How to homeschool might seen like a consideration with an obvious answer at first: how do you homeschool? You teach your children at home. Period. But, as it turns out, how to homeschool is a complex question involving a number of factors. It is a combination of people, time, philosophy or belief, method, and other factors. This article explores some of the elements that help to form a response to the question of how to homeschool.
One aspect of the question of how to homeschool is the question of who is involved. This involves both the students in the school, not only who but how many of them there are, as well as the instructors.
First of all, who are the students? Are they all the children in one family? Some of the children in one family? Children from multiple families? Second of all, who are the teachers? A parent? Multiple parents? Certified teachers at a private school with a distance learning option?
One of the important shapers of homeschooling is the time that is devoted to it. Is the homeschool run on a schedule with math at 8:30 a.m. every morning? Is the time of school, housework, play, and socializing made to flow together?
Philosophy or Belief
Many homeschools center their focus around a set of religious beliefs. There are many homeschools with a Bible-centered curriculum, but also those that ascribe to unschooling, to Charlotte Mason’s approach, to traditional curriculum or the Great Books, and to a specific religious sect’s view, such as Latter Day Saints, Roman Catholic, Protestant Evangelical, or Muslim. Each of these can have a great deal to do with shaping how the homeschooling is accomplished. It may dictate, on the one hand, that the day begins with prayer or attendance at Mass, or on the other, that the day begins when the student feels the need for it to begin.
On the other hand, a homeschool may take what is sometimes called an eclecticapproach and use a variety of methods that suit that family. This may be because different students in the school have different needs, or because an instructor in a secular homeschool sees that value of some aspects of a variety of approaches and puts them together to make something new.
One way to teach homeschool is the same way as many public and private schools teach: use a textbook for each core subject for most of the instruction, review, and assessment. But this is not the only way. The Great Books method and traditionalist approaches that center around grammar and the Trivuum focus on literature, rather than textbooks. Unschooling focuses on the subjects that have piqued the student’s interest, developing them in whatever ways seem most appropriate. Bible-based programs use special materials that convey curriculum through the eyes of a believer in Christianity. This may be the case even for subjects – like addition or subtraction – that do not, on the surface, have a religious component.
Homeschooling can also be conveyed at a distance, with classmates who one meets only in a wiki or blog, and instruction that comes through streaming video, DVDs, or materials and activities that are accessed through the Internet.
Homeschooling can also differ in its use of locations. Homeschoolers can travel with mom or dad’s work, homeschooling on the road or in the hotel. Homeschool can be mostly in a chair at the kitchen table, or all around town at the library, the museum, the community center, the church, the stable, the grocery store, the post office, and the health and fitness club.