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The perks of being an eclectic homeschooler

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There are some wonderful homeschooling methods and philosophies out there for parents to choose from. Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf and unschooling all contribute fabulous philosophies that are great for parents and children alike.

I highly recommend studying all of these philosophies and incorporating little bits of them in your homeschool.

Charlotte Mason had some wonderful ideas about the education of children, for example. She taught the importance of nature study and of "living" books -- books that engaged children about various subjects instead of dry textbooks. She also taught copywork of great works such as poetry to teach children penmanship, spelling and grammar.

Why bother copying dull sentences about quick brown foxes when children could learn passages from great books while honing their writing skills?

Montessori also had some great ideas about education. In Montessori schools, children learn all of the steps involved in using materials -- including putting them all away -- to keep the classroom in order. Children follow their own interests and the toys are educational in multiple ways, such as puzzles that show the life cycle of a butterfly. They play with real home tools like silver polish, vegetable peelers and small brooms to learn homemaking skills. Their materials are good quality and enjoyable to use, and much of it is sensory.

Waldorf is another method with a lot to contribute to your homeschool. Any parent who has seen Waldorf play silks, art materials or toys knows how vibrant and enjoyable these are for children. The focus is on nature, natural rhythms, handwork and seasons, with lots of songs, rhymes and fairy tales used to teach children.

Unschooling also offers a host of great ideas for all homeschoolers. You don't have to be a radical unschooler to incorporate unschooling ideas in your home. The use of games for learning, "strewing" and following your child's interests all hold a place in every homeschool.

One of the best parts of homeschooling is that you get to decide exactly how to teach your children. Your homeschooling life is a bit of a buffet, and you get to take a little or a lot from everything.

Here are some articles I've written about various homeschooling methods and some great ideas to "steal" from them each:

Montessori Methods:

Five lessons to take from Montessori for your homeschool

Making your own Montessori materials

A Montessori education for middle school years

A Montessori education for high school years

Charlotte Mason Methods:

Five lessons to take from Charlotte Mason for your homeschool

Make your own nature journals

Make pocket-and-handle nature journals from paper bags!

Unschooling Methods:

Five lessons to take from unschooling for your homeschool

Unswimming

Five great blogs by unschoolers for inspiration, projects, games and more

Waldorf Methods:

Five lessons to take from Waldorf for your homeschool

Making your own Waldorf Materials

And what not to do:

Five lessons NOT to take from public schools in your homeschool

Stay tuned for more articles about great homeschooling philosophies and styles, such as unit studies and classical.

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