So many of life’s essential questions can be answered by this one word, and the educational philosophies behind different styles of homeschooling are no different. What you believe about food reveals how you feel about parenting, and educating our children is just a piece of the parenting pie.
How do you feed your kids?
Read on and choose the description that best fits how you feed your kids to find out which educational philosophy is a natural fit for you.
Do you let them eat whatever they want, whenever they want?
Do you have a firm belief that their body will tell them what they need and that if you surround them with good choices, they cannot go wrong? If this is how you do food then you may love unschooling.
Do you think your child should eat an exact amount of each food group at every meal?
You give a scoop of protein, a portion of whole-grain carb or fruit, a vegetable, and maybe a little fatty milk or cheese (depending on what you consider healthy). Do you insist that your child eat when, where and what you say? They cannot be trusted to make wise food choices until they are older and know all the science behind their food? Do you serve meals at the same time every day without fail? You might just love textbook or workbook homeschooling. Served up in precise portions, at the proper time, in a logical order.
Do you let your child make some food choices, but within certain parameters?
Maybe they must eat a protein with breakfast, but they can choose an egg, leftover meat, or yogurt. Maybe they must eat what you cook for dinner every night, but sometimes you serve two or three veggie options, and they can pick the one they want. You believe your child’s body does have some wisdom about what it needs, but also that they need guidance to get all the nutrients they need. You give them clear boundaries with food, but inside those boundaries you let them explore and grant certain freedoms. Well, you might be an eclectic homeschooler. Taking the best from every philosophy, picking and choosing, melding and blending, until you have your own delicious style. You may love having some unit studies in your mix.
Do you serve real food over boxed food and take the time to make it delicious?
I would say if you believe strongly that food should be both wholesomely nourishing, and taste awesome (a beauty to the taste buds), served within consistent rhythms in a beautiful setting, then you may belong in the classical style. Even if some of the classical materials you have seen have seemed dull and dry, there may be some deep connections between you and this style, especially if you find the right publisher. There is a revival among classical homeschooler to focus on truth, goodness, and beauty, but sometimes you do have to dig a little to find the publishers that have this focus (other publishers may be more like a typical textbook approach but with a different level of rigor and focusing on what is considered to be classic content).
Do you believe food itself can be used to teach your child 15 different subjects?
Home economics, budgeting, fine motor skills, nutrition, biochemistry, chemistry, I’m running out, I must not be a hands-on purist…:) Does your whole family enter the kitchen to work together and prepare every meal? Can your kids cook a perfect fried egg by the time they are 5? You may just be the most at home with a hands-on, project-based approach to learning. This also fits right in with a unit studies approach.
This is just a quick way to look at where you are coming from so that you can see where you are going.
Now some people (like me) love reading about all the different homeschooling philosophies and styles, it is just FUN! But others do not find it fun. Some people get very frustrated and weighed down with the abundance of information and the various arguments about philosophy. If that is you, don’t feel obligated to read about every style. Use this list to make the best guess about the style that will resonate with you and delve into just a book or two on that style. Or just use the style as a keyword in a curriculum search.
Need a little more information about homeschool styles before you decide how to define the future of your child’s education? Check out the Homeschool Style Quiz.