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Author Topic: Which homeschooling Method are you thinking of or are currently using?  (Read 47442 times)
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« on: September 27, 2012, 03:31:10 AM »

I have a 4 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old.   I have been doing a lot of research in different curriculum and methods. Classical, Charolotte Mason, Calvert, etc. 

I have definitely decided that I prefer a structured environment.  I am not into the whole let the child guide you because my kids would guide me into a million different directions at one time.  That would drive me crazy.

I am currently reading through "The Well-trained mind" and I do like its structure.   However, for science, I am preferring "Building Foundations of Scientific Understand" by Dr. Nebel.  It however doesn't follow the classical methodology.   I am probably not going to follow the math either as its too slow for me. 

I do like the reading, writing, grammar, and history.  I think limiting science to the history timeline is a bit limiting which is how the "Well trained mind" organizes it.   

I wonder though if the classical method is limited overall by its methodolgy of grammar, logic and rhetoric stage.  Its my only hesitation.  I would ask in the "well trained mind" forum, but they generally don't work with accelerated methods or early learners (for example Jones Geniuses that states your child could be doing algebra as early as 3rd grade).  The classical method saves algebra for the logic stage when children are cable of thinking abstractly (according to "well trained mind".   However, I was under the impression that children could think abstractly earlier than sixth grade (which is when the logic stages begins).   

If you read this book, I would like to know your take on it.  If you are preparing your curriculum for your young early learners in the later years, what direction are you heading in?  Is the classical method for you or is there another approach that works for you?  What works for you and why it works if you home school older children already?

Thanks for any input.


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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 08:18:02 AM »

I've been looking into Charlotte Mason, too. I love the idea of literature-based learning (being something of a bookworm myself), though I do think that no one method really gives what I want for my son smile

I am currently using a mixture of EL methods and Montessori (the latter being very slow paced but I do think it helps him put all the facts he has learned into place and properly understand them). I plan to add a CM-style literature based curriculum once he is reading and understanding well (probably around 6) but continue with a more fast-paced maths and science program.

I do believe in following the child to some degree. I was one of those children this would have really benefited - I spent most of high school doing the mimimum homework so that I could focus on learning whatever language/time period/science had caught my interest and really just failed in learning anything properly Sad That is one of the benefits of homeschooling - we can get the 'necessary' stuff out of the way in half a day and leave the whole afternoon for child-led learning/fun!


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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 09:00:56 AM »

The more I read about all these different methods the more I tend to use an eclectic approach. In the early years, until 6 years, without doubt I will use Doman, Montessori and Shichida methods. Slowly, I would adapt to other methods for different streams like WTM and CM for Language Arts and History; Classical methods for languages; Problem-solving based programs for Math; Inquiry based programs for STEM, etc. Btw, I will not be homeschooling just after-schooling.

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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 06:18:15 PM »

We are doing eclectic and to be honest I think this is the route most homeschoolers go in the endeven if they mostly follow a learning style in the end all homeschooling is individualised to the family itself - ie we do what works. I follow the classical approach when it suits me, do unit studies when I know they will work well, make up my own thing for both reading and writing for now since the EL means the gap between reading and writing is larger than normal (she writes at a level way below what she can read because of fine motor skills not having caught up yet) I follow a few math curricula but move on as needed and science I plan to follow BFSU when it arrives. History we were using SOTW and will continue when the book turns up again (it went missing recently)


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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 08:38:53 PM »

I would say... Ours is eclectic secular classical. With accelerated maths.

For science we plan to use BFSU initially. But I am doing it  in a classical way. James is currently 2 and right now we are going through the first book. Next year the 2nd book and by the time he is 4-5 we will be doing the 3rd book.
We are lightly touching on each of the subjects. Mainly introducing the bigger concepts by reading books correlating to each chapter. In a few years, when James is 6,7,8 we will be revisiting the BFSU books 1,2,3 and we will be going more in depth. He will be journalling and doing experiments. And the second time around he will be reading the books that I read to him, by himself.
Once we have done the 2 rounds of BFSU we will then move onto a higher level of science. I am not sure what yet. But something that expands on the already established foundation that he will have. Oh and it will certainly involve more writing.

Math we are accelerating. He is just going to go through several programs at his own speed. He is currently doing Kindergarten level math. But we are currently drawing from several programs and playing a lot. I am not sure if we will stick with Right start, Miquon, Singapore, MEP, or maybe Saxon. Or even Khan Academy... I will figure out what works best for James in a few years when we have a better idea of his learning style. Right now it is just slow exposure and lots of play with a smattering of workbooks. I loved work books and text books for math and I myself would probably have loved Saxon. But there is no guarantee James will.

Reading has no formal instruction. James is a sight word reader but we do some phonics on the side. I want him to be able to read phonetically, but it is a struggle for him to blend and retain fluency and comprehension. . We are at a point that James can read easy books with a little assistance. He is picking up new words rapidly and I think he is intuiting phonics, but it could be just because he knows all his phonics, blends and digraphs.
He will continue to read on a variety of subjects. I read to him, he reads on his own. We are reading abridged classics,  we read geography, history etc. In several years we will revisit these things that we have read and I will have James read more information and write about what he is reading. When he is older he will move into more advanced living books.

We love Story of the World for history right now. And we read from the What you ___ grader needs to know series.

In a few years we will start formal journalling. Grammar and vocabulary  will be instructed through that as needed. (I never was given any formal grammar instruction and i was able to receive HD when i was doing my ancient history/philospohy major) i just read and wrote a lot. Perfect practice makes perfect. I know kids that can ace grammar exams but can't formulate a paragraph. Worrysome. So James will do lots of writing. smile writing for science, writing for history, writing for literature, and of course creative writing. And I will provide feedback.

Music art and physical education I think are important also. James is doing Little Muscisian right now and will receive a violin for his third birthday. If James does not take to a Muscial instrument there will be no pressure. But he will learn music appreciation and music theory. 
We love the draw write now books, and might do mini masters or tskmething similar for art appreciation.
James will be doing team sports, maybe gymnastics at some point. Swimming, running, or what ever sport is available seasonally. Dance is also an option also.


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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 04:40:05 AM »

Even though we are not homeschooling, I do like what the school does with the cycle 1 kids. They give the kids a work agenda so to speak on it is a list of academic tasks of which they need to complete they tick it off when each task is done. They are allowed to choose when they do each task and the teacher facilitates and make sure each task gets done.

I think it might be a great way for homeschoolers to give the kids 'freedom in a controlled environment' and hopefully end the battle of this must get done right now and spending 15minutes battling to get the task done.

Anyhoo Just an idea


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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012, 09:41:46 AM »

Corkersforlife I know a huge number of kids who can think abstractly well before 6th grade. Both my girls can and I have never thought to test Jaykob but I am quite sure he could too. I base this on the random comments he makes while listening to the radio. I cannot believe what he interprets from the adds at times!
I certainly wouldn't wait that long to introduce algebra. oh just a thought most of the kids who can think abstractly also have a great sence of humor. So slip some joke books and riddles into your program.
I only after school and so I have a bit more flexibility. I can skip the bits I find boring  big grin
We use story of the world ( in audio! I HIGHLY recommend the audio!) all of my kids LOVE it and request it often. As far as I am concerned that covers history! Never was a big fan of history  Wink
OFr math we use Saxon, IXL and , MEP and a very colorful $5 math book from Kmart. Different approaches for different kids  yes But I do insist on some math, and I insist it is a complete curriculum as I just havnt yet seen any of my kids really challenged in math at school and what they do do, they don't do enough of for mastery.
For geography we use visual world geography, montossori apps and utube clips. My kids love maps so this is never a chore for them.
For everything else WE READ! The kids all read ALOT. I had no idea just how much they actually did read until I tried to do a proper reading log. Wow what an effort! Anyway now I know I am careful to ensure a large and fresh selection of interesting fiction AND NON fiction is available all the time. I also stretch their reading ability by expecting a daily effort at a book of my choice ( with some consultation big grin ) that is a bit tricky for them. Other wise I find they all just read easy books all day every day! 
They often find themselves in the middle of a unit study without any intention on their part. One book strikes and interest so I jump on board and provide more on the topic. Thank goodness for my library card!
I slide in every opportunity I can. Educational TV, new apps, silk worms, farm visits, cooking, museums, art galleries, holiday many options for learning if you remember to spark and interest first and follow up after.


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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 07:02:53 PM »

I hope to be homeschooling when my 2 year old hits age 6 - just have to convince my husband!  (And then close my ears to the horror of my parents and sisters.)  So I have a while to decide, but I'm considering a few options.

I will incorporate a few ideas from Charlotte Mason in whatever I choose: 15 minute lessons for young students, afternoons spent unschooling (I couldn't do it all day but I think we can everything I require in the mornings and then set them free), literature-based learning using living books instead of textbooks, and narrations.  But I want a little more structure.

One (FREE!) option is to use the Core Knowledge Sequence ( and the library to develop unit studies.  I would also use MEP to help with math (  I like unit studies because they let you get into a topic deeply and have lots of fun with it.

But though the CKS is more rigorous than our public school, it's not as challenging as Classical education, and I want to raise my kids to be hungry for challenges.  I feel that Classical education really does teach people how to learn, so that they know they can learn anything.  I'm about to reread WTM (I last read it before my oldest was born) and I'll see if I still like it.  I might only use it for some areas. 

I LOVE Korrale4kq's idea about using BFSU classically; I think I'll do that (karma for you!).  I also liked nee1's idea on the teaching toddler maths thread about using "Marshmallow Math" until she's ready for Saxon 5/4 and 6/5, which have a free download link in that thread too.  So once we're done with that, maybe around age 8, I'll decide where to go next (algebra?).  I have a lot of "fun" math to do as well, but at age 6 she'll be expected to sit down and do a page of problems from Saxon daily.  I have "The Writing Road to Reading" and will use it to teach spelling (since she'll already be reading).  And I plan to listen to "Story of the World" with my kids and probably the "Classical Conversations" memory work CDs, just as background in the afternoons.  What else is there?  Art and Music might be from the Core Knowledge Sequence, unless I come up with something better.  Those are resources I've already planned on, but I do want a unifying agent, either classical edu or CKS.

At age six, I think I'll expect the following 15 minute lessons daily: Saxon math, fun math, spelling, me reading a classic that's too hard for her (and written narrations), reading a challenging book to me (and written narrations), BFSU (keeping a journal), some form of history/geography (also with a journal), art or music.  That's two hours of 15 minute lessons.  I may add in more or change this when I reread WTM, or if I decide to do CKS for everything.  But I still want to finish everything in the morning (3 hours) so the rest of the day can be free.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 07:05:53 PM by Wolfwind » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 01:22:37 AM »

Thank you for this thread, I've really enjoyed reading everyone's responses.  I suppose I'll be mostly eclectic too.

I have read "Well Trained Mind", and I have heard Bauer speak a few times.  She is really amazing.  I liked her book, and will probably do a lot of her ideas.  I do have to say that for being a minister's wife, her curriculum is surprisingly devoid of, well religion.  That may or may not be what you want, but that was a turn-off for me personally.  But I like the classical approach overall.

Bauer went to college early, and she doesn't recommend it.  I have sort-of been from the same camp because of her attitude towards it, but after reading some of our recent threads, I have changed my mind.  In truth, I always wanted to go to college early myself, but it wasn't an option for me.  If there is one thing I have learned from EL, it's to not hold back learning material when the kids are ready.  But I do like the trivium idea.

Along the classical model, I'm actually leaning more to the Thomas Jefferson Education method.  (learning through mentors)  I have a lot of peers in my valley that do it, and I like the focus on building character that it has.

In truth, my kindergartener hasn't really learned how to do "deliberate practice" yet, but we're going to dig into it very soon.  EL is relatively easy, and I've started to rest on my laurels.  It's time for me to dig in, and rise to the challenge of teaching my "gifted" kid.  He needs it!

I also have looked a little into Unit Studies, which is nice for lots of kids, and what one book called "the contest method", where you find contests and events like science fairs, and let your curriculum revolve around that.

I don't know!  I haven't found my groove yet.  Thank you again, everyone!

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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 03:21:08 AM »

Unit studies interested me to, and I like the idea of lapbooks.   Here is the thing I like the discipline of the classical method.   It prepares you for a life of being able to study independently especially in college. Here is what worries me:  Does the classical method take all the fun out of learning?  Or is all the frills and bells of unit studies and lapbooks take away from creating a true love of learning?  I am still contemplating this...I would love to know the thoughts of others.

As far as going to college early, there is the option of AP exams that you can take to earn college credit in high school.  There are over thirty course options from history to calculus to several science subjects.  That could be a route (way, way, way in the future for me).  Of course the forums I have been lurking on do not have children starting math as early as on this forum, so I really don't know how that is going to work. 

Love everyone's ideas.  Thanks for sharing.


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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 04:34:44 AM »

I am not a fan of unit studies... At least the thematics that younger kids do. There is a lot of fiddly craft stuff and very little content.
I do like lapbooks. I plan to make them with James as he gets older. I don't consider them a way to learn content. I like to get content from books, videos and discussion. But I think lap books are a great way to review. I started making a Story Of the World Lapbook and we read through each little section and then we talk more about it. But making the Lapbook taught me very little.

Cockers do a search for classical conversation memory work lap books. I have seen quite a few nice ones. And there is one for purchase that I might get if we do more CC.

As to your question about classical education being boring I personally don't think so. You can still make it lots of fun as you learn each stage. Grammar stage you can still teach the content with games, songs, stories, videos. And the children learn a little about a lot of subjects. They already have foundation vocabulary when they revisit the subject again during the logic stage. I like that with classical education the enjoyment is on the learning itself. I think many people want to learn more about something if they have some background knowledge of it. I know I do. The more I learn about something the more I want to learn. Then this goes off in learning tangents.
Maybe I am an oddity.


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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 07:07:23 PM »

I am not sure what you see as unit studies, Korrale... I have seen some kindergarten and preschool "packs" which are probably considered unit studies that I am not so keen on as it simply seems a way to spend money and get a picture of something specific on every learning activity. However I have also done unit studies with my DD where she has learnt a lot - but then I cover quite broad topics - for examples - "plants" or "water" where we can discuss photosynthesis, buy plants and plant vegetables as well as read endless books about the topic and watch videos or for water discuss the water cycle, do various water experiments, swim, talk about the uses of water and where it goes after we bath etc - I have found if the topic/unit is borad enough then a tremendous amount can be learnt. However I use unit studies as extras and still do Math, Language Arts and Writing as separate subjects. I also only do unit studies when it suits me and when there is a suitable topic for it.


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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 08:17:28 PM »

Interesting, I have never seen a unit-study product, although it doesn't surprise me that they're out there.  There's a product for everything these days!

Growing up, my family's homeschool did a lot of fun unit studies.  For example, when we studied medieval history, we found and sang medieval music, we made hodge-podge costumes, the boys made foam swords (a habit they still continue!), we found math problems with a medieval twist, we ate medieval food, etc, etc, etc.  It was a lot of fun- some of my favorite homeschool memories were of our unit studies.  The older kids did age-appropriate research and papers, younger kids had reading assignments on their level, and the tiny children learned by the general atmosphere the unit studies created.  It was always fun to immerse ourselves in another culture as a family.  Mostly we had our own math, spelling, and other core subjects individually, but the big stuff was done as a family.

I'm now curious to see what kind of packs are available, but I don't think I would want to use one.  We always checked out a slew of books on the topic from the library to use as our "base camp".  Unit studies can be amazing, but they are also a lot of work!  We didn't do them that often as a result, but when we did, we did it in style, and it was a great bonding experience for my siblings and I.  Dad liked to be involved in the meal portions of our studies too!  When I said it was good for lots of kids, I'll clarify by saying it's good for big families.  It can be hard to keep up with every child's individual needs educationally, and doing unit studies can help by letting the parent(s) focus in on one topic, and then teaching it on many levels.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 08:19:47 PM by Tamsyn » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 08:31:27 PM »

I am only familiar with the unit studies for younger children up to 3rd grade that incorporate reading, writing, science, history, math. A lot of public school use them. The youngest of children do a lot of coloring, cutting, pasting, folding skill building.
The library has many books on these. And pininterst had many also. Scholastic makes packs. I don't mind them as a fun supplement, how Tamsyn did them,  but I have no found and unit studies that are a comprehensive program. But I have not really looked.
Personallh I like my subjects separate, and I like building foundations and moving in a sequence. I don't like skipping around unit studies from penguins, to Little House on the Prarie, to Autumn, to Gingerbread cookies, to pirates. Or whatever available unit study piques my childs interest. If there were a program of comprehensive unit studies instead of randomly assorted areas of interest I might consider it.

I have heard FIAR is a good one. But I am not sure how much math and science is incorporated.


JJ: 5 years old.
Math:  CLE2, Singapore 2A, HOE, living math books.
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 08:35:43 PM »

I did find an interesting article that is inline with my personal philopsphy and says it much better than I do.

The beauty of homeschooling though is the we are doing it for our kids. And who knows in 10 years we might be well into unit studies. Only time will tell.


JJ: 5 years old.
Math:  CLE2, Singapore 2A, HOE, living math books.
Language Arts: CLE2
Reading: CLE2
Independent Reading: Half Magic, Boxcar Children, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Science: BFSU, Peter Weatherall, lots of science books.
Americana: Liberty\'s Kids, Complete Book of American History, Story of Us.
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