Monday, February 14, 2011

10 Days of Getting Started: Curriclum Styles

I did a few bonus posts over the weekend- one on extra supplies to have on hand and one introducing some facts about unit studies. I'd like to talk more about how unit studies work for our homeschool, but before I do I'd like to take a look at some curriculum styles. No series on getting started with homeschooling would be complete without visiting the different types of homeschool curriculum to see what they are all about. I promise I will return to how we use unit studies in our school. Now that I am back home, I can think more clearly and I think a general introduction to some other homeschool methods is in order. The one disclaimer I will make is that I am not an expert on all of these. I know the basics of the major attributes of each of them and that is what I will share here. The list below includes some styles of homeschooling along with some big players in the curriculum world today.  Before the end of the week I will revisit unit studies in more detail. It seems appropriate, as we finish surveying the possibilities, to end with what we use as our primary programs.

Literature based learning- Sonlight which uses many books as the core to the Language Arts and history portion of the program. The "core" for each grade also includes science resources and math resources (typically separate curriculum that is paired with the Sonlight material). The schedule is elaborate and the literature and history timelines coincide. I think the hallmark of this curriculum is the numbers of and choice selection of the books

Classical-there are many resources aimed at classical style homeschooling. Classical homeschoolers study history in chronological order (yes...in case you are wondering, there is another way to organize history as you build in prior knowlege!) The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer is a great resource. There is more to classical education including the idea of teaching the trivium. It includes teaching kids at specific levels. Remember, I'm sharing only the "big ideas" and not too much detail. Be sure to visit 10 Day Blog Hop partner Angela at Milk and Cookies who is sharing about classical education!

Charlotte Mason- Charlotte Mason was a late 19th century British educator who promoted the use of living books, first-hand experiences and good habits. She is fond of using copywork and dictation to help kids learn handwriting and early composition whether it be oral or written. Living books are books usually written by one author to tell about something he is passionate about.  One of my favorite Charlotte Mason homeschoolers is Barb from Harmony Art Mom and the Handbook of Nature Study Blog. Simply Charlotte Mason is another resource you can use to learn more about a CM Education. Ambleside Online is a free resource which you can use to follow along with this method. Be sure to check out Our Journey Westward,Cindy is a 10 Days blog hop pal devoted to the Charlotte Mason method.

traditional- this could be any number of different curriculum that we have and we piece them together to do a bigger job. This is the method that looks most like a traditional classroom. The kids have a separated 6 or more subjects per day provided by different text books or worksheets. Some traditional programs are moving to a digital technology and you can have your different subjects via their web interface or in their disk packaging.

unit study- takes one central idea whether it's a book, concept, topic, person, etc and builds a study around that central idea that includes all the disciplines. Over the weekend, I described it some here. I will definitely write more about how we use unit studies. In the meantime, please use the tabs under my header to explore the Five in a Row units and the other unit studies I have put together.

eclectic-this one is named by definition and this type of homeschooling incorporates pieces of a few or more types of curriculum.

unschooling- this type of learning environment allows kids to explore and learn the things they are most passionate about without it resembling a traditional school. Journey into Unschooling is a great resource for the younger kids. Homeschooling Belle is our 10 Days Blog Hop unschooling expert. The hallmark of unschooling is the lack of formal curriculum- in most cases.

Typically, you will enjoy one method over another. Some may fit your children better than others. Explore these options through the links and check out the other blog hop contributors for more words of wisdom on a method they are using. Hopefully, you'll gain more insight and see where you might fit in to these categories.

Thanks for reading!


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Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th! We love these ladies and we know you do too.

10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori |  Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool |  Delightful Learning

5 comments:

sara said...

Another great post Heather - thanks for summing these up. I had "sort of" gleaned some of that when trying to "pick a curriculum" last Spring for our first year, but it is helpful to get some affirmation on my understanding! We are using Sonlight, because I really felt I needed the direction. However, I enjoy getting your posts to see what you are doing with your children - it is very helpful!

Tracey said...

Heather, I have spent at least 3 hours so far reading all of these great blogs. Great job to all of you and very helpful! When I grow up, I want to be just like you! LOL!

Heather said...

Tracey you are so kind!

Kisha said...

Your 10 Days posts have been very inspiring, Heather! They have reminded me of why I began homeschooling to begin with. I've enjoyed reading them although I haven't been leaving comments.

Heather said...

Thanks Kisha!