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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?