Approaches to Homeschooling

The basic idea behind this series is that one’s philosophy of education matters. Hopefully, these posts will help you figure out what yours is so you can make more informed decisions when selecting curricula.

Approaches to Homeschooling: Summary Post (this is actually not a bad place to start)

Approaches to Homeschooling: Introductory Post

Specific Approaches:

Classical Education: Classical is a very broadly used term so I’ve got a number of posts on this one. For help in sorting it all out, start with this post: Sorting Out Classical  and Characteristics of Classical Education

Charlotte Mason: Charlotte Mason (CM) is a late 19th/early 20th century educator from England whose ideas have undergone a resurgence. Because my personal approach is similar to hers, I have done many posts on the CM method; you can find them all here. For a good introduction to CM and her principles see this post. It can be helpful to compare CM to other approaches to see where they are alike and where they differ; you can read about that here. Charlotte Mason was herself a Christian (Church of England) and her approach assumes a Higher Being (at the very least). Modern takes on CM have applied her principles in Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, and even secular settings (seethis post).

Unschooling: In my area, unschooling is perhaps the single most popular approach (other than a very traditional school-at-home model) among non-Christians. While radical or “pure” unschooling has a vibrant and well-defined underlying philosophy, it is also inherently flexible and is often in practice adapted to one’s particular circumstances and needs.

Values- and Character-Based Approaches:

Christian Worldview Curricula:

Montessori: Most have heard of Maria Montessori. Like Charlotte Mason (see above) she lived and worked in the early 20th century (Montessori was slightly later). Rumor has it they didn’t get along well.

Waldorf: An approach formulated by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s (it was a big time for new philosophies of education) which still has some adherents today.

Unit Studies and additional thoughts: Unit studies is more of a practical approach than a philosophy but there are some ideas there lurking behind it all.

The Puritans’ Home School Curriculum: Another Christian curriculum (if the name didn’t tell you that). This one is specifically reformed (my own branch of Christianity) though I cannot say it appeals to me (click the link for more on that).

And, in case you were wondering about the ideas in your local public school,  here is the biggest single influence on the modern American public school:

John Dewey, Evolution, and Socialization; see also Evolution as a Mindset