Here’s my answer to question #2 from my upcoming book. The question reads, in part; “Do you use a particular educational philosophy or approach?”
I guess most people would call our approach eclectic. I don’t use the term eclectic to say that we buy materials from various publishers. I use it to mean that I have studied various philosophies and methods of education, and at this point we’re using a mix of several approaches. I’m still learning and developing my own philosophy. While I’m learning, I just try to put into practice those methods and materials that I feel are most closely aligned with my own value system and approach to education.
The approaches I am drawn to have several similarities and most of them can be successfully combined, using the elements of each that are the most effective for the individual or family. Some of them include Charlotte Mason, Cindy Rushton’s “The Easy Way”- including note booking, Christian Classical, and Principles-based. I’m also drawn to some elements of Unschooling but don’t agree with the entire philosophy. I consider unit studies to be more of a method than a philosophy, but certainly see it as a valuable method that actually could be incorporated into any of the approaches I’ve already mentioned.
I may never follow one approach to the letter. I’m not sure that would be a good idea. I believe that when a parent asks God for wisdom, He gives it. I believe that God created each of my children with specific gifts and interests. (Proverbs 22:6, Amplified) When you combine those two truths you come up with another truth: There is no person outside my home who can develop a method of education that is perfect for my children. In fact there is no method perfect for both of my children; only one that is perfect for each of my children.
So how do I find the perfect method to educate my daughter and the perfect method to educate my son? I ask God. And I trust His answer. (I can’t say it’s always easy, but it is simple.)
Sometimes the methods will change along the way. That’s because I’m still learning, and my children are growing and changing. The only method I know of that will follow my children as they grow and change is to ask God to show me what they need next. I do stay somewhat within the structure of the approaches mentioned above, but the details change as we go along. I can’t say I always like it this way. I prefer to have things all mapped out with tangible, easily defined and reachable objectives. I prefer to open a book have the lessons all done for me. But, if I chose to follow my own comfortable path, my children would receive at best a very boring education. So, I rely on the grace of God to help me give my children what they need, even though it doesn’t come naturally to me.
A word of caution; It requires confidence and faith to use this approach. Grandparents will quiz your children on the subjects that they have been told are “grade appropriate”, other homeschoolers will ask you what you’re using to teach this subject or that. You may not be teaching that subject at all. And you may even find yourself second- guessing what you’re teaching your kids because it doesn’t line up with what other homeschoolers are doing, and certainly not with what school kids are doing. But rest assured, that if you are asking God for direction for your children’s education, and listening for the answer, then you will very likely be doing something that looks very different from other families, and that’s a good thing. Even if others are also seeking God and listening to his answers, their answers for their children may be very different from the answers he gives you for your children. That’s the beauty of it, you get to ask the one who designed your unique child what is best for him/her. Believe in what he tells you and stick to it, you’ll be giving your children the tools and freedom they need to step into their calling.
*The book almost done and will be offered as a free gift to anyone who signs up for my email list on my soon-to-launch homeschool site. If you’d like to receive updates about the book and the website, sign up to the right for my current mailing list, and watch for my posts on Facebook. If you have a friend who is homeschooling, or considering it, feel free to forward this to them.
Other articles in this series;