Monday, June 13, 2011

Linky Monday~ Homeschooling Methods~ Pt. 3

Part three of our homeschooling methods tour involves the following methods~ Traditional, Unit Studies and Unschooling.

Traditional

This method is also known as Structured and School-at-home.

In this approach to homeschooling, the child works on each subject separately every day. All learning is planned and followed by grade level. Schooling does not get off track and everything is covered, with no worrying about learning gaps. Many homeschool programs that use the structured approach provide textbooks for each subject, along with a teacher's manual. Tests often follow each lesson, to be sure that the child is learning. Most structured homeschools have a daily schedule. Some structured homeschoolers run their programs Monday through Friday, from June through September; others run a year-round program.

Most structured homeschools enjoy the curriculum since the units and textbooks can be purchased (no need to create them). With a purchased structured curriculum the schedules, lessons, scope and sequence are planned for you. Some parents purchase a preplanned, structured curriculum so they have something to fall back on, diminishing the worries of homeschooling. Many parents that are new to home education start with this type of program.(source)


Boxed Curricula

Calvert (secular)
Core Curriculum (secular)

Traditional Homeschooling Blogs



Unit Studies

Homeschool Learning Network describes Unit Studies as follows~

The unit studies approach is designed to give both in-depth and broad understandings of subjects revolving around some entire theme that interests the child. This integrated approach includes science, math, geography, art, music, history, language, literature, drama, and creative movement. It is often referred to as a multi-disciplinary or a thematic approach. It is an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. It is believed that when children go into such depth, and spend a generous amount of time on each theme, their retention of the subject is higher than in traditional methods.

Since the central focus is on one theme, all core subjects are integrated together based on that particular theme. The primary advantage, of course, is that the subjects are blended together and not learned separately. There are many other advantages with the unit study approach:

  1. Children of all ages and different levels can learn together.
  2. Unit studies are relatively low in cost, especially if you create your own unit.
  3. Because the studies are learner-generated, the child gets an in-depth understanding of each topic, and in turn develops mastery and retention of the material.
  4. Since there are no time restraints, the child is given ample time to think, experiment and discover each topic through his own natural way of learning.
  5. Since unit studies are multi-aged, the younger child learns immeasurably from and through the older child.
  6. The creative hands-on projects and activities are great fun.
  7. Anything can spark an interest: television, radio, books, and common conversations. This makes unit planning fairly easy.


Relevant Links


Blogs



Unschooling

This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. 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. The advantage of this method is that it doesn't require you, the parent, to become someone else, i.e. a professional teacher pouring knowledge into child-vessels on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling on an "on demand" basis, if at all. This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work. So, for instance, a young child's interest in hot rods can lead him to a study of how the engine works (science), how and when the car was built (history and business), who built and designed the car (biography), etc. 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.

Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not "natural" processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority. Therefore it isn't unusual to find unschoolers who are barely eight-years-old studying astronomy or who are ten-years-old and just learning to read.


(via~ Pat Farenga)


Relevant Links


Unschooling

Unschooling in Canada

Radical Unschooling~ Sandra Dodd

John Holt

Delight Driven Learning

Life Learning Magazine

Enjoy Life Unschooling

Great Unschooling Blog Posts

Family Unschoolers Network

Radio Free School


Blogs


50 Best Unschooling Blogs

Rickshaw Unschooling

I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write

Unschooling Lifestyle

On Bradstreet

Life Without School

An Unschooling Life



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