Many home schoolers find something to like in various approaches, but they can't find an exact fit among the main philosophies. Other home schoolers just prefer to design their own curriculum for their own reasons. And still others "mix and match" among the various types of curricula and philosophies. If you are not sure whether you should design your own approach or how to go about customizing your home school, here are some tips and ideas.
* Determine how your child learns. This is probably the most important step in deciding what approach to take to customizing your home school. There are actually tests available online that allow you to discover your child's learning style. Teaching according to your student's style of learning can make the difference between success and struggle.
* Familiarize yourself with the various home school philosophies. Do some research into the types of home-schooling approaches - you may be surprised to find out there are so many! Look at the mainstream ones first, and then investigate some of the "offshoots" of the main approaches.
* Talk to other home-schooling families. This is so important when customizing your home school and discovering what approach is right for you. Not only will you meet and develop relationships with other home-schooling families, but you will also glean ideas for all sorts of lessons and approaches.
* Multiple children require a different approach than just one child. This is something to remember as you do your research - would this work with three, four, six, or eight different ages? If a certain home school approach involves a lot of field trips, for example, and you have a lot of children/students, that approach could be impractical without help.
* Don't be afraid to design your own curriculum. Sometimes, home-schooling parents can get stressed and worried over whether or not they have the "perfect" curriculum for their kids. But sometimes that stress and worry can translate into a rigid curriculum that is not a good fit for your students.
Don't be afraid to experiment. Does your student love machines? Design a unit study that covers the core subjects through the subject of machines. Explore the topic of machines through the core subjects. You could do the same thing with a student who loves art, science, music, dance, math, or reading.
* Take advantage of free home school information online. Look at various lessons and how they are laid out to get ideas for your student. You can look at these as springboards for your own customized approach.
* Probably the most important aspect of customizing your home school is to observe and know your kids. What works for them? What makes them tick? How can you work with, not against, your child's interests and style of learning? When you embrace this approach, it sets your child up for a lifetime love of learning.