Homeschoolers are in a world of their own. To outsiders, all homeschoolers are the same…weird. But inside the world of homeschooling, you quickly become defined by your method of teaching. When you meet another homeschooler, some of the first questions asked are, “What curriculum do you use?” and “What kind of homeschooler are you?” To new homeschoolers, this can be completely overwhelming and finding your options can literally drown you in information.
What Kind of Homeschooler Are You?
I know that there are a lot of moms that are just like me. I began researching homeschooling, and how to do it, while I was pregnant with my first child. I was still teaching in a public school at the time, but I knew one day that I would have the blessing of homeschooling my kids. I am a first generation homeschooler so I had no idea that there are actual methods and theories about teaching your kids at home. I also didn’t know that there are curriculum just for homeschoolers. Almost 5 years later, I am still trying to define what kind of homeschooler I am.
Helpful Tips for Defining Your Homeschool
Before you google your eyes out, turn off your computer and sit down and write out everything you believe about education. This is your mission statement; it will become your foundation for all of the choices you will have to make. In my mission statement, I included how I believe my children learn. I also included how I think that learning is assessed. Brenda has written a great article that can help you as you write your mission statement .
After you have your mission statement, and you feel you need to put a label on what kind of homeschooler you are, find the methods/theories that best suit you based on your mission statement. Research the homeschooling methods out there and find one that matches your core beliefs. If there are several that match you, you might be Eclectic. As you make a list, write down what you like and don’t like of each method.
Types of Homeschoolers
Here is a list of just some methods:
- Charlotte Mason
- Ruth Beechick
- Unit Studies
- Religion or Faith Based
- Virtual Schooling or Hybrid Schooling or Distance Learning
- Umbrellas (your child learns under an organization, a public school, or private company)
- Reggio Emilia
- Delayed: The Moore Method
- Principle Approach
- Thomas Jefferson
- Delight Directed
- Research Based
- Radical unschooling
Be sure to check out What do Homeschool Methods Look Like in Real Life for an in-depth look at 8 of these methods!
3 Main Ways to Find Curriculum
Now that you know how you will teach your child, you have to find the tools to do this. There are so many curriculum choices on the market that there are conventions just so that homeschoolers can check them out. There are three main ways to find your curriculum.
- First there is the boxed curriculum. This is curriculum that covers every subject area for the entire year. Everything is mapped out for you, may even be scripted, and often comes with all the materials your child will need.
- Your second option is to pick and choose specific items from a boxed curriculum. You might just want to buy the math materials or the reading books.
- Another option is to create your curriculum from free online resources, or resources from the library. You also have the freedom to design your own curriculum.
Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Choosing Curriculum for more helpful tips and resources!
3 Steps to Developing Your Identity as a Homeschooler
There are three steps to developing your identity as a homeschooler.
- First, write your mission statement.
- After you have this ingrained into your heart, find a method that fits your beliefs.
- And finally, find curriculum that matches your foundational beliefs and method.
The great thing about homeschooling is that you have the freedom to teach however you want to teach. And you can change your methods and curriculum whenever you want. Even if it is in the middle of the school year! If it isn’t working…move onto something new. One thing that can give you a concrete foundation is your core beliefs in how you believe your children learn best. In homeschooling, it doesn’t matter what kind of homeschooler you are. It doesn’t matter what curriculum you use. Because, as a homeschooler, you are doing what is best for your child.
Originally published May 2009, written by Kari Wilcher