A growing number of people are making the decision to homeschool and taking their kid’s education into their own hands. According to reporter Janice Lloyd for USAToday.com, the number of children who are homeschooled have steadily increased over the past five years. In 2007, the number of homeschooled children in the U.S. had increased 74% since 1999, when the the U.S. Department of Education began to keep track.
When parents decide to bring their kids home and start the homeschooling process, there are a lot of questions to be answered. Where do we start? Where do we find, review, and buy our homeschool curriculum? What are the positive benefits and negative challenges of homeschooling our own kids? One big challenge every homeschool parent must face is what approach or method of teaching is best for my particular situation? This is an important decision because whatever approach you use will determine how well your kids will do in homeschool. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular homeschooling approaches.
The “School-at-Home” Approach
This approach to homeschooling is self-expalnatory and is probably the approach that most folks are familiar with. This approach is also picked up and portrayed in typical media because it’s probably the simplest and easiest approach to understand. If you see this approach reported on TV or in other media, it usually includes a picture of some children sitting around a kitchen table with books and studying. With this approach, most families will purchase a “homeschool-in-a-box” kit which includes curriculum, books, study schedules, grading and record-keeping materials. While this approach is the most popular, it is also the most expensive and has a very high burn-out rate among families.
The “Unit Studies” Approach
This approach to homeschooling is based on what your children are most interested in. Is your child interested in History? Then you would build a course of study around history, with history courses being the main subject. If your child shows and exceptional aptitude toward math or science, then the homeschool curriculum would be designed around that particular subject. All other courses of study are also included, but this approach allows for parents to create a unique curriculum especially suited for their child’s unique interests. This approach is so popular because it allows students to study all subjects in the context of their own particular interests.
The “Classical Education” Approach
Also known as the Socratic method and probably the oldest method of education, classical education has been around for several thousand years. This approach is time-tested and has been used by some of the greatest minds throughout history to produce great people like Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein, Columbus, Shakespeare, and Isaac Newton. The classical approach teaches people to be life-long learners by continually teaching themselves. It consists of five basic tools of learning known as the Trivium. These tools are reason, record, research, relate, and rhetoric. Younger kids start with the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. In the next stage, older students learn grammar, composition, and language. The final stage of the process is the dialectic stage. It’s in this final stage of learning that students get their most serious reading, study, and research.
Why it’s Important to Choose the Right Homeschool Approach for Your Kids
Unlike public or private learning institution where large groups of students follow the same basic courses of study, the various homeschool approaches allow for customization. Homeschooled kids are fortunate that their parents have decided to educate them at home because it shows an intentional purpose to get their own kids the best possible education. More families are deciding to leave the institutional norm of public school education and taking matters into their own hands. Choosing the right homeschool approach says a lot about what you think of your children and their education. Choosing the right homeschool approach may make the difference in your child’s educational experience. Carefully consider all the options available and make a decision based on the needs of your individual children.
ClassicalHomeschooling.com; “Classical Homeschooling”
USAToday.com; “Homeschooling Grows”
DesignYourHomeschool.com; “Design Your Homeschooling Approach to Suit Your Family”
HomeSchoolCurriculumAdvisor.com; “Find the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family”