After my last post Are We Quitting Homeschool? you will know that we are continuing our homeschooling journey. I have very loosely determined that we are what you call Eclectic Secular Homeschoolers. (say that 5 times fast!) Now what does that mean? Lets break it down word for word.
Homeschooler: Someone who educates their children at home or out of the public or private education system. Pretty self explanatory right?
Eclectic: There are so many different types of homeschoolers and homeschooling philosophy. On one side you have Unschooling which normally defined as a child learning from the world around them. One of the big things in Unschooling is recognising and respecting the child as their own person, with their own interests and abilities to learn in a natural “not school like” environment. To the other side of the spectrum which is known as ‘Classical homeschooling’ this looks a lot more like the traditional classroom. Classical homeschooling is often described as ‘school at home’. See set curriculum, timetables, book work etc. Within that spectrum there are about a 100 other labeled philosophies or styles of homeschooling. We describe ourselves as “Eclectic” because we are picking and choosing all the parts we love about unschooling, Reggio Emillia, Charlotte Mason, project based homeschooling, Montessori, Classic etc etc. Because we just didn’t fit perfectly into any one box. I have a huge passion for child led learning, positive parenting and learning through play and the natural world. I also like following some set curriculum like math and phonics but don’t want to be limited to them. I do believe in learning in practical real world situations not just in work books. Something I like to do is take one of Abby interests such as bees and then do a unit study on them which involves all subjects, math, reading, science, art, technology, health etc. So you can see why they call it ‘Eclectic’! There is of course a million ways to homeschool your kids because there are a million ways for your kids to learn!
Secular: Now secular was a new word for me before I started researching homeschooling. Secular Homeschooling is homeschooling without the influence of religion. Both religious and non-religious (secular) people can homeschool this way. It simply means that religious teaching is not apart of your homeschooling. When you are looking for curriculum or resources (particularly science and reading materials) there are often 3 different positions, curriculum that has a strong religious focus and those with either an evolution standpoint or those that bypass the elements of both theories. This is why it is important to make the distinction so you can check the curriculum you buy lines up with how you want to homeschool.
So that’s us! We are Secular Eclectic Homeschoolers! Isn’t that a mouthful! One of the things we love about homeschooling is that you make it fit in with your family and your kids. Now just because this is the category we fit into doesn’t mean we only interact with other homeschoolers that don’t. We have a homeschooling community and homeschooling friends from all different walks of life, we see diversity in culture, race, religion and worldview as a really valuable asset to our lives and our homeschooling experience. I like to tell Abby there is always something you can learn from someone else. No matter what you have in common.
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