How does your kid learn best? Is it through reading, writing, listening, or touching? The best feature of the Homeschooling method is the freedom that comes with it. Homeschoolers have the option to choose from different learning styles of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning.
Whether you are an experienced homeschooler or a complete newbie, learning about different homeschooling styles will help you align your practices with your educational and overall goals. Experts at Cuemath, the world pioneer in online Math and Coding classes for K-12 students, classify the philosophy behind homeschooling institutions into seven broad styles.
One of the oldest and more popular styles of homeschooling, the classical method, traces back to the middle ages. It has been the preferred learning style for great minds like Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Jefferson. It separates learning into three different stages—grammar, logic, and rhetoric, collectively called the trivium. The grammar stage (ages 6-10) focuses on building skills and teaching children the mechanics of language and five senses. The logic stage (ages 10-12) emphasizes reasoning, debates, drawing conclusions, and critical thinking. Finally, the rhetoric stage (ages 13-18) encourages self-expression and persuading others with the skills gained so far through systematic and rigorous studies. The drawbacks include less flexibility and interactive learning as compared to other styles.
This traditional method is language-based and keeps reading on a high priority. Students of this method are high achievers, and most adapt well to higher education.
Charlotte Mason Style Homeschool
Drawn from the teachings of Charlotte Mason, a 19th-century Homeschooling pioneer, this is a Christian style of Homeschooling that focuses on short periods of study, typically 15-20 minutes for elementary students and 45 minutes for high schoolers. These short study periods are often coupled with history portfolios, nature walks, and significant practice in observation, memorization, and narration. Reading, especially biographies and classics, is integral.
Borrowing the best practices from other philosophies, Charlotte Mason method is less expensive than the Classical style but more structured than Unschooling and Montessori. This elementary-oriented style is well suited for non-professional teachers (without a teaching certificate) but is not suitable for middle schoolers and high school students.
Montessori for Homeschool
As a result of her psychology work with special needs children, Maria Montessori (1870-1952), an Italian physician & educator, found this humanistic approach to Homeschooling. This student-based method utilizes free-movement, multi-grade classes, and large-unstructured time blocks (2-3 hours). Teachers use many manipulatives like tools and toys for indirect teaching, and students have a range of learning options to choose from. This highly adaptive method fosters art and creativity and encourages physical interaction. It is ideal for extraordinary students as it allows them to work at their own pace and adapt the curriculum to their interests. However, this philosophy requires a teaching certificate and is not ideal for high school homeschoolers or people who don't believe in a humanistic view of children.
The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.'
This philosophy involves thematically related learning plans where students study the same object or event from the perspective of different subjects. For example, students will explore Egypt in Geography, "out of Egypt" theories of human origins in Science, and pyramids and triangles in Geometry. Similarly, a unit on farming may include a field trip to a farm, the Science of classifying farm animals, poetry from a farmer's perspective, and the production of farm-based products. This fun and student-directed philosophy bolsters weaker subjects and approaches learning as a wholistic tapestry of different interwoven subjects. However, some people argue that this philosophy risks leaving knowledge gaps by insufficiently addressing some subject areas like Chemistry or math.
School at Home
The more "traditional" approach to Homeschooling, this method is the same as a public or private school classroom, except that it is done at home. A hugely popular style, people who are not unnecessarily looking to "revolutionize the entire education system" swear by it. The curriculum is often the same as a typical school and can be seen as a teacher-facilitated online school at home. Aligned with federal and state learning standards, this fairly conventional method offers students a wide selection of material and resources to choose from. If math and coding seem tricky to your kid, then seeking Cuemath's expertise, a Google for Education partner, is your best bet.
The most flexible and popular of them all, this style is also called "relaxed" Homeschooling. Not sticking to one particular style, Parents share ideas and resources across different philosophies. With no built-in loyalties to any one type, this non-curriculum-based and child-directed method is highly flexible as well. A typical week may include few days of classical classroom, a Charolette Mason-based nature walk, a school-at-home calculus class, and an Unschooling type liberal arts day. Well suited for mature educators, it runs the risk of bad mixes of incompatible subjects. Just because you can mix ketchup and yogurt doesn't mean you should.
Probably the most unconventional option of the bunch, this individualistic philosophy of Homeschooling is steadily gaining its following of believers. Coupled with students' study interests and experiential learning, this free-form learning model backs systematic understanding of basic skills, like reading, writing, and arithmetic, with various technological aids and materials, minus the conventional testing or evaluation. This passion-driven style often faces criticism for lack of structure and knowledge gaps in a student's learning journey.
"Expecting all children the same age to learn from the
same materials is like expecting all children
the same age to wear the same size clothing."
No method will work for every child, and one should measure the pros and cons of each to figure the style that suits them.
Still sweating over Homeschooling and which method to adopt? Let the math and coding experts at Cuemath help. Their curriculum is entirely compliant with the US Common Core plus accredited by STEM.org. Cuemath offers Live Online Math classes and Coding classes for kids from KG to 12th grade. Book a Free online demo with them to kickstart this journey by experiencing their adaptive Math-Tech approach.
-By Abhishek Deswal
Abhishek is an engineer with a math-focus outlook on life. Through his writing at Cuemath, he puts forward his belief that life makes more sense when seen through numbers. A former analytics professional, he enjoys theatre, football, and long runs.