Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius

02 March 2011

The Eclectic Approach

Hi Everyone,

Today I'll give an outline of the Eclectic Approach to homeschooling.The Eclectic Approach allows you to look at available options and tailor a style of education that suits you and your family. This may include a variety of approaches from various sources which you use with all of your children, or different methods for children with different learning requirements.

In my experience, the most important thing if you wish to tailor your own learning programme is to trust the process. If you decide to try this or that resource or to write your own curriculum and it doesn't go as beautifully as you envisaged (this does happen occasionally) you can always change things....just keep observing and evaluating what you're doing, and your child's response to it.

Our family use the Eclectic Approach because personally I believe that each approach to home education has something valuable to offer and I enjoy researching and utilising what I find appealing. Occasionally I will come across a resource that I get really excited about and the children are non-plussed, at other times they will request something I'm not so sure about (too prescriptive,open-ended, whatever) and they will love it. Using an Eclectic Approach allows for this type of flexibility.

Alexandra my fourteen year old is very visual and can draw just about anything. She can read a book about history and remember facts and dates that as an adult I struggle with. She has demonstrated this from an early age, and learning from books has always been pleasurable for her. Because of these tendencies, I have instinctively known that writing and illustration is a comfortable medium for her to express herself, and I've generally selected approaches that cater to this (book/news reviews, lapbooks etc).

My son Jay is a kinesthetic learner and enjoys re-telling via drama, building models with construction toys, demonstration etc. My youngest daughter Freida is already displaying signs that as a natural communicator she may prefer auditory based learning experiences such as songs, music, discussions etc.

With this mix of learning styles I don't see how we could use anything but an Eclectic Approach....with our family there's just too much going on!

I will mention at this point that it is useful to have a basic understanding of what the prescribed learning areas
are especially if you are registered with the Education Authorities and are subject to periodic reviews. This allows you to feel confident that you're catering to all requirements and that you can relax into the process of learning alongside your children, whatever their preferred learning style.

Within the next couple of weeks I'll look at the learning areas (maths, science, society and environment, english, health and physical education, languages other than english, design and technology, art) and how they can be applied to the homeschool curriculum in various ways.

Just remember that in following an Eclectic Approach it's imprtant to trust in yourself and your child's natural desire to learn...you can get all the necessary information and fill in the gaps as you go along :)

Talk Soon, Cynthia x

Some general resources I have found helpful when using the Eclectic Approach are:

Dobson, Linda.
Homeschooling the Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8-Year-Old Child. New York:Three Rivers Press, 1999.

Dobson, Linda. The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12. New York:Three Rivers Press, 2002.

Gold, LauraMaery and Zielinski, Joan M. Homeschool Your Child for Free:More than 1,400 Smart, Effective, and Practical Resources for Educating Your Child at Home. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2009.