The Homeschooling Family
What’s the Best Approach to
Fourteen years ago, I thought I knew the best ap- proach to homeschooling. By then I’d been educating for almost ten years, and I was convinced unit studies
were clearly superior. I’m sorry to say I looked down on parents
who used textbooks. And, as I saw it, unschooling was just too
Then, in 2001, I wrote my book Real-Life Homeschooling: The
Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home, and
my prejudices imploded. I interviewed families who lived in
eighteen different states plus a military base on a Pacific island.
Some had always homeschooled, and others, only for a season.
They came from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and
worldviews. Some preferred a simple, quiet lifestyle, and others
were constantly on the go. Two families had eleven children
and two families just one child each.
With this much diversity, educational choices also varied
widely. Approaches ranged from eclectic (utilizing a number
of hand-picked resources) to the classical approach, Charlotte
Mason (emphasizing the use of high-quality books), A Beka
textbooks, unit studies (child-led learning), unschooling, and
By Rhonda Barfield