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Homeschooling - 3 Homeschool Approaches

Aug 20, 2007
There is an endless number of approaches to designing a homeschool program for your child. They vary from extremely structured courses to completely unstructured. The past few decades have seen many different teaching styles emerge and have acquires some common names. Three of these, school-at-home, unit studies and classical homeschool are three of the more popular types of homeschooling.


School-at-home is a general term for the approach that many parents will attempt at first. Because they do not really know what to do, they will turn to experts to design the curricula and supply the materials. Basically, everything that is done in public school classrooms is done in the home. This approach has study schedules, textbooks and recordkeeping.

While this is not a bad first step, this approach to learning has two drawbacks. First, parents will often burn themselves out because of the massive amount of effort that is required to carry on all of the tasks. They soon discover that teaching is not as easy as it may have initially seemed. Eventually, they slack off, become impatient and lose the passion which inhibits the child's motivation. They are unsure of how to proceed and become frustrated when the progress is slow. Both parent and child suffer and the whole goal of homeschooling begins to unravel.

Second, the soon realize that the materials are usually a good reason why their child was not doing well in public school. There are many hard working public school teachers who truly love to teach, but they are encumbered with materials that are difficult or even substandard. However, parents often do not know what materials would be any better. This is frustrating and again the child's progress is slowed or even halted. It is often at this point that parents seek an alternative to homeschool or just give up altogether and send their children on to public school anyway.

Unit Studies

The fundamental concept of the unit studies method of learning is that it uses the child's natural interests as a starting point. This is based on the basic observation that people are interested in certain things and are bored with other activities. This is often displayed very early in life. Some people enjoy drawing; others prefer working math problems or studying science. Some people enjoy being outside running or exploring nature while another prefers the indoors, reading or working on the computer. These value preferences surface at around age two or even younger. By utilizing these preferences instead of fighting them, parents can tailor a homeschool education that is perfect for the child and embraces the fundamental idea of unit studies.

This I also one approach that public schools are never able to achieve because of their one size fits all mentality.

Classical Homeschooling

This method is much like school-at-home in that it is very structured, but the materials and approach far exceed it in quality. The reason that this method is superior is because it is based on a superior foundation. The classical method emulates the individual education that was provided in monasteries during the Middle Ages. However, it may also be conducted without any religious overtones. Its primary focus is on developing the child's mind.

The goal of classical homeschooling is to teach students how to think and learn for themselves.

Classical learning programs can be rather dull with many memorization exercises, but it is made interesting by allowing the child to learn in an orderly manner. This provides a foundation on which the child can build while developing confidence as well.

A popular book that explores the subject is "The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home" by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. It explains the classical homeschooling method in great detail. It is a wealth of information for parents who are interested in using this approach.

Many parents will go through periods of uncertainty at first, many will stumble. They will go through a time of trial and error as they explore and learn the method that is best for them and for their child. As long as they are seeking a method that works best with the personality of their individual child, they will succeed.
About the Author
Learning can be fun, and games can be educational. Give your kids the best of both worlds, come visit 123KidsGames.com - Educational Books and Games and discover the best, most fun way to grow and learn.

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