store-wide.
Treasure Trunk has a dedicated listing of Montessori Educational products.
Discount code: www.hea.edu.au/hpe
Important Principles in the Montessori Home Environment
• Freedom of Choice: Encourage your child to move freely around their Montessori work space, and choose an activity based on their interests.
• One Work at a Time: Teach your child that they may work with any activity they choose, but that they may only work with one material at a time.
• Pack Away First: Teach your child that they must pack away the material they are working with before they move on to their next activity.
• Grace and Courtesy: Role model situations and scenarios that require good manners i.e. asking: “How do you ask someone to play with you?” or “What do you say when a guest arrives/leaves your house” or “Why do you need to apologise?”
• Keep the Room Tidy: Encourage your child to truly care for their environment by finishing each lesson with a reminder about pushing in their chair, throwing away scraps, bringing food dishes to the kitchen, dusting the shelves, and washing their hands. This will become automatic for your child over time.
• Independence: Set up your work space with low open shelves, so that your child can easily access activities on their own. Try to facilitate your child’s independence, so that they can learn to do and think for themselves.
• Self-Correction: Allow your child the time and space to correct their own mistakes. If they complete an activity incorrectly, or don’t finish at all, do not correct their work. Let them come back to it when they are ready.
• Language Skills: Encourage your child to use their “quiet” inside voice, and use their words to express themselves in a clear and calm manner. Teaching your child to communicate their feelings will help with de-escalating tantrums, and encouraging good manners.
PROJECT BASED LEARNING
Project-based learning (PBL) enables children and teens to learn deeply and develop core life and job skills through participating in real work projects and experiences.
The idea is that PBL drives learning by engaging children in real-world, meaningful projects. It’s a style of inquiry-based and student-centred learning where the project is intended to solve a genuine problem or answer a challenging question.
Project activities allow children to develop deep content knowledge and develop skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. PBL education is used across many learning environments, including high schools and universities.
A helpful starting resource is John Spencer's website:
PBL is "Reggio Emilia" inspired
Project-based homeschooling combines children's interests with long-term, deep, complex learning. This is an essential experience for children: to spend time working on something that matters to them, with the support of a dedicated mentor.
This educational thought is credited in its origin as a Reggio Emilia approach, or "Reggio Emilia-Inspired".
From The Compass School's "Reggio Emilia inspired philosophy", there are seven guiding principles of this approach which are critical:
Children are capable to construct their own learning
Children are collaborators and learn through interaction within their communities.
Children are natural communicators and should be encouraged to express themselves however they feel they can.
The classroom (or home/community) environment acts as the "third teacher".
Teachers are partners, nurturers and guides who help facilitate the exploration of children's interests as they work on short and long-term projects.
Documentation is a critical component of communication.
Parents are partners in education.
The Unit Study homeschool method is a mastery-based approach to learning. Children learn about a specific theme or topic and while doing so a multiple number of subject areas are covered.
Unit studies are a popular homeschooling method because they can be hands-on, literature-based, or blended in with other approaches like Charlotte Mason for example. This method can easily be adapted for individual children, catering for their age and/or learning style, while still studying the same topic together as a family.
Unit studies can be as short or as long as you want them to be: one week of focus or an entire term or even a year if the student is keen!
Usually a mix of activities are used during a Unit Study. Examples are excursions, nature study, art, timelines, films, books, encyclopaedias, online research, narration, drama, songs, poems, games, cooking, sewing and crafts.
Some families make portfolio books, notebooks or nature journals to record the activities. These are created by the child or children showcasing their work and research. Photographs can be included along with their drawings, reports, poems -- just about anything and everything can be included. Using an A4/A3 sketchbooks (white or black paper), or display folders work well.
An example of a Unit Study from Fearless Homeschool:
Bread. Doesn’t sound very interesting to most people, right? But organising a unit study around it proves surprisingly easy! Here are some ideas for activities related to bread – there’s plenty more.
Research the history of bread making. Write an age-appropriate summary of it
Make a variety of yeasted and non-yeasted breads
Capture your own sourdough culture and make sourdough bread
Research and make breads specific to different historical periods, cultures or countries. Explore reasons why different breads have developed in different areas
Visit a bakery – a modern one and an artisanal one if possible. Compare the different methods and appliances used
Make a poster illustrating different types of bread, or a bread timeline
Investigate the chemistry behind bread and yeasts
Reading quality stories and poetry involving bread – Terry Pratchett’s dwarf bread (can be used as a weapon) comes to mind, as does the lembas bread in Lord of the Rings or damper in many Australian history stories and poems. Read the Gingerbread Man to little ones!
Investigate hardtack and how and when it has been used in history. Make some!
Write a bread recipe book
Put on a bread feast or tasting session for friends or family
As you can see, any topic area has the potential to involve learning in multiple subject areas. Reading, writing, science, technology, history, maths, geography, botany, art and cooking are all easily covered in the study of bread. The activities are varied and interesting while being unified by a central theme.
Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy. Its pedagogy strives to develop pupils' intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner. The cultivation of pupils' imagination and creativity in ways that serve their developmental needs is a strong focus.
The Waldorf approach is a holistic liberal arts education where subjects are not separated from one another and education covers body, mind, and spirit.
The structure of Waldorf education follows a theory of childhood development devised by Rudolf Steiner, utilising distinct learning strategies for each of three distinct developmental stages: early childhood, elementary education, and secondary education, each lasting approximately seven years. Aside from their spiritual underpinnings, Steiner's seven-year stages are broadly similar to those later described by Jean Piaget.: 402  The stated purpose of this approach is to awaken the "physical, behavioural, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual" aspects of each individual, fostering creative and inquisitive thought.
Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.
— Rudolf Steiner, Human Values in Education
In early learning, we nurture a child’s development by facilitating creative, self-directed play, as we believe that the initiative, imagination and flexibility awakened underpin later academic learning and are the basis for innovative thought in adult life.
In primary school, the core approach is through artistic presentation of material by the class teacher which promotes engagement, inspires deep learning and supports developing imaginations.
In secondary school, we develop students’ awakening capacity for discernment by fostering initiative and independent, flexible thinking.
Teaching is based on supportive and close relationships with teachers and strong, lifelong bonds between students.
The values underpinning our education are gratitude, responsibility, collaboration, inclusivity, diversity and initiative. These are drawn from spirituality, engender self-worth, enrich relationships and develop a deep appreciation of our place in this world.
The HEA has a Partner arrangement with
Whiteboards & Pins for 15% off their
Discount code: www.hea.edu.au/english
Steiner education is known for providing a sound and practical basis for working with children, enabling them to find their creativity and to become free individuals who can think for themselves, make their own judgements and find their own purpose and direction in life.
The approach to education is based on reflection and research into Steiner’s educational insights, specifically those that relate to child development. These form one aspect of what Steiner called ‘anthroposophy’, literally, ‘human wisdom’ or ‘knowledge of the human being’.
From Naturalchild.org, Earl Stevens:
It is very satisfying for parents to see their children in pursuit of knowledge. It is natural and healthy for the children, and in the first few years of life, the pursuit goes on during every waking hour. But after a few short years, most kids go to school. The schools also want to see children in pursuit of knowledge, but the schools want them to pursue mainly the school's knowledge and devote twelve years of life to doing so.
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child." - George Bernard Shaw
Traditional school curriculum is based on the assumption that children must be pursued by knowledge because they will never pursue it themselves. It was no doubt noticed that, when given a choice, most children prefer not to do school work. Since, in a school, knowledge is defined as schoolwork, it is easy for educators to conclude that children don't like to acquire knowledge. Thus schooling came to be a method of controlling children and forcing them to do whatever educators decided was beneficial for them. Most children don't like textbooks, workbooks, quizzes, rote memorisation, subject schedules, and lengthy periods of physical inactivity.
Many parents begin homeschooling under the impression that it can be pursued only by following some variation of the traditional public school curriculum in the home. Preoccupied with the idea of "equivalent education", state and local education officials assume that we must share their educational goals and that we homeschool simply because we don't want our children to be inside their buildings. Textbook and curriculum publishing companies go to great lengths to assure us that we must buy their products if we expect our children to be properly educated. As if this were not enough, there are national, state, and local support organisations that have practically adopted the use of the traditional curriculum and the school-in-the-home image of homeschooling as a de facto membership requirement. In the midst of all this, it can be difficult for a new homeschooling family to think that an alternative approach is possible.
One alternative approach is "unschooling", also known as "natural learning", "experience-based learning", or "independent learning".
by Dr Rebecca English
Simply Homeschool discusses how to link Natural Learning to the Syllabus to fulfil the requirements for Home Education in Australia
Natural learning is a philosophy that encompasses two major beliefs:
1. Children develop skills and learn according to their own natural rhythms, and we trust that each child is capable of learning on their own continuum and in their own time and their own unique way.
2. Nature and the carefully executed environment around the child provides them with everything that they need to successfully grow and learn all that they need to learn.
So natural learning means that children are learning on their own NATURAL timeline (meaning we do not push them to learn things before they are developmentally ready or force them to do meaningless tasks that don’t support a natural development) and within the NATURAL world (using Mother Nature and the home/classroom environment to support the children’s learning journeys).
What is most important with following a natural learning philosophy with your children is belief and trust. At the foundation, as educators and parents, we have to believe and trust that our children are capable. If we don’t have that foundation, we end up trying to take too much control away from the learning experiences, thus not giving our children the opportunity to develop their understanding and learning in a natural way.
Natural learning embraces curiosity and joy, which develop a lifelong passion for learning.
deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
"universities offering an eclectic mix of courses"
denoting or belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to or found any recognised school of thought but selected doctrines from various schools of thought.
a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
"Eclectic Homeschooling" is an approach to homeschooling in which parents pick and choose the best parts of several different homeschooling resources to best suit their child/ren and family.
Eclectic home education is often a highly individualised education method resulting from mixing and matching a variety of resources. It is a personalised approach for each child based on their strengths, learning styles, and interests. Many families find that what worked well one term, may not work the next. Or in some cases, what works for a child in one subject, does not work in another subject. As a result, the eclectic homeschooling approach will be completely different for different families.
While some homeschoolers pursue only a Classical approach or only an unschooling strategy, eclectic homeschoolers see value in a variety of different educational methods. While actual statistics are hard to come by, it is credible that most homeschooling families eventually adopt an eclectic approach to their children’s education.
Designing an eclectic homeschool curriculum for your child or teen depends heavily on truly understanding how your child learns best. This may not be possible until you’ve had at least a year or two of home education under your belt and have had the chance to test different curricula, resources, and methods.
Eclectic homeschooling is often an end result of trying a variety of other homeschooling styles. When you combine the educational goals you have for your children with your observation of their specific interests, strengths, and weaknesses, you are able to mix and match the programs and tools that fulfils both. Resources that eclectic homeschoolers might use could include online learning, library books, locally offered courses and clubs, videos, and bits and pieces of subject-specific curricula.
Getting started with an eclectic approach might include:
Observing your child carefully over a school year or more to determine their learning style, key interests, and what does and doesn’t work to keep their interest
Setting out a list of goals you want your child to accomplish
Researching available curricula, materials, tools, and local offerings that fit your educational goals and your child’s individual needs
Blending the resources you find to create a customised educational plan, with the recognition that you can make adjustments as you go, depending on the success of each resource.
FAITH BASED HOMESCHOOLING
A faith-based decision to homeschool is often inextricably rooted in the core belief that the responsibility of educating a child rests on the parent’s shoulders. Likewise, for those that educate for faith-based reasons, that core belief extends to the education itself – the knowledge that is imparted to our children. The “what” and “why” we homeschool our children is just as important as the “how” and “when” they are taught.
For many faith-based homeschoolers, the choice to homeschool is rooted in the mindset that the child’s education should reflect, support, and extend from their religious beliefs. The foundation and world-view of faith-based homeschooling is rooted in God – the believer's source of foundational truth.
In Australia those who homeschool for religious reasons are most commonly from either a Christian or Muslim faith. It is also not uncommon for these families to seek out community with other home educating families from the same faith, and may organise group excursions and social outings with their own group.