I used to think of homeschool as school-at-home. Children sitting at the kitchen table (or a large island — in my dreams) literally having — school-at-home. Workbooks, textbooks, strict scheduling, sitting quietly.
I now know that homeschooling can be and is often so much more, and in many cases homeschool looks NOTHING like traditional “brick and mortar” schools. Now that’s, a beautiful thing!
I googled homeschool approaches and styles, and found many different styles or approaches of homeschooling. Being a bit overwhelmed, I took a step back to focus on the Lee’s. How our family functions best, our needs and desires.
Why I felt the need to label ourselves…
There are enough labels in this world. I know. But, there are a few good reasons I believe it’s beneficial to know where we fit, within the homeschooling world.
It’s so important to find a community of support when homeschooling, for yourself as a the “teacher” and for your children. Facebook is great for that. There are hundreds of Facebook Homeschooling groups many of them are geared toward a specific style: Charlotte Mason, Christian, Classical, School at Home aka: Traditional, and Unschooling. There are more but I think these are the most popular. The same applies to homeschooling co-ops.
It won’t benefit me to be a part of a group that doesn’t agree with our wants, needs, lifestyle or beliefs. Also knowing our style will provide a great framework for me to build on as we being our journey.
The 5 Questions I Asked to Discover Our Homeschool Style
1-Why? Why are we wanting to become a homeschool family?
Our family has decided to try Homeschooling for many reasons. The most important is that I want Ari to learn in a way that is best for him. Being an active boy discovering new things in nature and learning through living — from real life experiences. The next best reason is because this mommy chooses to not let her baby go.
2-What DON’T I want for our families homeschool? I prefer limited screen time. We can’t function on a rigid schedule or hard deadlines and I really don’t want to have to report to others frequently (can you tell I enjoy control). Lastly, I don’t want our homeschool to feel or look like the “brick-and-mortar” school.
3-What does our family NEED to function. What DO I want/envision. We thrive on structure and routine, but it must be flexible structure with room for change. We also need down time to recharge. aka NAP!!
4-When is Ari most happy? Ari is definitely most happy when he is moving, moving, moving. When he is FREE to be and out and about.
5- What is our over all vision for our children at the end of their schooling career. Begin with the end in mind.
Not only do I want our children to be well-educated in the common core standards. I want them to possess a rich and diverse knowledge of things not taught in traditional schools. I want them to enjoy
learning discovering new things, to have an ever strengthening relationship with Jesus. I want them to embody compassion for all forms of life and for themselves. To value relationships with family and friends. I would love for them to be fluent in a foreign language. And, have had the opportunity to fully explore their interests. I want them to be self thinkers and learners. Lastly, I want them to be confident in who they are and confident in their choices.
Then I put it all together!
Ari’s learning experience is tailored to him, and allows him to be the active little boy that he is. We have a daily rhythm, but the world won’t end if and when we change things up a little — for play dates or lunch with daddy, or just because we need a day off. Our learning extends beyond our home: local parks and nature centers, libraries, museums and normal activities of daily living. We use non-fiction books from our local library to investigate new ideas. Screens are limited but have their place in supplementing our learning (Because screens have proven to be an excellent resource for Ari. It works for him). Real life experiences are our greatest teachers. At the end of the day my children are intelligent, confident, independent and compassionate children of God.
So what’s our style?
After answering the 5 questions above I went back to google and found that we are a….
Drum roll please!!!
Relaxed/Eclectic homeschooling family with a STRONG emphasis toward the beautifully rich Charlotte Mason method. Surprise surprise we are all about mixing things up over here ;). Taking what works for us from multiple styles and leaving what doesn’t.
“Relaxed” or “Eclectic” homeschooling is the method used most often by homeschoolers. Basically, eclectic homeschoolers use a little of this and a little of that, using workbooks for math, reading, and spelling, and taking an unschooling approach for the other subjects.
The advantage of this method is that the parent feels that the subjects they believe are most important are covered thoroughly. This method also allows the family to choose textbooks, field trips, and classes that fit their needs and interests.
Remember, instead of trying to fit your family into one particular homeschooling approach, prioritize your family and child first. THEN see what style best fits you all. Not the other way around.
So, what’s your style??
See you soon! Thanks for reading.