Whether you are a new or seasoned homeschooler, I am sure you have heard of different homeschool methods. Some you may have tried out, others you may have NO clue what they are, what they mean, or why you would want to consider them.
Navigating homeschool methods can be a daunting task. There are whole books on how to choose a method that works for your family and books on each method in particular. I am not going to get into the in-depth world of homeschool methods but would like to introduce you to each one. If one of these stands out to you, then you may want to consider looking into it a little more.
- Charlotte Mason-Charlotte Mason was a nineteenth-century educator. Her philosophy of books is to read “real” books or “living” books instead of textbooks or other “dumbed down” pieces of literature. She encouraged nature studies and delayed learning until around the age of six. She also encouraged children to narrate what they learned. To get a better idea of Charlotte Mason check out this book.
- Eclectic-Most homeschoolers will fall into this category. You may use textbooks for grammar and math but decide to go the “living” book route for history. You may use computer-based curricula for science, or Unit Studies on occasion.
- Classical-I know the least about this program; I do know there is a program built around classical education called Classical Conversations. Also, those who use the classical approach tend to focus on designated stages as their children mature. For more information, I would suggest checking out the Classical Conversations website, and the Well-Trained Mind.
- Textbook/Traditional- Exactly what it says…you will tend to use textbooks for your education. Many will use this approach for Grammar and Math, but a textbook/traditional approach will also use them for other subjects like Science and History. This method will look similar to a public school.
- Computer-Based-There are tons of curricula out there that have some or all subjects on the computer. Typically, these programs also grade and teach the material. One popular one is Switched on School House, there is also a new free program called Easy Peasy Homeschool that is all online.
- Online Public School-Be aware that if you use these programs, you are not homeschooling. These programs come from state money and your child is essentially a public school student. They send you all your material for free and your child will have a certified teacher overseeing his education. Popular ones include k12 and Connections Academy.
- Unit Studies-You pick a topic and focus all your subjects on that topic. For example: If your child wants to learn about snakes, you may read books on snakes, write a paper about snakes, study snakes for science and learn the different measurements of snakes for math…you get the idea. This is typically popular with large families because all the kids can learn together. We have done this a few times when the kids have found something they are interested in and want to study it more in depth.
- UnSchooling-Natural, self-directed learning; the child chooses the topics he wants to study and the books he wants to read. For more information check out unschooling.com
If any of these methods tend to stick out to you, I encourage you to look them up for more information. Chances are you will use a few different homeschool methods throughout your homeschool career.
Author: Misty Bailey
Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.
Stephanie is the mother of 4 daughters and is passionate about Homeschooling and using Essential Oils in her everyday life.
David Skaggs, CEO, Designer & Founder of SumBlox. Masters of Interactive Technology-Digital Game Development, SMU Bachelor of Fine Arts, USU Speaker at educational conference workshops: TCEA, ISTE, CAMT, FFCCHA, IAEYC, NSTA, CKA
We homeschooled for 3 years before we had a designated homeschool room. So, I am aware that not everyone has one. Regardless of whether or not you have a dedicated room to homeschooling, I am sure you have space somewhere in your home that houses your homeschool materials. The question is how to organize your homeschool space.
Our homeschool space is also our children’s playroom. This means, that we have needed to organize our space well. I have learned a few things through the years that can help when it comes to organizing your homeschool room.
Only keep out what you need
We do not keep all of our schoolbooks out. The only books that are on our homeschool shelves are ones that we are currently using. Any books not used go on other bookshelves or in a tote and are organized by grade level. This keeps our homeschool room more organized and takes up less space.
Organize Small Items
I purchased these organizing drawers a few years ago. They have become one of my favorite purchases. I am able to organize all our flash cards and have them all in one place. I also am able to keep pushpins, magnets, stickers, paper clips, and other small items in one spot. My children’s favorite drawer is the “missing pieces” drawer. When they go to play a game or put together a puzzle and a piece is missing they know where to look most of the time they find it there!
Give Each Child Their Own Space
Whether it be a drawer, a book shelf or a school cubby each child needs to have their own homeschool space. This can be where they keep their schoolbooks, papers, and pencils. They are responsible for keeping their homeschool school space neat. This puts the responsibility on their shoulders and helps teach them to stay organized.
Keep Teachers Guides Together
All of my needed teacher’s guides for the school year are together near my desk. This way when I go to grade papers, all my teacher’s books are near me. I don’t use them all every day, but I still keep them together. By keeping all your teacher’s guides together you will save yourself from having together items needed to grade papers, plan lessons or other needed teacher tasks :)
Have a Filing System
On my teacher’s desk, I have a file system that says “Graded”, “Needs Graded” and “Needs Filed”. This is where my children place their papers that need to be graded each day. When done, I put them in “graded” for the children to put away. “Needs Filed” is work for me. If there is a paper or piece of work that needs to be placed in the kid’s portfolios I place it in “needs to be filed”. I go through this once a month or so. Find a filing system that will work for you and your family. This will help keep your homeschool room more organized and paperwork a lot easier to maintain.
Keep Toys out of School
This is hard, especially when you share your homeschool space. But, it is important to do if you want your older children to stay focused. We have an imaginary line down our room. The little kids know they need to keep their toys on the other side of the room. If they want to play and be noisy they can take the toys to their rooms and have at it! I also keep the table facing the window so the older kids have their backs to the younger children. This helps!
Organizing your homeschool room is going to look different in each home and depending on your families needs. The key is to find what works for you and your family. Hopefully some of these tips will help you organize your homeschool space in the new year!
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has written a free ebook titled Homeschool 101. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.
It’s the time of year when many homeschoolers are evaluating their assessment options. One way some homeschoolers assess their student’s progress is standardized testing.
However, not all standardized testing options are equal. Some are online, some require a licensed teacher, and some companies have even more specific requirements. Today we are going to take a look at some of the standardized testing companies homeschoolers can choose.
This company has been providing testing options for homeschoolers for decades. They offer many different testing options for homeschoolers and as well as serving individual homeschool families they also serve Christian schools and large homeschool groups. To test through BJU you must apply to be approved as a tester. You can find more information about their many options and the tester requirements on their website.
This is the company that I (Misty) have used since I began homeschooling. They offer many different testing options. We have used the CAT (California Achievement Test) test previously, and this year plan on using the Terra Nova. You can look at the different testing options on their site and they even have a comparison chart.
In addition to offering many different testing options, FLO also has top notch customer service. I have called them many times with questions like which test would work best for my kids, would an updated test cause a decrease in scores, and other related questions.
Christian Liberty Press has been offering testing services for homeschoolers for decades. They currently offer two different testing options. One is the CAT test on paper as well as an online option. The online CAT version allows parents to have immediate feedback instead of having to wait for test results in the mail.
Their site offers a frequently asked questions page as well as information regarding why the 1970’s CAT test is still so popular even though some may deem it “outdated”.
Local School Districts
In some areas, local school districts will allow homeschoolers to test with their public school counterparts. This is an option that is NOT offered everywhere. I know local homeschoolers who have tested with Christian schools as well as public schools. This is a good option if you don’t feel comfortable testing your children yourself, or if you want them to get used to testing in a large group. This is NOT a good option if you have a child with an undocumented IEP as they will not be able to accommodate your child’s special needs. Contact your local school district to see if this is an option for your family.
Depending on the size of your homeschool group, they may offer testing services for their members. These testing services are often offered in a similar environment as public school testing days. Again, if your child has an IEP this may not be a good testing option. IT is a great option if you want your child to be used to testing in a group, yet around children, they know and are comfortable with.
Testing your homeschool child is a decision that must be made based on your own beliefs, your child’s abilities, and requirements within your state. Once you made the decision to test you can use this post as a reference to choosing one of the many standardized testing options for homeschoolers.
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool, mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments of her blog Joy in the Journey.