Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some Homeschooling Methods

For many people, homeschooling may call to mind the picture of two or three children sitting at a table and writing feverishly in their workbooks, while mom or dad stands nearby. This is the not entirely true. There are different methods of homeschooling, and the method you choose will decide the curriculum and your style of teaching. Given below are some of the most influential and popular homeschooling methods.

The Charlotte Mason method:

Charlotte Mason is known as the founder of the homeschooling movement. A homeschooler herself, she was passionate in her zeal to lay out the foundations for an effective a complete homeschooling program that is fun and educational at the same time. This method focuses on all the core subjects with emphasis placed on classical literature, poetry, fine arts, classical music and craft. Mason used a variety of books from classical literature, which she called 'Living Books'. Since this method encourages a passionate awareness of literature, the child is read to daily from the 'Living Books'. After this, the child is asked to narrate what she has heard. This process begins at the age of six, and by ten the child is expected to write her narrations in her book. Mason also advocated the use of 'Nature Diaries'. After each short and interesting lesson, the child is asked to go to Nature and draw observations from Nature. Thus the child also gains a sense of respect for her environment. Mason believed that development of good character and behavior was essential to the complete development of the child's personality.

The Eclectic Homeschooling:

This is a mixture of various homeschooling techniques. Here, the innovative parents trust their own judgment and pick out the topics that make the best curriculum for their child. Such parents continuously look out for the best products that will meet the needs of their homeschoolers. Most Eclectic homeschooling curriculums are improvised. This means that the basic curriculum is ready-made. The parents then make changes in the curriculum to accommodate the individual needs and interests of their children.

The child's gifts, temperament, learning style and interests dictate the curriculum. Eclectic programs include visits to the museum, libraries and factories.

Unschooling:

A Boston public educator name John Holt laid the beginnings of the unschooling method. He believed that children learned best when they are free to learn at their own pace and when they are guided by their own interests. His message was to 'unschool' the child.

This method is a hands-on approach to learning, where the parent takes definite cues from the children. There is no definite curriculum, schedules or materials. This method is the most unstructured of the various homeschooling techniques.

The Montessori Method:

This method began in Italy, when it was observed that children have acute sensitive periods, during which they undergo periods of intense concentration. During such phases, a child will repeat an activity till he gains a measure of self-satisfaction. The Montessori Method depends on a prepared environment to facilitate learning. All the materials used in this method are designed to satisfy the inner desire for spiritual development of the child.

The materials used progress from simple to complex, and are rather expensive.

These are just a few of the methods of homeschooling. Whatever the method, the underlying factor is flexibility and a keen interest in the desires of the child. The secret is to use the child's desire for knowledge to further his education.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Teacher's Guide to Internet Safety


When it comes to using the internet in an educational facility or environment, there are often guidelines that were previously created and set in place for you to follow. In the case of a home schoolteacher it can be left up to you personally to create rules and guidelines for your students to follow for Internet safety.

There are some basic tips to give out to your students prior to allowing them to go online. At our school, we created a policy that students sign. Keep this policy in a file or posted on the side of the designated computer. Ensure that students only access the Internet with you or another adult's permission.

Most schools have filters in place, but, if a site with inappropriate content is accessed, please tell an administrator and close the site. Allow your students to access sites that have only appropriate content that is age-appropriate. To be on the safe side, I took the time to create a website that has appropriate links for children on it.

These sites can be saved in the favorites section for easy access to appropriate sites. If a student wants to visit a site you can have a rule that you have to preview it prior to allowing access to it. By setting up rules and guidelines to follow then students can have an enjoyable and successful time while surfing the net.

There are games and videos on Internet safety available to help you teach your students about online predators and cyber bullies. This is also helpful for times when the internet is used at home for assignments. Online safety is key to making the best experience during an online experience for both children and parents. Internet safety is a must in today's daily life and you can create a safe environment when you, the teacher, set rules in place from the beginning.