Have You Ever Changed Your Homeschool Philosophy? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Have you?
Yes 22 70.97%
No 7 22.58%
Other 2 6.45%
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#1 of 16 Old 04-25-2012, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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My curiosity is due to my own inner thoughts. I originally thought I would unschool my children, but as I get to know them and decide to start formal education, I realize that that won't work for us. So, I have changed to a semi-classical mindset. I agree that whatever we use should be geared to an age range (1-4th grade) instead of just one grade. So, have you also changed your mindset? And from what to what?

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#2 of 16 Old 04-25-2012, 08:18 PM
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I went from thinking I needed to find the "right" materials and sticking with those programs to a much more eclectic with unschooly tendancies approach.  Now, most the materials I buy are for ME.  I like having a guide through certain subjects.  However, for most everything, if my children suddenly have an interest in something, I will drop all plans and let them explore the interest in an unschooly fashion.  I also am more willing to let my kids see that I don't know everything!  Learning together is an accepted part of it for us too.  



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#3 of 16 Old 04-25-2012, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I totally agree about letting the kids explore their own desires. I also am not afraid to say "I don't know" so I spend a lot of time learning new things to pass on my new knowledge. And sometimes my 4 yo blows my mind by explaining things to me in ways that are way beyond his years, which is what led me to classical (secular) for him and my 2 yo is starting to really be interested in books so I think literature based for her (not me, yuck lol). I am looking forward to this journey and love the flexibility of it :)

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#4 of 16 Old 04-26-2012, 05:57 AM
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Nope, I haven't changed my philosophy.  It's only been two years of homeschooling, so it's possible that I could at some point change, but at this point I think that would be very unlikely.  I went into homeschooling to do it Waldorf-style, and so far I've been quite happy with how things are going.

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#5 of 16 Old 04-26-2012, 06:29 AM
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Yes, not really my reasons for, but the how-to...I was still really caught up in the school mentality when we started and wanted to use the classical method but then between not having much money to spend and getting a child who couldnot possibly function in a tradional school setting, those ideas pretty much fell apart. Now we are in a place where we 'teach' the basics but really relaxed and to their own pace and I provide them with lots of media for lit., history, etc... as well as hands-on stuff and most importantly , I think, has been integrating them into everyday life to learn skills they need for life as well as giving them opportunities to explore how their interests could be used to support them.

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#6 of 16 Old 04-26-2012, 09:01 AM
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We started out as eclectic homeschoolers and are now unschoolers.  With the first child, I was still doing formal math and writing and history.  I was following his interests, but still structuring a lot of the experience for him.  Then he started to resist my structuring, just as my second child made it clear that she needed a far more autonomous learning experience.  Now we are unschoolers.  My third child just turned five, and I'm seriously okay if he doesn't learn to read until he's ten or doesn't learn the multiplication tables "on schedule" or whatever.  All three kids have some serious passions going on (e.g., Legos, astronomy, the Eiffel Tower, baking, making art from recycled objects).

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#7 of 16 Old 04-26-2012, 09:03 PM
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No. If I were to label myself, it would probably be "relaxed eclectic" (borderline unschool, but not quite). But, my philosophy has always been to try to figure out what works for each of my kids and our family, and go with that.

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#8 of 16 Old 04-26-2012, 09:27 PM
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Yes. When my children were little we were unschoolers, then we did some more Waldorfy stuff, then they went to school, now they are home and we are I guess classical/traditional schoolers. They are in 4th and 7th so I feel like that age requires more traditional approach to prepare for middle/high school.  I am sure my philosophy will change more/ again if/as we continue to homeschool.  Next year my older child would like to return to parochial school for 8th however as it stands now we will school ds still at home.  I think we may change our curriculum in favor of something that comes more specifically planned out to try to remove some of the fight of him doing my school work iykwim.  All in all yes.

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#9 of 16 Old 04-26-2012, 11:01 PM
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Oh yes.  The old saying 'the only thing constant is change' definitely applies here.  We started with public school for 1/2 of kindy then came home to recover. Started to unschool and eventually moved toward something more formal with an online program for STEM classes.    Eventually I see DS doing all his classes on a more formal / traditional level as he is starting to realize his goals of university and possible careers.

I don't plan on having more children, but if I did I would probably approach education with that child differently that I did with DS.


I've always said 'homeschooling doesn't work for every family, nor does it work for every child in each family'.

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#10 of 16 Old 04-27-2012, 08:06 AM
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I've changed my homeschooling approach ... a lot. But my philosophy, meaning the beliefs that underlie the practices? No.


I believe in the immense potential of children. I believe in the importance of them shaping their educational paths. I believe education should be individualized and responsive. I believe human beings are hard-wired to learn. I believe not in "the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."


Sometimes we've used a lot of curriculum. Sometimes none at all. Sometimes we've been unscheduled, sometimes loosely scheduled, occasionally more tightly scheduled. Sometimes we've done hands-on project-oriented learning, sometimes unit-study-like learning, sometimes we've used textbooks, workbooks, boxes of materials from curriculum suppliers, mentors, community activities, the internet. But through it all, I've continued to believe what I said above.



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#11 of 16 Old 04-27-2012, 06:51 PM
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I voted no because while we have changed the educational methods over the years, the philosophy has remained the same:  fitting the educational method to fit the child, not the other way around.  We have done home school with and without the knowledge of the state dept. of education or local school district; enrolled in a Montessori public elementary school, combination of classroom and home school through the school district and through charter schools, home school under the umbrella of a charter school, public high school, independent study, and home school through a charter school for high school and classes at the local community school while enrolled in high school.  If something doesn't work, we change it, sometimes in the middle of the year.

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#12 of 16 Old 04-27-2012, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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This has been very interesting. I agree with those of you who say that education should be geared towards the person gaining the education. What works for my son won't work for my daughter because one is gifted and one has special needs. Well, both of those are special needs. Anyways, my son is a "hearing" child and my daughter is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids. So something heavy on words probably wouldn't work for her but he is VERY verbal (like me) and would probably thrive on that.


Great input :) Keep it coming ;)

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#13 of 16 Old 05-01-2012, 11:19 AM
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I think we are just creeping further and further into unschooling as we are trusting that it seems to be a good fit for our family.  It already influences some of our daily life beyond academics, and it is starting to creep to others.  So, not a fundamental shift, but definitely some changes in what I need as a parent.

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#14 of 16 Old 05-01-2012, 12:38 PM
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I voted yes but since my dd is only 5 I guess it's in theory only. I started off very nature based and media free, kind of waldorf-ish I guess. I was then intrigued with classical and the well trained mind but never really put any of that into practice. Now that she is a little older and I'm actually trying to teach her "academics" I've settled somewhere in the middle. I wouldn't consider it unschooling because I do stress specific things. We're working really hard on reading and handwriting but I follow her lead on others. I was shocked at how much math I was able to cram into a few games of hi-ho cherry-o this morning .. lol. 

I guess I'm saying I haven't grown into a "style" yet and I'm finally feeling okay with that. When or if we need to change, for either of us we can and will. I think that's the heart and beauty of homeschooling - having the ability to grow and learn and change your mind and do different things whenever the need or want arises. 

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#15 of 16 Old 05-05-2012, 01:22 PM
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Yes, kind of. My underlying educational philosophy is that I want them to be free to learn whatever they choose to learn (and be happy...and work for world peace...and yada yada ;-) ). I also believe education to be considerably more than academic work and about life skills, people skills, and - don't know what the word is for this, but having the toolkit to find balance in your own life. 


I initially thought the best way to do this was by following an unschooling approach, and I still believe in this up to age 7 (my kids actually attend a pleasantly renegade Waldorf preschool to age 7 but thats because of a good personality fit and if they didn't want to be there, long term they would not be). 


However, a bunch of things made me realise that complete unschooling just would not enable my oldest to learn effectively. Basically, both rightly and wrongly he believed that he was less good at things that other people. My kids are almost totally unaware of where their peers, including their homeschooled peers are, academically, and he was comparing himself to those few kids who learnt to read effortlessly (while kind of forgetting that he was really good at maths, could tie excellent knots, and light fires), and, fgs, the adults around him. Having a structured program, especially in reading and maths, helped him get some confidence back, showed him he could learn effectively, and also exposed the specific issues he was having with reading. I've also realised that, actually, if it can be done quite painlessly I'd like them to get their basic skills with maths, reading fluency, and some foreign/classical language and a music instrument down by the time they are ten or so, plus basic study skills, after which I really do plan to ease off and gradually allow them to become very self-directed. For my eldest this meant letting go of my unschooling dreams, but for my middle child, who starts homeschooling in September, I can already see it will probably be quite different, and unschooling will quite possibly be the path we take.


Another issue we've had is just scheduling. We have things the kids want to do throughout the week, and that means that if we want to get a certain amount of work-projects, reading, whatever- done-and I'd anticipate that my middle child will-we do need to schedule it in.just as we schedule in family film night or games night.

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#16 of 16 Old 05-05-2012, 06:32 PM
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Yes.  We started off believing in unschool and then grew to realize it won't work at all for us.  So now we're pretty structured in our schooling.  I guess you could say we lean towards classical, though a little more towards the middle.  We're pretty eclectic though definitely structured.


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