How to Choose a Homeschooling Method
Maybe you’ve decided to homeschool your child, but you’re wondering how to choose a homeschooling method.
I can definitely relate! When it was time to consider education options for our first child, I naively thought there was only one decision to make: public, private, or homeschool.
We decided to move forward with homeschooling, and I quickly realized there were many ways to go about it. Yikes!
How to Choose a Homeschooling Method
Yes, there are many options when it comes to homeschooling. What I eventually learned, however, is that it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming if you take it one step at a time.
3 steps to choosing a homeschool method
- Start with your why
- Identify your philosophy
- Find your how
Let’s take a look at these three steps, and be sure to read to the end for some book recommendations that will simplify this process for you.
1. Start with your why
If you determine why you want to home educate, it will be easier to figure out the best approach. Identifying the answers to the questions listed below will provide a foundation for the decisions you make about your child’s education.
What’s your why?
I recommend getting out a sheet of paper and actually writing down your answers to these questions. Feel free to make bulleted lists or to write in complete sentences, whatever works best for you.
- Why is home education important to you?
- What compels you to educate at home?
- Why isn’t regular school working for you?
- What bothers you about conventional schooling?
A personal example
When I first considered the possibility of homeschooling, here’s what I knew:
- As a former public high school teacher, I didn’t want my sons to end up like so many boys I saw in my classes. The light was gone from their eyes. They were going through the motions, or even worse, they had given up. They were not life-long learners and some of them had come to hate anything associated with “learning” or “school”.
- Literacy was important to me. And not just the academic skill of reading; I wanted to foster a deep love for reading. I wanted my children to connect with beautiful stories on a deep, personal level.
- Play time and time in nature was a huge priority. I saw other kids going off to school for hours at a time, forced to sit still and required to remain indoors. Boys are wiggly! They have so much energy! Kids need to run and jump and play and yell and pick up sticks and eat dirt and be kids. Instinctively, I knew this and knew I wanted this freedom for my children.
- Family values are critical. Today’s kids will grow up to be the leaders and thinkers of the next generation. Investing in our children’s character and moral foundations can make a huge impact on society.
2. Get philosophical
Part of finding your best method is also considering your philosophy. Hold on, I know that “philosophy of education” sounds like a fancy term applying only to education majors and school administrators, but stick with me.
We all have a philosophy of education, even if we can’t articulate it. And the way you choose to educate your child demonstrates your philosophy.
Two main philosophies of education:
- The child is a blank slate, a vessel to be filled with knowledge.
- The child is a whole person, whose education is affected by his atmosphere, his home, his training.
How these philosophies play out:
- If you believe your child is a vessel to be filled with knowledge, you will feel a need to fill them with facts, lessons, activities, skills, etc.
- If you see your child as a whole person, you will probably focus more on his home environment and habits training.
Be sure to see my resource recommendations below. If you feel like all of this “philosophy” stuff is over your head, I promise the books listed below will make it easy to understand.
3. Find your how
Now it’s time to connect the dots! With an idea of why you might want to home educate, plus a general sense of your philosophy of education, it’s time to look at specific approaches.
How will you home educate?
This is the part where I want to direct you to the resources listed below. While I’ve homeschooled my three children for the past ten years–my oldest is currently halfway through 8th grade–I’m definitely not an expert on all the different methods!
Once I knew my whys, identified my philosophy, and settled on a method of homeschooling, I jumped in and embraced that method. Yes, it has morphed a bit over the years, but it’s served my family well and I’m a huge fan.
So if you have specific questions about the Charlotte Mason method, I’m your girl. But it could be that another method will work best for you family, and you’re the only one who can determine that.
I encourage you to dive in and spend some time pondering your whys and your philosophy. Then use the resources below to identify the method, or combination of methods, that seems best for your family.
You’ve got this!
It really is as simple as that! Do not allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. You’ve got this!
And homeschoolers truly are a welcoming community. Once you identify your method, I suggest reaching out to likeminded homeschooling moms. Find a local co-op, a Facebook group, and even Instagram accounts or hashtags that align with your goals and methods.
However, the main thing is just to get started. Start small and ease your way in.
You might like to read my encouragement here: Thoroughly Equipped to Educate.
I highly recommend starting with this book! Cathy Duffy guides you through developing your own philosophy of education, figuring out your preferred educational approach, identifying your teaching style, and determining your child’s learning style. Equipped with this knowledge, you can easily flip through the extensive list of homeschool curriculums and find the ones that will work best for you.
This is one of my very favorite homeschooling resources! Beloved author Sally Clarkson will inspire, encourage, and provide practical advice for your homeschooling journey.
Another title by Sally Clarkson, this book is the story of her 36 years as a homeschooling, wonder-inspiring mother. Her story of igniting a love for learning and a deep faith in her children will inspire you to raise your own vibrant, flourishing family.
Sarah MacKenzie teaches moms how to resist the stress, worry, and anxiety that can come along with homeschooling, replacing it with the gift of restful learning.
Have you ever considered homeschooling? What appeals to you about homeschooling? What are your reservations?
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