Archives for the month of: December, 2015

77005460Those who have homeschooled their children for a number of years often take bits and pieces from several programs in order to create one that works well for their particular family. Below are some of the most common homeschooling programs.

Relaxed / Eclectic Homeschooling

The “relaxed” or “eclectic” approach to homeschooling combines formal learning and independent study. The children generally use workbooks and programs in order to learn math, reading and spelling, generally in the morning hours. The afternoons are spent pursuing more specialized learning objectives, like hobbies and interactive science projects.

The School-at-Home Approach

For this approach, children perform schoolwork by following a preset structure through boxed curriculum. The children have regular school hours at home, and they often deliver completed materials back to a curriculum provider for grading. This type of approach has a relatively high burnout rate, however.

Unschooling

This type of schooling is also known as natural, child-led and interest-led learning. Children under this approach are free to explore their own interests. Instead of having a separation between “school” and “life,” parents who use this approach see the two as intertwined. Unschooled children don’t take state-mandated tests, and they often meet with other homeschool children in order to learn through private lessons.

Classical

This approach follows the “five tools of learning,” which are reason, record, research, relate and rhetoric. The classical approach has been around since the Middle Ages and has a strict daily routine. The focus of this approach is on reading, history, recitation and critical thinking.

Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason approach follows the belief that children should be respected as people instead of treated as empty vessels waiting to be filled. Children who are homeschooled using this method have a focus on creation and collaboration instead of on reciting facts. There is a strong emphasis on nature and taking field trips to explore art history and geography, among other disciplines.

Waldorf

The Waldorf method focuses on educating the child through body, mind and spirit. The Waldorf method emphasizes nature, arts and crafts, and movement and music. No formal textbooks are used, and the children instead create their own books. Electronics are discouraged, and free play is emphasized.

Montessori

This approach emphasizes the need for children to learn at their own pace. Wood is preferred over plastic, and electronics are discouraged. Homes are set up with different learning areas, such as a math area and a language area. Children are encouraged to manage their own time and learn things thoroughly before moving onto something new.

Multiple Intelligences

In this learning approach, parents become aware of their children’s strengths and adapt the teaching accordingly. For example, children’s learning can be tailored toward visual, auditory or kinetic. Each discipline is taught in a way that best suits the child’s preferred learning method. In this way, nothing is treated as better or worse, but only as how it benefits the individual child.

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153538625If you’re thinking about homeschooling your child, you may be nervous about getting in enough homeschool hours. This fear comes from the reality that each state has particular guidelines about how many hours a child should spend in school, whether that’s in the classroom or at home. Luckily, what constitutes school is more than just hours spent at a desk. This is true even for those who attend traditional school.

Keep Some Sort of Record, But Don’t Overthink It

You will want to keep some record of how many hours your child spends doing school per day. However, you don’t need to clock every single minute. A rough estimate paired with work done is sufficient for your purposes. While it is possible to not take thorough enough records, most parents who homeschool are naturally quite organized and detailed.

Get a Home School Legal Defense Association Membership

An HSDLA membership provides a lot of free information about how to keep accurate records. This information will come in handy if you ever find yourself before a judge and need to show the proper paperwork regarding your child’s homeschooling. The membership can also provide you with valuable tips and strategies for successful homeschooling.

What Counts as School Hours

In traditional school, students take many different types of classes, including Home Economics, P.E., and Music. The same is true for homeschool children. Working out a recipe, getting adequate exercise and pursuing personal artistic pleasures are all part of a good homeschool education. When you’re involved in day-to-day activities with your child, actively teach him or her life skills along the way, and this will count toward their education as well. All of these types of activities should be logged as school hours.

School Hours by Age

Just as with traditional school, the hours your child spends learning is partially dependent upon his or her age. For example, a kindergartener will spend less than an hour on school, while a high schooler will spend over four hours. When you do count up how many hours your child spends doing school, you will probably find that your child actually spends more time than is required by law.

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