Different Homeschooling Styles

Dear Reader,

I wish I had understood earlier in my homeschool journey more about the theory behind different homeschooling styles. And I wish I had been clearer in my own mind what I believed. I am not sure that was possible because maybe one just needs to jump in with both feet to figure out what one does believe. But I’d like to try to discuss what’s behind the different approaches to homeschooling in the hopes that others can begin to think about these issues earlier than I did. This will no doubt take  a few posts. So this will just be a shorter introduction.

What are the different philosophies of education available to us as homeschoolers?

A to Z Homeschooling lists the following under methods/styles: Charlotte Mason, Classical, Distance Learning, Eclectic, Enki Education, Montessori, Resource and Cottage Schools, Studio Teachers, Thomas Jefferson Education, Tutoring, Umbrella Schools, Unit Studies, Unschooling, and the Waldorf Method.

Now some of these are approaches or methods of homeschooling but they are not philosophies. For our purposes, I am only interested in those that are actual philosophies about children and/or education. Among those that are approaches I would include: distance learning, eclectic, resource and cottage schools, studio teachers, tutoring, umbrella schools, and unit studies. The line is somewhat blurry as I think, for instance, that the use of unit studies does have underlying it some assumptions about children and how they learn. But I am not sure I have ever heard a unit study philosophy put forth as such.

So the main ones I am interested in are: Charlotte Mason, Classical, Enki (maybe, I have no idea yet what that is), Thomas Jefferson Education, Montessori, Waldorf, and Unschooling.

My questions for each of these are:

What do they assume about how learning works?

How do they view children?

How do they view human nature?

What do they believe is the goal of education?

I think I have a pretty good handle on Charlotte Mason’s answer to these questions. I have known a lot of unschoolers and I think I can tackle what they belive also. I know a little of the classical approach and am reading more on it. The other approaches I have only had a little introduction to so we will see how that goes.

I guess my own asusmption underlying this series is that what we believe matters. Our beliefs play out in how we live our lives and in this case, how we educate our children.  And if we are not deliberate in our beliefs, if we are not aware of our own assumptions about who our chidlren are, we may end up with unintended consequences that we are not happy with.

Stay tuned for more.


11 responses to this post.

  1. […] the like– and they do not address the philosophies behind these approaches. So as a part of my series on the different philosophies of education available to us homeschoolers, I would like to try […]


  2. […] intro to the series is here. So far I have published posts on Unit Studies (and a follow-up), Unschooling, Classical Ed (and a […]


  3. […] working through my series on the different approaches to homeschool (see the intro here; so far I have done posts on unschooling, unit studies, and classical education; more are coming), […]


  4. […] occurred to me that in my series on different homeschool styles, I hadn’t scheduled in a post specifically on the Charlotte Mason method. This is the […]


  5. […] is part of my continuing series on the philosophies behind different homeschooling methods (See the introduction, unit studies, unschooling, classical, and Charlotte Mason entries). I am starting to get further […]


  6. […] of a series I am going on different homeschooling methods. Here are the previously published parts: Intro, Unit Studies, Unschooling, Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Thomas Jefferson […]


  7. […] aware of the curriculum put out by the Puritans’ Network.  Since I have been looking at different approaches to homeschool, I thought I would tackle this one as […]


  8. […] a part of my continuing series on different approaches to homeschooling, I am now going to look at Montessori education. This […]


  9. […] have been reading up on it for my continuing series on different approaches to homeschool (see the intro, unschooling, CM education, classical, TJEd, Christian classical, Montessori, and the […]


  10. […] It is one of the questions I am asking of each of the homeschool approaches I look at in my series on them. And I have done a post on Charlotte Mason for that series which addresses the issue. It […]


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