Determining Your Educational Philosophy

One of my first college education courses asked us to analyze our experiences and determine our own educational philosophy. Up until that point, my experiences were limited to my childhood and so I reflected on attending public school until third grade (when my family moved), struggling to transition at my new school, and ultimately being homeschooled.

As I thought of the standout moments in my schooling, I realized my most memorable moments were hands-on learning experiences–composing my thoughts through journal and letter writing, using fractions while baking and adapting recipes, exploding a volcano replica, studying the life-cycle of a butterfly by raising caterpillars, and listening to my mom read aloud. Reflecting on these hands-on experiences helped me develop a teaching philosophy I was eventually able to apply to my public classroom teaching.

Fast forwarding to now–while debating over our family’s schooling decision, I spent hours and hours researching different curriculum options and quickly became overwhelmed until I realized there is no ONE right way to “school.” Whether you public, private, or home school, it’s important to develop a learning philosophy that feels right for your family.

Since our family has chosen to homeschool, we considered different homeschooling philosophies. [This and this by Simple Homeschool helped me understand the different homeschooling philosophies.] Our approach (which may be very different from what YOU would choose) is quite “eclectic.” I liked what several theories had to say, so we pieced together a curriculum that would fit with our kids’ personalities, learning styles, and our own interests and beliefs.

This is my story, but I’m wondering, how have your own educational experiences helped shape the choices you’re making (or will make) for your kids?

2 Comments on Determining Your Educational Philosophy

  1. Ashley
    September 14, 2012 at 6:12 am (3 years ago)

    is this for me? lol JKS but i will comment because reading really DID make me think of why i chose to go the way we did. growing up we went to public school. LOVED it. really did. i can’t think of one bad experiance i had going. what we hated was after school and before we even started school our mother had all these papers for us to do. math papers, spelling papers, reading papers…. she honestly was doing what was best for us but boy did we feel forced doing it. (“we” being my sisters and i. we’ve had many discussions on how much we hated them so i can speak for them. lol) we thought we were so sneaky by doing eachothers pages “just to get it done” only to find out years later that our mom already knew we were “helping” eachother with our pages but she didn’t care “as long as someone was doing them.” if only we knew we probably wouldn’t have been so sneaky in doing it. lol (if i didn’t want to do my math page i’d trade with a sister and do her spelling and she’d do my math. things along those lines.) anyways did i mention we hated it? it was too much. she was our mom not our school teacher. what we loved from her was when she took us to places like Fort Edmonton to explore cause it is one of Canada’s many living history villages. (Staff in period costume portray and interpret life in the time periods portrayed within the park.)
    she also would pick us up from school and take us to West Edmonton Mall (a HUGE mall with an amusement park and a full water park in it) and let us play at the amusement park or go swimming. she would also take us to many other places in Edmonton just for fun. (it’s been years since i’ve been to Edmonton so i can’t quite remember names of places at the moment… lol) that is what i wanted out of my mom. not “math pages” or “spelling pages” but to BE with me and make memories. and to be honest she finally clued in that we hated all the “extra” work and stopped making us do them. out of all the math, reading, spelling pages she had us do the ONLY thing i remember besides pages of numbers and pages of words is how to spell V-A-C-U-U-M. it drove her crazy that people got that word wrong so u can be sure that that word was on EVERY spelling page we did. lol anyways i absoutly want my kids to get an education. i want them to go as far as THEY want to go in their life. if they want to go to college that’s awesome, if they don’t that’s ok too. out of my sisters and i only one sister graduated college with a degree in Elementary Education (and she taught for a short bit but after moving is raising her kids and has said that she would never homeschool her kids because she worked her butt off to get her degree so she knows the hard work that’s put into it she would hate it if kids didn’t go to school to be taught.) and another sister did her general stuff just to have it done if she ever wanted to go back and do something in the future, and my oldest sister and i who didn’t do higher education after high school. i never wanted to go to college or university i just wanted to get married and have kids…. and that’s just what i did. my dad’s dad was a school teacher, my dad’s mom was a school teacher, one of my dad’s sisters teaches kindergarden, my dad’s other sister substitute teaches, my mom subs in schools as a teachers aid with the handicap kids and now teaches full time at a hutterite colony (kinda like amish but not.. lol their kids grow up learning how to speak German so they bring in teachers to teach them english and other things. they only r in school until gr 8 and then r done.) and i have an uncle on my moms side who is an English/ Spanish/ French teacher. those were awesome classes. lol
    but yeah that is basically what i got to thinking after reading your post. i guess i chose public schooling because i have so many family members who r public school teachers and for the fact that i really enjoyed it myself. the “extra homeschooling” from my mom was enough to let me know that is not what i wanted to do to my kids. and do u know my kids? i would be fighting left and right with them to get their work done! lol i’m not creative and i’m not patient. i’ve looked through your posts and think u r awesome for all your creative ideas u do with your kids for their homeschooling. i’ve asked my kids if they would ever want to homeschool and every single one of them said NO. *phew* ha! 😉 they all enjoy the classroom atmosphere with other teachers and friends around. and because they do amazing at school and i hardly have to do a thing for them along the lines of homework cause they already know what they r doing they just zip right through it, i’m happy to keep them in public school. if they had awful grades and such it would be a different story. i’m happy to just be their religious teacher. to do FHE, scriptures, prayers and go to chuch with them. that is one of my favorite memories of my mom (and dad) they were commited to making sure we had FHE every week, scriptures every day, prayers said often and attending church every sunday. (and they still do that with just my 14 yr old sister home). it doesn’t always go perfect here and sundays r sometimes awful but i’d rather be doing that then math pages and spelling pages with them. :o)


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