Towards A Homeschooling Philosophy

What is a homeschooling philosophy?

I have too many grand ideas. I start reading blogs, books, articles, etc., that tell me how to best implement some system or method into my homeschool that is guaranteed to be the best- it’ll raise my kids’ attention span, keep them engaged, raise their scores, get them motivated to learn, etc. One of the problems I have found with many of these resources is they tell the how but leave out the why. The ‘why’ for many is because ‘that’s what we do’. Or the ‘that’s what we’ve always done.’ Or something similar. It could even be that they want to do the opposite of what’s been done.

But whyhomeschooling philosophyOur personal philosophy matters much when we think about what system or methods we want to include in our lives, whether for education or just in general. It’s much like when we choose our church. We choose, and continue to attend, a specific church for certain reasons. A lot of the time it is the same as how we choose how to educate: It’s what has always been done. Or it’s what we are used to.

Now this post isn’t about our religious beliefs, although a philosophy, like it or not, does have its roots in our spiritual beliefs. I am not advocating one religion over another- nor am I really pushing for one educational philosophy over another. I do have my own personal philosophy that I will share in another post; but I’m not going to push that.

What is a philosophy? It is derived from two Greek words: ‘philo’ and ‘sophos’ or ‘sophia.’  Philo means love; sophos means wise (sophia means wisdom). Philosophy is therefore the love of wisdom. This should lead one to want to know what wisdom means. To be wise means “having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion” (dictionary.com). Wisdom is applying that knowledge through action.

One key point in the area of wisdom is knowing what is true or right. In order to know this, we have to be able to understand what is ‘true.’ I will assume that my readers are aware of different views when it comes to truth but will point out two views here. Some believe that truth is subjective; it is what we make it. My truth can differ from your truth, and yet still be truth. Others believe that there are absolutes that are true regardless if one or many believe in them or not.

Without going too far into all of that right now but still pointing how our philosophy affects our methods in homeschooling, think about how you view a child’s capabilities to grow. You have beliefs about how development works that you understand to be ‘true.’ For instance, if you believe that children develop at rather predictable stages, you can be fairly sure that around one year old, a child will be learning to walk. This has been covered by many pediatricians over the years with parents. If a child is not walking by say two years of age, both parents and doctors will have concern that the child is not developing properly.

The same goes with educating children. If one believes that children’s minds are like buckets able to be filled with vast amounts of information, then the method one applies to teach the child will be with facts and memorizing. If however one believes that children are made in the image of God and with the same faculties as adults, albeit not fully developed, then the method for teaching will be quite different.

Perhaps I’ve not done enough in this post to really explain how our philosophies affect the teaching in our homeschool but I do hope to continue this as a short series on different philosophies. Please stay with me as I present these in subsequent posts.

In the meantime, here are some books I’ve found to be of interest in the area of educational philosophy*:

*You’ll notice some of these are geared toward teaching in a classroom or school setting. I believe that the philosophies behind teaching should be the same whether in a one-on-one setting or a group. I do not necessarily agree with the authors’ point of view in these books but they are good to help understand how and why we teach the way we do, as well as the outcome. I do whole-heartedly agree with Charlotte Mason’s and Karen Glass’s books.

What are some books or resources you can suggest that have influenced your homeschooling and/or educational philosophy?


North Laurel (30 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel's Musings.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Read the next post: »

Delight-Directed Homeschooling Success Story


Guest post by Lelia Rose Foreman.

Many years ago at a homeschool convention, I heard a speaker (possibly Gregg Harris) talk about delight-directed schooling. I would have loved that back when I attended public school, growing depressed as every miserable second ticked by filled with stuff that interfered with what I wanted to do: Learn! I felt I had a chance to do better by my children.

I wasn’t sure, though, that I was doing better for my boys. I read books and attended conventions in desperate hope I would find the key to help my oldest child learn something, anything.

Delight-Directed Homeschooling Success Story at hsbapost.com

ALL my son wanted to do was play video games and draw. He spent every second he could escape at a neighbor’s house playing those stupid games. In an effort to keep him at home at least sometimes, we bought a Nintendo. Now the neighbor kids came to our house and spent hours every day playing video games. And my son continued to resist any real education.

As the delight-directed speaker talked about how a love of baseball could be integrated into history, math, composition, reading, geography, and more, I racked my brain, trying to think how Metroid could fit into anything but hand-eye coordination and socialization with the neighbors.

I went home, still mulling over the problem. At home, I picked up a Nintendo Power magazine we had subscribed to since THAT he would read voluntarily. I flipped through the pages and skimmed the Letters To The Editor. Lightning struck. I gave my oldest the assignment to write a business letter a month to Nintendo Power until they published his letter. I figured that would be a standing assignment good for a few years.

They published his third letter.

So, where are we now? At age forty, my son is respected and well-known as an artist at Arenanet working on GuildWars, an online multi-player game filled with gorgeous images. Thousands of people watch his podcast and YouTube interviews and sculpting tutorials. He and I are collaborating on a young adult science fiction series which we hope to start publishing next year. (I am having a wonderful time with the collaboration.) He reads books far too difficult for me to follow about philosophy and ludonarrative theory.

The boy who used to groan when I gave him books for Christmas now has an entire long wall filled with books from floor to ceiling.

I may have done all right by him.

Have you incorporated delight-directed learning into your homeschool?



About the Author:

Lelia Rose Foreman

Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children, one of them severely autistic. She and her dentist husband have retired to Vancouver, WA, the city on the Columbia River, not the one in British Columbia. She is the author of Shatterworld, a middle grade science fiction. If you should read the book and leave a review on Amazon, she would be extremely grateful.

Save 25% on Delightful Planning in October

A Word From Our Sponsors

Read the next post: »

Hands-on Science with the Magic School Bus


The Magic School Bus books have long been a favorite for elementary science. Raise your hand if you wished you’d had a teacher like Ms. Frizzle when you were in school!  Well, you can have the chance to be Ms. Frizzle to your kids with these fun, hands-on science kits featuring the Magic School Bus.

SPECIAL OFFER: Through the end of the week you can receive 50% OFF a year’s subscription through Educents… and FREE shipping in the Continental United States! Ships to Canada for $2/month. This deal is amazing… just $10 per month, DELIVERED!
If you have children (ages 5-12) who enjoy the Magic School Bus books or videos–and if you like doing science experiments with them–then you’ll LOVE The Magic School Bus Science Club!
Developed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, and educators, the award-winning Magic School Bus Science Kits are delivered monthly right to your doorstep. Children will explore science through experiments that will spark an interest and curiosity in science. Each kit includes a colorful manual based on The Magic School Bus characters, as well as everything you need to complete at least seven experiments related to that month’s theme.
What is included?
1 year subscription includes 12 Magic School Bus kits + FREE SHIPPING in the Continental USA (Ships to Canada for $2/month). Each kit includes:

  • Detailed, large 12-page colorful manual that is full of experiments and topic information
  • Each manual is based on the popular Magic School Bus books and TV series
  • Includes an adult section so that adults with no science background will find the kits easy to use
  • Materials and information necessary for a range of interactive experiments
  • Online Clubhouse for further exploration on each kit topic
  • Certificate of Completion
Kit Topics:
Would your family have fun with this? If so, now’s a great time to sign up: Through the end of the week you can receive 50% OFF a year’s subscription through Educents… and FREE shipping in the Continental United States! Ships to Canada for $2/month. This is an incredible deal! It’s just $10 per month, DELIVERED! The first kit will ship on September 15th! You can even create and print off your own gift cards to let your children know about the surprise.
Enjoy your exploration alongside Ms. Frizzle!

Deal ends Sept. 8th at midnight!


Sara (102 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Read the next post: »