Now that you've created your perfect classroom and became familiar with the homeschool laws in your state, you need to decide what type of homeschool you will be. Unlike traditional public schools, you, as a homeschool, get to choose how your children will learn.
There are three types of homeschooling.
1. Structured Learning- Structured learning is considered the cousin of public school. It is also where most first year homeschool parents begin due to the familiarity of traditional school. Structured learning generally has a set schedule. The school day starts and ends at the same time each day. Parents also tend to create a set curriculum. Whether it be buying textbooks (which we will discuss in another post) or researching lesson plans and curriculum ideas online and creating daily lesson plans, monthly unit plans, or even yearly unit plans. Structured learning is by far the easiest form of homeschooling, especially for those parents who were taught in public school or for those who had their children in public schools and are now removing them from public school and beginning homeschooling.
2. Unschooling- Unschooling is the complete opposite of Structured Learning. Unschooling generally does not have a set schedule, has no lesson plans, and is mostly child led. Parents normally focus on the basic functions of reading, writing, and math, but let the child control the rest of the learning process. Parents of unschoolers feel that their child's curiosity should control their learning environment, not a textbook or lesson plan. Unschool parents look to daily life as their classroom. If a child helps them cook a meal they list it as learning. If a child helps carry in groceries they list that as learning.
3. Eclectic Learning- Eclectic learning is the middle ground between structured learning and unschooling. Some subjects, such as Math and Language Arts, may be structured and include lesson plans and textbooks, while other subjects, such as Science and History, may be unstructured and learned simply because of the child's curiosity to learn a certain aspect of the subject. Eclectic learning is becoming the most popular type of homeschooling, mainly because parents teach however they want, be it textbooks or life learning. Parents base their learning styles around how their child learns best. Some children do well with textbook style learning while other children learn best through hands-on, day-to-day normal activities.
The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that there is no wrong way to teach your child. You are free to use whatever method you want. You get to decide the style of learning that works best for your child. Do remember though, that what worked last year may not work this year. One year a child may do well in an unschooling environment, but the next year an eclectic or structured environment may be what interests your child. It is also important to note that what works for one child may not work for another child. One child may excel in an eclectic environment, while another child needs a structured environment. You, as a parent, know your child better than anyone. You alone get to decide what type of learning you and your child will use.
Whatever type of learning you use, have fun! If you're stressed out over teaching your child will be stressed out over leaning. Homeschooling is a great parent/child bonding experience, so above all else, have fun with their child, enjoy being not only their parent, but their teacher.