Charlotte Mason, classical, unschooling, school-at-home, Montessori, Waldorf, Thomas Jefferson education—if you are new to home education, it won’t take you long to discover that there are a myriad of homeschooling philosophies. There are tests to determine where you fit and there are workshops, curriculum and conferences to cater to each method.
But what if you don’t quite fit anywhere? Or if aspects of multiple methods make sense to you?
The beauty of home education is in how unique education is in each home.
“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life.”
These words come from the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Aren’t they lovely? Once a month, I attend a Charlotte Mason group, in which we talk about how to apply her methods of teaching beauty, truth and goodness. There are many things that I love about her method of education.
But I can’t follow it perfectly.
Possibly not even loosely, if I’m honest. I’d love to, I really would. Instead, however, we’ve fallen into a patchwork of methods borrowed from different philosophies.
This is called eclectic homeschooling.
We have morning time, poetry, occasional artist studies, beautiful history lessons, living books for every subject, and plenty of nature study.
And we have workbooks.
We also do unit studies.
And some unschooling as well.
We are eclectic homeschoolers.
When I first started homeschooling, I struggled to apply a specific method to what we do. And then I realised something freeing. I don’t have to.
My children need to be taught in a way that’s beneficial to them.
(And beneficial to me because, let’s face it, a burnt out mother is no good to anyone.)
My children have different needs. They have different personalities. Most importantly, they have different learning styles. As an educator, my job is to figure out what works best for each of us.
If you’re feeling pressure to fit a specific mold or conform to a specific method of education, let me encourage you:
Don’t be afraid to let go and be unique.
Your homeschool doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. Yes, it’s helpful to figure out what method of education you lean towards, but don’t let that define you. You alone are responsible for your children. Do what’s best for your family.
Don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines.
Glean from others.
But always be you.
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