Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Did You Just Call Me Eclectic?

The first time I heard the term “eclectic”, I probably balked a little.  Wasn’t that like the old woman who buys smoked salmon for her cat at $20 a pound??

No?  Oh.  That’s ECCENTRIC.  Gotcha.

So what in the world does it mean to be eclectic then?  Well, let’s put it this way: if you look it up in the dictionary, there is likely to be a picture of a homeschooler there.

Basically, calling oneself an “eclectic homeschooler” simply means that you pick and choose the materials, curriculum, and teaching methods that combine to create the best possible educational scenario for each of your children.

Cool, huh?eclectic

It’s like winning one of those shopping sprees in a department store, where you  have $500 and you’ve got to plan, and plan, and plan exactly which stuff you are going to get the most mileage out of (or get the most for on Ebay!).

When you first begin homeschooling, you might be the shopper who just throws the shiniest, most expensive looking stuff into your cart and heads to the counter.  The brands have a good reputation, so they are bound to be just what you wanted, right?

Not necessarily.  The bright shiny stuff with its well-known brand name may end up clashing like crazy with the linoleum you’ve always had. And the one-size-fits-all dress just, well…doesn’t. It won’t take you long to figure out that you’ve got to look long and hard at what you already have before you head out to make your choices.

Every child is completely unique, with different learning styles, different strengths and weaknesses, and different paces of learning.  What works for your oldest, probably won’t work for your youngest, and visa versa.  And even the homeschool curriculum that has helped your son excel in math, may be completely useless for him in science. 

One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is being able to hand-select the programs and materials that fit best with the unique needs of each child. Unless you just happen to have a one-size-fits-all kid, you probably have discovered that you can’t just close your eyes, put your finger down on a page in a curriculum catalog, and order. 

It is OK  - - even preferable - - to be ECLECTIC.  And hey…eccentric isn’t all that bad either.

What makes YOU an eclectic homeschooler??

1 comment:

  1. We, too, are eclectic homeschoolers! I think what really defines us as eclectic is that we don't bother with things like memorization of math facts -- we teach critical thinking and learning through doing instead of how fast our child can mindlessly regurgitate the times tables. Another important aspect of our eclectic homeschooling is an attitude about learning. We don't put the grade-level label on our child. We simply find lessons that challenge our homeschooler, regardless of the 'grade-level' in which the material is traditionally presented in a public school. Does that also make us eccentric? :)


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