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Homeschooling Methods

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.

Unschooling:
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.

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