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If you are new to the homeschooling world, you will learn that one of the most common questions you will be asked is “What is your homeschool style?” Once we began our initial look at homeschooling, we found out quickly that we needed to figure out a style. It seemed like once we determined that, all the other decisions would be slightly less complicated.
Is it really that easy? Einy meany miny mo….and you are it! Um, no. Do I really have to pick one style right now and stick to it for the rest of my kid’s education? Um, no. Don’t get me wrong, we initially got so caught up in trying to figure out “our style” that I kind of lost track of what we really wanted. I mean, they each have really great points on how kids learn, so I began to think that they were all perfect for us.
I am not going to outline all the different homeschool styles here. There are so many others that have already done a pretty awesome job of it, and you probably don’t want to hear me spouting off definitions anyway. What I do want to share with you is our style decision and how it is going. I will also provide you great resources to find more info on homeschooling styles if you need it.
We Are Eclectic Homeschoolers
We are currently an eclectic homeschool, taking inspiration from both the Charlotte Mason and Classical styles. Our classroom consists of worktexts for the “core” subjects: Math and Language Arts. For history and science, I have a general plan outlined, but our resources are not “off the shelf” spines, they are a mix of fiction and non-fiction books that really peek the kid’s interest. In addition to the basic subjects, we add activities that the kids are interested in and others that we would like them to try.
The first homeschool book that I read was The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. This book is chock full of information. So much so that it can be a little intimidating.
If I am being honest, I first listened to the audio version since it essentially did not cost us anything. (My husband had a lot of Audible credits accumulated, that I “borrowed.”) Once I listened, I realized that I was going to have a notebook full of notes if I kept writing all the useful information down, so I broke down and bought the hardback version.
This book was the first investment in our homeschool journey. Can you tell this book really spoke to me? I think this is a must-read for new homeschool parents.
Simply Charlotte Mason: Five Flavors of Homeschooling helped give me a better understanding of the different homeschooling techniques and opened my eyes to the possibilities. It also helped me put these styles into perspective for each of our needs. This is when I realized that I don’t really fit into a single box and neither do my kids. Watch this video and Sonya will help walk you through what to consider when deciding your homeschool style.
We felt it was important for our kids to learn by a variety of methods, no matter their age. We have memorizing, reading, hands-on, and personal interest activities all weaved into our school.
I admit that our worktexts do mainly consist of classical texts or are recommendations from The Well Trained Mind. However, we don’t include Latin into our learning curriculum and don’t have a rigid time that must be spent on lessons.
Specifically, I use the classical recommendations for spelling, grammar and history. I heavily researched math curriculums, then crossed my fingers and purchased one for the entire elementary and part of middle school years. We do have a set schedule for our units of study for science, but our public library is our most common resource. We scour our library weekly for science, literature, and special interests books.
My son often finds a section in the library and collects 10-15 books on a single subject. Just to name a few, this has lead into studies on manatees, sharks, and mummies. My daughter is currently learning computer coding through Code.org. It is exciting to see them take an interest in something and devour all the information we can find on it.
I didn’t even realize that what I was doing fell into a style until recently. I would always say that we did a little of this and a little of that. Sometimes I would see the look of confusion on someone’s face that did not understand what I meant.
Now, if someone asks I can say we are Eclectic homeschoolers. Meaning, we take care of the “must knows” and then throw in a lot of the “I really want to knows.” This style has morphed a little since the beginning, but overall this is a great fit for me and my kids. This style truly makes learning fun for all three of us!
What Is Your Style
So many people expect homeschoolers to follow a set curriculum and schedule like the traditional school. But isn’t part of the reason that we homeschool to tailor the needs to our family? Do your research, read about other’s experiences, talk to other homeschool parents, and make a list of what is important to you and you will figure out what your style is.
If you are new to homeschooling and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, like I once did, take a deep breath and know that you will find a grove for you and your kids. Trust me it may not always be on the first try. Take comfort in knowing that there are a variety of homeschooling styles out there to fit the variety of personalities we all have. If one does not seem to be a good fit, be like me and so many others, and choose your own eclectic path.
If you still need a little clarity on the most popular homeschool styles, check out the great info at Homeschool.com. See where you think you might fit in then come back and let me know. I would love to hear about what you think will work or what is working best for your family and why!
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