What Is A Homeschool Teaching Method?I started homeschooling right from the get-go. I had a 5 year old who we were getting ready for public school kindergarten registration, when all of a sudden, my husband decided he didn't want to go that route. I was back in college finishing up a teaching degree, but was still just a junior, so not in a critical stage. I remember him asking me if we could do it. I didn't even blink. YES! Did I know anything about homeschool teaching methods? Nope. Did I know about them the next year? Nope. I didn't really know about them until we were preparing for 2nd grade. That's when I stumbled onto an assessment. I took it, and low and behold, discovered I had a "homeschooling teaching method".
Okay. So maybe it's not quite like that. It's more like I discovered that my personal philosophy on education and schooling, matched a particular teaching method (aka philosophy) popular in the homeschooling world. Two of them actually. Charlotte Mason and Unit Study.
So if you want to know WHAT a teaching method is--here is how I would define a teaching method:
It's a philosophy related to...
how you believe children should be taught
what children should be taught,
when children should be taught.
Everyone has a philosophy on this. Think about it. Why is YOUR homeschool so much different from someone else's? Or why is your homeschool SIMILAR to someone elses? It goes back to the how, what and when of a child's education.
And just so we are clear--your method is not BETTER than my method. Neither is my method/style BETTER than yours. None of this Teaching Method war going on...everyone will lean towards something different. That's just normal.
There are 5 dominant teaching methods: Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Study, Unschooling, and Traditional. Each of them comes with their own description and is easy to see the pros/cons for each. Through the course of this week, I am going to talk about four of these, as well as introduce you to a 6th method that is rising as well.
If you want to see which of the 5 methods you are most drawn to, you can take a Teaching Method Assessment from Mardel (be forewarned that it acts up sometimes, right when it's time to give you your results--so it might take a couple go's). You could also check out the What Kind of Homeschooler Are You? test from Eclectic Homeschool. It includes pretty much all of the teaching methods there including montessori, TJed, and Waldorf. I have found it to be pretty spot on for all of my friends, so highly recommend it.
Also check out these blog posts:
Homeschool Teaching Methods~Oklahoma Homeschool
The Different Ways to Homeschool~ Homeschool.com
Five Different Approaches to Homeschooling~The Pioneer Woman
Why Is Knowing Your Homeschool Teaching Method Important?So why does it matter? Well, have you ever looked at how many companies MAKE homeschool products and curriculum? Hundreds. Why is picking a curriculum so hard? Because there is SOOOOOOO MUCH out there. Here is why knowing your homeschool teaching method comes into play--
Let's say my teaching method is...Classical. This is a method that has a strong teacher/student role. It is heavy in books--particularly the classics like Aenid, Odyssey, Les Miserables, War and Peace--puts an emphasis on writing, debate, logic, critical thinking, and even Latin/Greek. Plenty of quizzes and tests to check knowledge. It has a very systematic learning cycle and is very structured about when to teach what.
Why would I want to reach for a Charlotte Mason curriculum that promotes nature study, emphasis on music and art, dictation, child interest, few quiz/test or workbooks, and a lot of narration? It wouldn't be a good match!
And by knowing that--I can eliminate COUNTLESS companies. And can focus my attention on those that offer the materials that match my philosophy for our classroom.
Focused attention means less stress and less wasted time.
Less stress and wasted time means HAPPY MAMA!
If you can learn how to evaluate curriculum based on teaching method, you will save yourself MUCH frustration. I can't tell you how many times I tried a product, and then realized it wasn't even a match to our style. Silly me! Stick to what I know works!
Now there is a second element called a child's LEARNING style that would come into play as well, but I'm not going to talk about that this week. I have written a previous post about it, which you can read if you want: Know Your Teaching Method & Their Learning Styles
Do you see why learning your teaching method is important?
Basically, it helps to guide you to the material you need to fulfill the mission of your homeschool!
***Join me the rest of the week as we explore four of the most popular methods from this list, as well as an extra one that is rapidly rising in popularity! You can always see the full list of links to the posts this week on my Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods landing page!
And of course--don't forget about the rest of the crew members participating in thematic posts this week! We have great topics across the board!
Here are some to check out!