The concept of home education sounds attractive to you. You and your spouse have read some interesting articles on it. You are becoming convinced that you could consider home education for your children. But how do you go about it? What options are available to you? An investigation into different educational philosophies will help you formulate the goals for your very own approach to home education, as there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
School At Home is a teaching method, in which parents prefer to follow traditional curriculum and schooling, but at home.
Montessori Method is geared mainly towards young children and places emphasis on “the child’s true normal nature” in the learning process. Children are provided with an environment containing materials designed for their self-directed learning.
Classical Education is a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences. Its three phases serve different purposes:
Primary education – teaches students how to learn;
Secondary education – teaches conceptual framework of know-ledge, fills students with basic facts and develops the skills for every major human activity;
Tertiary education – prepares students to pursue a profession.
Unschooling or Natural Learning is focused on letting children learn through everyday life experiences (play, questions, household responsibilities, work-experience, social interaction, etc.), rather than a school curriculum. The basic principle of unschooling is that curiosity is innate in children - they are natural learners, who want to learn. Parents of unschooled children see themselves as facilitators of the activities their children take interest in.
Unit Studies approach explores seve-ral subjects (history, math, science, art, geography, social studies, etc.) in the context of one topical theme, such as animals, slavery or ancient Greece. This method is especially helpful, when teaching students of different ages simultaneously, and thus is often used by homeschoolers.
Charlotte Mason’s method is best known for its advocacy to use “living books”, instead of dry textbooks or books “written down” for children. The authors of living books have a deep passion for the subject and the reader absorbs this enthusiasm. Mason maintained that children are small individuals and must be respected as such. Her method is based on numerous steps, which are held together by the motto: “I am, I can, I ought, I will.”
These are a few of the methods used by home educating families. It is not uncommon for families to come up with their own unique blend of these approaches, which would best serve their needs. However, as you consider the different educational philosophies, you should keep in mind that learning Deen is the most important ‘subject’ for Muslim children. Islamic history, Muslim role models, following the Quran and the Sunnah should always be given top priority in your homeschooling decisions. And it is the Islamic teachings, which will help you to evaluate and improvise the different homeschooling philosophies.