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Busygoddess
05-11-2010, 03:14 PM
What homeschool method(s) do you use, and why? I love hearing about what others do & their reasons for doing it. Did you choose your method(s) based on your kids' learning styles, interests, special needs, etc. or on your preferences? Why do you feel that your chosen method is the best for your family?
Also, if you're an eclectic homeschooler, how eclectic are you - one method, but eclectic with curriculum choices; multiple methods & eclectic with curriculum choices; no specific methods, just the aspects you like from different methods and eclectic with curriculum choices?

Wilma
05-11-2010, 07:10 PM
At the risk of sounding flippant, and I really don't mean to, I have decided that I have adopted the Mood Method of Homeschooling, or perhaps it is the Multiple Personality or Schizophrenic Method. By this time of the year I get spring fever and really relax. I also get Christmas Fever in December, Cabin Fever in February, whatever. The problem I have is that curriculum and method wise, I want it all! The only method I have not been intrigued by is Charlotte Mason.

Seriously, I would say that I am relaxed with classical leanings. My intense personality that likes order and control is constantly at war with my inner Sarah Mclachlan. There is a lot of discussion between the girls and me about their likes and dislikes. They have input in their curriculum For example, I have 2 swimmers in the mix. Swimming is a very intense, time consuming sport. My middle child wanted a very traditional program for a while. Diagramming, rules, the whole shebang. As she got more involved in swimming, we let her guide how much work she does. She is very inquisitive, and with the programs she chose, her life would have been school and pool. Not a good mix. Obviously school is more important than swimming, but she does fine, actually thrives, using a more non-traditional path. I value a good read over a textbook. I have found that it doesn't take long to teach something once the age is right so I am not really big on repeating the same thing over and over, year after year. The only place I give in this area is math. I strongly believe that math skills need to be reintroduced as maturity increases. No matter what, math gets done.

Not a very concise answer for you, but I hope it answers your questions.

JinxieFox
05-11-2010, 09:14 PM
Hi Brandi, I chose to combine The Well-Trained Mind for the way it structures the work (the 3 developmental stages and the four-year rotations of history, science and literature) with the Charlotte Mason method for the way work is scheduled and done (in shorter increments), as well as for the Charlotte Mason nature study and literature recommendations, in addition to those found in TWTM.

TWTM suits my husband's need to have our son focus on traditional academics, while CM suits my preference to give things more of a flow. We both like the idea of living books (books written by people who are passionate about their subject), and a thorough grounding in literary classics. We feel like we benefited more from these components of our educations than anything else throughout school and college. You would probably consider our very-full academic course-load rigorous (French, English, literature & poetry, copywork & handwriting, math, science, history, social studies, music & art), but we approach it in the slightly more relaxed Charlotte Mason fashion (15-minute lessons; stopping and not pushing the issue when interest is lost).

Snoopy
05-11-2010, 09:37 PM
At the risk of sounding flippant, and I really don't mean to, I have decided that I have adopted the Mood Method of Homeschooling, or perhaps it is the Multiple Personality or Schizophrenic Method. By this time of the year I get spring fever and really relax. I also get Christmas Fever in December, Cabin Fever in February, whatever. The problem I have is that curriculum and method wise, I want it all! The only method I have not been intrigued by is Charlotte Mason. (...) Seriously, I would say that I am relaxed with classical leanings.

What you said! Ann, were you in my brain?! Seriously, I could have written this post. I really like to plan ahead and usually try to squeeze in as many resources as possible since I'm always rediscovering workbooks or books that I had bought or inherited or websites that someone shared, etc. but then life happens or Noah isn't quite as interesting in a topic as I thought he would, or is more interested in something else and so I adapt, cancel, reschedule, change things quite a bit, and we also take little bunny trails, although I always circle back to what my plan was for the year.

I define myself as eclectic in the sense that I change my approach all the time. I like the Classical Education model, but not everything works for us. So I use it as a guidelline, but I'm far from being a stickler. For example this year the Classical Education plan called for studying Earth Science, which we did. But instead of following the Well Trained Mind recommendations for Science curriculum, I went with the curriculum I had found on my own. Next year, I will try something else but we will do Chemistry, as prescribed by TWTM. If it doesn't seem to work very well or we get bored with it, I have no qualms with chucking it and finding something else. I see homeschooling as a large buffet and of course it's all you want to eat.

I admit that in the past, my choices were guided by what appealed to me mostly, but as Noah is growing older, I'm changing my selection method to trying things and approaches that will appeal to him first. And I would love to get his input on the materials that we use too, eventually. He was bored with First Language Lessons and Sequential Spelling so I came up with the idea of having him write his own blog for Language Arts. This is all he does for Language Arts right now. At first he loved it and now it's starting to get a little old already for him, so maybe he'll take a break from that too, we'll see.

Today his math lesson included an exercise on grid coordinates and he was having trouble with that. He did the exercise from the lesson, I printed another exercise that I had found online, and then I got to think that Battleship is also played with a grid so we spent 30 minutes playing Battleship on paper, the way it should be played :) It really had nothing to do with the lesson but it was fun and he practiced calling out grid coordinates. I was planning on having him do some cursive work but since we spent extra time playing Battleship, we skipped cursive. Also, I don't follow the instructions for the cursive books that I have. I use the resource but teach it my own way so it's less intimidating.

So I would say that technically I use one method (classical) and am eclectic with my curriculum choices, but in theory I am open to using whatever works.

Firefly_Mom
05-11-2010, 09:40 PM
Technically we're unschoolers, but I rarely, if ever, use that term. Most people have preconceived notions as to what unschooling is, or isnt. I like this definition:
Lately, the term "unschooling" has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn't use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear...[Regarding subjects] Certainly these interests can lead to reading texts, taking courses, or doing projects, but the important difference is that these activities were chosen and engaged in freely by the learner. They were not dictated to the learner through curricular mandate to be done at a specific time and place, though parents with a more hands-on approach to unschooling certainly can influence and guide their children's choices." - Pat Farenga, in , Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

We're nearing the end of our 8th year of homeschooling, and we have tried most of the major styles. It became apparent that he learned better when he was doing something that he had an interest in - no real surpise considering that's true of everybody :) We usually sit down every 2 months or so and talk about what he wants to learn, and then I help him find the materials or classes he needs to accomplish his goals. Many people think that kids will only learn "easy" things, but I can assure you that my son often gives himself A LOT more work than I would ever think to give him!

reversemigration
05-11-2010, 10:40 PM
The problem I have is that curriculum and method wise, I want it all!

Oh, how this speaks to me. Otherwise, how can reconcile the side of me that wants to be so very Well-Trained Mind with the side that says, "Hey, let's just wake up in the morning and see where life leads!" I need to nail down enough consistency in the strategy for the coming year, though, to be flexible without being arbitrarily capricious (a.k.a. "What's Dad going to do today?") I suspect it'll start off fairly rigorous, then get more relaxed as I see how he does - not to mention me. Sort of like the rest of life, I suppose. The free-range kid movement gives me similar vibes. I'd love to let him roam as much as I did when I was his age; on the other hand, I lived in the country, and the city is a different beast. Still, I want to loosen the reins enough to let him make his own decisions and mistakes, while having enough influence to help him avoid the major pitfalls.

While cooking dinner, I sat down with him for a few minutes and asked him if he'd given any thought to my question about what he wanted to study next year. He paused for a moment, then said that he wanted to study ancient world history. Given that this is what was right along the lines of what I'd been planning, I responded with enthusiasm, although I did try to tamp it down to levels below the "you're suspiciously excited about this" mark. Yay to mummies, tunics, and togas! However, given that I was reading Colum's Homer to him when he was four, I suppose I can take some blame, er, responsibility for this.

I appreciate these questions, as they help me to think more deeply about these choices.

inmom
05-12-2010, 07:08 AM
We define ourselves as eclectic, although I'm a stickler for some things. Math, for example, is fairly textbook-ish and every day. We did two years of Easy Grammar when they were in 4th and 5th grade, but then quit when the kids were correcting OUR grammar all the time. We figured they knew it...

We've covered US history for the past 3 years using Hakim's History of Us, but then throwing in all kinds of other books (fiction and nonfiction), projects, trips, videos. They take piano lessons, and art is whatever they feel like for the day. My son writes a lot on his own, but I'll throw in a writing assignment or two related to their other work.

For science, we cover what they want to find out about, but then I design the approach a bit. It's hard to let go of the physics teacher in me.

Currently, I'm in anxiety mode about the approaching high school years. They will definitely still homeschool, but I feel things should be more "official" once (read: traditional) they are high school level for transcripts, colleges, etc. Anyone else have this worry?

Carol

Snoopy
05-12-2010, 09:14 AM
he wanted to study ancient world history. Given that this is what was right along the lines of what I'd been planning, I responded with enthusiasm, although I did try to tamp it down to levels below the "you're suspiciously excited about this" mark. Yay to mummies, tunics, and togas! However, given that I was reading Colum's Homer to him when he was four, I suppose I can take some blame, er, responsibility for this.


What's not to love about Ancient History, especially for boys, right?!? Noah absolutely loved it. The Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans... oh my! Just yesterday we finished SOTW2 for the year and we reviewed what we had studied this year and I asked him which had been his favorite part. Now, we were talking about the Middle Ages this year so castles, wars, knights, catapults... all that good stuff. He said "Can I say the Romans?!" No kiddo, we studied the END of the Roman Empire this year! So he chose "pirates" because we talked about pirates and privateers yesterday. I think we'll move into project work for history for the last month of school since we didn't do much throughout the year and I'll let him pick what he wants to do.

I struggle with trying to keep true to TWTM and diverging from it too. I hear of homeschooling families who do so much more than Noah and I do and part of me starts panicking: am I being too lazy? Am I doing him a disservice by not pushing him to do MORE? Yet at the same time I want to pursue a more interest-led approach with a child who can be very reluctant to try new things, and I would like him to be well-rounded. It's hard to have to reconcile all those thoughts into a learning method, but we're trying!

Snoopy
05-12-2010, 09:21 AM
Currently, I'm in anxiety mode about the approaching high school years. They will definitely still homeschool, but I feel things should be more "official" once (read: traditional) they are high school level for transcripts, colleges, etc. Carol

Carol, here is a blog that might help with questions about transcripts and college. I'm linking to the posts sorted by the "transcripts" tag (http://homeschoolcollegecounselor.com/topics/transcripts/). Warning about the blog itself: it is not totally secular. (but for the most part is it!)
HTH!

Teri
05-12-2010, 09:23 AM
I am kind of the opposite of "I want to do it all". LOL
Our approach has come from a narrowing down of what we don't want or like (both the kids and myself).
First, it HAD to be secular. Not open for negotiation.
That narrowed things down quite a bit.
What we have ended up after 4 1/2 years and trying different things (mostly just the first year), is a Concept/Unit studies approach that is hands on and literature based.

Joseph had a very strong desire for unit studies without knowing what they were. He didn't like it when history/literature/science were not connected in some way.
He also has an intense dislike for textbooks and workbooks. LOL

So, we use Moving Beyond the Page for everything but math, handwriting and some extras like foreign language and music.

After the ordeal that I went through trying to figure out what worked for him, I was fully prepared to have all three of them going in different directions, but they really surprised me when the girls also liked MBTP. We have been doing it ever since.

reversemigration
05-12-2010, 09:40 AM
I struggle with trying to keep true to TWTM and diverging from it too. I hear of homeschooling families who do so much more than Noah and I do and part of me starts panicking: am I being too lazy? Am I doing him a disservice by not pushing him to do MORE? Yet at the same time I want to pursue a more interest-led approach with a child who can be very reluctant to try new things, and I would like him to be well-rounded. It's hard to have to reconcile all those thoughts into a learning method, but we're trying!

Nathalie, I think you just have to keep in mind what you want Noah to take away in the end. You said it yourself - you want him to be well-rounded, you want him to be interested in what you're learning. You also have only so much time in the day where he's in a learning mode. In the end, you're the only one who can judge the right amount of encouragement to give...and then trust that you're doing the right thing. I'm sure that you're doing fine! The other thing to remember is with the TWTM method, you'll be getting back to this area of history again in a few years, which'll give you another chance to touch on anything you feel like you missed.

It's good to get ideas from other people, but don't try to "keep up with the homeschooling Joneses." You do your own cool stuff (I've seen the evidence!) and Noah's areas of interest are going to be different from other kids.

Shoe
05-12-2010, 09:43 AM
Nathalie, I think you just have to keep in mind what you want Noah to take away in the end. You said it yourself - you want him to be well-rounded, you want him to be interested in what you're learning. You also have only so much time in the day where he's in a learning mode. In the end, you're the only one who can judge the right amount of encouragement to give...and then trust that you're doing the right thing. I'm sure that you're doing fine! The other thing to remember is with the TWTM method, you'll be getting back to this area of history again in a few years, which'll give you another chance to touch on anything you feel like you missed.

It's good to get ideas from other people, but don't try to "keep up with the homeschooling Joneses." You do your own cool stuff (I've seen the evidence!) and Noah's areas of interest are going to be different from other kids.Great advice Ben!

camaro
05-12-2010, 10:33 AM
Yeah, like Ben said, Nathalie! If there was such a thing as homeschooling envy, I'd have it just reading about what you do with Noah and the results you're seeing.

As for method, I've not read any books so it's kind of seat-of-the-pants here. I tried a more academic approach but it doesn't really quite work for Mitchell. I've relaxed things for now and just try to do basics for now with some interest-led work to complement. I picked up a couple of books at the library yesterday for the boys, one on helicopters and one on bombers. We'll do some writing exercises from them this week. That works better for us than the LA curriculum we started with.

Snoopy
05-12-2010, 10:51 AM
Nathalie, I think you just have to keep in mind what you want Noah to take away in the end. You said it yourself - you want him to be well-rounded, you want him to be interested in what you're learning. You also have only so much time in the day where he's in a learning mode. In the end, you're the only one who can judge the right amount of encouragement to give...and then trust that you're doing the right thing. I'm sure that you're doing fine! The other thing to remember is with the TWTM method, you'll be getting back to this area of history again in a few years, which'll give you another chance to touch on anything you feel like you missed.

It's good to get ideas from other people, but don't try to "keep up with the homeschooling Joneses." You do your own cool stuff (I've seen the evidence!) and Noah's areas of interest are going to be different from other kids.
Thanks Ben :) You're good for me, you always seem to have such wise advice! Intellectually, I know what you're saying and I'm constantly telling it to myself, but emotionally sometimes that inside voice gets overtaken by all the pretty shiny things that other homeschoolers are talking about and I lose my way for a minute... Yes, I do love that the Classical approach allows you to revisit subjects every 4 years and I'm definitely adapting our materials for Noah's current age and interests. I do need to keep thinking about HIS interests first and foremost and stop worrying about what other people might be doing. I guess my saving grace is that while I am impulsive, I am also lazy, (I need to find a less pejorative word to describe myself, but I can't think of one right now!) so something that might catch my immediate interest might not actually get followed up on. This is another reason why I like planning my year in advance because when I get all frazzled, I can take a deep breath, look at the plan, and just hold the course steady:)

Please continue to post here, alright? lol.

Topsy
05-12-2010, 10:53 AM
This is the first year that my family and I have ventured into the exciting and uncertain world of "interest-led learning." My oldest son prefers to call it "free-form schooling." And my younger son doesn't even mind throwing around the controversial "unschooling" term. (I refuse to let him use it around our more judgmental friends and family members) My sons are technically in their eighth and tenth "grades", and I'll admit, it took me this long to get to the point where I was relaxed enough to trust my sons' educational instincts.

Like a lot of first-timers, we had a sort of "school-at-home" approach to homeschooling when we started out. We did all the classical kindergarten rituals such as saying the pledge of allegiance to begin our day, setting up "centers" for exploration, and using those crazy sentence strips to teach writing. My kids could have easily made the transition into any traditional classroom in the country without batting an eye.

By the upper elementary years, that approach was getting a little stifling, so we turned more toward a literature-based curriculum, and focused more on a unit-study style of learning. This was definitely more appealing to my boys, as we were getting to explore some wonderful books and we kept very busy with the hands-on activities that were prescribed to supplement our learning. But something still felt a bit "forced" with this approach. We found ourselves doing activities that we had very little interest in...just because they went along with what we were studying.

Because my sons were always drawn toward flashing things with buttons and lights, we made yet another transition in the middle school years. Our educational focus turned toward online learning, where every lesson had an audio/video component to it, and education was fully interactive and engaging. Everything from keyboarding to world history could be accessed via online lessons My sons thrived on the visual and audio support of multimedia lessons and entertaining activities that supported what they were learning. What could be better than an online homeschool curriculum (http://www.time4learning.com/homeSchool-online.htm), I wondered?

But as high school approached, that familiar restlessness cropped up again. I couldn't believe it, but we again began to notice that something was "missing"...

We discussed it at length, and our family realized that each of us had really strong interests in very different subjects. Subjects that we wanted to delve into much deeper than most curricula would permit. My oldest son has a passion for programming, and the average homeschool curriculum doesn't offer much help in this area. My younger son is bananas for biology and zoology. While he can definitely get a good base of learning in this subject from a curriculum, in order to really learn all that he wants to learn about the animal kingdom, he actually has to dig deeper for himself. The conclusion we came to was that all of the methods we had used for homeschooling had served a purpose for a particular time, but that now, it was time to trust the boys to create their own learning paths. And that is just what they are doing.

While they are still using online curricula such as Time4Learning for their math and language arts studies, the rest of their days is given over to following their own interests. Our oldest son is now busy learning his fourth computer language, and our youngest son is happily compiling data for a project on dog behavior. The truth is that our homeschooling methods have evolved over the last ten years to bring us to this point, and looking back, I feel so blessed to have experienced so many different "ways" to homeschool.

Topsy

Busygoddess
05-12-2010, 01:46 PM
Wow! Thanks for all the responses. I love reading about what others are doing & why. It often sparks ideas or helps me look at a method or material in a different way. We've been eclectic from the start. The first year, our course of study was more in line with the public school(though not studied in a school-like way), because we were doing a trial year. After that, though, we forged our own path with scope & sequence, as well as with method.
When we had decided to homeschool, I started researching the methods. I didn't truly like any method (except eclectic). Don't get me wrong, there were aspects I liked about some methods, but also things I didn't like. So, I thought about my educational philosophy, what I wanted my kids to get out of their education, etc. Then, I looked through the methods again & picked out the aspects I liked, I thought would work for the kids, and would aid in bringing my educational philosophy to life. I took those aspects, adjusted them to fit us, added in some ideas of my own, tossed it all in a mixer & it came out as something that can only be described as Eclectic.;)
We're very hands-on here. Science involves a lot of experiments and first-hand observation, but also books, documentaries, and (once they hit high school level) textbooks. Social Studies involves a lot of hands-on projects & activities, books, documentaries, with textbooks only used sometimes. At the base of their education is knowing how to learn for themselves(in various ways), how to think in different ways, understanding that learning can be fun, but that some things are important to learn even if they're not fun & that education is a lifelong journey, not a short sprint to graduation day. Their interests play a large role in what they study, but there are things that they wouldn't study that I feel are important to study. So, I have final say. I like to have connections between subjects, but don't do unit studies. I like using technology in their education, but prefer it to be supplemental. We try to read books from multiple perspectives on any topic we study, because I think it's impossible to write a non-fiction book without a bias (one reaon we're not big on textbooks). We use Notebooking Pages & Lapbooks (though we call them Project Books). We enjoy games for review & practice (MadLibs & Yahtzee are regular parts of our schooling). Our method is a mix of so many things.

Snoopy
05-12-2010, 09:28 PM
Brandi, thanks for explaining your approach. This sounds like the approach I would like to take eventually. How are your project books created? Do you use any type of template at all or do the kids put in whatever they feel like recording?

Noah and I did lapbooks in Kindergarten and then earlier this year when we were studying the Solar System. We didn't use any particular template, I mostly created our templates from scratch or used various forms or organizers found online. It's been wonderful to go back and read them again. As a matter of fact Noah is blogging about bats this week so I got out his Kindergarten lapbook about bats and he had a great time re-reading all the information he had recorded. We didn't do as many projects as I had planned on doing this year (OK, we barely did any projects, my fault really) and we're getting to the end of our curriculum for the year so I was thinking that for the last 4 weeks, we would be making new lapbooks to record what we learned about the Middle Ages, pirates, rocks and minerals, etc. and then just playing games for math since I have a bunch of math games anyway. For science we love to watch documentaries and we need to catch up on the experiments we didn't do (Earth Science). I'm hoping that if he has fun with all of that, I might be able to extend this into the summer "break" we were supposed to take and see about possibly doing school year-round without him catching on too much, lol.

Busygoddess
05-13-2010, 12:27 AM
I create all our Notebooking Pages, Literature Study Guides, and the templates for our Project Books. I start with the areas I think they should cover within the topic. While we're doing the study, if they think of other things they want to add, we add them on. My daughter was big on the Project Books when she was younger. She's actually the reason we call them Project Books instead of Lapbooks. For some reason, if I said we were going to do a Lapbook, she freaked. She would throw fits about it & refuse to do it. If I said we were going to do a Project Book, she was fine & did the work without a single complaint. Sometimes, we would do it on a tri-fold display board instead of manilla folders. We'd use the same mini-books we had planned for the Project Book, usually with some pictures & other extras added in. Now that she's older, she enjoys the Notebooking pages, instead. My son seems to enjoy the Notebooking Pages already. I've created some for each topic we're planning to cover in Science & History this year. We'll also do posterboard displays for each topic, which will likely include the mini-books we'd use if we did a Project Book, plus maybe some things about the experiments/activities we're going to do, and photos of him doing the experiments/activities.

I think your plan to try to do lapbooks, projects, experiments, and games over the summer break sounds great. What boy wouldn't love to spend the summer getting his hands dirty with fun experiments & projects?

schwartzkari
05-13-2010, 02:51 PM
My daughter is very much a free spirit with a bubbly personality. I have done my best to tailor her lessons around her personality. We are very eclectic. We use everything from Hooked on Phonics, to direct instruction to Kumon Workbooks and flashcards. I'm also getting my early childhood teaching degree, so I keep our records, lesson plans and all that good stuff very organized. I think that is the only place where I'm actually strict and stubborn. lol. I think might incorporate more unit studies into our homeschool because we did one over Thanksgiving last year and my daughter loved it. We don't do our lessons at the table, we sit on the couch and usually have a blanket and a snack. :)

Busygoddess
05-13-2010, 07:02 PM
I'm a bit anal about organization, too. I have ADHD & had to teach myself organizational skills. So, I overcompensated & became uberorganized. Plus, I have some mild OCD tendencies.

Anyway, I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to keep track of assignments, grades (for the things I grade), attendence, and our resources. I don't need to keep any records or report to anyone, but I keep records anyway. I also have an Excel workbook (that I started years ago) that lists all our homeschool resources by subject. I will soon be creating an Access database to replace the Excel workbook. I have an Access database for our large book collection, one for our movies, and will be creating one for our Cds and one for our educational DVDs. In addition to having the assignments in HST, I print blank weekly schedules I made in Excel, fill them in with our plans, and keep them in our binders. Each of my kids has a binder that has their schedule, any pages I had to print or copy for their schoolwork, and a copy of the plan for each subject(which includes a list of their materials for that suject). I have my teacher binder which has copies of the school resource inventories, our weekly schedules, plans for each subject for each child, info on places we might want to take field trips, info on places that offer classes we might like, a copy of our state homeshcooling laws, and any other ideas, future plans, possible materials, etc. We also each have a canvas basket. The kids' baskets have their binders, any workbooks, textbooks, other books, a pencil case (pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener), a cd case that contains all CDs & DVDs they need, and any other materials they need for the week. My basket (which is a bit bigger) has teacher manuals/answer keys, additional supplies for the kids (kits, activities, supplies for hands-on projects), plus all the stuff for my schooling. I love researching & planning. I have rough plans for each child, for each year, all the way through high school (including a good portion of the materials we'll use).

schwartzkari
05-13-2010, 08:13 PM
I think you might be my researching & planning soul mate! LOL!

Up until last month I was keeping all our records in paper format. I don't have to keep records since we live in good ol' Texas but I do anyway. My husband recently bought me a new laptop as a going back to college present and I decided that I would transfer all our paper files onto a computer finally. So I've been enjoying typing up everything and making it look pretty on the computer :)

Busygoddess
05-15-2010, 07:52 PM
I think you might be my researching & planning soul mate! LOL!

Up until last month I was keeping all our records in paper format. I don't have to keep records since we live in good ol' Texas but I do anyway. My husband recently bought me a new laptop as a going back to college present and I decided that I would transfer all our paper files onto a computer finally. So I've been enjoying typing up everything and making it look pretty on the computer :)

Yeah. I love the beauty & neatness of having it all typed up on the computer. I also feel the need to have hard copies, though. That's why I do the paper schedules for the kids & keep printed copies of our resource list (and my wish lists at various stores/sites) in my binder. I enjoy having the assistance of technology for organization, but can't completely let go of my pen & paper organization.

Shoe
05-16-2010, 05:43 PM
What homeschool method(s) do you use, and why? I love hearing about what others do & their reasons for doing it. Did you choose your method(s) based on your kids' learning styles, interests, special needs, etc. or on your preferences? Why do you feel that your chosen method is the best for your family?
Also, if you're an eclectic homeschooler, how eclectic are you - one method, but eclectic with curriculum choices; multiple methods & eclectic with curriculum choices; no specific methods, just the aspects you like from different methods and eclectic with curriculum choices?I guess I just fly by the seat of my pants...I'm still looking over various methods and curricula and trying to do what seems to work for my kids based on their learning styles and personalities, somewhat tempered by my beliefs about what should be included in education. I like the look of the classical method of education, and am intrigued but frightened by unschooling (I just can't let go).

dbmamaz
05-16-2010, 08:19 PM
Its funny, I read so many books when I started - WTM, something by the Moores (dont remember what, but they are all about not doing any academics until 8 or 10), and i've researched so many curriculum . . . in the end, it has to fit my very unique boys. So its VERY eclectic. It changes monthly. I have the oldest one reading a high school ap/college non-majors biology textbook - which he likes. I tried to branch out by getting the k'nex model of DNA, and he didnt want to play with it at all. I mean, we put it together and did 1 or 2 lessons and he didnt want anything else to do with it. We did some of everything for socail studies. I do love MCT and will do more next year, i hope, but i only manage to do about 1 hr of english/week with him (not counting fiction reading). The younger one . . um . . . i read to him a lot . . he reads to me some . . he does some T4L . . . but not much. I figure its ok since he's not 8 yet! LOL. Very, very eclecticly eclectic maybe leaning towards relaxed.

SunshineKris
05-17-2010, 06:29 AM
I wondered what to call my method. Everyone here seems to be doing some variety that comes with designing your own curriculum based on some sort of idea or ideal (WTM, Charlotte Mason unschooling, etc). I almost feel like I am lazy. ;) I know it's not true. So i guess I'd call us the school-in-a-box'ers. We are going to be using Calvert, and the kids are SUPER excited. I had considered Oak Meadow for my more creative daughter but I felt I'd be supplementing quite a bit. Though I still have time to change my mind. (I haven't ordered the curriculum yet.) And I don't know how I would manage teaching 3 different kids at once. My little guy is going to take so much attention as it is. But I (and my DS) really like the structure and organization of Calvert. And DD is looking forward to it as well.

So that's us: the School-in-a-Box'ers.

Closeacademy
05-17-2010, 07:22 AM
I use different methods for different jobs.

What I should teach/the structure/skills: I turn to the classical method such as TWTM/LCC and to some extent Waldorf because it is so spot-on when it comes to development of the child.

How I teach: I look to Waldorf to appeal to my VSL learner and Montessori/Waldorf mix for my hands-on learner. We also use lapbooks and notebooks to have keepsakes of our studies to refer back to. I use visually apealing texts for my oldest and things that adapt well to hands-on for my youngest.

So I would say that we have developed into a Waldorf/Montessori/Classical blend.

dbmamaz
05-17-2010, 10:19 AM
LOL "School-in-a-box'ers" - hey, if it works for you and your kids, do it! My boys are way off the map in every direction - the 14 yo is gifted, autistic, bipolar, processing disorder. The 6 yo is average reading, very advanced math, and the most stubborn creature on this earth. Ok, he's not as bad as he used to be, but still. So there's just no way a box would work for us, I'd have rebellion and crying. Plus it feels like such a big investment - i bought a bit here, a bit there, and some used books, and use the library a lot.

laundrycrisis
05-22-2010, 05:49 PM
I think I am a "relaxed classical minimalist" :)

I am not an unschooler. I have a kid that is "behind" right now and I"m really uncomfortable with that. I know I would not be able to make my peace with being as hands-off about this as the unschooling books seem to encourage. I also like written work so that I have tangible proof of academic work being done, and also so that I know he can do it. We do structured lessons at the kitchen table, and they are not optional. So I know I am not an unschooler.

But, I think I have a pretty relaxed attitude toward school-at-home. It is important to me not to overwhelm or burn out my "students". If I get one solid hour of focused work with the first grader in a day, I think that's great. The younger one will be five in September and I am not doing anything structured or formal with him. If I can get him to happily go along with five minutes of anything in a day, I call that school.

I gravitate toward approaches I learned about in books from the "classical homeschooling" camp...Well-Trained Mind, Charlotte Mason, TJEd. For basic skills I like to use very systematic parts-to-whole approaches. For science, social studies, and history, I want to use "living books". I am using narration and copywork with our 1st grader, and plan to start dictation soon. I am collecting classic children's stories to read with our kids and doing my best to avoid "twaddle".

As for the minimalist part, our older child has had a very hard time learning to read and write. This is due to some serious vision issues that were just diagnosed in January. He also has a very short attention span, is highly distractible, and he has a 4.5 yo brother who creates a lot of distractions and makes it hard to get school work done. His academic progress has been slow and difficult. I never knew why until recently, but I always knew he struggled. During his "kindergarten" year I read "Home Learning Year by Year" and "What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know"...these made me want to cry, throw up, and quit. I still have to stay away from these types of books because for me they are completely discouraging. There is no way he can handle that volume or level of material. I also can't think too much about first graders who do four hours a day of focused work or gifted/precocious unschooling "self starters" who are working at levels several grades above their age peers. I need to keep the focus on making steady progress in basic skills, touching on science and social studies enough to make those areas interesting, and building a love of reading good books. Requiring him to do more than one hour a day of written work at the table will completely turn him off so I won't do it now. If I get an hour of work, and another half or full hour of him listening to me read to him about science, history, etc, or high quality fiction, I call it good. I need to be happy with that, because that is what he can handle right now. So when I read on other forums about the ambitions other homeschoolers have for their first and second graders, the amount of time they spend each day, the projects they do, the reports their kids write, etc....I need to let it go. Someday he will write sentences, then paragraphs, read a book on his own, etc. For now, I need to be a minimalist, let it go, and help him do what he can do.

StartingOver
05-27-2010, 09:18 PM
I have followed WTM since 1999, I also love Sonlight's literature ( secularly ). So we combine the two. I only purchase Sonlight Cores and put the literature into a WTM order.
Luckily all of my children have been literature based learners !

LJean
05-28-2010, 11:48 AM
I'm not sure there is a method to my madness. I am beginning to wonder what I was thinking!
I'm basically going with whatever works. I searched through resources to see what is educationally sound but easy enough to implement. Something that we would both like.

StartingOver
05-28-2010, 12:07 PM
I'm not sure there is a method to my madness. I am beginning to wonder what I was thinking!
I'm basically going with whatever works. I searched through resources to see what is educationally sound but easy enough to implement. Something that we would both like.

Eclectic is what you are !! Many homeschoolers are, you are not alone. ;-)