There Are No Short Cuts

It’s amazing how much my homeschool philosophy has changed since I first decided we were going to homeschool.  Green Bubbles was only 2 years old when I knew that was the path we were going to take and I don’t regret that decision at all, even on the hard days when you doubt every single little thing.

What is a homeschool philosophy?  It includes the goals you have for your child, how you are going to achieve those goals, and any methods you use to do so.

When I was going to school become a teacher my philosophy for education was “There are no short cuts.” I read it in a book by the same title from Rafe Esquith. I still believe that and it drives our homeschool, but my philosophy is so much more than that.  Different methods of homeschooling include classical, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, unit studies, Waldorf, Montessori, and so much more. Based off of my own original philosophy, I knew unschooling would never work for us.  I believe a very strong foundation is necessary to succeed.  That means reading, writing, and math are on the top of my list and will not be left to chance or desire.  And the bars will be set high for them, based off of each child’s ability.

In the beginning, after researching different methods I felt so drawn to Charlotte Mason and her ideals of education.  But what looks great on paper might not actually fit your family and lifestyle.  While Charlotte Mason is a lovely educational model, it didn’t fit us well.  Green Bubbles is not a kid that sits quietly and wants to read books all day.  Living books are great, but going slowly through them with narrations was going to lead to frustration.  So we adapted.

We’ve settled, like so many homeschoolers, on an eclectic approach.  That means I draw from many different models.  We still have hints of Charlotte Mason going on in our school.  None of our lessons go over 20 minutes at the longest, most are only 5 to 10 minutes long for any given subject. Reading and math, as mentioned above, are the only two that go to the 20 minute mark. We also still love to read living books.  Most of our read aloud books are chosen based off of Charlotte Mason lists.  But we only read one book at a time this way, and only spend a week or two reading it. We also love our nature study time that was introduced because of Charlotte Mason.

We also have a lot of classical education sneaking into our school as well. There is actually a lot of over lap between classical and Charlotte Mason.  But unlike Charlotte Mason, we’ll be starting Latin in third grade and will be using a 4 year history and science schedule versus a 6.  That means, generally, every four years you’ll repeat these subjects.  So, since Green Bubbles started ancient history and biology in Kindergarten, we’ll be back to those again in 4th grade, and again in 8th.  We’ll wait until we get to high school to see what happens for 12th grade.

I also used unit studies and lapbooks as interests strike.  We’ve done lapbooks based off of favorite read alouds like Mr. Poppers Penguins, or things we’re studying in science such as plants.

Four years ago I felt very secure in our approach to our homeschool.  Now I realize it’s all about flexibility and what works for your family and children.  I take the parts I like and leave the parts I don’t.

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