Ten Homeschooling Tips: #2 - Adopt a Theory of Education

Most homeschoolers begin their journey looking for a curriculum to follow, but even more important than what to teach your child is how to teach your child. Children are naturally curious creatures. If given a rich environment and a lot of freedom and time to ask questions, explore, manipulate, and engage, learning will happen, no doubt! We run into resistance when we insist that children learn certain skills at certain time periods without considering whether our children are even interested at that given point of time.

Consider Montessori

A Montessori-inspired home education can give you insight into what children are generally interested in and ready to explore at certain ages as well as a set of teaching techniques that have been proven through modern research to be effective at engaging young learners.

Rather than a list of key concepts for each year of a child’s life, in Montessori, we develop curriculum and techniques according to a several year age span (exa: ages 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18) because multi-age groupings allow for different rates of development and allow the children more flexibiity with varying interests.

A Natural Fit for Homeschoolers

  • Children lead the learning process.

  • Teachers are guides/facilitators/mentors.
  • Lessons are sequential and naturally appealing to children.

  • Curriculum allows for flexibility for special needs or gifted children.

  • Philosophy fosters independence and a joy for learning.

  • Emphasis is placed on nurturing the “whole child”.

  • Hands-on materials can be effectively DIYed.

  • No expensive supplies are necessary for at-home implementation.

The Scoop

Avoid teacher albums and certification programs unless you are looking to teach in a classroom. Teacher education programs are designed for the needs of classroom teachers managing large groups of children, not homeschoolers. Adhering to lengthy, prescriptively written lessons from the albums that teachers upload (and often sell) online can lead you further from the philosophy in a home setting.

Fortunately, there are many online resources for parents looking to use the Montessori Method in their homes! Follow  blogs written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers, join online forums, check out photos from Montessori-inspired Instagrammers, read a book of Dr. Montessori’s, and consider taking an online class created specifically for the needs of homeschooling parents.

Child of the Redwoods is now offering an online class for parents who are considering homeschooling Preschool / Kindergarten with a Montessori mindset. Click here to learn more about Homeschool of the Redwoods for ages 3-6.

Don’t Limit Yourself

There are many wonderful methods for homeschooling, and since you are designing your very own school for your child, there’s no one to say that you can’t combine elements of various progressive methods that respect the interests of the child. You might incorporate the freedom of Unschooling, the emphasis of great works of literature from Charlotte Mason, the democratic discussions of Dewey, the artistic elements of Waldorf, and the three period lessons from Montessori! Puzzle together something wonderful that works for you and your family, and you can’t go wrong.

Read more tips about homeschooling here