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All articles are presented to stimulate thought and assist Christian families in homeschooling their children. Articles may or may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the management of

Frequently Asked Questions About Homeschooling

Styles: What Ways Can I Homeschool My Child?

  1. What is meant by learning styles? How do I determine what learning style my children have?
  2. What if I just don't know what homeschooling style I want to do?
  3. What is unschooling or child-led education?
  4. What is classical education?
  5. What are unit studies?
  6. What is the Montessori Method?
  7. What is the Charlotte Mason Method?

What is meant by learning styles? How do I determine what learning style my children have?

The best book I ever read about learning styles was called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. I highly suggest reading this book. The learning styles that you hear most about in homeschool circles are kinesthetic, auditory and visual. Kinesthetic means they learn by doing. It is very hands on, geared toward those kids who have a hard time sitting still. Most young children, by virtue of their development, learn best this way. As they mature, they may or may not develop into auditory or visual learners. (I still learn best by doing.) Unit studies are a good approach with these learners, as the units usually have lots of activities that go along with what is being taught. I have friends who very successfully have used the Konos program with their kinesthetic kids.

Auditory learners learn best by hearing. These are the kids who do well with programs where there is a lot of reading out loud, explanation, etc. They will often repeat back what they hear. My own guess would be that they probably talk a lot, too, as talking about what they learn helps them remember it. I have a son who, as a friend points out regularly, could talk the paint off of a wall, and I think that he will, when he matures a bit more, be an auditory learner.

Visual learners learn best by seeing. These are often the ones with the "photographic" memory. They read something in a book and can remember which page it was on, and where on that page it was. I have heard that these are the kids who do well with textbooks and worksheets, but have not had any personal experience with this kind of learner yet.

I would suggest watching your child for a while to determine his/her learning style. Most young children are kinesthetic, because developmentally they are not mature enough to be anything else. Their attention spans aren't long enough and their visual and perceptual skills are not developed enough. As they mature, their learning style will become more evident. Good luck! --Kim M.

There are three basic categories of learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. It's important to remember when analyzing your children that they will probably exhibit a few characteristics common to all of the learning styles, but will usually fall into one category overall. I've given several seminars about learning styles and have found that the easiest way to determine which learning styles is predominant in children is to answer some key questions. Following are a few of those questions and the typical response from each of the three learning styles.

1. What kind of explanations help this child learn new ideas, concepts, or skills?
Visual - learn by seeing or watching demonstrations
Auditory - learns through verbal instructions from others or self
Kinesthetic - learns by doing; direct involvement

2. How does the child read and spell?
Visual - recognizes words by sight
Auditory - reads aloud; sounds out words; spells words the way they sound
Kinesthetic - fidgets when reading; often a poor speller

3. How does the child write? (handwriting)
Visual - spacing and size are good; appearance is important
Auditory - tends to write lightly; no difference between small and capital letters
Kinesthetic - good initially, deteriorates when space becomes smaller

4. How does the child remember things?
Visual - remembers faces, forgets names; writes things down; takes notes
Auditory - remember names, forgets faces; memorizes easily with repetition
Kinesthetic - remembers best what was done, not seen or talked about

5. How does this child solve problems?
Visual - deliberate; plans in advance; organizes by writing; lists problems
Auditory - Talks problems out; tries solutions verbally
Kinesthetic - Attacks problems physically; impulsive

6. How does this child respond to periods of inactivity? (in the car, etc.)
Visual - stares; doodles; finds something to watch
Auditory - hums; sings; talks to self or others
Kinesthetic - fidgets; finds reasons to move; brings something "to do"

7. How does the child respond to new situations?
Visual - looks around; watches people and events
Auditory - talks about situation; asks questions
Kinesthetic - tries things out; touches; feels; manipulates

8. How does the child express his/her emotions?
Visual - stares when angry, beams when happy; facial expression is a good index of emotion
Auditory - expresses emotion verbally and through changes in tone, volume, and pitch of voice
Kinesthetic - jumps for joy, stomps when angry, etc.

9. How does this child communicate with others?
Visual - quiet, does not talk at length; uses words such as look, see, etc.
Auditory - descriptions are long; uses words such as listen, hear, etc.
Kinesthetic - gestures when speaking; uses words such as get, take, etc.

10. What is the child's attitude towards his/her appearance?
Visual - neat; meticulous; likes order; doesn't vary much in appearance or dress
Auditory - matching clothes not so important; can explain choices of clothes
Kinesthetic - neat, but soon becomes wrinkled through activity

Most children under the age of 5 will fall into the "kinesthetic" category. It's often easier to determine learning styles after the child has begun some kind of formal learning. I have found that most curriculum can be adapted to individual learning styles as long as the teacher is aware of how the student learns best and can creatively teach to the predominant learning style. --Tish

What if I just don't know what homeschooling style I want to do?

Why not experiment and see which one fits. Check out the information pages here at to learn about the many different approaches to Homeschooling. Most homeschoolers are not just "one" style. They pick and choose and use what is best for their child. I use work texts (Traditional Approach) for some subjects, Unit Studies for others. At times, I ask my son what he would like to study (Delight Directed Approach), or find out where is interest is and pursue that in earnest. At present, that is Paper Airplane building. At times, I just provide the tools and let them create and learn on their own. (Unschooling Approach). In the study of History, the Principle Approach has great advantages. I have a few friends who love the Charlotte Mason style (I call it the Gentle Approach). That is what is so cool about homeschooling... you have complete freedom to teach in the way God has wired you and your children up. Don't be afraid to try out many different approaches or styles. --Tammy Montel

What is unschooling or child-led education?

Unschooling is where you become a facilitator and your child chooses what to learn. You just supply the materials, transportation, etc. This can be very frightening to a parent, but it really does work. It doesn't need to be a license for the child to be lazy. The child can be asked to pick goals and to reasonably stick to them, and you can coax the child along toward the chosen goals. As the 3 R's don't take a long time to learn (if you aren't in public school), there is usually more than enough time to study what would normally be rather far out things. Not everybody *needs* to study physics, chemistry, and rocket science. Your children become more self-reliant more quickly. However, it is not for everyone. Look at --Chuck S.

Unschooling is child-directed learning. Parents provide a rich, stimulating atmosphere (don't ALL home educators do that?), then let the child find his own path. While most homeschooling parents practice some form of delight-directed learning, an unschooler practices solely delight-directed learning. If a child doesn't want to learn something, he doesn't. If he chooses to learn math and reading through Pokemon-trading or Magic:The Gathering cards, that's how he does it. If his only interest is aviation, he's free to pursue it to the exclusion of everything else if he so desires. Unschooling is NOT "relaxed homeschooling;" relaxed homeschoolers still direct their children's learning. It is "not-schooling." The difference between homeschooling and unschooling is one of authority -- who chooses what your child will be learning? Child-directed = unschooling; parent-directed = homeschooling. A Christian who unschools must ignore the Biblical commands and examples of parents to teach and disciple, and must turn a blind eye to what the Bible says about children. Just as homeschoolers cannot in good conscience ignore that which their children WANT to learn, neither can they neglect what their children NEED to learn. --Chas.

Also see Homeschooling Style: How Much Structure Should You Have?

What are unit studies?

Unit studies may be done on almost any subject. The idea is that the child and homeschooling parent dig deep into a subject that is of interest. While studying this subject, the child reads and writes about it (language arts), studies the history of it, figures how many, how long, etc. (math), and where it originated or is now (geography.) All or almost all academic subjects are covered during the unit study.

What is the Montessori Method?

Maria Montessori was an Italian educator who believed that children should be given the opportunity to learn by experience with educational materials placed before them. She believed that children would learn more through discovery.

What is classical education?

Classical education is a modern-day attempt to return to the education methods of the past -- ones that were practiced in ancient Athens and all the way up to the 1800's. This method encourages study of Latin, languages, and literature. The three stages of the Trivium, grammar, logic, and rhetoric, correspond to the way a child learns naturally, so this method seeks to match learning to a child's development. Charlotte Mason was a classical educator, so many homeschoolers choose to combine the best ideas from both methods.

What is the Charlotte Mason Method?

Charlotte Mason was a distinguished British educator at the turn of the last century. She believed all children were entitled to a liberal education based upon good literature and the arts. She saw children as thinking, feeling human beings, as spirits to be kindled and not a vessels to be filled. She founded schools that trained teachers and wrote a series of books that are being used as reference material for her method. A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison is a short book that touches on the main points of Ms. Mason's philosophy, which include short lessons, nature study, good literature and having a child orally narrate back a portion of literature read to them. --Briva

Also see's Classical and Charlotte Mason Method Section