According to Brian Ray, Ph.D., president of the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschooling is currently "the fastest-growing form of education." The popularity of this educational choice has resulted in more resources than ever before, making it easy to get started, but the vast number of resources can also be overwhelming to those who are new to home education. To help parents get started and figure out whether to pursue homeschooling, and to utilize the best resources on the Web, check out our list of recommended online tools.
Understanding Educational Philosophies
Many new homeschoolers are surprised to discover a wide variety of educational methods and philosophies. It's exciting to have the freedom and opportunity to mix and blend these styles, so find what works best for your own children.
Charlotte Mason (simplycharlottemason.com) - Mason was a 19th century British educational reformer whose philosophy emphasized high-quality literature, nature study, and narration -- or students' repeating learned information in their own words. Learn more at amblesideonline.org.
Waldorf (whywaldorfworks.org) - Rudolf Steiner developed this philosophy in 1919. It places a strong emphasis on child development and educating the student as a whole person: head, heart, and hands.
Classical (welltrainedmind.com) - Childhood learning is divided into three different stages: grammar (the foundation years), logic (the middle school years), and rhetoric (the high school years). This three-part model is called the trivium.
Leadership Education (tjed.org) - This leadership model, also known as Thomas Jefferson Education, or TJEd, focuses on teaching students how to think as opposed to what to think. It emphasizes reading classics and discussing them with a mentor (a parent or other adult).
Interest-Led Learning (holtgws.com) - This method is sometimes referred to as unschooling, a term coined by educational pioneer John Holt. Homeschoolers who follow this style allow their children's interests to form the basis for their studies; they believe that children are by nature curious and have an innate desire to learn.
Montessori (livingmontessorinow.com) - Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, developed this philosophy in the early 1900s. It focuses on hands-on experience, movement, choice, and order in the learning environment.