Do you have a particular homeschooling method or style? Are you using a Charlotte Mason, Unit study, Classical, Textbook, Principle, Unschooler, or eclectic approach? If you are like me you may be unsure, and may say you are drawn to an eclectic homeschooling style. My dilemma is that I like a bit about every single approach, and refuse to commit to one and make it my own.
Even if I choose a certain curriculum, I end up only liking some aspects in it, so I’m often anxious to “tweak” it a bit. For example, when my boys were younger we used a science curriculum called “Considering God’s Creation.” We loved the songs, loved the text, agreed with the message, but found some of the projects to be a waste of time. We adjusted it to fit our style. Same thing for our phonics program. For phonics we combined “Alphabet Island“, Abeka, and the wisdom of Ruth Beechick. We probably threw in some Susan Wise Bauer as well. It accomplished our goal though and everybody learned to read!! I guess that’s the beauty of homeschooling…….we have the freedom to adjust the curriculum to fit our family.
When I first read about Charlotte Mason, I was so impressed. It seemed so healthy and balanced. We used nature journals and went for walks in the mornings. We tried to cultivate good habits like she suggested. Some of them stuck but many didn’t. We live in the desert……can you imagine spending the 5 hours a day outside in the desert heat as Charlotte recommends ? I can barely step outside to get the mail!! I had to remind myself that Charlotte came from Victorian England. Things were quite different then, and children could play outside all day in safety. Plus, it was probably nice and cool and overcast. My boys learned to cook, play the piano, draw and make a really good cup of tea. Then I realized they were not little girls!! I began to ask my husband to teach them to use a bow & arrow, fix things around the house, and do “manly things” before I turned them into…..well anyway we’ve added some other projects and are working though our Contenders of the Faith curriculum. Contenders of the Faith are sort of like Boy Scout manuals except from a very Christian perspective.
When ever I have free time, I love to look through homeschool catalogs. If I come across a Veritas Press, Vision Forum or Memoria Press, I am once again very impressed. Perhaps, we should try to go more “classical” in our approach I wonder. That does not usually last long though when I realize what the required reading would be. Some of the “classics”, I don’t think are so worthy after all. I want them to be familiar with Shakespere and Dickens and David Copperfield, but if I could not get through these books should I expect them to? Although I want them to read some very good literature, I’m not convinced that they need to read the 1000 great classic books in order to become well rounded Godly men. I’m undecided about Latin and Greek also and though we may learn some of the Latin roots in their vocabulary program, I can guess we are not headed in that direction either.
When I read about a great unit study….it sounds like so much fun!! Yet, I think, do I really want to devote that much time to one event? What about our apologetics and civics? So, what’s my method? I guess you could say that I am an eclectic homeschooler who is heavily influenced by many other styles. We’ve done some Charlotte Mason, but appreciate an Abeka history textbook. My oldest son has read a lot about explorers like Daniel Boone and Jed Smith but we haven’t really done a unit study on them. Then there are those day’s when we clean the house like mad and practice hospitality in the afternoon. Would that be unschooling or maybe just a life-skills day? Well, I may never know for sure…and I may change my mind tomorrow. I am steadfast and confident about this though. I love spending my days with my children; we are learning together and are making wonderful happy memories. We fill each day with worthy tasks reminding each other to “redeem the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16. Our family is close and my boys have joyful hearts. What more could a homeschool mom ask for? What’s your homeschooling style?