When I started homeschooling, I kept seeing articles and hearing advice from veterans about choosing curriculum based on my homeschooling philosophy. Since I never took a philosophy class, I was pretty sure that I didn’t HAVE a personal philosophy. Once I understand that philosophy simply meant my basic approach and my general assumptions and beliefs about what education should look like, I was a little less intimidated. Still, it took me a few years and experimenting with different curriculum to discover what approach I liked and what I really believed a “good education” consisted of. Why is that important? Simple answer – you need to know where you’re going in order to get there. If I don’t know what my end goal is, how will I plot a course and how will I know if I ever arrive? The phrase “well-educated student” means different things to different people. What do I want my kids to learn? Who do I want them to be? How can I help them get there?
I used to pour over the articles in the Elijah Company catalog. They explained better than anyone else what the different philosophies of education were, the pros and cons of each one, and which curriculum best matched each. They don’t publish that anymore, but the same people now maintain the Homeschool Marketplace site with much of the same wisdom and advice. Fabulous website. I could soak in it for days. In fact, I probably will.
Here’s a link to a fabulous article about determining your educational philosophy.
It’s actually part of a series about choosing curriculum, and the whole series is worth reading. I highly recommend it for homeschooling newbies. It’s a good refresher for us long-timers who tend to lose sight of that original goal in the day-to-day haze.