**Disclaimer: All information on homeschooling methods will be just a generalized and very brief *if I can help it* overview of the method. Every family who uses these methods will of course work them to fit their needs. After each overview I will discuss some of the things I do and don’t like about the method in relation to our family. **

Structured or Traditional Homeschooling pretty much explains itself. This is a method that closely mimics the classroom setting but in the home, which is why it is often called the “school at home” method. Those who follow this method often *not always though* purchase a box curriculum that comes with everything they could possibly need to teach for a whole school year, some even goes as far as to include pencils and paper.

Boxed curriculums aren’t the only ways a family implements this method, they can also rely on textbooks/workbooks, and comprise their own curriculum and schedule. This method relies heavily on schedules, lesson plans, and documentation, like a traditional school. Some families who use this method even have a school room, where the bulk of their learning takes place and they have a wide variety of supplies just like a traditional school room would.

This method helps ensure that the child learns nearly the same material their peers are learning at school everyday *this depends greatly on the curriculum/textbooks that the parent uses*, and eases fears over gaps in a child’s education.

So to recap: This method is basically “school at home” using either a box curriculum or a combination of textbooks and workbooks. There are grades, test, and in some cases quarterly progress reports and end of the year report cards just like in traditional schools.

Now for us there are some amazing positives with this method, for starters the structured aspect of it. We thrive on structure, routine, schedules, and plans. When there isn’t something planned or a schedule in place we get very little done. That has pretty much encompassed our first full year of homeschooling. While we have accomplished a lot, the level of structure wasn’t were it needed to be.

We also ran into the problem of having to plan out the lessons and basically make our own curriculum with very little to go on aside from books we picked up at the library or found at the store. While the books would have been a great supplement, having a guideline *like a traditional textbook* would have made things a lot easier. I am actually finding as I plan our upcoming school year that having these books really makes planning go a lot smoother and a heck of a lot quicker as well.

We also worry greatly about ensuring our boys hit all the academic concepts that are required in the traditional school setting. This will allow them to transition into a high school setting if they make the choice to attend high school. On the other hand, if they opt out of high school they will be able to enter into a college right out of our home with little to no trouble. With the traditional method this adherence to meeting grade requirements is a great positive for us. It eliminates the fear of missing something, while allowing us to pick and choose the materials*textbooks/workbooks* we feel best ensure that the boys have a solid education.

This method is also *almost* completely secular unless the family buys a box curriculum or textbooks that are geared to their specific religious views. The problem with the box curriculums comes in when you hunt for them. Most sellers of these curriculums are religious and it can be difficult to find secular box curriculums, but it is possible. Even box curriculums sold through some religious companies can be secularized and as secular homeschoolers grow so too does the product market.

There are other negatives *aside from the box curriculum problem* to this method. First off, it can be overwhelming having all the materials in front of you to weed through before the start of your school year. For some families it can produce the same problems found in a traditional school, with the underlining feeling that everything must be covered. For us this isn’t a huge negative since we don’t plan to schedule a traditional school year. Instead our scheduling would mimic more of a year-round school schedule (with periodic breaks throughout the year instead of a large break during the summer).

The difference then in what we do and what a traditional year-round school would do, would be that our schooling during the summer months wouldn’t be as intense. So the pressure would be on hitting the “needed” topics during our intense school months, which would allow us to relax a bit during the summer months. This doesn’t seem difficult since we would have from the first week of September to first week of June to meet our educational goals for that given school year. From there we would carry the topics not covered into the summer months. Which would then naturally lead us into the following school year since those topics we covered lightly would be the ones that got intense *more in-depth* coverage over the next year.

Overall though this method seems to be something that would work very well with our family. The structure and scheduling are highly needed in our home. We homeschool for academic reasons first and foremost. So this method completely works with that, by allowing us to pick and choose the materials that we feel will meet those academic standards we have, while still working in the aspects of traditional school that we like.

For instance we already have a classroom in place, it gives us a place to go to actually focus on formal lessons. Our classroom eliminates the distractions that come from having the dishwasher, washing machine, and/or dryer going, or any other item that can pull us away from what we are suppose to be doing.

We don’t personally like box curriculums not really because they tend to be sold by religious companies, but because we have an idea of how we want certain subjects to flow and box curriculums don’t give that flow we are looking for. This means relying heavily on traditional textbooks, which can get very pricy.

So in order to maintain some part of this method over the long haul a lot of saving over the course of every year will need to take place. This is possible, especially if we time our book buying to coincide with sales that publishers have, but we are still going to have to be vigilant with adhering to our budget. Price is an issue with this method period, since some box curriculums start at over 1,000$ and then go up from there the cost adds up quickly, especially if you are homeschooling more than one child.

So are there things useful to us in this method, yes. Does it have its drawbacks, yes, but they can be overcome.
We are half way through our methods coverage and so far no method seems to be a perfect fit for our family.

We still have four more methods to cover though, next up: The Waldorf Homeschooling Method.

Copyright (c) 2010 Rayven Holmes


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