The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The “No Method” Method of Homeschooling


I began homeschooling 11 years ago this Fall. I had a good friend who had been homeschooling for quite a few years already and she helped me through that beginning year. I remember choosing my main program, Sonlight.  I decided on Saxon math since that is what Matthew had been using in the public school. I also added a few extras, like Explode the Code books and Editor in Chief. It never even occurred to me that there would be “methods” of homeschooling.

If you do a Google search of “homeschooling methods” you will get many results. Many of these I have now heard of, some I have not. They include:

  • Traditional
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Classical Education
  • Literature Rich
  • Montessori Education
  • Unit Studies
  • Thomas Jefferson Education
  • Unschooling
  • Delight Directed
  • The Waldorf Method

It is enough to make your head spin. I still do not understand most of these methods. I have decided that the method that I use is: eclectic.

I do not follow one school of thought. I have four children. While they have certain similarities in learning styles, they are completely different. I do not think following one method would work for our family. Over the course of the last eleven years, I have inadvertently used a mish-mash of all the different methods.

Literature rich is the method that we most closely align. Because I use Sonlight as my kids main program, we read a lot of books. I have kids that like to read so this works out very well, (Rebekah tells me she does not like to read, but I am working on that and she is coming around). 

I have within the past three years used Unit Studies. I like Unit Studies, but have a hard time implementing them for vastly different ages. I know some families can make this work, but I have not really figured out the secret of making something work for elementary and high school grades. When I do a Unit Study, I generally only use it with Ben and Rebekah, who are just one grade apart. I will bring in Sarah to teach the art or science portion of a unit study. Ben and Rebekah love it when she helps them and Sarah is a born teacher.

I suppose we are fairly traditional, except we do not have desks or only use textbooks. We are traditional in the way that we follow a fairly strict schedule. Rebekah needs the structure that a schedule provides. Once I figured this out, school has become much smoother. The older the kids get, the more traditional we become as well. By high school age, I have different subjects that they have to study each day. I let the kids decide the order, but I expect to see their daily assignments completed. This “structured independence” worked out very well for Matthew. He had no trouble figuring out how to complete his college assignments on time this past year.

Our “No Method” method of homeschooling works very well for our family. We are able to take some of the best ideas from each method and incorporate it into our schooling.

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