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3 Approaches To Homeschooling Your Children


By Ann Saunders

There are almost as many approaches to homeschooling as there are parents undertaking homeschooling but over the years several general approaches have appeared. Here we look at just three of these.

The first approach is known as School-At-Home. This is perhaps the most commonly seen form of homeschooling and is the approach that most parents will try first.

Because the majority of parents have no experience of schooling children at home they turn to the 'experts' to design a curriculum for them and to supply them with the necessary teaching materials. The affect of this tends to be to simply transfer teaching from the pubic school classroom into the home.

Although this is not a bad starting point, parents often find that this approach is very hard on them and they struggle to cope with the amount of work it entails. They also find that teaching in this manner is not as easy as they thought it would be and find themselves uncertain of how to move forward so that progress is slow and frustration sets in quite easily.

In addition, where parents have removed their children from the public school system to continue their education at home, they often find that the teaching materials used in the School-At-Home approach are essentially the same as those which may have contributed to their child's lack of support in public school.

The second approach is known as Unit Studies. The principle here is to focus attention on the natural interests of the children and to build your teaching around these.

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From our very earliest years we have a tendency to show an interest in certain things and to express our dislike of, or boredom with, others. We might for example express an interest in mathematics and science and boredom with literature and poetry. Similarly, we might demonstrate a love of nature and of being outdoors and a dislike of organized games and sport.

Unit Studies allows parents to take advantage of a child's interests and to structure a curriculum centered on these and which also incorporates these into subjects which are of less interest, but which are nonetheless necessary to ensure a rounded education.

The third approach is that of Classical Homeschooling. This is similar in many ways to the School-At-Home approach but makes use of superior teaching materials and is grounded in the classical methods first developed during the Middle Ages in the monasteries of the day. This is not to say however that this method today is centered on religion.

Classical Homeschooling aims to teach children to think, and ultimately to learn, for themselves and contains a great deal of what most parents will probably remembers as very dull rote learning. Nowadays techniques have been developed to remove much of the boredom from rote memorization and this is also helped considerably by allowing a child to learn in an ordered fashion.

Whatever approach you adopt you will almost certainly find yourself struggling a bit at first. However, with a little bit of trial and error you will be surprised how quickly you will find a method which suits both yourself and your child.

© Ann Saunders
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