The evolution of a Homeschool: Changing Methodology

Finally, in the last couple of months, I’ve emerged from the funk I’ve been living in for the past year. The fog has cleared from my brain, which means I can think and plan for more than just today. This is playing out in everything from homeschooling to decorating my house. I’ve mentioned some of it already in regards to starting my mornings right, and I’ll be sharing more about all of this in coming posts. Although I’ll be referring to my own little epiphanies and various people and resources that have inspired me, I credit all of this to the grace and power of Jesus Christ.

Now, on with the specifics of today’s homeschool post!

Unchanging core values; evolving methodology.

There are changes happening in our homeschool: Our educational philosophy and family values have not changed, but in order to keep focused on our key goals, some of our homeschool methodology is changing.

kids reading homeschool

In our first years of home education, I called myself a Charlotte Mason style homeschooler. I still love this educational approach because of it’s focus on nature, living books, and short lessons for young kids. AmblesideOnline has an abundance of information on the CM-style, and you can access all of Charlotte Mason’s original works on that site for free.

When we were just getting started eight years ago, I was inspired by the book, A Charlotte Mason Companion. Recently my blogland friend Cindy released an ebook I wish I’d had back then to explain how to implement this style of education: Charlotte Mason Homeschooling in 18 EASY Step-by-Step Lessons. I still adore CM-style homeschooling; it has worked well for our family and I’m not leaving Miss Mason behind in our changes.

time to play

Last year we moved towards unschooling simply by necessity. But I saw it working. This led me to read more about it, and although I doubt I’ll ever fully embrace true unschooling, I have become a fan of what I consider it’s cousin: interest-led learning. I was encouraged by the book Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon; Dumbing Us Down by John Holt has been enlightening, too.

This year, I’ve struggled for balance in doing what the little ones need verses what middle-schooler Kathryn needs. I have long admired how Renee Tougas and Jamie Martin educate their families, and although their day-to-day schooling looks different in application, they both follow the Thomas Jefferson Education or Leadership model of education. They both recommend reading Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille; I finally did, and it has helped me “click” together several key pieces in the puzzle of my homeschool.

Getting off the conveyor belt.

My take of the Leadership model of education is that the best of Charlotte Mason, unschooling, interest-led learning, and classical education are all blended together in a way that honors the phases of mental and emotional maturity a child progresses through, while prioritizing love of learning throughout each phase and on through our adult lives, too.

kindle reading

The “conveyor belt” mode of education is where every student is pushed through the same one-size-fits-all school system. Most of us homeschoolers would agree that’s exactly what the traditional school system does, but we often do it in our homes, too! It’s just so hard to break out of this thinking for those of us who lived the conveyor belt; though I’m 100% sold on the more relaxed love-of-learning way we’re doing things, I so easily slip back into the traditional mindset I came from.

I want permanently break away from that trap.

creative nature fun

I’ve decided that if our key values are in place, we can embrace “good enough” instead of chasing that elusive “enough.” {Read this wonderful post at FIMBY on the topic of “good enough” in regards to both motherhood and homeschooling.}

What does this mean in practice?

Our day-to-day homeschool life should express our core educational philosophy. Alright, but what does that look like!? I’ll be sharing in my not-quite-weekly homeschool posts about this gradual process, as I figure out how to apply the changes I want to make.

For now, it means focusing on making sure everyone loves to learn. This includes me; I must set the example. It means continuing our relaxed approach to homeschool, and developing a rhythm to our days rather than scheduling certain subjects.

And it means I’m really looking forward to what’s to come learning alongside these children of mine.

–> I’ll be linking up with Kris and Mary, and Carlie; join us to share about your own homeschool, or just come see what other families have been up to lately!