Homeschool Methodologies – What works!

Hello Fellow Homeschoolers! And welcome to the community!!

I thought it might be interesting to start a discussion about homeschool methodologies – that is the philosophy and strategies you will be using to educate your child.  Below are some of the common ones homeschoolers use. I have included a link to another site that details each of the methodologies for those new parents who are still researching.

We started out with more of an unschooling approach. I personally prefer the term “child-directed”. Megan would express and interest in things around her and I would scamper to find resources, craft ideas and so on that furthered her exploration. This was a fair bit of work but lead to some very interesting learning opportunities.

She started taking classes when she was about 4 years old with a local support group. When Phoenix offered kindergarten, she took the 2 day program twice because Jill and I were teaching it! The first year, she was a student, then year she was the “helper”. This program supplemented what we did at home with her! Because the topics were easy to cover and there were so many wonderful resources available commercially, we employed an eclectic approach for grades 1-3 – testing out a variety of recourses and approaches. We were 100% aligned even with this approach.

As she grew, we started to introduce more structure. In grade four, she asked for a social studies textbook. The topic was Alberta and we ended up doing a fair bit of local travel that year so that book quickly became a favorite! We continued to supplement what we were doing at home with classes from Phoenix. These were usually thematic (Unit Studies Method) and were take for the FUN of it, in addition, to the learning value. We wanted her to follow her passions and to learn to interact with a group.

As she moved through the grades, we introduced testing and more structure. She piloted the Phoenix “In a Box Program”. She also experimented with some high school CTS for credit courses (School at Home Approach). This approach gave her a good idea of what the workload would be for high school.

This year she is in grade nine. She is a completely independent learner. She is a great cook, can sew, understands money basics, is a techno whiz, earns some of her own money and more! Many of these skills she picked up from Phoenix – through classes here taught by fellow homeschoolers or subject matter experts! (Really appreciate the SAIT chef, I must say!!) She understands that sometimes the things she wants to accomplish in life involve a test – pony club level advancement, drivers licence and so on.

Her dad and I have a list of life skills we think she needs to have before she turn eighteen and these are now the things we focus on providing – things like how to be a good friend, etiquette, dealing with social issues and concerns.

She has decided she wants to go to university and knows exactly what she needs to accomplish to gain entrance. She is already politically active, involved in the community and volunteers regularly! She interacts with easy and grace in a wide variety of situations. She chats comfortably with adults and children alike. She enjoys travel and has a deep and profound respect for people of other cultures and backgrounds.

The point of my article is not to brag about my daughter but rather to give you an idea of how our educational approach changes as children mature. You may start with one methodology and then as children grow, they assert their ideas and preferences. Homeschooling is about being flexible, adapting to change and learning as you go!

Phoenix is a private, non-denominational, not-for-profit, publicly accredited, Government funded Alberta school.

 Our mission is to provide unique learning opportunities for families so that each young person may develop into a life-long learner and active, responsible global citizen.

  • We believe that each child has unique talents, skills, interests and learning styles and that their education should respect these key elements.
  • We believe that parents are the primary educators of their children: therefore, a meaningful partnership with them is critical.
  • We believe that the support and guidance of our caring, dedicated, qualified professionals will enhance the academic, physical, social, spiritual and emotional qualities of our students.

One comment

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