At the time of writing this post, we’ve been officially home-schooling for about 4 years. After some research on the different curricula and methods in the beginning, we began our journey with purchasing the first Sonlight Core in its entirety (P3/4, now called Pre-K Preschool package).
We’ve continued to use Sonlight as a basis for building our year’s study on, but customise it now to suit our values and learning outcomes. One thing in particular that we focus more on is our own history from New Zealand and the British Isles.
On your homeschooling journey, you will hear a few different styles mentioned, but here are the popular ones:
- Charlotte Mason
- Computer-based/online learning
- Unit Studies
We would plant ourselves amongst the methods as ‘Eclectic’, as we mix and match most of what we do – pretty much aspects from all of the above. We also love to use lapbooks as part of our learning, which suits my eldest child’s creative tendancies and is a great tool when we want to focus on a particular aspect or topic that has arisen from our learning.
Clay and Sally Clarkson’s fantastic resource ‘Educating the WholeHearted Child – A Handbook for Christian Home Education’ serves to provide great guidance to us on our homeschool journey. I still refer back to it from time-to-time. The subtitle on the cover page says ‘How to use real books and real life to make your home a vibrant centre of living and learning for you and your child’. That’s pretty much us!
We like aspects of Charlotte Mason particularly, such as the emphasis on living books, nature walks, good habits, but most importantly, the goal of creating an environment of learning. We aren’t Charlotte Mason purists by any stretch of the imagination, but more just dip our feet in the overall philosophy.
Simply Charlotte Mason outlines:
- “Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her method, the Charlotte Mason method, is centered around the idea that education is three-pronged: Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.
- By “Atmosphere,” Charlotte meant the surroundings in which the child grows up. A child absorbs a lot from his home environment. Charlotte believed that atmosphere makes up one-third of a child’s education.
- By “Discipline,” Charlotte meant the discipline of good habits — and specifically habits of character. Cultivating good habits in your child’s life make up another third of his education.
- The other third of education, “Life,” applies to academics. Charlotte believed that we should give children living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts. So all of her methods for teaching the various school subjects are built around that concept.”
I enjoy a lot of what the different homeschooling pioneers and writers have contributed to home education, Charlotte Mason being one of my favourites. Equally, I think it’s important to not try and stay 100% true to any particular method if it restricts your child’s ability to express their creativity and hampers their enjoyment in learning – we want them to have a love of learning. Keep your overall goals in mind and don’t get stubborn about sticking to things that aren’t working.
So with all that said, have a browse of our year’s curriculum and hopefully there are some ideas for some great resources to add to your home library.
You may also like to read here the reasons why we have chosen to homeschool.