HOMESCHOOLING – Which Model is Right for You?

Homeschooling has become the new norm in today’s education in Nigeria. According to the Nigerian constitution, kids are to go to school (brick and mortar) from the age of 3 years. Home schooling is thus not yet legalized in Nigeria.

The current pandemic has led to the shutdown of schools due to the observance of social distancing. This has made home school the only option to ensure that children keep learning.

With the emergence of homeschooling, it is important to understand that there are different types of homeschooling. Homeschooling ca be as traditional as  “school-at-home” programs where students have the same curriculum as their peers at school. This is in fact that current practice in Nigeria at the moment.

There are about seven methods of homeschooling and a knowledge of these methods can actually help you weight your options as well as determine which option is best for you.

  1. Classical Education Method

This is one of the most popular methods of homeschooling as it allows students learn facts and data in grammar school logic and critical thinking. This kind of method of education also places a heavy emphasis on the bible and the biblical worldview training as well as history.

2. Charlotte Mason Education Method

This style of homeschooling is based on the teachings of 19th century homeschooling pioneer, Charlotte Mason. The Charlotte Mason education method uses short periods of study typically 15-20 minutes maximum for elementary students, and 45 minutes maximum for high schoolers. These short periods are coupled with nature walks, nature journals, history portfolios, and lots of practice in observation, memorization, and narration. Reading plays a big role in Charlotte Mason home schools, especially biographies, classics, and other “living books” (i.e., stories, with heroes, life-lessons, and important socio-ethical implications). This method is fairly flexible, and it allows children discover and learn at their own pace.


3. Montessori Education Method

The montessori education method was coined by the early  20th century Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori (1870-1952). This method grew out of her psychology work with special-needs children. It is a humanistic student-based approach utilizing free movement, large-unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, interest-based and individualized learning plans.

Teachers instruct only indirectly, using lots of manipulatives (tactile objects like tools and toys), and by giving the student a range of options from which to choose.

4. Unschooling Education Method

Based largely on the work of homeschooling pioneer John Holt, unschooling is a free-form learning model which is student-centered, unconventional, and individualistic. Learning plans and study projects focus largely on the student’s interests but with high priority on experiential, activity based, and learn-as-you-go education.

Unschooling consists of some systematic and rigorous teaching when it comes to basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic, but this is often administered with a variety of technology and materials, and typically without conventional testing/evaluation.

In addition, unschooling allows home school parent-teachers to question almost everything about conventional schooling whether public, private, or homeschooling. In this model, parent-teachers tend to be facilitators rather than lecturers, instructors or otherwise “conventional” teachers.

5. School-at-Home Education Method

Another popular model of homeschooling is School-at-home or “Traditional” home school. This is the method currently practiced in Nigeria with a few bits from other methods of education. It is the direct opposite of unschooling as it is basically the same as schooling in a public or private classroom. The only difference is that the child is at home.

School-at-Home education is typically organized around complete curriculum packages, often arranged by school year, and might even be the same curriculum used in a public or private school.  School-at-Home education can be done independently and administered entirely by a parent or teacher.

It is however a complete teacher-facilitated school administered online, either as a public or a (paid) private school and is quite expensive.

6. Unit studies Education Method

Unit studies are thematically related learning plans where students will study the same event or object from the perspective of each subject area. For example, students might study Egypt in Geography, the book of Exodus in Reading class, “out of Egypt” theories of human origins in Science class, and pyramids and triangles in Geometry-Trigonometry. These subject areas can be addressed separately or together. Unit-studies can be thought of as an instrument for use within other, more comprehensive, educational methodologies via the Eclectic method (see the model section for Eclectic education hereafter). For this reason, Unit studies are common within Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, and sometimes Classical Schooling,

7. Eclectic Education Method

Eclectic homeschooling, also called “Relaxed” homeschooling, is the most popular method of homeschooling. The reason for its popularity is obvious. Eclectic homeschooling is typically child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based. It has no built-in loyalties to a particular method and tends to treat curriculum options like a buffet instead of a set meal plan. Parent-teachers can combine different homeschooling methods or resources.

This model is the most flexible of all the homeschooling methods. It is possible to use the classical classroom for a few days out of the week while reserving the rest for Charlotte Mason-based activities like nature walks.

One of the growing brands of Eclectic schooling is the “hybrid” homeschool, which combines part homeschooling and part traditional schooling (public or private).

It is important to bear in mind the considerable overlap between the aforementioned methods of homeschooling. In other words, there is plenty of room, if needed, to share and borrow ideas between styles. Home school teachers typically mix methods and materials liberally. But to avoid any unsavory creations, it’s probably best to get a good working knowledge of your teaching materials and methods before splicing them with others.

Homeschooling is a growing trend in today’s education, hopefully, it will be legalized by the Nigerian government as it has been quite helpful to both parents and educators in this season.

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