Sunday, July 29, 2012

The "What Works for Us" Method (Back to Homeschool Blog Hop)

Last week, the Homeschool Review Crew blog gave a preview of our Back to Homeschool Blog Hop.

"Which homeschool method is right for your homeschool? On Monday, the Crew tackles this topic, bringing you their experiences, tips, and recommendations!"

Instead of asking which method is right for my homeschool, I ask myself which method works best for each child?

If you had asked me 8 years ago what homeschool method I was using, I would have responded with the name of the company that I purchased our curriculum from. That was the year we began homeschooling, and the decision to try homeschooling was heavily influenced by a homeschool catalog that arrived in the mail. I not only identified myself as a homeschooler, I identified myself as a Sonlighter.

If you had asked me a few years later, I would have said that we were very literature based. Later in the conversation, I would have mentioned Sonlight. I still used that curriculum for much of our schoolwork, but I started adding other materials or programs. I became a master of our prescheduled curriculum and tweaked it as I felt necessary.

Now, as we enter our ninth year of homeschooling, I don't have a clear idea of what homeschool method I use. Is it fair to say, "We do what works"?

You see, Addison thrived with our initial literature based approach. She soaked in stories, historical facts, geography, vocabulary, and well, basically anything I read to her. If all our children were exactly like her, I might still be labeling our homeschool as "literature-based."

Brennan, on the other hand, doesn't do quite as well with a purely literature based approach. He reminds me of myself sometimes. I noticed this morning in church that my mind tends to wander during the sermon if I'm not taking notes. I also have to pay close attention to character names and descriptions in the books I read. Often I'll struggle to describe a book (or movie) to my husband because my descriptions sounds something like, "The girl, I think her name was Lisa, went somewhere, out in the woods or the beach or somewhere, and met this guy who was trying to find something." I follow the storyline and enjoy the story, but I miss many of the details. A purely literary approach to learning history doesn't work when we got to the end of a history novel and Brennan described the main character as "the other guy."

Instead of pressing on with our initial literature-based curriculum choice, I've been searching for products that work better for Brennan. Instead of reading science facts to Brennan and hoping that he'd be able to draw conclusions about the science concepts, I found the Christian Kids Explore series that specifically introduces the science concepts first and then gives examples. Earlier this summer, I surprised myself when I saw how a reading textbook from Pearson Homeschool could help Brennan. I won't give up on reading some of the great literature that I've used with other programs, but it's silly to limit myself to a program that frowns on reading story excerpts from a textbook.

As Lauren entered Kindergarten, I realized that she's a completely different student than either her older brother or her older sister. Instead of just listening to stories, she likes to interact with them. The most frequently heard statement when I'm reading to Lauren is, "Let me finish the sentence (paragraph, page) and then you'll know why." Also, I've learned that she rarely enjoys educational videos or computer programs. She prefers to make her own choices when she's watching TV or playing on the computer, choices that usually don't include the educational products I chose for her to do that day.

I'm thankful for the freedom to homeschool and the freedom to choose the method that works for each child. I'm also thankful for the many, many homeschool products that I can choose from. It might take a while for me to figure out what method works best for each one of my children, but I know that working with their skills and preferences will be a whole lot more beneficial than just pressing on with the homeschool method that appeals the most to me.

Many of the other participants in this week's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop are describing their own Homeschool Methods. Be sure to either click the button below to go to the main page or click on a link further below to visit other blogs.



  1. I'm glad you figured out how to link up :0. I was panicking there for a bit.

  2. I call our style "eclectic" so it fits into a category. But really it's the same thing - we do what works.

  3. That's how we roll too, whatever works that year for that child.

  4. Thanks for sharing your insight on your children and your heart to teach to their learning style.

  5. Love it! One of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to fit what we teach to each child. Being flexible is the key.



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