Most families who home educate will adopt an educational philosophy that guides their choices. Some choose comprehensive methods easily recognizable as “teaching.” Other families prefer the informal styles that bystanders mistake for “they’re not doing anything!” Sometimes they aren’t “doing anything,” especially if they’ve just started their home educating journey after a stint in institutional schools.
A classroom at home using desks and daily lesson plans. This style is considered by some to be the most stressful way to work with children, but it can work for those who are comfortable with the limits of school classroom structure.
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The process of decompression frequently needed by children recently removed from institutionalized educational facilities. During this time (a year is the usual recommendation), the child is not required or requested to do any formal lessons, and no assessments are performed. This is a mental vacation, the end of which is most often “announced” when the child opts to study, to investigate, to research, to learn, entirely for his or her own satisfaction.
Deschooling for Parents by Sandra Dodd
Deschooling by Pattie Donahue-Krueger
The philosophy that children can and will learn all that they need to learn to move into productive and happy adulthood, without having lessons planned or goals set for them. Unschooling runs from families who use some formal curricular materials (usually for math), to “radical purists” who won’t even suggest a particular book to their child on the notion that such suggestions may be “coercive.”
As with any spectrum, most unschoolers tend to cluster near the middle, facilitating their child’s interests and supplying a richly educational environment. The underlying concept is that children will learn even the most difficult or tedious subject if and when they find the need for it in their lives. (Yes, even algebra.)
What is Unschooling? by Earl Stevens
Unschooling Undefined by Eric Anderson
This term is embraced most often by those who feel uncomfortable with the child-oriented term “unschooling.” Relaxed homeschoolers tend to feel more ethically secure in setting goals, planning lessons, or making demands on their children.
A little of this, a little of that. Mix-and-match. A bit of unschooling, a few co-op classes, a series of workbooks (usually math), whatever works for this child, for this family, this year.
Unschooling or Homeschooling: What’s the Difference? by Gail S. Withrow
Why My Way is the Only Godly Way by Jenefer Igarashi