Homeschool Glossary

Homeschool Glossary

Ideology: Mainly in science and history subjects.

  • Secular: Presents no religious bias in the material, especially from the author. Curriculum covers/references world religions extensively and teaches evolution vs the theory of evolution.
    • Ex: Teaching Judaism, Islam, Buddhist, Christianity, Hindu, Sikh, Orthodox, Catholic, etc. and their roles in history. Teaching that the world began millions of years ago, the Big Bang Theory, and that dinosaurs did not coexist with humans. Synonymous to traditional U.S. public school content.
  • Neutral: Does not cover/reference world religions explicitly. Curriculum avoids science vs religion debate/dominance completely. Allows for students to develop their own worldview, morals, and values.
    • Ex: Excludes any religion’s roles in history. Curriculum/instructor stating the world began at least 2,000+ years ago vs. stating the world began with the Big Bang millions of years ago but allowing the child to explore and determine which statement they believe to be true based on what else is supplemented.
  • Religious: Curriculum that directly references specific gods, stories, traditions, and beliefs of a religion & how to worship/act on those ideologies within the curriculum.
    • Ex: Teaching with the Bible (or other religious texts) by using bible excerpts, quotations, or stories. Apologia’s zoology books teach in depth about the kinds of animals related to the environments/ecosystems God created on each of the 6 days.
    • Teaching while planning a weekly schedule that the world was created by God in 6 days and on the 7th day he rested which is why it’s considered immoral/a sin to work on a Sunday.

Homeschool methods/types:

  • Traditional: Also known as “school at home”; Teacher-centered delivery of lessons with a focus on core subjects such as math, reading, writing, science, and social studies.
    • Ex: U.S. public school style teaching. An adult teaches all subjects directly to student(s). Allows teamwork between students, more directional learning than independent and critical thinking.
  • Classical: Combines traditional with historic liberal arts. Aims to restore a robust study of liberal arts with natural sciences, Western literature, Western history, “great books”, and the fine arts.
    • Ex: Teaching Latin, the Renaissance period, appreciating the arts, strategic thinking.
  • Charlotte Mason: Developed by Charlotte’s belief that a child is a person, and they must be educated on emotional, mental, sensible forms; not only their mind. Uses literature and “living books” more than textbooks; requires the students to reiterate what they’ve learned verbally or written.
    • Ex: Utilizing nature as a hands-on tool to mix with literature and other lessons. Keeping a nature journal, introducing music, art, poetry, and literature.
  • Montessori: Method developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods. Places emphasis on hands-on learning and real-world skills.
    • Ex: Pairing “pour and scoop” action with teaching real math problems (arithmetic or statistics), soil properties for gardening (earth science observation), what muscles allow us to pour and scoop (anatomy), etc.
  • Waldorf: Based on Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy of thinking, feeling, and doing. Intended to develop a student’s intellectual, artistic, and practical skills with a focus on imagination and creativity/arts.
    • Ex: A main lesson taught within a time period through art such as painting, drawing, music, drama, and language arts; then moves onto learning through movement and hands-on activities such as P.E., dance, building, and gardening.
  • Unit Studies: Also known as integrated studies. A multisensory learning method where each activity is organized according to the theme. The activities are time-specific overview of a defined theme/topic that incorporate multiple subject areas into the study plan.
    • Ex: Unit study about water would teach water as H2O within Chemistry, water’s properties and importance in Biology, painting a waterfall in Art, (for secular and religious) its role in Baptism, meaning of “babbling brook” in language arts, location and types of bodies of water in geography.
  • Unschooling: An informal learning that excludes a bulk of book learning and advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Incorporating modern “gentle parenting” into a child’s learning, thus considered a lifestyle vs homeschool style. Different from
    • Ex: Children following their interests and curiosity and the parent providing support, guide, and resources for learning about that subject. A learning through living rather than through the conventions of school. Parents partnering with their children rather than the re-creating “school at home”
  • Eclectic: Individualized education method based on mixing and matching a variety of homeschooling resources, methods, and materials to fit your lifestyle and needs or your child’s needs.
    • Ex: You have two children that learn better under different methods. One child that responds well to traditional method but your other child responds well to unit study method.

Learning Style:

  • Visual: Learning by reading words or seeing pictures.
  • Auditory: Learning by hearing and listening to sounds, music, speech, etc.
  • Kinesthetic: Learning by manipulation and touch of materials and object
  • Multi-Sensory: Using all three styles listed above for

Teaching method:

  • Spiral-based: This method is just how it sounds. Lesson introduces topic A, moves on to topic B, then goes back to topic A to build understanding as an inter- correlation of topics.
  • Mastery: This method is a one and done method. Lessons focus on a topic until the student understands the topic completely and the teacher and student may move on with minimal or no review.

Other Terms:

  • Living Books: term coined by Charlotte Mason for books being “full of life”. They are narrative books that teach through stories & emanate the emotional, mental, and sensible forms of humanity.
    • Books can be biographies such as “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank, historical novels (fiction or non-fiction) such as “Terrible Typhoid Mary” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, a story of how Isaac Newton developed his laws.
  • Deschooling: transitioning from any form of traditional method or institutional learning to homeschool learning.
  • Unschooling: different from deschooling, unschooling is allowing your child to choose what and how they learn.
  • Orton-Gillingham Approach: A highly structured approach that breaks reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, then builds upon that. Uses multisensory items to teach.