For many people, homeschooling may call to mind the picture of two or three children sitting at a table and writing feverishly in their workbooks, while mom or dad stands nearby. This is the not entirely true. There are different methods of homeschooling, and the method you choose will decide the curriculum and your style of teaching. Given below are some of the most influential and popular homeschooling methods.
The Charlotte Mason method:
Charlotte Mason is known as the founder of the homeschooling movement. A homeschooler herself, she was passionate in her zeal to lay out the foundations for an effective a complete homeschooling program that is fun and educational at the same time. This method focuses on all the core subjects with emphasis placed on classical literature, poetry, fine arts, classical music and craft. Mason used a variety of books from classical literature, which she called ‘Living Books’. Since this method encourages a passionate awareness of literature, the child is read to daily from the ‘Living Books’. After this, the child is asked to narrate what she has heard. This process begins at the age of six, and by ten the child is expected to write her narrations in her book. Mason also advocated the use of ‘Nature Diaries’. After each short and interesting lesson, the child is asked to go to Nature and draw observations from Nature. Thus the child also gains a sense of respect for her environment. Mason believed that development of good character and behavior was essential to the complete development of the child’s personality.
The Eclectic Homeschooling:
This is a mixture of various homeschooling techniques. Here, the innovative parents trust their own judgment and pick out the topics that make the best curriculum for their child. Such parents continuously look out for the best products that will meet the needs of their homeschoolers. Most Eclectic homeschooling curriculums are improvised. This means that the basic curriculum is ready-made. The parents then make changes in the curriculum to accommodate the individual needs and interests of their children. The child’s gifts, temperament, learning style and interests dictate the curriculum. Eclectic programs include visits to the museum, libraries and factories.
A Boston public educator name John Holt laid the beginnings of the unschooling method. He believed that children learned best when they are free to learn at their own pace and when they are guided by their own interests. His message was to ‘unschool’ the child. This method is a hands-on approach to learning, where the parent takes definite cues from the children. There is no definite curriculum, schedules or materials. This method is the most unstructured of the various homeschooling techniques.
The Montessori Method:
This method began in Italy, when it was observed that children have acute sensitive periods, during which they undergo periods of intense concentration. During such phases, a child will repeat an activity till he gains a measure of self-satisfaction. The Montessori method depends on a prepared environment to facilitate learning. All the materials used in this method are designed to satisfy the inner desire for spiritual development of the child. The materials used progress from simple to complex, and are rather expensive.
These are just a few of the methods of homeschooling. Whatever the method, the underlying factor is flexibility and a keen interest in the desires of the child. The secret is to use the child’s desire for knowledge to further his education.
Homeschooling with a disability
If you feel that your child suffers from a disability that seriously hampers his ability to stick to a routine, then homeschooling is your best choice. The child will be constantly under your supervision. But he will be gaining a lot of quality education, in spite of his disability. This is rather surprising, considering how children with disabilities are stigmatized in public schools.
Goal setting is an important part of homeschooling a child with disability. Set the number of working hours per week for the child. A child with a disability may have his bad days. Structure the learning hours according to the needs and interests of the child. Use the computer. This way, he will have all the necessary information right at his fingertips while staying within the confines of his home.
Field trips and other educational activities are just as important. Get help from your support group. Visit places of interest and interact with other children in the group. Take your child out for some activities, so that he can socialize. Let him set his own pace with making friends. This will help in strengthening his self-esteem.
Above all, remember that homeschooling is just the same, even when your child suffers from a disability. You will just need to look for the right opportunities and the easiest alternatives to achieve the same goals.