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I Love Your Style!

Remember that time when you were a teenager and wished your brown eyes were blue, or your straight hair was curly? Or the other way around? Or those times when you wished you could wear a certain hairstyle or outfit and have it look half as good on you as it looks on your friend?

Embracing your Unique Homeschool Style @hsbapost

I’ve seen – and experienced! – that the same sort of thing sometimes happens with homeschoolers. I felt pretty good about our unit study on American History until I heard about another family’s literature-based study and then I wondered if I’d included enough books in ours. I felt pretty good about the Biology textbooks we chose to use until I saw how cool someone else’s hands-on study was, and then I worried that maybe we hadn’t done enough.

It’s tempting to be a bit jealous when other families are learning Latin together and enjoying it, but we couldn’t fit it into our schedule. Or wish that we could go on awesome Field Trips like that homeschool blogger I admire does, but the nearest decent museum is over an hour away from us so it’s not that easy. Or regret that I hadn’t started off my children with nature journaling when they were little, because my friend’s first grader is so cute with his little journal and sketches.

There’s another side to that comparison trap too – we’re sometimes tempted to look down our noses just a wee bit at that other homeschool family that does things differently – bless their hearts – than we do, and we somehow feel that our style is better.

Here’s the thing: My style IS better than yours…. for my family. Your style IS better than mine… for your family.

I’m not even sure it’s possible to stop comparing ourselves to others, but I do think we need to be careful of our attitude when we compare. I have learned (for the most part) to be comfortable with our homeschool style, and that the resources we use and the way we use them suits us best. So I can listen with great interest as another homeschool mom tells about how their Classical style homeschool works and think how great it is, and learn from it, without thinking that we are either better or worse because we do things differently.

Embracing your unique homeschool style with confidence @hsbapost

I bet you wear your hair differently than I do. Maybe it’s important to you to spend more time styling it, or maybe you prefer to spend almost no time on it at all. You might prefer longer or shorter, curled or straightened; layered or not; but whatever you do, it’s probably what you’ve decided looks good on you and you like it that way. I’ve also been to enough homeschool conventions to know that homeschool moms dress differently. Some wear jeans and t-shirts; some wear skirts or dresses only; some are very casually dressed; and some are in elegantly tailored outfits. There’s that old stereotype about homeschool moms wearing denim jumpers, but I think we all know that we come in more clothing styles than just that.

Guess what? We also come in more styles than just Delight-Directed or Charlotte Mason! And we should be confident that our style suits us and wear it well, even as we acknowledge that other homeschoolers look great in the style they’ve chosen too.

Whatever your style, wear it confidently! It suits you, and you look great!

 

 

 

Kym (2 Posts)

Kym is in the middle of her 17th year of homeschooling her four kids, two of whom have graduated. She and her husband of 27 years are Canadians transplanted to Maryland. Kym loves coffee, history, and homeschooling, and you can join her for coffee break at her blog, Homeschool Coffee Break.


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Eclectic Homeschooling Demystified

Have you ever heard someone mention proudly that they have adopted an ecletic learning style and thought to yourself, “what the heck is that???” Well, I have! I have been that mom with my traditional education model, trying to create my own perfect little classroom and scoffing at other methods. But the longer I homeschool and the more I research and learn about this amazingly vast world of home education, I realize that the different styles of teaching have a lot they can offer.

what is eclectic homeschooling?

What is Eclectic Homeschooling?

Eclectic is defined in the dictionary as:

Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles

Simple, right? Basically, pick and choose what works for your family, for you, for your children, and run with it! You aren’t held down to a traditional method, you aren’t a slave to unschooling, you aren’t restricted by classical education! You simply browse through the different styles like a grocery store run.

Let’s say you are learning a new math concept and it just isn’t sinking in.

  • You have tried giving it time and space and approached it at a different time (unschooling)
  • You have tried hammering through a workbook and questions over and over and over (traditional)
  • You have tried incorporating it into your different subjects and themes and units (unit studies)
  • And now you are going to make it tactile. You are going to take this math problem, put it on a tray in a variety of different forms, using beads in one or measuring cups and water or shaping dough, or whatever it may look like (montessori).

Voila! You are officially an eclectic homeschooler (well, at least in math). You are experimenting and trying different elements from each style to find what works for you and your child.

The key is not letting one style of teaching or method of education hold you down. This is part of why you chose to homeschool in the first place, the freedom to teach your child in a way that they learn, not being limited to one teacher’s point of view or lesson plan!

How to Discover your Homeschooling Method

So you understand eclectic homeschooling, now how do you find out if this is your style? First, do some research into all the different learning styles, you can see more in my post about them “How to Get Started Homeschooling”:

  • Charlotte Mason
  • Traditional
  • Classical
  • Unschooling
  • Montessori
  • Unit Studies
  • Online

Once you have identified the main elements in each style, the easiest way to decide which is right for you is to write a homeschool vision or mission statement. This may feel silly, but writing out just a few sentences with your main goals for homeschooling and how you want your home to run will, in theory, solve this question for you. After that, you really just choose which style fits in the best with this vision.

Before you run off declaring to the world your newly discovered “style” of homeschooling I need to state very clearly for the record…

There is no perfect curriculum! There is no perfect answer that will work for you and your child and create total and perfect harmony in your home! It is an often painful process finding what works for each child and yourself. The most frustrating aspect is that after years of searching and experimenting, when you do find that golden nugget that just clicks… it is often not lasting. Your child is constantly changing and growing and maturing, your life is most likely flowing and shifting and circumstances change. What worked for you last year may be a total bomb this year! It really is the hardest part of homeschooling and can be one of the most discouraging things when you feel like you are failing and nothing is working. Just remember that if you are in this place… it isn’t you! It is not your teaching or failure that is causing this lack of connection with your child… you just need to find a different key. And you will! Give yourself time and grace to fall and get up and try again! Press on faithful mother, your child will thrive because of it!
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Rebecca @ Hip Homeschooling (2 Posts)

I am a stay at home homeschool mom to five young children. I was homeschooled through most of my childhood and am so close to my family because of it. I am married to an RCMP officer and we move a bit more than your average family, but this is one of the many benefits of homeschooling for us and we are excited to see where God takes us in the future! I sew, write, crochet, but mostly... take care of my brood!


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The Secret Revealed: This Is “The Best” Homeschool Method For Your Family

As I’ve become a veteran homeschool mom (read…old homeschool mom), I’ve often heard newer homeschool mothers stressing about which homeschooling “method” they should use. After pouring over internet sites and spending hours in how to homeschool workshops, they are more confused than ever. Should we use only textbooks? Should we read only real literature? Should I make the kids sit in desks all day to imitate the structure of a classroom? Or should I let them lay around on the floor or wherever feels comfortable? Should I choose their course of study or let them direct that? And, what in the world is a lapbook anyway?!

To those stressed out moms, I would like to reveal the big secret. Keep reading because you’re going to find out which homeschool method is best for your family. (By the way, if you want a short run down of some popular methods, check out this post.)

The Secret Revealed: The Best Homeschool Method for your Family @hsbapost

A textbook method is right for you…if:

You have a child who thrives on structure. He’s a pretty decent independent reader, and he can follow instructions and work independently. He has decent reading comprehension and can answer short answer or multiple choice style questions about his reading. He doesn’t mind sitting still, and he doesn’t get tired of reading the same thing.

or

You enjoy and thrive on structure. You need an approach that has everything laid out for you, and all you have to do is follow it. You like for the kids to work independently as much as possible.

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A unit study is right for you…if:

You have child who likes to read lots of books on one topic. She loves to read independently or be read aloud to. She understands well when she can make connections across disciplines (history relates to reading relates to Bible relates to science, etc.). She likes to do projects that have to do with what she’s learning.

or

You have multiple kids of varying ages and want something they can do together. You enjoy searching out great materials that go with a particular topic. You are crafty and like coming up with and carrying out crafty, sometimes messy, projects.

 

A classical approach is right for you…if:

You have a child who enjoys reading the classics or listening to them read aloud. He has a strong interest in history. He likes memorization. He enjoys writing and speaking. He enjoys music and or/art and foreign language learning.

or

You enjoy history and want to focus on teaching world history. You like to share classic literature with your children. You enjoy the fine arts and want to share them with your children.

 

A Charlotte Mason approach is right for you…if:

You have a child who loves great stories. She is constantly reading or wanting you to read to her. She can narrate or retell stories with good comprehension. She learns best with short lessons. She enjoys nature and time spent outdoors.

or

If you like a more gentle approach to learning, not introducing too many things too quickly to young children. You love reading with your children. You appreciate the value of nature and learning time spent out of doors.

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The secret is: The best homeschool method for your family is the one that works. Sometimes that even means different methods for different kids or even different methods to teach different subjects. I have one child who is a strong reader and loves reading. She totally loves a Charlotte Mason approach to learning because that just fits her. I have another for whom reading is a chore. He does better if he can just have a textbook with short daily readings and a few questions to answer. I have some children who like hands-on activities. I have some who hate arts and crafts. The best homeschool method is the one that works. Know your kids. Know yourself. And choose what works for your family. Homeschooling gives us the freedom to be able to do that.

 

Do all of your kids enjoy the same homeschool method or do you have a variety in your home?

~Leah

 

 

Leah (2 Posts)

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.


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