While composing this post, I began with the conclusion that I don't know! As in so many areas of my life, I don't fit into any one mold. My philosophies have been refined as time passes and so I now find myself embracing multiple ones.
My homeschooling years began with an attempt to follow the Trivium Classical Education as set forth by the Bluedorns. I cannot recommend their book enough. It was actually my first introduction to homeschooling and so I will always cherish it. It gave me a firm foundation upon which to build my homeschool. The book begins with a solid Biblical case for homeschooling and then they explain and expound on the three different stages that a child's mind will go through until they reach adulthood and how to direct their education to meet their needs during those stages. (Goldmine... really good stuff!) Details are given as to how they run their homeschool. In Teaching the Trivium, they advise teaching Latin and Greek to Christian students so they can translate the original texts for themselves and I really see so much value in that, however, I have abandoned those subjects as I was unable to grasp the concepts myself to assist in training them to my son. (I held in there for a long time though, finally throwing in the towel after five years of repeating one year's worth of lessons.)
2.) Biblical Model/Relaxed/Lifestyle.... not to be confused with Unschooling
This is where I really want to be... where I believe the Bible commands me to be. (There's that Deuteronomy 6 again!) Teaching my children (about God) through life plain and simple. Just daily living life with my children, planning teachable moments and utilizing spontaneous ones. This should be number one, but I'm going more chronologically with my list. This method goes completely against my personality. By nature, I'm generally a very quiet person (not talkative), so obviously the Biblical method of talking to my children is a challenge for me and I have to really work at planning conversation and being completely available for my children when they are ready to talk. How often I'm drawn to prayer, asking the Lord to reform my nature and conform it into a parent who can teach my children diligently!
3.) State Requirements
In order for me to follow the dictates of my conscience and obey the Biblical commands concerning the education of my children, my state requires me to teach a list of subjects.
Language, Reading, Spelling, Writing, History of the State and the USA, Geography, Government, Math, Science, Health, Physical Education, Fine Arts (including music), First Aid, Safety, and Fire Prevention.
Every year, when I fill out my notification forms committing to teach these subjects, this list vexes me. Here are a few reasons why and I'll try to be brief. Based upon my experience within the public school system, I'm assuming that all of those subjects do not need to be touched upon every year, but rather over the years. Government received attention during one meager year during my education, as did health (although I do remember a gentleman coming in when I was in the 1st grade to teach us how to brush our teeth.) I'm also assuming that by Language, they mean Grammar, although I wish that it meant I just had to teach my children how to speak English ;D. I find the fact that only the history of the USA and of the state has to be covered (as though the world is only a couple hundred years old -400 at the most) to be ludicrous! Any "fine arts" became an elective after 6th grade when I was in school. I guess when I turned 12, I was no longer expected to have a use for my recorder, Christmas and Easter concerts, construction paper, Crayola and Elmer's glue. The last three subjects, *Sigh*, well I cover those daily. "You better get the Neosporin." (alternately: "Take the Band Aid off. It's been on there for a week. Let that thing breathe!) "Put that down! You're going to poke your eye out!" And, just yesterday, "Quit playing with lighters! You're going to catch the house on fire!"
4.) Charlotte Mason
Since I am legally bound to teach the aforementioned subjects for a minimum number of hours per year for 12 years, I must follow some method even if it is my own. However, in the last two years, I have come across two resources that attracted me to the beautiful Charlotte Mason philosophy of teaching, Simply Charlotte Mason and A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola.
I appreciate the focus on the training of a Godly character and the formation of good habits. I agree with the principle of providing your children with "living books" r