Saturday, December 4, 2010

Foreword: Finding a Philosophy of Home Education

Before I begin this series of articles and book reviews, I would like to state that there are a plethera of homeschooling books available, and I have read many, not nearly all. In my quest to develop a homeschool philosophy and practical approach some years ago, I was in the habit of checking out every book in the library on the subject of homeschooling and going through each. In addition, I interviewed one homeschool mother after another, asking what she did, what she loved, what she had tried and hated, and so on and so forth. I do not wish to recall at this time the books I did not like, nor do I wish to write a stream of negative reviews. With this in mind, you will only find here the books I endorse, use, and love!

At the end of my pursuits, I chose to use many aspects from Montessori for my toddlers and preschoolers, but planned to have them transitioned into a "fully" Classical approach by five years old or so. You will find that I use the terms "Montessorian" and "Classical", but I do not care to distinguish between the two as the Montessorian approach has its deepest roots in Aristotle. It is, practically speaking, a classical approach for very young persons. I will be using these labels, however, as an aid to readers who wish to find out more about these approaches.

Further regarding terminology, you will also find that I often refer to our "homeschool philosophy" and then our "homeschool approach", or practice. These phrases have developed out of a necessity to address our philosophy of the education of persons and then our practical way of teaching persons based on a philosophy. Most good homeschoolers have one or the other, and the best seem to have both. I do not claim to be one of the best, but merely trying to be so. To accomplish this, I think it is critical that we always step back and re-evaluate whether or not our methods are agreeing with our philosophy and vice versa. For example, a Charlotte Mason curriculum might work best for a while, but then upon reinpsection we find Berquist works best for later children who require a different approach because they have different personal strengths.

To this end of clarifying homeschool philosophy and homeschool approach, I am writing a series of blog posts about (1) how we, the average homeschooling family, can develop a philosophy of homeschooling, (2) how we approach the practical day-to-day aspects of homeschooling, and (3) how we continue to reevaluate our philosophy and practice of homeschooling. Having a clear grasp of these three topics informs how we choose all of our toys, teaching materials, children's books, etc., and I wish to record it here on this blog first for my reference, but also for others who may be wishing to do the same. May this prove helpful to us all.

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