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There are as many homeschool styles or approaches to education as there are homeschoolers, but here’s a quick look at the most popular methodologies.
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Traditional or “Textbook” is most likely the way you experienced school. You have a separate textbooks or workbook for every school subject. You read the assigned information and answer the questions, and you’re expected to remember those facts until the test. Emphasis is put on remembering facts.
Classical involves teaching based on the Trivium: the Grammar stage, the Logic stage, and the Rhetoric stage. The Grammar stage involves learning facts, memorization, and knowledge gathering. The Logic stage is when reasoning and logic begin to be applied to the knowledge. The Rhetoric stage completes the Trivium and is when the student learns the skills of wisdom and judgment. Emphasis is put on learning how to think.
The Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling uses rich literature and “living books” rather than dry textbooks. Instead of worksheets or answering questions, this style asks the student to retell, or “narrate,” everything he can remember from the reading. Emphasis is put on bringing books to life.
With Montessori, the child directs the learning. Parents facilitate their child’s education by connecting materials and curricula with each child’s interests. They also create a prepared environment that encourages students to explore and discover. Emphasis is on hands-on learning.
Unschooling is a branch of homeschooling that promotes non-structured, child-led learning. There’s no set curriculum or schedule. Learning is not the main objective, it just happens as a side effect of the child living their life with passion and exploring their interests. Emphasis is put on the child’s interests.
Unit Studies consist of taking a particular theme and then fashioning all subjects around that. For instance, you might be studying one of the Little House on the Prairie books. You could then take the Little House theme through every subject. Emphasis is put on mastering a subject.