April 21, 2017

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods~Day 5: What is Eclectic Homeschooling? {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods: Eclectic Homeschool
Here we are on the last day of my blog hop all about Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods! Thus far, we have chatted about why knowing your teaching method is important, and I have shared with you information about what the Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Study approaches look like, including pros and cons for each.

I have also mentioned what aspects of each approach we have used as a family, yet each time have mentioned that it STILL isn't the method that we use. Well, today I am going to talk about the method that we use--one that isn't in the list of usual methods, yet is gaining popularity among the homeschooling community. Today I am going to talk about the Eclectic Homeschooling method!

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What is the Eclectic Homeschooling method?

Eclectic Homeschooling
To begin with, let me share with you the definition of eclectic: deriving ideas, style, or taste from abroad and diverse range of sources. In life, many of us have eclectic tastes, especially when it comes to things like entertainment. Some use it to describe clothes. We know it means that the person likes a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, but never just one thing.

Are you getting the idea on how this works for homeschooling? In an eclectic approach, there is
 never just one style of curriculum used. Instead, it's here and there. Picking according to what we need and works varying by subject, instead of locking ourselves into just one style. Education is customized for EACH CHILD. 

This is how it works for me. I use a broad range of sources for all the curriculum we use. Some of it is classified as being of the Charlotte Mason approach (our daily nature study and love of real books), while other of it dabbles in the Classical method (our love of Veritas Press for our Bible lessons, and Classical Academic Press for our languages). We enjoy tackling unit studies now and then, but never completely subscribe to the method for all our subjects. 

★Eclectic homeschoolers are unboxed. We can not use the "all-in-one" curriculums, because we prefer to piece it all together to make it work for us. In fact, eclectic homeschoolers can feel threatened by all-in-one or rigid curriculum because it doesn't allow for our need of flexibility!

★Eclectic homeschoolers aren't afraid to take a curriculum and tweak it to work for them--even if it's in a way totally different than intended. 

★Eclectic homeschoolers will pull from a broad range of resources--some online, some print, some audio, some video to teach, and may use a different approach for each child in each subject!

★Eclectic homeschoolers can never fully identify with any other teaching method because they aren't purists! They like to dabble in them all, and any given year's approach might change.

★Honestly, I have found that more often than not, the electic homeschooler tends to be a "Type B" personality. Preferring to be flexible and change at the drop of the hat, minimal lesson planning (because keeping track of all you are using is hard!), and always seeking out new ideas for curriculum!

★Eclectic homeschoolers tend to have catalogs from nearly every homeschooling company, because they just never know what might strike their fancy for a subject. 

★Eclectic homeschoolers will take "learn your teaching method tests" and find that they are tied on several methods. I am nearly tied on Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, and Classical because there are aspects of each that I think are important. This is why I could't ever do just one of them. 

★Eclectic homeschoolers can get overwhelmed because they are always on the search for the "perfect" curriculum. Because we use the eclectic method to really cater to our child's needs, we also can get caught up with never being satisfied with the one we are using. 

★Eclectic homeschooling usually heavily involves the parent in the learning process, because we are trying to always gauge and adjust our lessons to fit our needs. Because we piece together, there is a lot of prep work that tends to go into the school day.

What Are Some Eclectic Homeschooling Resources?

Remember--eclectic means we use different materials to customize our child's education. There aren't really any curriculum companies that claim to be "eclectic" in their approach, but there are some that have blended aspects of methods to create their curriculum. Here are some of my favorites:

Oh my. We adore Apologia Science. It's like a blending of Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Study in its approach, and that's why it works so well for us. 

Even though it uses a textbook, the book is written in a narrative form, rich with photographs and primary source readings. There is the option for testing if you want, but it's not required, using projects and discussion for demonstration of the knowledge. This blends all my favorite aspects of the methods together for a "perfect" history curriculum for us.

Sonlight definitely fits into this classification of teaching method. Book based, many resources used, customized to fit the level of the child...and dabbles in Unit Study too! But with Sonlight, you still can get the lesson plans to make it all fit together.

I reviewed this program a couple years ago, and it has elements of several different methods in it, so I'm going to put it here in the Eclectic homeschooing section.

Seriously. An eclectic homeschooler's best friend. I spend a long time every month going through different Pinterest ideas to find something that will work perfectly with what we are going to study. 

This blogger writes from an eclectic homeschooling point of view.

Final Thoughts on Eclectic Homeschooling

I have curriculum in use from ALL the different teaching methods depending on the subject and child that is using it. I am not afraid to throw out something old and reach for something new. I can do a Charlotte Mason day on Tuesday or a Classical morning on Wednesday with a Unit Study in the afternoon. I prefer to pick my favorite aspects of each method and create my own routine. I prefer to homeschool "from a broad and diverse range of sources." Each of my boys is unique and I want to capitalize on that, providing them a customized learning experience that they can't get anywhere else! 
So there you have it! We've spent the week talking about Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods, and looked closely at four of the more popular ones. I hope that this gave you some food for thought that you can apply to your own homeschool experience! 

I'd love to hear from you about which of the methods we talked about you relate to the most...leave me a comment below! Do you feel like you are more Charlotte Mason? Classical? Unit Study? Eclectic? None of the above? And if you aren't sure, here is another test you can take to figure out what kind of a Homeschool Teaching Method you relate to most!

Have a fantastic rest of your school year! Believe it or not, we only have about 7 weeks left! I cannot wait! Thanks for stopping by--see you later!

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