EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHIES IN THE HOMESCHOOL
The approach most homeschoolers take is the one with which we are most familiar, a teacher presenting information using texts and workbooks. Publishers of such curriculum are many, and each has a different philosophy of education. Most cover subjects thoroughly, and usually include study questions, enrichment activities, and projects. These books contain colorful illustrations, photographs, diagrams, charts, and maps. Supplemental teaching materials are available such as workbooks, tests, answer keys, charts, and maps.
Many home-school parents read the text aloud with students, presenting background material (often available in teacher's editions), discussing questions, and giving explanations as needed.
This kind of teacher-student interaction builds the student's confidence and trust in the teacher; and maximizes understanding. It is also rewarding for the teacher, giving him direct involvement with the subject content and with the student, but can be difficult to implement with several children. To combat this, consider using the same text for two or more children at once. Except for mathematical or grammatical concepts, most subject matter does not need to be presented in any order.
The classical method was born in ancient Greece and Rome, and by the 16th century, was used throughout the Western world. This system educated most of America's founding fathers as well as the world's philosophers, scientists, and leaders between the 10th and 19th centuries. The classical method develops independent learning skills on the foundation of language, logic, and tangible fact. Beyond subject matter, it develops those skills that are essential in higher education and throughout life - independent scholarship, critical thinking, logical analysis, and a love for learning.
In Dorothy Sayers' essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, she promotes teaching in ways which complement children's natural behavior. For example, young children in grammar school are very adept at memorizing. They enjoy repeating songs, rhymes, and chants to the extent that they often make up their own. In classical education, the "Grammar" phase corresponds with this tendency by focusing on the teaching of facts. During the junior high years, children often become prone to question and argue. Classical education leverages this tendency by teaching students how to argue well based on the facts they have learned. We call this the "Logic" phase. During the high school years, students' interests shift from internal concerns to the external. Teenagers become concerned with how others perceive them. This stage fits well into the "Rhetoric" phase of classical education, where students are taught to convey their thoughts so that they are well received and understood by others. The education culminates with the debate and defense of a senior thesis.
For more information, visit
The Well Trained Mind
Classical Curriculum includes:
Veritas Press - http://www.veritaspress.com/AboutUs.asp , one of the best sources for classical home school curriculum.
The Great Books- http://www.thegreatbooks.com/about , curriculum by Jeff Baldwin with a balanced Christian Worldview used in a four year cycle for History and Literature. Jeff Baldwin is a home school dad, and the research director for Worldview Academy Leadership camps: http://www.worldview.org/
( Jeff Baldwin, research director for Worldview Academy, served as the creative editor for Understanding the Timesby David A. Noebel, and co-authored the Understanding the Times Curriculum. He has written several books, including The Deadliest Monster, a Christian introduction to worldviews. Jeff is a freelance writer and is completing work on a classical literature curriculum for Worldview Academy’s TheGreatBooks.com. His articles have appeared in The Teaching Home, World, and New Attitude. Jeff, his wife Linda, and their three children live in Colorado.)
Progeny Press- http://www.progenypress.com/ has great Literature study guides.
King’s Meadow - http://www.kingsmeadow.com/ is the new site for George Grant’s Humanities curriculum. Formerly known as Gileskirk, will now be re-published and renamed King's Meadow Curriculum.
- Audio and DVD versions of Dr. Grant’s lectures are available used.
- There is a yahoo group for home schoolers using this curriculum , too
GileskirkFamilies@yahoogroups.com . There are good book lists in the database, and files there.
- Sample overview of the curriculum ( Christendom ) is in a 21 pg pdf posted at http://www.gileskirk.com/PDF/CHR2006.pdf
- Dr. Grant’s blog http://grantian.blogspot.com/
( and Dr. Grant has some footage on you tube – not from his curriculum, but a 7 part interview series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmR1D1FMMqc&feature=related )
Logos Press - http://www.logospressonline.com/ , curriculum and resources published by Logos School/Doug Wilson , http://www.logosschool.com/ , in Moscow , Idaho. See also - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos_School
Memoria Press- www.memoriapress.com, also provides Classical Curriculum as well as an On-line Academy.
Classical Conversationsoffers classes meeting one-day-a-week :
Local Speech and Debate organizations pursue the classical model as well.
Charlotte Mason was an English educator who lived in the latter part of the 19th century. She believed textbooks compiled by a committee tend to be crammed with facts and information, at the expense of human emotion. This dryness is deadening to the imagination of the child. Miss Mason advocated what she called "living books." Whole books are living in a sense that a single author who shares his favorite subject with us writes them and we pick up his enthusiasm. Charlotte Mason noted that very few real books were ever put into the hands of children in school. With living books a child gains knowledge through his own work, digging out facts and information. He then expresses what he has learned by clothing it in literary (conversational) language - in short, narrating it back to you. Miss Mason believed that narration is the best way to acquire knowledge from books. Because narration takes the place of questionnaires and multiple-choice tests, it enables the child to bring all the faculties of his mind into play. The child learns to call on the vocabulary and descriptive power of good writers as he tells his own version of the passage or chapter.
For more information, visit
A Charlotte Mason Education
The idea of unit studies is that knowledge is learned and remembered better if presented in a connected way. Curriculum is centered on a common theme such as a character quality, historical period, or subject of high interest to the child. Material for study is selected from history, science, literature, music, art, and Bible. Typically, the search for information about the theme is expanded to the library, encyclopedic resources, computer software and/or the Internet Reading, language, and arithmetic assignments can be related to the unit, but basic skills are taught separately.
Unit study curriculum varies in the amount of teacher preparation required. Some publishers provide detailed lesson plans; others simply give an outline with a variety of learning ideas to choose from. Usually many library books are used, some also use textbooks for reference and information. Parents can also plan their own short- or long-term units.
Families can use unit studies with children in different age groups, adapting material to various levels and learning styles while maintaining a unifying theme. Other advantages include a greater flexibility to capture "teachable moments," and the ability to interject family values into the content.
Disadvantages include the challenge of maintaining structure, the possibility of giving insufficient time to skill development, and the need to produce traditional forms of records that education and admissions officers desire.
For More information, visit:
Five in a Row Curriculum
Education Plus Publishers
The unschooling approach is child-centered, rather than teacher-directed. Advocates believe that children can be trusted to direct their own learning, and they do not require any study that the child does not choose. However, parents do provide a rich environment of books, experiences, and resources for learning and respond to their children's questions and interests.
For information, visit:
Growing Without Schooling
Taking Children Seriously