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snowpeople5
08-12-2012, 08:44 AM
So, over the last "few" months I've been looking at and reading about various HS styles and curriculum and various books in general and I think I am even more lost than I was before (if it's even possible :explode:)

I was reading WTM book and it made sense to me - I've always heard that kids retain oodles and oodles of information when they are young and it's a good thing to feed it to them as much as possible.

I was reading about Waldorf method and that also made sense to me - I like the idea of focusing on arts and creativity, BUT! I just can't imagine not introducing reading, math, etc at all.

I've already seen the difference in learning styles between my 4 yr old and my 2.5 yr old, as young as they are. So, needless to say, I will be doing some different things with each of them. But overall, how did you decide what style will work? Did you just follow your child's lead or did YOU decide what things to teach him/her?

If anyone has time and willing to share, I would love to hear your stories.

Thanks

Oceana
08-12-2012, 10:46 AM
I choose the WTM stuff because I like how they offer scripts. I love being able to follow a script and it gives me comfort in my weaker subjects.

dottieanna29
08-12-2012, 11:06 AM
I ended up going with a relaxed, semi-classical, eclectic style. :-) Basically because its what works for me and my children.

I love the idea of literature based schooling but my son is very very visual and not at all auditory. I could spend hours a day reading out loud to him and he would retain none of it. My youngest I haven't completely figured out yet but she definitely doesn't retain read alouds either.

I like the idea of relaxed but I need a plan or nothing would ever get done. I'm not good at picking up on learning moments randomly throughout the day.

Everyone here likes science and math over history and language arts so the heavy emphasis on history and literature in the classical method doesn't work. I do use/plan to use some of the ideas like the three stages, four year history cycle, copywork.

My son is all over the place on what level he's working at so anything boxed or integrated isn't going to work. He does 3rd/4th grade math, 2nd grade grammar, 1st grade handwriting, reads with 4th/5th grade reading comprehension (but hates to read stories) and makes leaps all the time. My youngest is much more traditional in her level and progress. So, at this point I can't even use the same things for both of them for most subjects, so I avoid anything that is crazy expensive to use for just one kid or extremely time consuming.

lynne
08-12-2012, 11:19 AM
It took me some time to figure it all out, but yes, I do choose things based on my kids' learning styles. My 7 yo is very visual and doesn't like writing much so we're doing Time 4 Learning for language arts/grammar, history and science. He's doing great with Math-U-See because he loves the manipulative/math cubes. When he starts 3rd grade, I'll get more formal though. We'll do Michael Clay Thompson Island series for LA and Elemental Science or Science Odyssey and History Odyssey. He also does handwriting w/o tears for practice and he's using Soaring with Spelling a few times/week. He reads a lot and his spelling is good so I don't make him do it every day.

For my 11 yo, we tried T4L when we first started homeschooling but it just didn't appeal to him. We did MBTP last year and he really enjoyed all of the literature and since a lot of writing was required I think it really improved his writing skills. This year we're doing the Town series (MCT), Elemental Science and History Odyssey. I like the way they are structured. He is doing Zeta MUS and I think we'll stay with MUS until pre-algebra and then consider other options for algebra. I feel pretty good about where we are this year. At the end of the year, I'll decide what worked/what didn't work and plan the next school year.

It's tough to know what to choose though. I have even purchased items and then decided right away that it wasn't a good fit for us. I hate when that happens.

Sherry
08-12-2012, 11:51 AM
Trial and error. I read a lot about different styles. The first time I read the Well Trained Mind (1st edition), I thought that I would have loved to have been educated that way. But, I also thought that the schedules were overwhelming, especially for boys.

I looked into other methods. I knew that a full package curriculum would not work for us. I liked the Montessori materials, but could not see us implementing the full program at home. I decided to try Five in a Row. I liked that it was literature-based, easy to ramp up or down, and that language arts and math were separate. Both of my children could participate. My children loved the books. They enjoyed many of the activities. I quickly discovered that while I enjoy arts and crafts, I do not enjoy arts and crafts with children who are not at all interested in them. Lap-booking was not for us. FIAR was great for my oldest’s preschool years. We read and did activities for all of the B4 books and many of the titles in the first 3 volumes. As my oldest started kindergarten it became obvious that FIAR was not going to work long-term. We needed more structure.

My children enjoy reading and listening to stories. They enjoy hands-on activities, but will tolerate only a small amount of coloring, cutting, pasting and other arts and crafts. That excluded a bunch of curriculum. I was again drawn to the classical model. The Latin Centered Curriculum seemed to fit our needs. Skill subjects are studied daily, content subjects weekly, lots of time for play and learning more about topics of interest. This method gives us rigor and structure for core subjects and allows us to explore and dabble in other areas. It is also easy to adjust individual subjects to my children’s levels. So far our modified version of LCC is working well. When/if it no longer does, I’ll explore again.

Avalon
08-12-2012, 04:06 PM
My kids showed me, especially my daughter. I used to make plans for math or phonics lessons or even crafts, and she would look at me like I was crazy and say, Why don't we do this instead? Her ideas were ALWAYS better than mine: richer, more meaningful, more engaging, just better all around. Sometimes she would come up with ideas for projects and who am I to say no to that? No, sweetheart, we can't research all about Ukrainian Pioneers and make traditional pyrogies and sew our own aprons because I was planning to read this (boring) little story and answer the questions with you.

I could clearly see how much they got out of just sitting on the couch reading books with me (every kind of book), and who was I to say, "No, it's time to stop reading and learning and having a wonderful time because there is a phonics lesson I've been meaning to get to."

This is not to say that they were completely in charge. I'm the one who bought the art supplies, I'm the one who picked out most of the library books, I'm the one who made time to sit on the couch and read for hours, I'm the one who helped with the internet searches, and so on. I'm also the one who insisted that we regularly open the math book or pick up a pencil to write something down. I always have a variety of interesting curricula and materials and resources around, so that when they run out of ideas, I can pick up where we left off and do "schooly" work for a while. Eventually, they'd get inspired by something and they'd be off again, doing their own thing.

This year, my oldest is going to school, and I'll be homeschooling just my son. We're going to be doing a lot more structured work because I have a feeling that he is going to LOVE it, and his big sister isn't going to be around coming up with cool ideas every day. He just has a totally different personality, but it's going to be really nice to have one-on-one time with him and see what he's like on his own.

ginnyjf
08-12-2012, 05:03 PM
A good question! For myself, I couldn't imagine picking out a learning style after doing research on my own and then trying to shoehorn Zack into it. I think it takes time to observe and assess how a child learns and until you've got a fairly good grasp on that, choosing an educational philosophy is going to be hit and miss. We tried Charlotte Mason and Connect the Thoughts at first. Zack's reaction? "Moooom, this is boring! This is more boring than school!"

Now we're three years into it and I've finally discovered that Zack learns best through in-depth reading and discussion. Last night was a perfect example: We stayed up to watch the meteor shower and while we kept our eyes on the sky, we talked. We talked about stars and their classifications. We talked about the immensity of the universe and light-years and how shooting stars weren't really shooting stars. We talked about constellations, space travel, what effects zero gravity would have on people and buildings, what astronauts ate in space and how they took care of bodily functions in space. Question after question after question, like the Socratic method in reverse. But that's what gets him excited about learning.

Every child is different and learning looks different in each and every one of us. I'm not sure one educational philosophy can cover every possible learning style.

wife&mommy
08-12-2012, 05:46 PM
I still don't know what my style would be considered, we just do what works! My just turned 7 year old (2nd grade) is doing Moving Beyond the Page, Spelling Workout, Math Mammoth, and our own made up Social Studies type thing this year. Last year was all of those minus the SS and we didn't start spelling until the 2nd half of the year. And K was just our own put together stuff. We did one of those big work books, and lots of hands on things, worked on reading and writing, nothing formal. That has worked very well for him. My daughter will be 5 in December, not technically supposed to be in K until next year. But we are just going with what she needs. She wants to write, likes to do work book type stuff just for fun, enjoys games, letter sounds, and she is trying to sound out words on her own. So for this first half of the year we are just going to do a relaxed thing with her, and only because she is asking because she sees her brother doing it. We'll just mainly do a lot of hands on learning, reading to her, and pre-k type stuff with letters and numbers. Then when she is ready we will work on reading, no hurry, but I think she'll be ready soon just from what I see her doing. I don't know if her style will be similar to DS or not. If it is, I'd love to just do MBtP with her as well. She participates with us now and tends to like it, but that may be different when she actually starts the writing and everything. So yeah, I have no idea. :)

Stella M
08-12-2012, 07:25 PM
My style found me.

It was the only style that a. made sense b. was doable c. didn't exhaust me like unschooling did and whoever thinks it isn't hard work think again! and d. didn't cost an arm and a leg.

As the kids have grown older, I have 'proof' it works for them, so...you know, go Charlotte Mason! :)

snowpeople5
08-12-2012, 07:35 PM
I am leaning more towards WTM than Waldorf/unschooling method, but we'll see. This will be a try-out year, mostly to find out what works, what doesn't etc. I really like the literature based approach, I think I was reading before I was walking and talking (yeah, "slight" exaggeration, but you get the idea), so I can't imagine not to have a book immersion for my kids. May be that's a mistake, since I don't know what they would prefer, but it I think it will be my starting point.

Can anyone tell me a bit about Moving Beyond the Page? thanks!!

Stella M
08-12-2012, 08:41 PM
It isn't really classical, that's all I know, so if you are leaning towards stuff like 4 year cycles of history and all the other classical stuff, MBTP won't necessarily fit.

wife&mommy
08-12-2012, 09:17 PM
It is a literature based curriculum. You get the books that go with the lessons, and everything is based on those. The lessons are divided up into units and those into concepts based around a certain topic, like measuring, community, etc.. Everything is planned out for you already by day and you just follow the plans. It is really easy to add to it if you want to go more in depth, or skip something if you already know it. It is very relaxed but organized at the same time. I have had to add math to it for DS to be where I think he should be with math. It has math, but just not enough for me. Other than that, we are really happy with it. :)

lynne
08-12-2012, 09:49 PM
We used MBTP for both boys last year. We used the 6-8 for our then 6 yo and the 9-11 for our then 10 yo. Overall I liked the 9-11 more than the 6-8. I loved the books, my son loved the books and it was easy to plan our day. The science and social studies units were pretty good too.

I didn't like the 6-8 units as much. A lot of it was too simplistic for my son and neither of us cared for many of the books. We skipped a lot of the assignments and decided at the end of the school year to use something besides MBTP for this year.

MBTP has very little math and you definitely need to do a separate math curriculum. I also used a separate spelling program.

I'm finding that I like the more formal style - MCT, Science Odyssey, History Odyssey and Elemental Science, and classic literature. They are a better fit for us and I think my kids will get more out of it. But I definitely understand why many love MBTP. I actually plan to have my 7 yo read a lot of the books in the 9-11 unit when he gets a little older.

farrarwilliams
08-12-2012, 11:29 PM
I think your "style" or your philosophy is beyond just what curriculum you end up using. It's more like the thing that leads to you choosing the curriculum you choose. Both in school and in homeschooling, I started out more unschoolish and less structured and moved toward believing more in structure. There's not one particular philosophy that I feel like describes me - I definitely have been influenced by ideas from unschooling, classical, and CM as well as all the stuff I studied back in grad school - Reggio Emilia stuff, critical pedagogy, holistic education, and so on. And one of the biggest influences on me was learning really how to teach in a Quaker school. Quaker educational thought is the stuff that probably resonates the strongest with me on a purely philosophical level - Parker Palmer, for example.

Overall, I would say that I think of my philosophy as being about trying to find balance - between the needs of the student and the needs of the teacher, the need to introduce information and the need for discovery, the need for rigor and the need for a slow pace to let things seep in... I think most views of education - both in the public school world, with the whole emphasis on standardized testing, and in much of the homeschool world, especially in classical education with all these checklists, is product oriented. I see education as process oriented, which is why all our assessment is process oriented assessment.

But it's easier just to say, "classically influenced" or, "Charlotte Mason influenced" or whatever. ;)

Stella M
08-13-2012, 12:59 AM
Haha, I was heavily influenced by my need to find something that didn't bore me, the teacher, rigid. I guess that's selfish ?

JinxieFox
08-13-2012, 04:51 AM
As you can see, plenty of folks here can tell you about MBTP. It's quite popular.

TWTM - I started off with a mixed classical/Charlotte Mason approach.

That is still my approach, however there was plenty of "trial and error". For example, not every child is going to do well with every curriculum, workbook, book, or program TWTM recommends. Both my son and I abhor Story of the World, because we find the book dry and the activities simplistic (but some people really love it, and it does lay everything out for you, which makes it easy to follow). So I pretty much make our history curriculum from scratch each and every year, using one book as my main spine, and supplementing it with things I know my son will actually enjoy.

Start off with what makes sense to you/resonates with you, and don't be surprised (or worried) if you try for one very specific program, such as TWTM, but find you have to finagle bits and pieces of it to make it "fit" better. :)

farrarwilliams
08-13-2012, 09:13 AM
Haha, I was heavily influenced by my need to find something that didn't bore me, the teacher, rigid. I guess that's selfish ?

Ha. I think we all have to find that. My kids are so flexible, they'd probably be fine with a lot of different things.

Avalon
08-13-2012, 10:13 AM
Haha, I was heavily influenced by my need to find something that didn't bore me, the teacher, rigid. I guess that's selfish ?

Totally agree with you there. I think I was also heavily influenced by the need to avoid stuff I hated in school: meaningless fill-in-the-blanks, answering questions about something you've read, reading stuff you hate, endless repetition, etc... I've always told the kids that I won't make them do something unless I can come up with a really important, valid reason WHY they need to learn it.

kohlby
08-13-2012, 03:41 PM
I simple use eclectic.

My oldest was a wiggly, impulsive boy who's behavior was effected by his sensory issues. He was not ready for formal instruction. Plus, I'm a former teacher and all of my training on education psychology and young children points to play-based learning. So, we did unschooling for kindy and then started adding more formal items in. He's now in 4th grade and he uses two curriculums that classical methods people tend to like - MCT and AoPS. But it's not because I'm a classical homeschooler - it's because I'm impressed with those curriculums and they meet his needs. I can't tell you what we use for science though - he takes the full lead on that! We never did copywork. That would have been torture for him. He's very advanced in most areas but not fine motor skills. Due to that, we did a lot orally in first grade and slowly added more writing in as time went on. He still never has writing in social studies for 4th grade and limited writing in science.

*Unschooling was super easy for pre-k and kindy. I'm sure it wouldn't have been that hard for first grade either, though it would take more work as the years went on. It would have been far more work than I wanted to do by the time of middle school however. Plus, I would worry about gaps more than I probably should. I'm a former public school teacher, so just the fact I'm relaxed about what he learns when is progress I suppose! I like eclectic. It makes me feel less boxed in and more apt to change things as we go along.

snowpeople5
08-13-2012, 04:39 PM
This has been so very helpful and interesting to read, thank you all!!!! I am working on creating a small co-op, so between that and what I'll be doing at home, I think we should be good.

I am going to do a mix of FIAR, using some books from Critical Thinking Company, Beginning Geography from Evan-Moor, a few K level science books that are mostly just ideas of fun experiments and a LA book (can't remember which one)

I've been reading to him Flat Stanley World Wide Adventure and Magic Tree series so I might add a bit of "history" and geography from that.

Thoughts/comments/suggestions are VERY much welcomed and appreciated it. :)

CatInTheSun
08-13-2012, 08:14 PM
I think you have to form an opinion based on the best info you have at the time, then as you go on be open to adjusting and adapting as you gain experience with YOUR kids. Most kids can be successfully educated with a wide range of styles and most parents can teach with a wide range comfortably. Some will be more in your comfort zone and some will be more native to your child. I was most comfortable with the more "school at home" reassurance of formal rigor of WTM. My eldest is probably the type that would excel at any style, but her sister really called out for the more flowing creativity of OM or unschooling (I went with OM) and it turned out to be a surprising good fit for her older sister, probably because of her perfectionist tendencies (which OMs creativity versus product helps tame) and intolerance of repetition (WTM's 4-year cycles were an absolute failure with her because she forgets NOTHING).

So, I would say that one's style is a combination of your goals, your style, and your kids learning styles. It pays to be flexible. When I started I NEVER thought I would be doing ANYTHING that could be termed Waldorfy, but there ya go. Homeschooling is a journey. Another reason not to buy curricula too far ahead. LOL

Crabby Lioness
08-14-2012, 03:09 PM
If anyone has time and willing to share, I would love to hear your stories.

Thanks

I wrote this up a few years ago in two blog posts, if you don't mind me posting links:

http://lionesshomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/09/our-journey-to-homeschooling-part-3.html

http://lionesshomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/10/our-journey-to-homeschooling-part-4-at.html

bcnlvr
08-14-2012, 03:40 PM
We are eclectic. (Some CM, classical, unschooling, etc). I did not "choose" this. My kids don't fit neatly into any one category. My STEM kid would NOT shoe-horn into classical. He hated it. *I* chose it in the beginning and it was a dismal failure.

Now my children choose style and usually curriculum (if there is one to be had....sometimes not ie unschooly things). I get to choose grade level and do planning/tweaking/delivery.

snowpeople5
08-17-2012, 07:09 PM
Thanks so much, I love reading all your stories

Emily Cook
08-19-2012, 11:56 AM
It took a while for me to work it all out, but I remember in the beginning, I just really loved reading to my kids. I came across some books about Charlotte Mason, and it made sense. Later I read WTM and I loved the idea, but it felt a little too school-at-home. I've always been a bit more relaxed in my methods - when my kids were younger we did a lot of unit studies and lapbooks. Now that they're older, lapbooks have changed to more of a notebooking style, and we incorporate a lot more writing. But reading lots of great books has always been the backbone of our "style." I went through some phases of trying to be Montessori, Waldorf, unschooling, etc too. I called it my homeschoolers-schizophrenia period. :p I think there comes a point in our journey where you try out different styles to see if they fit better. But in the end, I had to go back to my roots.

crunchynerd
08-23-2012, 10:30 PM
I have learned that I am always discovering and deciding more, based on current info and whatever works for/with the temperament and stage of development of the kid, so I tend to stick to "eclectic" because it's a nifty catch-all.
When my DD (eldest) was 5, we were Unschoolers, totally, and I scoffed at the idea that I'd ever need or want curriculum.

Now that's she's nearly 8, the desire and need for a little more structure has presented itself. She's doing great with Cursive First, and our big mission is to learn the Soroban (Japanese Abacus) this year. She loves Nova Science Now, doing self-started art and craft projects, and many other things.

Now, I am researching hodgepodge curriculum ideas, like a writing workbook, a Soroban package, etc.
I never thought I'd be researching a curriculum, yet here I am, because what I could forecast from where I was 2 years ago, doesn't apply to now.

So, eclectic still fits, and I decided on it because it keeps our options open.

wendygrace
08-24-2012, 10:08 AM
Its all about the kids. I tried to start with a curriculum when they were little. Letter a week or something like that and my kids were not interested at all. We slowly learned that we needed to follow their lead. So we "unschooled", basically watching videos, going to museums, and lots of just playing, until last year when my son said he wanted to really learn math. We tried a million different curricula until we found the one that fit him. This year they wanted a bit more structure and so I'm running with it. Since I've spent a lot of time just observing my kids learn in the early years, I've got a much better grasp on how they learn and what they prefer so now we're very ecletic although I still say we unschool because they make the choices as to what they want or don't want. And right now, that's structure! *shrug*

zcat
08-25-2012, 10:55 PM
But overall, how did you decide what style will work? Did you just follow your child's lead or did YOU decide what things to teach him/her?


I didn't really give it a lot of thought starting out. Having a label wasn't very important to me. Today I would say we are relaxed eclectic.

I liked the look of literature based curriculum with a strong emphasis on history. I wanted lots of discussion and exploration. I didn't want dd to do a lot of worksheets or tests.
I have mostly decided what I want dd to learn but we follow her pace. I'm not going to rush her through something just to have it marked as done by a certain time- I want her to actually learn and understand. As she has gotten older she gives more input into what she wants to learn.

I looked at the World Book typical course of study (http://worldbook.com/typical-course-of-study?wbredirect=1&Itemid=216)when we were starting out for ideas of what to cover.

Iamka
09-28-2012, 12:22 PM
What? We need a style? ;-)

I just enrolled DS in Oak Meadow, which is fairly Waldorf-y....but he has been in PS, and enjoys worksheets and workbooks, esp. for math. DS also reads several years ahead of his age, and that isn't Waldorf or Waldorf-lite, AFAIK.

Much of what I have read about unschooling makes sense to me, and seems like it would serve my DS well. A lot of my own knowledge is self-taught, although I also have a formal education, and am working on a degree myself currently.

OTOH, I also like many of the ideas found in WTM, and have some of their materials.

So....we're all over the place? Is that how those of you who say you are eclectic homeschoolers would define yourselves?

Really, as long as DS is learning, and we're "legal", I don't think it matters much what our style is.

Epiphany
09-28-2012, 12:48 PM
So, I am just beginning to homeschool a five year old, and despite buying some curriculum type things, workbooks, manipulatives and so forth, I am beginning to read about unschooling and while it terrifies me, I could see it being the way my son will want to go at some point. He already resists having a lot of instruction from me and wants to go it alone. He is a non-reader, so this is impossible at this point. He loves writing letters on papers with no lines and no correction from me. He does reading eggs online mostly self-navigated at this point. I sit near by and am available, but he tells me he can do it, and he will accept a bit of math instruction, but mostly because I think this interests him most and he sees me as the person who can unlock the most info for him. I like the term relaxed eclectic. I would say that is where we are. I am also coming to terms with the fact that while I am much more of an auditory learner, he is more visual, and I need to provide those opportunities for him more often.

Stella M
09-28-2012, 05:04 PM
Am I the only person in the world who has never been able to work out what type of learners my kids are ? Lol - auditory, visual - I get so confused. Maybe some kids are polystyle ?

BakedAk
09-28-2012, 08:10 PM
Am I the only person in the world who has never been able to work out what type of learners my kids are ? Lol - auditory, visual - I get so confused. Maybe some kids are polystyle ?


Stella, lots of kids have more than one style, but some are really obvious about their preferred way of learning. BTW, a colleague of my husband's once posted a mock article (from The Onion) about "olfactory learners" and how they are being discriminated against by textbooks with no scratch-and-sniff pages. Some of the other teachers at his school actually got up in arms about having yet another group to worry about! :D

Oh, and I'm pretty clueless about how mine learn best, too!

Stella M
09-28-2012, 10:11 PM
Lol, gotta love the Onion!

farrarwilliams
09-29-2012, 12:30 AM
Am I the only person in the world who has never been able to work out what type of learners my kids are ? Lol - auditory, visual - I get so confused. Maybe some kids are polystyle ?

You needn't bother, IMO. The studies into learning styles say its basically bunk.

Stella M
09-29-2012, 02:46 AM
Really ? Ha, no wonder I couldn't work it out!

I've always had this little niggle of shame that I couldn't identify my children's ls and now it's gone!

Crabby Lioness
10-03-2012, 02:21 PM
Stella, lots of kids have more than one style, but some are really obvious about their preferred way of learning. BTW, a colleague of my husband's once posted a mock article (from The Onion) about "olfactory learners" and how they are being discriminated against by textbooks with no scratch-and-sniff pages. Some of the other teachers at his school actually got up in arms about having yet another group to worry about! :D

Oh, and I'm pretty clueless about how mine learn best, too!

Don't joke. Dh once had a Botany student who was an honest-to-God taste learner. She was smart, but her brain would only catalogue iinformation if there was a taste cue to go along with it. She had to physically be tasting something to retain a memory. He got her through the class by personally leading her through a series of very carefully controlled lab experiments he designed especially for her. Needless to say, she had a real horror of more ephemeral subjects like English.

She also had the worst test anxiety we've ever seen. She got in her car to drive to a English/History test, got to worrying, blacked out while driving, and came to her senses over a hundred miles away on the far side of the neighboring state.

Stella M
10-04-2012, 05:28 PM
That is just weird. But also intriguing. I would love to design a literature course complete with taste cues!

Marmalade
10-04-2012, 05:51 PM
Really ? Ha, no wonder I couldn't work it out!

I've always had this little niggle of shame that I couldn't identify my children's ls and now it's gone!


I'm really happy to read this... I thought I kind of knew and I felt like I really needed answers incase someone asked me...

So-one less worry. WOOT!

Marmalade
10-04-2012, 05:56 PM
oh-I didnt' answer the original question...

We are eclectic because it's what works for us. I was interested in Charlotte Mason, unschooling and montesorri...but I couldn't commit.

So-I take what works best for each child for each subject and go with it. Sometimes that means I can buy one thing and use it for more than one child-sometimes that means that this one thing works for this one child at this one time and I'll never see it again.

momto2Cs
10-11-2012, 02:32 PM
I would have to say eclectic. I take bits and pieces of everything I can and squish them all together. This is from a having been-there-done-that-and-tried-that-too perspective.

We started off more schooly - workbooks, unit studies, etc. Then went WTM/classical. Then we tried unschooling, Charlotte Mason, back to unit studies, etc. It was a fascinating journey, and taught me a lot about my kids and what works with them/me.

Now, we use a mix of literature, other good books, hands-on, and experiential learning. I mix and match resources to meet the needs of my kids individually. They love listening to stories, so there is a lot of reading. They love art, so we have a lot of that. They love hands-on for science, as well as documentaries, so we incorporate that, and so on and so forth, hence the eclectic label, which could be further defined as "Charlotte Mason inspired, classically influenced, delight-directed eclecticism."

kcprevatte
10-12-2012, 11:18 AM
This thread is so informative and interesting!

Where do you go to review various curricula before purchasing? Is it primarily through homeschool conferences and vendor fairs? Did you just take a shot and order curriculum that seemed like it would work? I have found sites that offer reviews on various programs, but I want to see and touch some programs before I start making decisions.

I am predicting that we will be eclectic. Just because I really don't like feeling boxed in, and also because I treasure experiences over just about anything else. Well, that, and literature. My kids devour books, so I want to give them more time to read books for pleasure rather than reading only to produce a specific deliverable as dictated by a teacher. (Yesterday, my daughter was up until nearly midnight completing a book report to certain specifications. That's fine, I guess, but rarely do they allow kids "pleasure reading" at their school. It's always to complete an assignment. I don't want them to lose that joy of a great story.)

Living in the DC metro area, we couldn't be better located for experiential learning.

farrarwilliams
10-12-2012, 02:33 PM
There's not a great way to preview curricula, IMO. Yes, you can see some at fairs, but not all and it has to be a really big fair. There isn't one in the DC metro area. But there is a big Christian one in VA. The smaller VA conference has a really limited selection in the vendor area. Our tiny group holds a curriculum share each year and other groups may as well, so that's another possibility - or just meeting people who have the materials. Sometimes there are online samples that give you a feel, and like you said, the reviews really can be helpful.

I think before anyone gets swept up on the curriculum bandwagon, it's good to have your own goals and philosophy reasonably formed so you can evaluate what you're seeing through those lenses.

ItoLina
11-11-2012, 06:29 PM
Honestly, I have no clue what style I am. I feel like I like pieces of everything in moderation...would that be eclectic?

I have also found that the most important thing so far seems to be how comfortable I am teaching a particular subject in a particular style. If it makes sense to me and I am comfortable with it, then my son seems to buy into it and it works. If I am struggling to make it work and feel uneasy about it, then it seems sure to fail. So, at this point I am going mostly with what seems to fit my teaching style. I guess my son is just way more flexible than me :D

i have also found that my "style" seems to differ based on the subject I am teaching and how old my son it at the time.

Teri
11-11-2012, 08:04 PM
I read nothing. :p I guess because I don't tend to do self help books and I have a background in early childhood, I just went with my gut.
We did a lot of trial and error. I bought tiny pieces of curriculum to see how they played. We ruled out WTM (and classical) immediately. That was one that did not fit with my style or my son's.
We tried Calvert and that worked first and briefly because we had pulled him out of kindergarten and it felt familiar to him. He was over that after about two months.
We tried Waldorf and it was not in depth enough for him. It was at that point that he asked why nothing was connected. Why was he studying trees in science, reading a book about a mouse and learning about....pilgrims or something in history. He asked for it to all be connected.
So then I went to creating my own unit studies. And spending a fortune. LOL Wow....that was labor and financially intense.
Then we found Moving Beyond the Page and that was a perfect match for us. We stuck with it until this year when we finished all of it.

Sobeknofret
11-14-2012, 06:11 PM
We're still experimenting with what works best! I think it's kind of a "learn-as-you-go" process; what worked best for us last term isn't what we're using now, and even now I'm considering changing a few things at Christmas break.

My son has never been an enthusiastic reader, but now he's getting to the point where so much information is being given in books, he's having to learn to read for information and we're trying to accommodate that. We use Time4Learning for math and language arts, and Spectrum math books for supplemental practice. History we use a combination of SOTW and our own resources for unit studies. Spelling words are connected to his history/social studies work. Science is experiment based, and he takes a weekly science lab class for homeschoolers at the local science museum, which will continue into the spring. I'm considering doing some experimental unit studies in the spring with him, and he seems really into the idea of lapbooking, so I think we'll try that as well. He loves hands on stuff so it might be a good way to get him to read more if he can then *do* something with the information he's reading.

Mango
01-06-2013, 09:49 PM
I found my own style, which changes a little each year. I did read up about the different styles but didn't really gel with any.

I had just finished a diploma of education and was quite idealistic :) and had been working in a school which did the International Baccalaureate primary years program. So my first year I did my own "units on inquiry."

Nowadays have a basic frame but we go off on tangents often!

For their work, the kids have a big project book, and also do PowerPoint slideshows.

I just had to fine tune things to get the most learning happening.

I also love watching TED videos and love other information about new ways to learn and teach.

rueyn
01-07-2013, 08:14 AM
Our style has changed since we started. It's ever-evolving :)

Soulhammer
01-07-2013, 10:12 PM
Yep, the early research on learning styles says it is bunk, and that matching teaching style to content being taught might be the way to go:

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students - Teaching - The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Matching-Teaching-Style-to/49497/)


I am finding that to be the case in our house, given that my approach to teaching history/ literature (he hears it and just retains it) is very different from the approach I use for math (introduce/ discuss/ then worksheet , worksheet) and still different yet again for science (probably hands-on stuff--don't know what works yet).

CatInTheSun
01-08-2013, 12:11 AM
Yep, the early research on learning styles says it is bunk, and that matching teaching style to content being taught might be the way to go:

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students - Teaching - The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Matching-Teaching-Style-to/49497/)


I am finding that to be the case in our house, given that my approach to teaching history/ literature (he hears it and just retains it) is very different from the approach I use for math (introduce/ discuss/ then worksheet , worksheet) and still different yet again for science (probably hands-on stuff--don't know what works yet).

As I understand it, the argument is about whether matching teaching style to learning style in a classroom setting has been properly researched, etc. I think the issue is pretty moot when you homeschool -- I've never worried much about the label for my children's learning styles, rather I work to optimize my teaching style to EFFECTIVELY teach them. Since I get a constant feedback on my efficacy as a teacher (haha) I don't worry about double-blind studies or theoretical best methods for large groups of mixed students with diverse learning styles. :D

In general, hands on will win out on anything.

farrarwilliams
01-08-2013, 10:32 AM
Yep, the early research on learning styles says it is bunk, and that matching teaching style to content being taught might be the way to go:

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students - Teaching - The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Matching-Teaching-Style-to/49497/)


I am finding that to be the case in our house, given that my approach to teaching history/ literature (he hears it and just retains it) is very different from the approach I use for math (introduce/ discuss/ then worksheet , worksheet) and still different yet again for science (probably hands-on stuff--don't know what works yet).

The research about learning styles does say that it's bunk. But this thread has been about teaching styles - and really it's been more about teaching philosophies. I think the term "style" was a bit misused in the OP, but people have been talking about method and curricula mostly, not about the various auditory, visual, etc. stuff.