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Homeschooling Planning - Discover Your Family's Style

 

Successful homeschool planning first starts with the parent. Consider the type of homeschool approach you will take, the time you have to spend on teaching, and the resources you know you want to use. Deciding on these ideas will help you choose the right plan for your homeschool. 

Homeschool Approaches

Homeschooling approaches differ for every family and can even change at some point along the journey as life changes occur. Some families will even find they are a mixture of different styles instead of adhering strictly to one. The key is not being afraid of those changes and being open to trying a new way of doing things.

While many people are familiar with the traditional schooling approach used in public schools and other group schooling, there are a variety of other approaches that work especially well for home education. 

Here is a brief summary of those approaches as well as some types of planning that you can utilize with those approaches.

Classical Approach

This style of homeschooling uses the classics as the main source of learning facts and data in grammar and emphasizes logical and critical thinking. There is also a heavy emphasis on the Bible and biblical worldview training. A typical reading plan varies subject areas according to a historical timeline. Classical learning also uses Socratic dialogues in which learners are encouraged to have discussions and debates beyond basic comprehension or skill-building.

Charlotte Mason Approach

Following the teachings of homeschool pioneer Charlotte Mason, this homeschool style has short periods of study that are coupled with nature walks and journaling with focus on observing, memorizing, and narration. In this style of homeschooling, reading “living books” is a major part of learning. These include stories about heroes and life lessons that can be applied to everyday life. Learners are able to share their opinions on what subjects they want to discover, and they are allowed to work at their own pace.

Unschooling Approach

John Holt is the inspiration for this kind of homeschooling approach. Unschooling is student-centred and focuses largely on the interest of the student. While basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic are covered, students are not tested or evaluated in the conventional way. Parents are more like facilitators rather than lecturers as conventional teachers would be.

Relaxed or Eclectic Approach

This is the most flexible of all the approaches. Parents can pick and choose from a variety of sources and combine them to make their own unique set of learning materials. With this approach, you can switch between all the other approaches to follow your students’ interests and change whenever they are ready to move on to something else. 

Planning Styles

Once you decide the best approach you are taking for homeschooling, the next step is to pick your type of homeschool planning. Here are some plans that you can choose from.

5-Day Plan

This is your traditional plan of doing school 5 days a week, scheduling multiple subjects each day, every day of the week. It tends to mimic the public school schedule but is not limited to that.  

4-Day Plan

This is similar to the 5 day; however, in this case, families will cover the required subjects in 4 days, leaving off a day (usually Friday) from the typical school lessons. On those days off, field trips can happen, you attend a co-op, or have a day of learning at the park or library.  

One Subject a Day Plan

In this type of planning, you can pick one subject a day to focus on. Each day will be spent covering materials on the chosen subject, and then it will be complete for that week. This is beneficial to students who struggle with staying on task. There is one main focus for the day so they don’t get overwhelmed. It also allows for a more in-depth period of time to study a subject for older students. 

Loop School Plan

The Loop School Plan is made of a list of the subjects or resources that you want to cover and loop through them repeatedly instead of assigning them each to a day. This loop is repeated once you get through your list. Since it is not set for a particular day, if something happens where you cannot do school that day, you just pick up where you left off the previous day. For more info on Loop Schooling, check out this article.

Project Based Plan (Unit Studies)

This schedule is planned based on the projects you want to work on throughout the year. There is no set time limit, and you move onto the next project after the current one is complete. Unit studies are a popular choice for this type of planning. Lessons that are related to the project are added in as additional learning.

Day In/Day Out Schedule

If your students have lots of outside lessons or extracurriculars, then this type of planning could be for you. Days are alternated between staying at home and going out. One day, you focus on the books; the next day you are out at a lesson like piano or dance. The next day you are back at home for some more reading and related activities then back out again the next day. 

Sabbath Schooling

If you enjoy travel or breaks from school, this may be the type of schedule for you. In Sabbath schooling, you do 6 weeks of school and then 1 week off. You repeat this throughout the school year. Some places have a number of school weeks you need to meet. Doing Sabbath school from September to June should be more than enough weeks! Sometimes you need to stretch or shrink your 6 weeks a little to fit things like Christmas, but 6 on, 1 off is the general gist of it. 

Match your Planning Style

Here are some suggested matches for your approach and homeschool planning style.

Classical Approach

  • 5 Day Week
  • 4 Day Week

Charlotte Mason Approach

  • 5 Day Week
  • 4 Day Week
  • Project Based
  • Loop School
  • One Subject a Day

Unschooling Approach

  • Day In/Day Out
  • Project Based
  • Loop School

Relaxed or Eclectic Approach

  • Day In/Day Out
  • Loop School
  • One Subject a Day

These are just suggestions to help you decide which style works best for your family. Ultimately, it needs to be what works for both your and your children so that you have a stress-free year of homeschooling. Homeschooling always allows for flexibility so even if one of these styles doesn't work for you, you can make one of your own!

 


This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our Front Door page that has content on our monthly theme and links to all our content sections.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).
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