Step 4: Determine Approach
Determine your philosophy and decide on an approach
You will need to decide on a philosophy of education before you can decide on curriculum or methods. The books listed under Decide is a good place to start to develop your philosophy. Try writing down what you believe about how children learn. What are you goals in your children’s education? What is important to you?
Different Approaches to Homeschooling
There are many approaches to homeschooling. Below we provide a quick summary of six common approaches.
The “school model”
Examples: Abeka, Bob Jones, Modern Curriculum Press, Scott Forsman, Alpha Omega, Lifepacks, PACE (School of Tomorrow), Rod & Staff, Houghton-Mifflin, Switched on Schoolhouse (computer-based)
Teach using the ‘Trivium’— learning divided into three stages of development, roughly coinciding with brain development.
Resources & Examples: Well-Trained Mind (Bauer), Teaching the Trivium, Introduction to Classical Studies, Veritas Press, Classical Conversations, Tapestry of Grace
“Living Books” versus “twaddle”
Resources: A Charlotte Mason Education, More Charlotte Mason (Levinson), A Charlotte Mason Companion (Andreola),www.amblesideonline.org, simplycharlottemason.com, For the Children’s Sake (McCauley)
Integrated Learning—learning centered around a common theme
|Unschooling & Relaxed Schooling
Loose or No Schedule
Most home educators end up in this category to some extent
Example: Sonlight (literature-based eclectic curriculum) www.sonlight.com
Decide on Curriculum and Resources
A wide variety of resources is available. The closer your choices fit your family’s philosophy and approach, the more successful you will be. Most families piece together their own curriculum by picking and choosing the best for their family from different publishers. It is usually best to start small and add later.
- For a lists of some of the most commonly used curricula and resources go to:
- For a more detailed and comprehensive description we refer you to the book: Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, by Cathy Duffy. Visit: cathyduffyreviews.com
- Finally, to get a firsthand look at the a large variety of materials, we invite you to attend NCHE’s Thrive! Conference on Memorial Day weekend. Our conference features about 90 vendors of curriculum and educational materials.
There is no one right way to structure your homeschool. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that each family can do it their way, in a way that fits with their philosophy, style and life situation.
The only thing the NC law says about how we must homeschool is that we must school on a regular schedule for at least nine calendar months each year. It doesn’t say how many days per week, which days per week, how many hours per day, or which hours of the day. You as a homeschool teacher can structure your school any way that works best for you.
However, it is helpful to have a plan even if that plan has lots of built-in flexibility. There are many personal factors that will affect your plan, but the age of your children is one of the biggest. More than likely, the older they get the more hours you will spend on structured school.
Make a plan and give it a try, but always be ready to adjust plans that don’t work. We learn what works for us as we try different things. I repeat what I started with—there is no one right way; so be creative.