The many faces of homeschool

We’ve been officially homeschooling for 15 months now and what we do now looks so much different than when we first started. Heck, what we do looks different from month to month, week to week, and even day to day. There are so many different curriculums and different methods that it makes homeschool families like snowflakes — no two are alike.

I’ve mentioned this before, but there are several popular methods of teaching. You have school at home, where an area of the home looks like a classroom with typical classroom teaching methods applied. You have unschooling, which simplified means that there is no strict setting like school at home and learning is student led. If the child wants to learn about horse, you dive into anything you can that talks about horses. Unit studies take one particular concept or subject, such as horses, and all teaching revolves around that subject. For instance, if you’re studying horses, in science you learn about the biology of a horse or learn about mammals. In writing you research horses and write about them, etc…There’s also Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, and Eclectic. For a more in depth look at these approaches, click here.

Josiah doing school in a tote bucket. Why? I don't know, he thought it'd be fun. As long as their learning, right?

Josiah doing school in a tote bucket. Why? I don’t know, he thought it’d be fun. As long as their learning, right?

When we first started homeschooling we did school at home for Language and Math and then unschooling for Science and Social Studies. This worked out well for a while, but we’ve tweaked our system along the way. Now, rather than studying a particular subject using a particular method, I just mix it all up. There are days that we do science by going to the museum or watching an episode of The Magic School Bus, but there are some days that we sit down and study something from a science book and do a few worksheets.

Instead of standing up and teaching about how to write a letter he writes letters to his grandparents. By doing this I wrap handwriting, sentence structure, spelling, and letter writing into one activity. Writing a letter to a grandparent is much more fun than writing random sentences out of an exercise book.

Day to day is different for us. The past two days we haven’t done any formal school at home teaching, but there’s definitely been learning going on. Josiah helped me build a chicken tractor for our chicks and he’s also been helping potty train our new puppy. He read me a book the other day and wrote a story to mail to his Nana.

Yesterday instead of sitting at a desk in our formal classroom area (yes, I have a section of our house set up to look like an actual classroom), he sat in the living room at the coffee table and worked on a few review worksheets on his own. I did no teaching I just got him started on the directions and then let him finish it at his own pace. He’s started enjoying independent work so I’ve started giving him more of it.

There is no right or wrong method. Some people cringe at the thought of school at home. I couldn’t completely go the unschooling route. What’s right for your kids may not be right for mine. For that matter, what’s right for one kid may not be right for the other. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. Do what works for you. Do what works for your kids. As long as their learning, who cares how it’s done?


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