The Various Approaches to Home- Education

Before choosing your curricular resources, you may find it helpful to understand the prevailing ‘teaching/learning methods’ or ‘approaches’ to homeschooling. In the following extract from Vicky Goodchild’s book ‘THE SIMPLICITY OF HOMESCHOOLING’, Vicki offers some advice regarding the various teaching methods used by homeschoolers. Once you have considered all of the methods then you might wish to investigate any of these in more detail by reading the accompanying resources that are recommended.

Vicki asks you to “be aware that the presentation of these methods do not indicate mandates to be followed. Rather, they are considered here to help you understand how our present-day home school environment has evolved.” She goes on to suggest that you should not feel that you “must select one method over another or even any of the methods. The very essence of home schooling is creativity and originality. Many homeschoolers (our family included) tend to blend the best of all or most of the methods with a possible bent toward one or two particular brands. The ‘best’ is what you interpret to be the best for your family, not [necessarily] the most convenient. Although, in your particular circumstances, ‘convenience’ might be a significant factor in the success of your homeschool programme.] ….you must find the method or mesh of methods that works best for your family.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself abandoning one method after only six months to a year. It may be frustrating and you may feel this must indicate you are a failure, but let me reassure you by saying, probably 99% of all homeschoolers do just that. Your family is in a constant state of change (ages, hobbies, likes/dislikes, career bents, skills) and you will need to be flexible and sometimes change methods to meet their changing needs.”

THE CONVENTIONAL TEXTBOOK METHOD:

The Conventional Method uses textbooks or work-texts to teach the separate subjects; and often comes with helpful lesson plan guidelines which divide up the content into sections to be taught in each lesson within a time frame each day (perhaps 50 minutes) over 180 -200 days for each school year. The text usually includes end of chapter review questions; and there are often support materials such as teacher’s manuals, tests, answer keys and sometimes videos.

The Conventional Textbook approach has the following benefits:

• Everything is laid out for ease of use.

• Follows a standardised scope & sequence of topics, similar to that used in public schools, but with a Christian perspective.

• Has definite milestones of accomplishment that are built-in goals for the students to aim for.

• Testing and assigning grade-scores is easy to do.

FURTHER GUIDELINES FOR USING RESOURCES WITH A CONVENTIONAL APPROACH

Families who use textbooks or workbooks often find it works best to run their homeschool similar to a conventional school, with separate study desks for each student, etc. (Whereas those using a thematic project, unit-study or ‘living books’ approach will often prefer working together as a family around the dining room table or living room.) Some families prefer to pick and choose from the available texts from different grades, rather than purchasing a full grade level. This allows them to choose books based on their child’s readiness and interests and to begin customising their programs. Other parents choose textbooks for only one or two subjects to compliment their thematic/unit-study program which they are using for the remaining subjects.

Some families report that the conservative method can be somewhat confining and may restrict flexibility and creativity because it seems to be primarily concerned with teaching and memorising the facts that will be presented on an achievement test. There could be a danger in quizzes and memorising/testing procedures that exercise the ‘short-term memory’ without the student actually assimilating much of the information.

To counter this, parents should take time to discuss topics and do creative or practical extension work (eg. further research and reading on the topic, essays and projects) to ensure that real learning is taking place.

Here are some suggestions to help you make the best use of textbooks and workbooks:

1. Choose workbooks and textbooks that are at your child’s ability level. Ability level is not always equivalent to grade level.

2. While there is definitely some wisdom in the adage: “practice makes perfect”, you may find that for certain children, you do not necessarily have to work every problem on every page. If a child has a clear understanding of the material, then you may decide it is not necessary to over-work the issue by doing countless pages of ‘practice’ work.

3. Some families find that it minimises stress (from uncertainty & confusion) by having a habitual work & study routine. This is especially important if there are other ‘unstable’ or stressful factors in their lifestyle. Everyone benefits from implementing strategies that foster ‘order’ rather than chaos.

4. However, some folks report that they find it is not necessary to work in every workbook or subject every day. As long as you have certain routines in place that help you achieve important goals (eg. begin the day with Bible reading and a quick drill of the Multiplication Tables) then it is quite acceptable to take time to springboard off into interesting tangents of research & further reading, wherever possible.

5. While still accomplishing your set text work, select relevant topics from the text to do further research leading to a creative presentation such as an oral report/demonstration or dramatisation, an essay or creative project as a ‘culminating activity’ to wrap up a section of learning and develop communication skills.

RECOMMENDED TEXTBOOK RESOURCES

(Also refer to the next section ‘Programmed Workbooks’)

Either… A-BEKA BOOKS or BOB JONES UNIVERSITY PRESS (BJU) Both offer, well presented, textbooks with colourful diagrams and quality photographs, plus support resources for all subjects (from Preschool to Grade 12). The texts have a conservative Christian perspective…

(Available from L.E.M. ph: 02 – 6259 3944)

NOTE: This curriculum has been created in the U.S. and certain sections may have an American patriotic flavour. After reviewing the available textbooks within Australia in order to decide which resources to supply to homeschooling families, we have decided to place a higher priority on quality of content and presentation, as well as a thoroughly Christian perspective, rather than choosing resources simply because they are Australian. There are a few excellent Australian resources available (see the Australian section of the catalogue), but generally, there is not a large enough homeschooling market within Australia to fund the research that would be required to produce texts having the quality of B.J.U. & A-Beka Books.

ROD & STAFF books are ‘no-frills’ textbooks & work-texts with a Mennonite perspective focussing on bringing out Christian character, traditional family oriented values & rural lifestyle, while not focussing much on historical people or modern society & culture.

PROGRAMMED WORKBOOKS

Another option is a curriculum that offers either ‘non-graded’ or ‘graded’ self-paced ‘work-texts’. These are a series of workbooks that incorporate the text material into a consumable student exercise book. The topic content (‘text’) is printed along side related questions with spaces provided for the student to write the answers. In a ‘programmed’ or ‘self-paced’ system, the student works through the study material, completes various ‘check-ups’, and then does a final test at the end of each workbook. If the student scores 80% or more on the final test, he may progress on to the next workbook in the series. In this way, the student progresses at their own pace according to their ability level rather than strictly adhering to grades or year levels.

To commence the programme, diagnostic placement tests are available so as to slot the student in at the appropriate level. The diagnostic placement tests will also reveal if the student should complete any previous workbooks to fill in any gaps in his understanding.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

a) ACCELERATED CHRISTIAN EDUCATION (A.C.E.) Curriculum, is a ‘self-paced’, preschool to grade 12 programme for most subjects & electives, which has a conservative Christian philosophy and includes Bible memory verses in each workbook. Initial diagnostic testing is also available. A number of A.C.E. workbooks have been rewritten for Australian content (notably in ‘Maths’, ‘Social Studies’ & ‘Australian History & Government’). A.C.E. workbooks are easy to use for new & unconfident homeschooling parents, as the parent is not involved in the teaching process. Refer to pages 16 & 17 for suggestions on making workbooks more effective. (NOTE: Christian Academy Of Life is a registered distributor of A.C.E. resources.)

b) ‘ALPHA-OMEGA’ workbooks: are a graded system of progressive workbooks. They require a little more parent/tutor involvement than A.C.E. and also contain more thinking-skills questions & extension activities….

… (available from K.E.P.L. ph: 03 – 9544 8792)

THE CLASSICAL METHOD

(Extract from THE SIMPLICITY OF HOMESCHOOLING, by V. Goodchild)

“The Classical method of education is based on a teaching model used during the Middle Ages. The person responsible for suggesting this to be tried in education is Dorothy Sayers. She was a British graduate of Oxford University who read her paper entitled, ‘The Lost Tools Of Learning’ to the University community in 1947. It was a treatise on how she felt the educational system was failing the pupil by failing to teach them how to think: ‘ They learn everything except the art of learning,’ she stated.

She proposed that the ‘Medieval Syllabus’ held the answers to the discipline required to teach pupils how to learn. These tools for learning were called ‘The Trivium.’ The Trivium is divided into three parts: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. These three parts are introduced at progressive levels of maturity.

The ‘Grammar’ stage [which focuses on developing a solid foundation of reading, spelling, writing and arithmetic] includes the study of a language (typically Latin) and learning the fundamental facts of each subject. They emphasise the development of memorisation, observation, and listening skills. This takes place from kinder to grade 5.

The ‘Dialectic’ (logic) stage deals with the pupil in grades 6 – 8 and capitalises on their natural tendency to argue and debate. The educator teaches him how to logically debate and draw conclusions which are supported by facts to enable him to recognise contradictions to the truth. Most students will now add Greek & Hebrew to their language studies along with higher math and theology.

In grades 9 – 12 the ‘Rhetoric’ stage is studied. During this stage the pupil is taught how to clearly and persuasively express the grammar and logic of each subject in both the written and oral mediums. Another important emphasis is on reading great classic literature.

Many private Christian schools and Christian home educators have taken the basis of this method and made it Christ-centred. The goal is not only to develop believers in Christ but also to equip the believer with the tools to give a logical account of why they believe, when their faith is met with a challenge. This is done by encouraging the pupils to question and dispute biblical issues of concern to them and then draw conclusions based on a breadth of knowledge. Dorothy Sayers would undoubtedly applaud their efforts since she criticised modern educators in this manner: ‘They are doing for their pupils the work which the pupils themselves ought to do. For the sole end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.’…”

STRENGTHS OF THE CLASSICAL APPROACH:

• Is tailored to childhood stages of mental development

• Teaches thinking skills and verbal and written expression

• Develops self-learners

• Students “converse” with the great minds of the past through reading literature, essays, philosophy, theology, etc.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

ENGLISH:

The ‘L.E.M. Phonics’ Programme.

Understanding Writing: by Susan Bradrick. A Christ-centred, mastery-oriented, English language and composition curriculum for grades 1-12.

Rod & Staff English Handbook. ( use with ‘Understanding Writing’)

A-Beka Handbook of Grammar & Composition.

Do The Write Thing!: by Rosemary Bishop. An excellent secondary level, self directed, Australian resource for developing writing skills in all the various genres (writing styles).

MATHS:

Math-U-See Foundations (Gr. 1-3); Intermediate (4-6) & Advanced (7&8)

Math-U-See Basic Algebra & Geometry (grades 9-10)

Math-U-See Algebra 2 (grade 10-11)

Math-U-See Trigonometry (grade 12)

OTHER SUBJECTS:

We are still researching this area. Please contact us with your own findings.

SECONDARY LEVEL:

Konos History Of The World: Konos H.O.W. offers high school students an integrated curriculum which includes history, English, art, Bible, geography and some Latin in H.O.W. Volume 2.

The programme is academically challenging because of its emphasis on rigorous research, reading, writing, and dialogue with mentor/parent.

It presents a ‘Classical education’ with great books from the ‘Illiad and Odyssey’, the Bible, comedies of Aristophanes, works of Socrates & Plato, Shakespear’s ‘Julius Caesar’, Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’, Augustine’s ‘City Of God’, ‘Tales of the Arabian Night’, Norse & Greek mythology, ‘Beowulf’, ‘The Divine Comedy’, ‘Canterbury Tales’, ‘Ivanhoe’, and much, much more!

Konos H.O.W. features ‘activities’ to increase understanding, retention and fun; along with independent study and research to prepare for college and life.

Recovering The Lost Tools Of Learning, by Doug Wilson (1991)

Defines the problems with public education and his solution of teaching from a Christ-centred, Classical approach. He describes the Classical school he helped found in Idaho. An appendix offers samples of their school’s curriculum materials and typical course of study. This is the Classical Approach as it relates to the private school.

Classical Education & The Home School: by Wilson, Callihan & Jones.

The philosophy of the Classical Education as applied to the homeschool.

Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education, by Laura Berquist.

A subject-by-subject and grade by grade guide with suggested curriculum titles and books that are readily available today. This could save a lot of planning time. For non-Catholics: Laura lists the Catholic resources separately so it would be very easy to separate what you don’t want to use.

Teaching The Trivium Magazine

Trivium Pursuit, 139 Colorado St., Ste 168, Muscatine, IA 52761, ph: 0011-1-309-537-3641, http://www.muscanet.com/~trivium

Features articles regarding the Classical Approach as it relates to the homeschool.

Teaching The Trivium: 2 tape Set

Two 60 minute audio-tapes by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn (of “Teaching The Trivium Magazine”) explaining how the Classical Approach follows the Hebrew model of education, and how modern education teaches a multitude of subjects but not the skills of comprehending, reasoning, and communicating by which one can master any subject on his own. The Trivium is reviewed and a course of study is suggested.

THE PRINCIPLE APPROACH

(Extract from THE SIMPLICITY OF HOMESCHOOLING, by V. Goodchild)

“The Principle Approach emphasises our Christian national heritage. It stresses the belief that ‘our’ nation was providentially utilised to spread Christianity. [Originally formulated for America, the principles apply just as well here in Australia. Recent research has brought to light a previously ignored history of Christian foundations in Australia.] The Principle Approach stresses the importance of knowing our Christian heritage and living according to the Biblical principles which America’s (&Australia’s) founding fathers modelled. Proponents consider this a way of living their lives on a daily basis rather than simply a method of educating students. The Principle Approach puts the responsibility on the student to discover and apply knowledge to his life.” (V. Goodchild)

“The Principle Approach may be applied to the study of any subject with the use of notebooks to record ‘the 4Rs.’ The ‘4Rs’ are:

i) ‘Researching’ God’s word to identify the basic principles that govern a subject and to determine its Biblical source and purpose;

ii) ‘Reasoning’ from the researched Biblical truths/principles and concluding from Scripture the Biblical significance and governmental importance of a subject;

iii) ‘Relating’ the truths and principles discovered to the student’s character (personal application of what was discovered through research and reason); and

iv) ‘Recording’ the individual application of the Biblical principles to the subject and the student. These steps are done simultaneously.”

(The Elijah Company Catalogue)

RECOMMENDED READING:

“Go Ye Therefore… and Teach” especially pages 6-9; 29-34; 36-65; 135-146

by Paul W. Jehle 1982

Published by Plymouth Rock Foundation, Plymouth MA

ISBN: 0-942516-01-X

Heart of Wisdom curriculum
homeschoolunitstudies.com or search for “Heart of Wisdom” on the net.

THE MOORE FORMULA

(Extract from THE SIMPLICITY OF HOMESCHOOLING, by V. Goodchild)

“While the famous Head Start program (an early educational intervention program for preschoolers) was all the rage, Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore were stating quite the opposite in their books BETTER LATE THAN EARLY (1975) and SCHOOL CAN WAIT (1979). Going against the educational tide, their research concluded that children needed to have “formal education” (the systematic teaching of the 3 R’s – reading, writing, and arithmetic) delayed rather than pursued earlier. The studies revealed that waiting on formal schooling would allow the child’s ”Integrated Maturity Level” (IML) to develop. According to Dr. Moore, a child’s IML is developed when their brain, vision, hearing, perceptions, emotions, sociability, and physical growth come together to function cooperatively. All of these functions tend to mature at different levels but it is believed that for most children the point where the maturity levels integrate is no earlier than between the ages of 8 – 10. [It was found that many children are not ready for formal studies until this age and] that boys tend to mature later than girls in this area.

Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore are regarded by many as the pioneers of the modern homeschool movement. Their book HOME GROWN KIDS (1981), and HOME STYLE TEACHING (1984), are the first I read related to home education. That was when I became convinced that “readiness” was the key to wise education. I keenly recall this as an area of great concern during those early years. We were privileged to have Dr. and Mrs. Moore in our home when our oldest was just seven. I remember taking a walk with Mrs. Moore and grilling her on how to recognise “readiness”. I wanted her to reveal the mystery formula. There is no such animal! There are, however, some recognisable signs. Curiosity about letters, books, and numbers indicate the first signs but by no means indicate the need for a full-scale curriculum. This is the point at which you gently answer their questions, read-aloud often, and provide real-life mathematical situations such as setting the table and counting butterflies in the back yard, [and then when they are interested, counting out money for grocery shopping, etc.] I believe God, in his definite wisdom, conceals the mystery formula from us so we will be ever-so-sensitive to our children’s needs.

Mrs. Moore also indicated we shouldn’t delay academics just for the sake of delay. If a child is begging to read and it doesn’t frustrate him to learn the mechanics, by all means, teach the child to read. If he is ready earlier than others, that’s O.K. too.

In addition to creating an awareness of readiness, the Moore’s gave us encouragement we needed to commit whole heartedly to such a “radical” idea as homeschooling. And, they gave us the ammunition we needed (via their research) to thwart the “socialisation” argument. The Moores were among the first to explain and advocate interest-based projects (a.k.a. unit studies) as the method of choice in home education. They not only provided the research data but also the practical how-to’s. ” (V. Goodchild)

The Moores recommend that a successful home education programme should contain as much of an emphasis on developing ‘service’ and ‘work’ opportunities, as it has on ‘academic study’. By training the ‘heart’ and ‘hand’, as well as the ‘head’, the children grow in character and learn valuable life-skills. This concept of providing a balance between study, service & work, is called ‘The Moore Formula’. This approach fits well with the ‘home-school’

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Home Grown Kids, by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Provides the research, encouragement, and guidance to help you begin your homeschooling. The Moores suggest down-to-earth guidelines for emotional and intellectual development from pre-natal stage through to nine years of age.

Home Style Teaching, by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore

This is the classic how-to homeschool manual. The methods are tried and true.

outlines time-tested insights on how to assure your children of the best education possible. The teaching methods are equally applicable to teachers in conventional schools.

Minding Your Own Business, by Dr. R. & D. Moore. This book contains suggestions on home and money management. Descriptions of 500+ successful home businesses and services.

Home Made Health, by Dr. R. & D. Moore. The Moores share research-based, clinically-proven prevention measures for all the family. Backed by 18 health professionals.

Better Late Than Early, and School Can Wait, by Dr. R. & D. Moore. These two books examine the dangers of early formal schooling on children under 8 – 10 years of age, resulting in the renaissance of homeschooling.

(Note: ‘Better Late Than Early’ is for homeschooling parents; ‘School Can Wait’ is the more scholarly version for professional educators & legislators.)

Home Spun Schools, by Dr. R. & D. Moore. It contains stories of homeschool families in the early days of homeschooling & the struggles they faced. Tells of how children progress more quickly and painlessly with one-on-one teaching than in the traditional classroom.

Home Built Discipline, by Dr. R. & D. Moore. The art of discipleship, balancing heart, hand and health. Includes study guide for parenting groups in churches and schools. (The Moores also recommend the book: ‘To Train Up A Child’ by Mike & Debbi Pearl.)

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore. Shows you how to implement a “Creative and Stress Free Approach To Homeschooling” (the subtitle). Novices and veterans alike will benefit. If you can only purchase one of their books I would recommend this one. It is a wonderful compilation of all their previous books.

(V. Goodchild)

The Moore Formula Manual, from the Moore Academy. The educational counsellors from the Moore Academy show you how to put the principles of Dr. Raymond & Dorothy Moore into practice. This latest edition to the Moore repertoire presents keys to success in…

educational objectives by age groups, not grade levels; ways to learn & demonstrate knowledge – creatively; how to help your child form new learning pathways; ways to question children to build learning ability; activities to promote spiritual development; unit method tutorial…and much more.

THE ‘LIVING BOOKS’ AND ‘LIFE EXPERIENCES’ APPROACH

(Extract from THE SIMPLICITY OF HOMESCHOOLING, by V. Goodchild)

The ‘Living Books & Life Experiences’ approach is based on the writings of Charlotte Mason, …”a British educator who lived from 1842 -1923. She was largely home educated as a child and subsequently dedicated her life to education. She is often referred to as the ‘founder of the homeschooling movement’ since she assisted many British homeschools through correspondence. Her detailed writings revealed the deep concerns she had about the conventional methods of education. She believed in respecting the person-hood of a child and instead of force feeding them information, she allowed them to read the best books and come to conclusions on their own. She emphasised ‘whole’ and ‘living’ books. A child would read a ‘whole’ book by an author rather than a selected reading in an anthology to fully understand what the author had to offer. ‘Living’ books would include biographies or historical novels. This type of book allows the reader to identify with and understand the personal lives of the characters while gleaning important facts rather than using the textbook style of rote memorisation of facts.

Charlotte Mason believed in a structured morning of basic academics and then dedicating the rest of the day to real-life situations possibly through play, exploration, nature walks, visits to the museum, and reading. This would allow education to be a life-enriching, joyous experience, and adventure. She is well-known for the use of ‘narration’ as a significant learning tool. The child is required to listen intently to a reading and then retell it as closely as he can. She believed this helped a child to react with the material in an original way and to assimilate and connect information in the process. She felt it was important that children be exposed to only the best literature rather than ‘twaddle’ which was how she defined literature written ‘down’ to a child’s level.

Mason had a strong, personal belief in God and promoted a Christian world-view in her students. Her motto was, ‘Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.’ Her educational methods and beliefs were largely resurrected by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and Karen Andreola.” (V. Goodchild)

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

For The Children’s Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (1984).

If you only read one book about Charlotte Mason’s approach, let this be the one. In this wonderfully uplifting book, Mrs. Macaulay shares how education can be “the diet that opens doors for each child to build a relationship with God, other persons, & the universe.”

Books Children Love, by Edith Wilson is an annotated compilation of ‘living books’ arranged by subject area and level of difficulty.

Teaching Children by Dianne Lopez. An invaluable guide to what children should know from preschool to grade 6. Also gives teaching suggestions & a reading list of “living books” by grade level.

Child Light Tape Library is a set of four tapes by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and Dianne Lopez which discusses “Living Education at Home.”

The Charlotte Mason Study Guide.

A condensation of Mason’s most important ideas by subject area.

Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson is a guide to using whole books and real life to teach and train children at home. Each chapter focuses on a facet of home centred education.

For The Love Of Reading, by Valerie Bendt. Valerie gives you clear concise instructions for putting the Charlotte Mason method into practice in the areas of:

– developing a reading programme at home

– incorporating language arts into enjoyable unit studies

– sharpening spelling, punctuation & grammar

– motivating children to take an active part in family reading

– becoming better acquainted with good writers, writing and comparing books.

A Charlotte Mason Education: A How-To Manual, by Catherine Levison.

A subject by subject guide designed for easy understanding of the Charlotte Mason method. This how-to manual will enable you to implement the philosophies Charlotte Mason writes about in her six volume set and many out of print sources.

Australian E-Mail Loop: Mrs. Lynne Gray has begun a “Charlotte Mason E-mail Loop” for Australians who are educating in the Charlotte Mason style. An “E-mail Loop” is a group of people who connect by e-mail in order to discuss issues and bounce ideas off each other. Contact Lynne Gray on bangalay@ains.net.au

THE UNIT STUDY METHOD

“A unit study is taking a theme or topic (a unit of study) and delving into it deeply over a period of time, integrating language arts, science, social studies, math, and fine arts as they apply. Instead of studying eight or ten separate, unrelated subjects, all subjects are blended together and studied around a common theme or project. For example, a unit study on birds could include reading and writing about birds and about famous ornithologists (language arts), studying the parts, functions, and life cycles of birds and perhaps even the aerodynamics of flight (science & maths), determining their migration paths (geography) habitats and ecological impact (environmental science), and the sociological impact of birds (social studies), sketching familiar birds (art), building bird houses or feeders (‘hands-on’ activities) and so forth.” (Goodchild)

” Some unit-study programmes enable the parent to simultaneously teach a number of children of widely different ages; beginning with the one topic, each child researches the topic to his/her level of maturity and is assigned more or less in depth follow up work at their appropriate level of expertise.

” The emphasis with a unit-study approach is usually upon experiential/discovery learning, wherein the child learns a truth by actually experiencing or discovering that truth through experimentation, observation, dramatisation, discussion and other research methods.

” It is not necessary for the parent/tutor to have thorough knowledge of a subject beforehand, because the parent is also involved in the learning process along with the child. Learning to ‘find out’ and ‘research’ is seen as essential, so the students thoroughly utilise the local library and it is very helpful to have access to encyclopedias at home. Learning is enhanced as you respond to questions and situations that arise in related areas, one topic spring-boarding off onto another. Creative thinking is greatly encouraged.

“Some advantages to unit studies are:

• All ages can learn together, each at his or her own level;

• Curiosity and independent thinking are generated;

• There are no time restraints;

• Intensely studying one topic at a time instead of studying several unrelated subjects will suit some people better; and

• Because knowledge is interrelated, it may be learned more easily and remembered longer.

• The family’s interests or God’s direction can be pursued.”

(Extracts reprinted from The Elijah Catalogue 1997. For a free copy of this catalogue, contact The Elijah Company, 1053 Eldrige Loop, Crossville, TN 38558 or call 0011-1-615-707-1610 )

“There are two ways to approach unit studies…. One method is to follow a parent-directed unit study which is prepared either by the parent or a unit study company (such as KONOS). The second method is to allow the children to initiate their own units based on their interests or educational needs”. (V. Goodchild)

Some parents use the child’s interests as a motivational springboard, but still plan the learning activities thoroughly, or co-plan with the child.

One of the benefits of using a prepared unit study curriculum, such as KONOS CHARACTER CURRICULUM, is that it provides experience and direction, training the parent and the child in how to integrate their learning and pull together a body of knowledge from many sources. (See the special section of the CHRISTIAN ACADEMY OF LIFE HOME-EDUCATORS CATALOGUE, explaining the KONOS CHARACTER CURRICULUM {Grades 1-8} and the KONOS HIGH SCHOOL programme.)

SUGGESTED RESOURCES

1. ‘Konos Character Curriculum’ (see the section on Konos in the Product Catalogue for more detail about the resources required)… or

2. The ‘Weaver Curriculum’ … (now available from K.E.P.L. 03-9544 8792)

(Note: Weaver uses the Scriptures as a springboard to other topics. Konos uses Christian Character Traits as a springboard to other topics while integrating Bible passages where appropriate. Weaver may be better for single child families. Konos is easier to use with a number of children as the whole family studies the one topic. Weaver would take a little more planning to make it ‘multi-age’. Konos is a good way of training yourself in how to do a unit study approach (especially if you do the full training by studying the ‘Creating The Balance’ seminar videos). Once you are familiar with the overall philosophy of Konos, you could use these same principles to design your own interest based unit-studies.)

3. Resources for designing your own unit study:

Refer to the Unit-Study section of the catalogue for helpful books (by Valerie Bendt, Gayle Graham and Dinah Zykes) on how to plan your own units of study.

Dinah Zykes’ ‘Big Book Of Books’ and ‘Big Book Of Projects’ will also help you to organise your projects and wrap up each topic with a culminating activity.

The ‘Typical Courses Of Study’ by World Book, provides a scope and sequence of topics for every grade and subject. You can integrate these topics into your unit studies.

THE ‘UNSCHOOLING’ OR ‘NATURAL LEARNING’ METHOD

(Extract from THE SIMPLICITY OF HOMESCHOOLING, by V. Goodchild)

John Holt was considered nothing less than an extreme radical when he wrote Teach Your Own (1981 – published the same year as Home Grown Kids, by the Moores). After many years of work as an American educator he decided that the very methods being used to teach children were in actuality destroying their wonder and natural love for learning. His ideal of a method discarded any and all trappings of the conventional methods. He proposed that, given the opportunity, children will naturally learn what they need to know because of their desire to learn. this non-structured method includes easy access to books and easy access to a caring adult who can answer the numerous questions sure to arise. Formal learning (including reading, writing, and arithmetic) is believed to happen when the child finds he needs it to further pursue his interests. The motivation and drive is ”built in” and the child is poised for success.

While this method has wide appeal it has been primarily associated with non-Christian homeschoolers. The dilemma for some Christians is the fear of the home becoming too child centred, resulting in a misplaced authority figure…..However, there is much to be gleaned from this method. Our family enjoys a style of learning which relies heavily on this method, yet maintains the Biblical order of authority, discipline, structure, and boundaries.

(V. Goodchild)

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Teach Your Own, by John Holt (1981)

This is presently out of print, however, Holt Associates plan to reprint soon.

Learning All the Time, by John Holt (1989)

Defines John Holt’s beliefs about children and how they learn and includes how parents can encourage them in this process.

Homeschooling For Excellence, by David and Micki Colfax

A very encouraging “real-life” story of a home-steading family who allowed their four sons the freedom to follow their special interests and talents. The result: Harvard and Yale educations. This Family was homeschooling in the 70’s before the popular movement began.”

(V. Goodchild.)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in quran reading. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s