Getting Started, Planning/Scheduling

An Overview of Homeschooling Methods and Styles

You will hear the term “True Education” quite frequently at The Adventist Home Educator. What is True Education?   In a nutshell “True Education is the preparation of the physical, mental and moral powers for the performance of every duty; it is the training of body, mind and soul for divine service. This will be the education that will endure unto eternal life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 330

Is True Education different from homeschooling? Homeschooling is defined as educating children at home, rather than in the formal setting of a public or private school. True Education includes academics, but covers a much broader spectrum than the simple definition of homeschooling. We are talking about more than just learning to read, write and do math. True education is about  training our children to be spiritual,  knowledgeable, physically fit people, with characters developed to meet the challenges of adulthood and prepared to follow God’s will for their lives. We want them to be true thinkers, not just reflectors of another person’s thoughts.

Below are a few brief descriptions of some of the most popular methods of homeschooling. The method you choose should not only be one that fits well with your family, but one that also facilitates and enhances the goal of True Education.

  • Traditional textbook/workbook programs are what most of  us use when we begin homeschooling. It’s familiar to us because it’s the way we were educated in the public or church school systems. Depending on the program you choose, much of the planning may already be done for you. However, following a technique designed to keep a large classroom full of students busy for up to an hour per subject isn’t necessarily the ideal for teaching and training our children at home. There are many of these programs available by various publishers.
  • Classical Education is a method based on what is called the Trivium. This theory is based on the belief that as a child learns, he or she goes through three phases. Grades K-6 are called the Grammar stage. The focus is on teaching the child to read, write and listen. The child is given only facts to memorize, and not presented with theoretical concepts, since it is thought the child is still unable to reason. Grades 7-8 are the Logic or Dialect stage. Students are taught logic and critical thinking. The child learns to be analytical and to comprehend abstract concepts. Grades 9-12 are the Rhetoric stage. At this stage classical education focuses on rhetoric, the art of speaking, communicating, and writing.
  • Unit Studies often combine several academic subjects into the study of a single book or topic. Unit studies can also include the study of character traits, music, art, and more. They are a great way to combine multiple age groups into a single program.  This homeschooling method can require more planning and preparation by the parent to purchase and prepare materials. However, there are unit studies available for free online or that can be purchased from various homeschool suppliers. Even though unit studies can incorporate all subjects, some parents feel they need to supplement with a math or language arts curriculum.
  • Eclectic homeschoolers use different approaches and methods of homeschooling and form a unique homeschooling style. It’s not unusual for an eclectic homeschooler to use a combination of methods and curriculum sources to teach each different subject based on the needs and learning styles of their children.
  • Unschooling is one of the most misunderstood methods of homeschooling. It is sometimes described as interest driven or delight driven learning. Unschooling is trusting in a child’s natural curiosity to lead them to learn what they need to know. Unschooling doesn’t mean there is a lack of parenting or training, and it is not an excuse to do whatever you want. Families implement the unschooling method in a variety of different ways, so no one particular style defines unschooling.

There are many other homeschooling methods and styles such as Charlotte Mason, The Moore Formula, lapbooking, umbrella schools, and distance, online or computer based learning, just to name a few. We encourage you to keep the goal of True Education in mind as you prayerfully research and decide which homeschooling method will be the best fit for you and your family.

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