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.

Planning/Scheduling

Making Room For Rough Days

A quick homeschool planning tip:  When I plan out our homeschool schedule for the month, I try to include at least two empty days in my lesson plans. Usually one day every two weeks or so.    That gives me a bit of wiggle room for the unexpected.    The day that someone wakes up with a fever, or a lesson that was supposed to take one or two days ends up taking two or three.  Sometimes I have to drop everything and take care of an urgent need.

Planning ahead for the unexpected can relieve stress .  If I need the day, it is already built into my schedule.  If I don’t need it, I just move on to the next planned day.  Easy and very helpful.

Planning/Scheduling, Preparation Day Thoughts

What’s your plan?

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By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7

This is such a small statement, but it says so much!

  • Noah was warned of things to come and he acted in faith. We have been given much truth concerning our future here are earth. Do you believe it? Are you living like you believe it?
  • Noah didn’t see anything happening, yet, but he still proceeded with his plan. Are we working, now, to prepare our family for the days ahead? Or are we waiting for something bad to happen before we create an emergency plan? What is your emergency plan?
  • Noah did not procrastinate. As soon as he became aware of the warning, he acted right away to create a plan of action and began to work it out.
  • Noah’s example condemned the world. Are we living in such a way that others can see living truth in our lives?

BELIEFS. FAITH. WISE WITH TIME. DILIGENCE. LIVING EXAMPLE OF HIS FAITH.

Are you preparing an Ark of Protection so that your home might be saved? May God lead us in the days ahead to focus on His Word that we receive the warnings, so that we might by faith, prepare for the days ahead! May we has homeschooling parents not be so focused on just our day to day school work that we forget an important task that we have with our own children to prepare them (and ourselves) so we might be saved.

Please take time to share how your family is making preparations in this area. What specifically are you adding this coming school year to focus on an area of spiritual preparation for your family?

AHE Blog, AHE Devotionals, Parenting, Planning/Scheduling, Preparation Day Thoughts

An Uncertain Sound…

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” 1 Corinthians 14:8

My heart was drawn to this text this morning. While in context, this portion is speaking about speaking in tongues, I was drawn in my thinking to look at the battle ahead. My thoughts went to the three angels’ messages and how if we are not prepared, how will we be able to share the messages. As we raise up our children, are we not to train them up for the battle ahead?

There is an important work to be finished in the last days. We know it, we claim it, but do we live it? Are we living to prepare ourselves, and our children, for these events on the horizon? As homeschooling parents, do we have this battle in mind as we go through our days? Are we preparing them in their education to face this battle? Are we giving them the tools? Are we teaching them knowledge that they can use to share the message of Jesus with others? Are we helping them develop a character that is worthy to declare the messages that Jesus is coming soon?

Or rather, are we a trumpet with an uncertain sound? Are we jumping from program to program? Are we continually looking for the next best curriculum that is fancy and colorful to get their attention? Where are our attentions? Are they on our children? Or are they on visiting social media to find the next best thing out there? Are we so busy that we don’t have time to prepare and rather just survive each day doing the minimum possible just to check it off our list so we can get to other fun stuff in our days?

There are many good things out there, but often times we get so busy with the fun, new, exciting things, that we forget our calling to prepare our children for the battle ahead. Is your focus clear? Is your battle plan understandable? Do you know what trumpet sound you need to prepare your children for? How much of our focus is on this soon coming event?

This verse today, really spoke to me. Am I being a clear sounding trumpet to my children? Am I understandable? Am I declaring the Lord’s messages to my children, all day long, so they are prepared for the times ahead? Am I focusing on their character? Am I giving them knowledge so that they may be better prepared for this season? Or am I spending too much time bumping shoulders with others that I forget the vision the Lord has put in front of me? Do my educational methods prepare my children with understanding that they can stand alone (without my guidance) and do the work of the Lord?

This verse certainly brought a lot of thoughts to my mind. Did it strike a cord with you? “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” 1 Corinthians 14:8

On Thursdays, we will begin to focus on preparation, here at The Adventist Home Educator. It’s a perfect day, as it is preparation day, and a perfect day to not only prepare for the Sabbath, but to do a little self-check and see how we are doing with our battle plans. May we keep in mind the fight that is before us.

English-Language Arts, High School(9-12), Planning/Scheduling

Thinking About High School English – A Revisit

I’m revisiting this post because there are currently some questions about high school English curriculum on the AHE email group.  When this post was first written, my oldest was a high school sophmore.  Since then I have graduated two high schoolers.  I was curious- Have I changed my mind about what I’ve written?   No, my thoughts/advice remain the same.  It is especially important to choose curriculum in light of your student’s strengths and weakness. 

 

Thinking about high school English/Language Arts (ELA) curriculum? Things to consider as you make your choices: What are your student’s future educational goals? Is your student planning to pursue vocational training or attend a college/university? What are your student’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to reading and written communication skills.

high school englishVocational training programs will require basic technical reading comprehension skills as well as basic writing abilities. Your student will also need to be able to communicate effectively on written tests. It might be a good idea to compare your student’s abilities with the minimum high school competencies for ELA in your local area. Many high school competency ELA tests mirror the level of essential skills needed for success in vocational studies.

If your student is planning to complete a degree program at a college or university, then your focus will be different. Acquiring strong composition skills, especially in the areas of report of information, persuasive and analytical writing will be a priority. A college-bound student will also want to develop an outlining/note-taking strategy to help with keeping track of lecture information.

What to do for literature studies? The answer is one of personal family preference. Many SDA families choose to exclude fiction from literature study. It is important to note that literature study can be accomplished without fiction: essays, biographies, journals and other non-fictions works can provide the foundation for analytical writing, one of the main purposes for literature study.

Continued grammar or vocabulary lessons and the study of Greek/Latin roots can be helpful for students preparing to take the SAT or ACT.

Resources:

Online Grammar Handbook– from the University of Minnesota.  Helpful for high school level students to see what type of writing and competency is required at the college level.

Elements of Style : classic writing handbook

Merriam-Webster – online dictionary with a Word-of-the-Day

SAT Question of the Day – get an idea of what type of grammar/writing is on the test.

Organization, Planning/Scheduling, Websites

Pinned on Pinterest: Printable Planners and Organizers for Children

My 11yo needs a bit of extra help organizing his day.  I’ve discovered that he functions best when he has a clear understanding of  not only his school assignments, but the chores and playdates, and other activities that we are doing each day.  A chore chart and family calendar are helpful to him, but what about putting all of his information in one location?

I  use a paper planner to help me stay on track,  so I decided that he would benefit from one as well.  As I researched for free printable planners and organizers for children,  I pinned them on the AHE Organizational Ideas Pinterest Board in case there were other parents like me looking for an inexpensive way to keep a child on track.  Click on the link below and you’ll see what I’ve found so far.   If you know of any other free printable planners for children, please share a link in the comments below so I can add them to the Pinterest board

Just For Fun, Organization, Planning/Scheduling

What’s Your Homeschooling ‘Thing’?

 

What’s your homeschooling ‘thing’ right now?  What is that one item that you love to use or  just can’t live without? That simple item that is at the top of your supply list?   For many years my ‘thing’ was freezer paper (my craft paper go-to).  However, now that my children are older, my new can’t-live-without item is colored paper, specifically the neon Astrobright colored paper.

For many years each of my three children had a main pastel color that I used for planning and printables.   I could look at a stack of papers and know that the pale green papers were for one child, the yellow for another, etc.  Keeping each child’s paperwork organized by color made sorting and organizing so much easier.

Now that I’m down to one student, my love of colored paper has increased, not decreased!  Now I’m in love with the shockingly bright Astrobright paper.   I categorize and print multiplication fact cards and review sheets by color.  A different neon color for each part of speech in his grammar notebook, the uses are endless!  I always keep a healthy supply of colored paper, cardstock and lined notebook paper on hand.  Always ready to print!

What item makes life easier/more cheerful/more organized/simpler for you?  Share with us your homeschooling thing in the comments!