educational methodology

“Young women need to be taught, but not necessarily by other young women. Age brings wisdom and maturity which can only be gained through experience. Young women can be very strong in their opinions about what makes a good homemaker, but they can lack the wisdom and understanding needed to teach with balance. For example, young mothers can be very opinionated about how to feed their babies and can unknowingly (or knowingly) put pressure on newer mothers to feed [a certain way]. The same thing can happen with regard to schooling choices or meal-planning or house-keeping. Young women can be very excited about “their method” and then express their views too dogmatically. Young women, especially young mothers, are very vulnerable to this type of peer pressure, and they can come to think that their spirituality depends upon whether or not they are doing their shopping or their house cleaning the same way so-and-so does.”  -Nancy Wilson, The Fruit of Her Hands

I love this quote for so many reasons, but today I want to use it as a springboard for talking about homeschool/educational philosophy and methodology. If you are a newbie, you may not realize – but will soon discover – there are very strong opinions about educational methods and philosophies. I was an educator before I had children, so I know about some of these philosophies but never did I imagine such emotional freight could be attached until I entered the homeschool community. There are passionate groups representing all kinds of methods: classical, charlotte mason, unit-based, literature based, unschooling…seriously the list goes on.

So, before I tell you what my philosophy of education is, please know that I am not out to persuade anyone, but to inform anyone who is interested. I have bounced between a few methods and found myself picking and choosing what works not just for me as a teacher, but for my real life kids who don’t spend hours a day reading Henty books and drawing in their nature journals.  I am hoping to give you a non-emotional review of various methodology as well as some links to various websites and resources.

I can’t resist making this observation from the quote as well. In choosing to homeschool, be careful in your enthusiasm not to give the impression that this is the best or only legitimate choice for other moms. It bothers me when people say that if someone chooses to put their children in school they are being selfish, taking the easy path, or missing a golden opportunity to invest in their children. Let us find the balance between loving what we are doing and throwing ourselves completely into it, and being charitable and encouraging to others who have chosen a different way to educate their children. We are for one another, right? We want each other’s child(ren) to succeed, so let’s take care to be humble about our choice to homeschool our kiddies and not inadvertently communicate that it is somehow the superior method of education (and now I will step down from my soapbox.)

Next post I will give you my hodge podge of educational methodology. Experienced homeschoolers, could you be thinking about what has worked for you?

9 thoughts on “educational methodology

  1. Nope. My enthusiasm might be misconstrued. 🙂 :)0

    Well-written, Laurie. Wow, I was such a snot (maybe still am?) about homeschooling. Then came year 14…:(

  2. Can’t wait to hear. I chuckled at the Henty books and nature journals comment. I am so that mom in my fantasy world and my kids are so those kids, too. Alas, in reality it’s quite a different picture here. I know homeschooling is going to be no different than any other idealistic pursuit I’ve had here at the Almengor stead.

  3. Zoanna, in all of my conversations with you regarding homeschooling, I never felt like you pushed your method on me (and I know you love TOG). I always felt like you were helping me figure out what would work for me and my brood. So don’t worry about your enthusiasm being misconstrued.

  4. Thanks for your humility. It makes “your way” even more appealing to me. I’m really thinking as I read these recent posts 🙂 Can’t wait to see you in March!

  5. I am going to enjoy these posts! I have homeschooled for 4 years, but this year my husband has been laid off and we have had to put our (5) young children in school for the first time (mid-year, nonetheless!) I am now seeing the other side and how difficult it can be to get everyone up, out the door, leave them in somone elses care all day, and go on my way-because I have to, not because I want to. IYou are right-it’s really not taking the easy way out! And then the school wants you to go over lessons with your child every night. So neither way is easy! Being home all day, everyday has it’s own challenges. God is not limited by our circumstances. We can trust Him no matter where we find ourselves.

  6. Oh, I do love a plea for balance! You are so right — this is such a personal decision, not entered into lightly. Our children hear and see how we feel and they learn, too, from our respect (or lack of it) for other parents. Great post. I’ll be back to rest your next one! Come see me sometime.

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