View Full Version : This just might be the dumbest question ever asked on here

07-04-2010, 10:46 AM
I have a daughter who will begin Kinder soon, another daughter who will begin Pre-K and a son who is just learning to walk so we won't worry too much about him right now.

Anyways, I have been trying so hard, ever since my Kinder girl was a baby about how we would homeschool.

Now, here is my question:

Is there a method where some subjects are unschooled and the rest are pretty relaxed? I am sure there is a name for it. Isn't that name eclectic??

I really like the concept of unschooling- learn what interests the child. But, I also feel my children thrive with some discipline. I couldn't go completely unschool.

So, is that method eclectic?

Anyone else do this that could share some advice or maybe even try to sell me on the whole idea of unschooling? Thanks.

07-04-2010, 11:26 AM
First of all, let me just reassure you that there are no dumb questions--just dumb people! :) Just kidding! Anyhoo, your question is a good one, but to be honest, I have no idea. Until I joined this site (last month), I had not realized what unschooling was. I thought it was the same as truancy. The enlightening posts about this subject on this site have really opened my eyes to what unschooling is to most of those who practice it. As far as eclectic, I am not sure what that means in the context of homeschooling, either. I have been assuming that it means just using some of this and some of that and mixing it all together in an individual manner that suits you, rather than following one strict curriculum. So, there you go. Pretty much I have no idea either, but I am sure that you have come to the right group to find out! Welcome aboard! :)

07-04-2010, 11:46 AM
I tend to believe that eclectic usually means mixing different methods/materials/curriculum rather than following a single "system". For example someone might choose to strictly follow a "classical" method, or "Charlotte Mason" or strict "unschooling". If you choose to unschool some things, but classically teach others, I would think of that as eclectic. I tend to think that's sort of what we're doing in our home. Now, our family is only a year and a half into this homeschooling adventure so I won't pretend to be an expert in definitions. Hopefully our enlightened elders will come along and give us all a wack with the clue stick if we need more guidance. :)

07-04-2010, 11:55 AM
I would call you eclectic. There are some subjects for some children, are learned through natural curiosity. We start this way when ours are young. Some looking in our home would say that we unschool science, art, and music. We approach LA, Math, Languages, and History through a classical approach. So I consider myself eclectic with a literature - classical style.

Sometimes it is so hard to fit into a label...... it is simplier for me to just say classical.

07-04-2010, 12:39 PM
I agree--I think if you want to define it, "eclectic" is just putting various methods together to suit your needs. We unschool history, art, science, nature studies, and geography but rely on more formal methods for spelling and math. We are only a few months into this and it's already gone through some variations, but I think this is what is going to work best for us this year. The "3 Rs" in the morning, the rest of the day to explore his interests.

07-04-2010, 01:00 PM
My understanding of "eclectic" is similar to the others who posted. For example, I really like the Charlotte Mason idea of dictation (I write down what they say and they copy it.) for my boys when they are first starting out. They have more complicated thoughts than they are physically able to write. So, I get their ideas down. By copying them, the boys get practice with writing and a sense of grammar and spelling. At the same time, I really like the Classical Eduction idea of emphasizing world history. We use Story of the World audio books to entertain the kids on long car rides. Personally, I view "unschooling" or "child-led" learning as another theory. We also incorporate that to an extent. While we use a curriculum, we try to keep side projects running at all times which are based on whatever the boys show interest in. Ultimately, I use whatever theory I need for each child at whatever point he needs it.

Hope that helps!

07-04-2010, 06:16 PM
Annie: I have a question. When you do dictation, do you also help your boys narrow down their thoughts, or do you write their words down verbatim? I'm thinking about incorporating some copywork/dictation this year partially because of what you mentioned about having more complicated thoughts than they can get down, and also because DS really does NOT like to write. But because he can get so detailed in his thoughts, I'm thinking it might be beneficial to try to help him focus on the bigger picture. Just wondering about your approach. TIA!

07-05-2010, 10:51 AM
Thank you everyone!

I think the "3 Rs" will always be taught formally in my home. I just don't think I could ever fully let go and let that be interest-led.

I definitely think Science and History would be great classes that could be interest led. I just have to figure out a way to also teach the required subjects in my state.

We are required to teach History of Vermont and U.S., health, citizenship of Vermont and U.S., English American Literature and others, the natural sciences, and the fine arts.

How would you all incorporate those into your childrens' interest driven work?

07-05-2010, 11:16 AM
It varies by situation. If the son is in question is very young and I like where he is going, I will just let him run with it. I think it's more important to get the thoughts out in that instance. I will copy down what he is saying and possibly have him read it back to me. More often, though, I will use questions to help lead him to something workable for copying. (I didn't get all of that down. Could you possibly repeat it and shorten it a bit? Did you mean. . .? etc.)

I have another thought for you on writing, though. My oldest detested writing. Someone suggested that I get him keyboarding as early as possible. He now loves writing and writes novel plots for fun. I still made him learn printing and cursive and use it, but when it comes to longer writing projects, typing made all the difference for him.

Hope I helped.

07-05-2010, 11:26 AM
Stephanie, that is where I can't be "child-led." Sometimes, if you are going to follow state requirements, it seems to me that the children have to be led to it. But , I also think that a child can only be interested in what he or she has been made aware of. So, for me, that's where homeschooling gets fun for the parent. You need to brainstorm ways to put your child in a place where they may develop an interest in what needs to be taught. The easy one is Vermont history. Field trips to historical sites! Live re-enactments! Maybe the well- placed, visually eye-catching documentary. From there, you are ready to go with more interesting resources when they show a spark of interest.

07-05-2010, 01:29 PM
Thanks Annie. Definitely a big help. DS is learning to type, but I hadn't thought of allowing typing instead of handwriting. Good idea, at least for some work, as his typing improves. Thanks for the idea about prompts too. Here's hoping he won't be as reluctant when we get into it!

07-20-2010, 10:37 PM
In my state (NY) homeschooled children are required to take a yearly annual exam so there are things that I have to make sure Courtney learns. I stick to more of a workbook type cirriulum because of that, at least for the subjects that I'm required to grade her on. For the subjects that don't require a grade or that she won't be tested on I plan to do a unit study type of approach because it will be different for her and just sounds like a lot of fun in general. I think her school did something similar anyways... I believe that the "centers" that were created around her classroom were a unit study type of thing. I've been mulling over the one I want to do for the month of September and think it will be one on community workers so I can tie Labor Day into it.

08-20-2010, 05:24 PM
We're kind of relaxed-eclectic but based on the classical structure (the well trained mind) as we need some structure and organization. But everything else is pretty much as we go. Core subjects (English, Math) are by the book (whatever books we're currently using) but at this stage, (2nd grade) science, history, art, et al is pretty much child-led. Which is alot of work because letting our child lead the way in those subjects wears us out! She's a sponge and a fire ball and LOVES things like history, geography and mythology. Hard to keep up with her. Seriously, she can tell you the Preamble to the Constitution, who was King of England during the Revolutionary War, who was president during the Constitution, etc. and can find most any major country on the globe.

08-28-2010, 07:57 PM
I call us relaxed sometimes. I call us eclectic sometimes. We started out doing 100% unschooling for kindy and below with my oldest. Then for first grade, every subject but math was unschooled. I used a formal curriculum for Math. He's now in second grade and we've added a little more formal (spelling was added this year)- but we still have half or more of unschooling. There's a language arts program that I want to use for 3rd grade, so there will be less unschooling that year. We're figuring it out as we go along. My second child is doing kindy this year, so that's 100% unschooling for her.