YAY! I just love having people guest post on my blog and today Miss Rebecca is guest posting. As you can see, she’ll be addressing homeschooling methods.
Out of all the different homeschooling methods, I like three the most, and I’d like to share them with you. In particular, I like these methods because they seem to bring out the potential in our children and teach them about the world around them without burning them out or making learning seem like a chore.
The Classical Method
The Charlotte Mason Method and
The Eclectic Method
Let’s get started!
My Third Favourite Method: The Classical Approach
Classical education has been around for hundreds of years. It was in its zenith around the time that Charles Dickens wrote his best-selling books. The Classical approach is a vigorous education that teaches children in three stages – the grammar, logic and then rhetoric stages.
It values things like:
Latin – because it’s the root of all the romantic languages
Debate – because it helps children think critically, speak clearly and organize their thoughts consistently and
Memorization – because it helps children remember important concepts that will help them immensely throughout their lives
Why I like The Classical Approach
While the Classical way of homeschooling is a vigorous education that expects a lot of children, it pushes them and gives them a good work ethic. It expects more of children than public schools might, and in that way, it helps children take on plenty of concepts and values that will benefit them in the future.
In short, we’ve lost a lot of rigor in our education today and I think Classical education will help us get this back.
Shortcomings of The Classical Approach
The biggest shortcoming of The Classical Approach is its inflexibility and rigidity. Picture a flogging for a poor Dickens boy who hasn’t reached his schoolmasters expectations. If not paced correctly, can it expect too much of some children.
But this is why Charlotte Mason invented her educational approach…
My Second Favourite Method: The Charlotte Mason Approach
The Charlotte Mason method was invented when Mason saw the strictness of the Classical approach and thought things should be gentler. As such, the Mason method has a lot of similarities to the Classical approach because Mason was trained as a Classical educator herself. (Indeed, many people who choose either the Charlotte Mason or Classical homeschooling methods tend to also enjoy teaching with elements of the other method).
While there are similarities, the Mason method is particularly known for:
Testing children with narration – this is when children are tested by parents asking them what they learned, and children narrate back their answers. This can be done orally, in writing, drama, interpretive dance or even STEM building!
Nature walks – Charlotte Mason was the founder of Scouts! She thought children should spend more time outdoors discovering nature
Habit training – All education should train us in good habits, so we benefit society as well-rounded individuals. Mason was a Christian and rooted her beliefs in Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection for our sins and benefit
Both Classical and Charlotte Mason homeschooling methods value lots of reading by children separately, and in a group with parents. Homeschooling parents who adopt either of these methods can be found reading tomes to their children for many hours each week. As such, children learn through exciting and challenging texts, instead of texts which are boring or given to children so they can pass an exam.
Why I like The Charlotte Mason Approach
Many Charlotte Mason homeschools are warm places of learning where families bond together as they learn together. For instance, if we look at narration we find harsh exams are replaced with parents simply asking their children what they’ve learned.
A lot of learning is face-to-face, and children and parents learn things together. I love that about the Charlotte Mason approach!
Shortcomings of The Charlotte Mason Approach
The Charlotte Mason approach expects a lot of parents. For example, reading for so many hours is lovely, but it can become a burden if the curriculum isn’t flexible.
I heard of one mom who turned back to use traditional homeschooling (school-at-home) methods because they lost their voice due to reading aloud so much.
And this leads me to the benefits of eclectic homeschooling…
My Favourite Method: The Eclectic Approach
Eclectic homeschooling is picking and choosing parts of different homeschooling methods and curricula that you like and using them in your homeschool. Eclectic homeschooling is like a buffet, you choose what you like.
Why I like The Eclectic Approach
Out of all the different educational methods, my favourite method is the eclectic homeschooling method. I like it simply because you can take the best parts from every educational theory and leave the bits of rubbish.
The eclectic method also lets you individualize your way of homeschooling to fit your child. This means that while one homeschooling method might work best for one child, it may not work for another.
And this makes sense as we’re all individuals and we all like or dislike certain things. It’s no surprise our learning preferences, strengths and weaknesses also work this way.
Shortcomings of The Eclectic Approach
Maybe the biggest thing you need to be aware of when you choose the eclectic homeschooling method is its ability to lead you everywhere if you don’t have a plan. For this reason, I advise you to write down your homeschooling plan so you don’t go down a rabbit hole as you discover all these other amazing ways to homeschool.
Conclusion: My Three Favourite Homeschooling Methods and Why I’m in love with them
Being able to our own way of homeschooling is a huge blessing. We have a smorgasbord of excellent homeschooling methods and resources at our fingertips. And this means we can choose the best ways of homeschooling to suit our own families. Among other educational theories, I believe the Classical and Charlotte Mason approaches are worthy of great consideration if you’re considering homeschooling. Hopefully, you’ll be able to join them all together to form a wonderful eclectic homeschool!
Rebbecca Devitt is the author of Why on Earth Homeschool: The Case for Christian Homeschooling. She’s the wife of a husband who is her best friend and makes her laugh and a son who is too cute for words. She’s dabbled in Nursing, Medical Science, Medicine and Law before settling down to her dream job—being a full-time mother! The family live in Wollongong and actively participate in their wonderful church, Wollongong Baptist Church. Rebbecca has written for various blogs including Homeschooling with Heart, Why on Earth Homeschool and her own Christian homeschooling website, How Do I Homeschool. As you can guess, her passion lies in helping people to homeschool well.