Homeschoolers often classify themselves under different methods, and if you are new to the whole idea of homeschooling you might be confused by some of the terms you will hear. The pages below will familiarize you with some of the better known methods of homeschooling.
Classical homeschooling involves teaching based on the three stages of learning: the Grammar stage, the Logic stage, and the Rhetoric stage. The Grammar stage involves learning facts, memorization, and knowledge gathering. The Logic stage is when reasoning and logic begin to be applied to the knowledge. The Rhetoric stage completes the Trivium and is when the student learns the skills of wisdom and judgment.
Unit studies are a popular homeschooling method because they can be hands-on, literature-based, or even geared towards the Charlotte Mason method. Unit Studies typically encompass all of the scholastic subjects through the study of one topic (Weaver units or KONOS character units, for example), although they can be specific to a specific subject (like Evan-Moor science units or Teacher Created Materials units). Since it is easier to teach different ages the same topics with multi-level unit studies, they are popular among homeschoolers wanting to keep all of their children on similar topics at the same time.
Charlotte Mason was a 19th century educator who believed “the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.” Some of the characteristics of a Charlotte Mason education are using living books, keeping a nature journal, and introducing music, art, poetry, and great literature among other resources.
The range of homeschoolers claiming the unschool label vary from “radical unschoolers” who disdain any form of curricula or textbooks to those who prefer child-led learning but might also be called eclectic. All homeschooling was originally called unschooling by John Holt, one of the pioneers of the movement. Gradually the term has come to mean those who use no formal curricula but make liberal use of the learning opportunities that present themselves in daily life. Without outside intervention in the form of forced teaching, learning naturally happens. Unschoolers attempt to provide the best environment to allow that natural learning to ...
The Waldorf homeschooling method was popularized by Rudolf Steiner in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Waldorf approach is a holistic liberal arts education where subjects are not separated from one another and education covers body, mind, and spirit. Textbooks are not used until the children are older and then only infrequently, and moral qualities are subtly emphasized through life. Early education is focused on activities and experiences rather than head learning and in that regard, Waldorf has much in common with the Moore Formula. Discovery is the focus of the middle years and experiences relating ...
Most computer-based homeschooling is really just an off-shoot of the textbook method. Instead of paper books, the child’s curriculum is either through an online company or a home-based program that is purchased on CD-ROM.
If you find yourself combining several of the homeschool methods you are probably an eclectic homeschooler. Eclectics tend to gather what works for them from multiple styles of homeschooling and leave what doesn’t fit with their family. Unlike a Classical Education, Charlotte Mason homeschooling, or the Moore Formula, eclectic homeschooling is not a style itself but a combination of styles that work for an individual family.
Many new homeschoolers feel most comfortable replicating school at home. The use of textbooks is most common the first year or two of homeschooling while the parent builds their confidence. Many homeschoolers continue to find the textbook method works for their family while others may continue to use textbooks for some subjects and branch into unit studies or relaxed learning for other subjects.