O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph

O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
In you we place all our faith and all our trust.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What is Eclectic Home Learning?

+ JMJ +

Eclectic Home Learning is the type of learning we have chosen to implement in our homeschool.  We don't limit ourselves to practicing only one educational philosophy, but we take certain principles from several that suit our children's learning styles and help them thrive.  In our case, we combine what we determine to be the best of Charlotte Mason's, John Holt's and Maria Montessori's educational philosophies for our family, with a certain degree of classical and traditional education.  To elaborate, below are some passages on Eclectic home education from several websites.

This is adapted from a post by Rhonda Miller, 05-28-2010:

A traditional definition of "eclectic" from the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says, "selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles; composed of elements drawn from various sources".

Therefore, it is fitting to say that eclectic homeschoolers examine the many methods of homeschooling and then select the methods and/or learning lifestyles that are best suited to their children's needs in each subject of study.

Some homeschoolers, though, especially in their first year of homeschooling, prefer the uniformity of a boxed curriculum and the safety net it provides in being all-inclusive. But as one mother said, "It IS much easier if everyone learned exactly the same, LOL, the way it's done in schools. But it's not as much FUN though."
Miller continues:

Thankfully, after a few years under my belt, I began to understand that all learning did not have to come from the same source. That's when I ventured out and began selecting different methods based on each child's learning style and ability. Instead of selecting one flavor that only one child liked, I could select all the flavors that made everyone happy!  It was at that point that I could see improvements in my children's learning.  

An eclectic education is one in which a solid educational foundation can be built based on one's own views, morals, and belief system. If something doesn't work, it can be put aside and another way can be explored. It's all about what works best for your family!  Just as all flavors of cookies shouldn't go into the same jar, all flavors of kids shouldn't be forced to use the same method of study!

From me, Shelley (Sweetums5):

Modifying a child's education according to his abilities and interests involves more work for the parents, but it is worth the trouble because it fosters a love of learning in the child that lasts a lifetime.  

This customized form of education is difficult to implement in schools because of the large number of students enrolled.  Instead of letting the curriculum serve the student, because of the way schools are set up, the students have to serve the curriculum, whether it fits their learning styles or not.  The opportunity to customize a child's education according to his strengths and interests is one of the many advantages home education has over schools.

From the Time 4 Learning website:

Eclectic homeschooling is the result of a parent's commitment to provide a highly individualized education plan for each of their children, based on their child’s strengths, learning styles, and interests. Eclectic homeschoolers see value in a variety of different educational methods. 

They pick and choose what works for their families, often coming up with a hodgepodge of ideas that they then tweak and fine-tune to fit the specific needs of their children.  While actual statistics are hard to come by, we believe most homeschooling families use an eclectic approach to their children’s education.

Another mom shared:

“I had to tweak what we were doing. I had a vision of what I wanted our homeschooling days to be like, but my daughter hated doing the expensive boxed curriculum we had purchased. She said she might as well have stayed at school with all the workbooks she was doing.”

Resources that eclectic homeschoolers use include online learning, library books, literature lists “borrowed” from other homeschooling styles, courses at local schools, mentors, and bits and pieces of various other curricula.

*The message below is adapted from The Unschooling Handbook, by Mary Griffith*

As young children everyone of us had a natural curiosity to learn our environment, to walk, to talk, to run, to use our senses, to ask why and what about everything we came into contact with. Many of us are "disciplined" and labeled for unguided/ misguided behaviors resulting from our innate desire to learn or be a part of our environment. Many are too often told to settle down, keep quiet, wait till tomorrow... next year, maybe later -- and offered no logical explanation; until we finally give up on self-discoveries (so essential to real learning) and resign to being told what, according to adults, is "important" to learn or memorize.

Our minds are spoon-fed a fast-food education and given little else in-place to prepare for life after school at all, or to satiate our active development, other than sleep/TV/fiction/video games. In short times, it becomes difficult to explore any other interests, to take initiative, or to find purpose and enjoyment in education.

Yet when we seek to learn about our interests in a way that comes naturally to us, we experience true learning that isn't stored and forgotten by our short-term memory immediately after a test. I challenge you to allow learning to become a natural part of life, an everyday means of exploring ideas, improving skills, and developing your talents. Go to the Zoo, visit museums, host a dinner from scratch, create a scrapbook, visit guest speakers, write an article for your favorite magazine, take road trips, form a reading group, create an investment... join and invite your fellow readers on The Wall. The possibilities for learning are exciting and endless.

Eclectic Home Learning in our Family:

I have taken what is best for our family's needs from the rich educational philosophies of John Holt, Maria Montessori and Charlotte Mason to comprise our own blend of Eclectic Home Education.  Our children have thrived on these learning lifestyles.

I will be writing a post on each of these learning lifestyles and the benefits we've derived from them.  

Lastly, we also practice Melissa Wiley's concept of Tidal Homeschooling (Melissa is a Catholic homeschooling mom of 6 and author of the prequels to Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books), and Dr. Mary Hood's Relaxed Homeschool Mindset.

Ever since we've embraced these natural, healthier, respectful, pro-family and pro-life learning lifestyles, we no longer experience the stress of fast-food education and rat-race schooling in our home.

Lastly, here is a series of posts I've just put together on John Holt's educational philosophy:



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. I recently saw a news story about the "unschooling" movement, which sounds much like what you're doing with your own kids. I don't know how effective it is (or for that matter, what standards could be used to compare the two), but it's certainly food for thought.

By the way, have you heard about the rigid laws in some European countries, especially Germany, that punish parents who try to homeschool their kids? Obviously, you and your family wouldn't be happy there!


Sweetums5 said...

Thanks for your comment, Evan. Yes, one of the learning lifestyles we practice in our home is Catholic Unschooling, not secular unschooling though, because the latter tends to be more humanistic and not Christ-centered. If you're interested, I wrote about it in this post:

<< Obviously, you and your family wouldn't be happy there! >>

Lol! We sure wouldn't. In fact, I am also a member of a homeschooling group whose prayer intentions right now include the plight of German homeschoolers. Unfortunately, it sounds like the German government still operates out of fear and, consequently, tends to be authoritarian. I also touched on fear and traditional schooling in the above post.

Thanks for visiting!

Anonymous said...

I just added a post to my blog about a Germany family who are seeking asylum in the US because back in Germany they ran into trouble with the law for homeschooling their kids. Sad case...

You would think that the Germans would have learned to reject authoritarian laws, but alas, some lessons just don't sink in...

Anonymous said...

By the way, I just did a follow-up post on my previous one about homeschoolers. Someone had replied that the news article I quoted misrepresented the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In a way it did. But the Home School Legal Defense Associaiton criticizes the CRC. Do you know anything about it?


Sweetums5 said...

No, I don't. In fact, I don't really follow these kinds of articles closely. Now that we know that Catholic World Report misrepresented Article 13 of the UNCRC, how do we know that they have not done the same with their report on courts that have invoked the UNCRC in their rulings?

You wrote: "... even if the UNCRC doesn’t explicitly say parents can face prosecution (and I wish the news article had not claimed that it did), it is nonetheless being used to justify such actions."

Now that we can't trust the reporting of Catholic World Report, how sure are we that these courts are invoking the UNCRC in their rulings?

lifeisagift said...

Great! I finally found the the term for the type of homeschoolers we are. I have been homeschooling for 3 years but unschooling my kids their whole life. They have never been to school or day care. We use a Charter home based program but still do our own thing and we are not very scheduled and I have learned to relax and just let the kids learn! I love your blog will be following. I especially love the part at the top about our Lord, so beautiful!!

Sweetums5 said...

Thanks for your comment, Joanne! It's always nice to meet like-minded moms. Unschooling / relaxed home learning has been a great blessing from God to my family. Sounds like it has been to yours as well! =) I clicked on your link to follow your blog, but only accessed your profile. Hope you get this message. God bless you!


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