By: Heather van Mil
Parents these days are faced with more choice than ever when it comes to their children’s education. Previously, getting a specialized education most often meant attending a private school and came with a hefty price tag. Today however, there are a wide variety of educational trends popping up in (and out of) public schools. Some are relatively new, while others have been around for decades but are now becoming more mainstream. Take a closer look at the 7 alternative education methods I have come up with so you make the best decision for your child.
1. Outdoor Education
One of the newest trends of the block, outdoor education (also known as fresh air learning), follows school curriculum but in a unique way. This philosophy believes that children learn best when living, breathing and moving within the subject or idea being taught. A strong emphasis is put on place based learning followed by debriefing sessions to reflect on learnings.
There are as many different homeschooling philosophies as there are homeschoolers, but broadly speaking, homeschooling education is directed by the parents,vin the home environment with group activities coordinated with other homeschoolers. Typically homeschoolers still follow school curriculum.
This philosophy places strong emphasis on the importance of the imagination in learning therefore the entire academic program, including math and science, is thoughtfully integrated with art, movement, and music. They believe this approach enhances the curriculum, insuring that the students are always engaged actively, attentively and emotionally.
Another pedagogy that is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Mixed age classrooms follow a constructivist model, where students learn concepts from working with specialized Montessori educational materials – hands on – rather than by instruction or rote learning.
5. Language immersion
Language immersion schools are tradition educational settings, following standard curriculum however the instruction is completely in another language. While there are immersion schools offered in many different languages, French is overwhelmingly the most popular choice, accounting for 72% of all students in a language immersion program
Unschooling is homeschooling taken to the extreme. The philosophy holds that children learn best in a non-coerced, unscheduled environment. There is no curriculum and no tests, children simply follow their interests, and learn foundational skills through daily life.
The Froebel approach follows the belief that children learn best through guided play and tangible, hands on experience, similar to Montessori. This philosophy also utilizes unique, patented educational materials, called the Froebel Gabe (gifts) which are used to support each child in his/her activity so that the learning process is creative and meaningful.
Which education method will you use to school your kids?
Heather van Mil is the sassy, somewhat sarcastic, seldom sanctimonious mama behind Life, Love and the Pursuit of Play. She is a freelance writer and blogger at Life, Love and the Pursuit of Play. On it she chases Good Food, Good Finds, Good Fun……and 2 small children (which translates to yummy recipes, awesome product review, fun places to check out, a smattering of op-eds and lots and lots of her 2 gorgeous girls!). Just in case this wasn’t enough, she has just launched her newest baby – Word of Mom Marketing – where she consults and strategizes with companies on the best practices and vehicles to reach and engage the young family market.