Though there are no two homeschools that are the same, there are some prominent homeschool philosophies that influence how the homeschool day works. In our homeschool, we intertwine three philosophies primarily because they fit well with the developmental theories that I learned in Occupational Therapy School and allow us to keep a great balance of academics, life skills, and preserving the wonder of childhood.
Henry David Thoreau stated,"All good things are Wild and Free". I completely agree. This is why we spend our Wednesday and Sunday afternoons outside experiencing the world whether it is cold, rainy, or perfect weather. It's why we nature journal and talk about observations. We know our children may not live close to home their entire lives but we want them to know one thing is consistent, God's love for the world. We want them to be able to walk outside and find beauty wherever they are and whatever they are going through.
The second philosophy that we apply to our homeschool is the classical method. The simple explanation of classical learning method is that learning occurs in three phases 1) grammar stage- the foundational learning of facts ie learning to sing the ABC's before learning the meaning of letters 2) logic stage- students are less interested in facts and more interested in the "why". They want to know cause/effect and relationships. 3) Rhetoric Stage- students apply logic to the foundations they learned early on and begin to formulate their own conclusions. As of now, my youngest two are in the grammar stage and my oldest is moving into the logic stage. Utilizing this method, we are able to work together though each child is gleaning different peices of the information. We start our days with memory work of History, geography, English, Latin, math, timeline, and science using the Classical Conversations curriculum.
The third philosophy of education we apply is the Charlotte Mason Philosophy. Though we implement many tidbits from her philosophy, the main applicable point is best said through her quote, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life." Our ATMOSPHERE of reading as a family, presenting a nature table of our treasures, gathering in the kitchen while people cook and having a pre and post quarantine open door to family/ friends are ways we encourage an atmosphere of learning. The DISCIPLINE of learning is building good habits. Habits of obedience, attention, and even cleanliness require diligence. The LIFE is learning through our experiences and those of others. We read books where authors are knowledgeable about a specific topic of choice rather than compilations of facts in textbooks. We typically go on field-trips a minimum of once a month and go out in nature to explore every week.
Because I am an OT and a homeschooling mother, I have always looked at our homeschool as an individualized education plan for each of my children. You can work to design education for your specific child. However, that does not mean that you have to start from scratch. Having a philosophy and then choosing curriculums for your child's learning style is important. Collins Academy Therapy Services can help with applying philosophy and choosing curriculums and I offer free 30 minute consults for new homeschoolers! Check out www.collinsacademytherapy.com to book your consultation.