1. Unit Studies
Unit studies use a specific theme or interest that your child has, and then implements that interest into all subject areas you are going to teach. For example, if your child is really interested in dinosaurs, you could use dinosaur themed worksheets, read books about dinosaurs, create dinosaur themed art and do fossil digging experiments and activities for science.
You can change these themes on a seasonal, monthly or even weekly basis, depending on your preference. I think changing themes on a monthly basis gives you a good amount of time to explore that specific theme, without over-doing it and eventually getting bored with it.
An example of themes you might use for each month of the year include:
The other thing that I really love about this homeschool method, is that with some time and creativity you can find a ton of free resources on the web and put together your own curriculum! This is a great method to use for younger children to keep the learning environment interesting and fun!
The Montessori method of teaching involves independent, child-led learning. Often times, trays are used to set up simple learning activities and manipulatives and then placed throughout the room so each child may choose his/her own focus of learning. The classroom is set up to foster independence by using shorter shelves, child-sized tools and resources. There are often no desks to work on, but rather the students use child-sized tables or even work on the floor.
All learning methods are very hands-on. A counting tray might include number cards and clothespins, for the child to practice counting as well as fine-motor skills. The picture below from And Next Comes L , gives a great example of this.
We use Montessori inspired ideas throughout our house to promote the learning of life skills. For example, we use a small bookshelf in our kitchen to store the kids’ plates, cups and silverware so when meal-time comes around they can be a part of that process. We also keep snacks and sometimes drinks on that same shelf, so the children can learn how to independently help themselves to these things, in a controlled environment.
Check out my Pinterest board for more ways to incorporate Montessori into your child’s life.
3. Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason described education as an “Atmosphere, a Discipline and a Life”. In her opinion, education should be about not just memorizing facts from a book, but learning from his/her home environment, developing positive habits and good character, and learning through experiencing life.
Charlotte Mason might be most famous for encouraging the use of “living books”. Rather than reading through facts in a textbook, the child should read narratives that teach about a particular time in history or topic. By reading about it in this form, it really helps the information come alive for the reader.
Charlotte Mason not only encouraged the typical grade-school subjects (math, science, reading, etc.) but also felt that subjects such as poetry, foreign language, art, music, and many others were just as important.
I really love this method of education for science, as it suggests you spend much of your time learning out in nature and exploring the world around you. I also think living books are a great way to teach history.
Simply Charlotte Mason has more in-depth information on how to teach each subject through this method, as well as many resource recommendations.
The Eclectic homeschool method is the one our family intends on using, and it simply means you are using a variety of approaches to educate your children. It is my belief that all children learn best through different ways of teaching, and it is through Eclectic homeschooling that you can best fit the needs of each of your children.
I also believe that there are different methods that work best for different subjects. For example, I believe Montessori is a great way to teach practical life skills, while Unit Studies can make those traditional subjects (math, english, etc.) exciting and fun for the child. As I mentioned earlier, I think the Charlotte Mason method is a great way to teach history and science.
I love that with Eclectic schooling, you have more flexibility to teach a variety of subjects in a variety of ways. That flexibility is one of the reasons our family was so drawn to homeschool in the first place. (To read more about why our family chose to homeschool Click Here!)
These are just my 4 favorite homeschool methods. There are many others that can be beneficial as well. In the future I hope to write about them, so be sure to check back in later!
Which homeschool method are you planning to teach with or are already teaching with? Please share in the comments below!