Seriously, what "Eclectic Homeschooling" means to me, is that I like to make my own decision about what is best for each of my children as an individual. There are many styles out there, from Classical to Traditional, from Unit Studies to The Principle Approach, from Charlotte Mason to Delight-directed, from Literature-based to Unschooling...and all of them have something I like going on in them. Of course, if you try using them all (even one at a time, one after another, or one per child), you will overwhelm yourself (completely!!), your kids, and your budget.
However, there is nothing to stop you from taking the bits of each that fit your family best, and tying them together in a style that is uniquely yours. That is what we do. Every child, even children within one family, has differences that need certain types of teaching for optimal achievement. Some kids do great sitting down with a schedule and a stack of texts each day and they LOVE it. Others would feel stifled, and do much better working with their hands on projects, using computer programs for some classes, and completing apprenticeships.
That is why homeschooling is so great. We, as parents, know our students better than anyone else, and can streamline education to suit each child's individual needs within the structure that suits our unique family's needs best. That, to me, is the essence of being Eclectic. What a blessing it is to have such freedom to meet our children's needs, and to be able to build up their God-given strengths at home, where we know and love them best.
If I had to choose just ONE style that would best suit my family, and each child's needs, I would probably choose the Charlotte Mason Method (Unit Studies or Delight-Directed would be my runners-up). There is something homey and safe about this method of education. It involves focusing on behavior and good character, doing in-depth nature studies and spending time outside, appreciating art and music, immersion in LIVING books (vibrant books that are filled with the author's love and knowlege of a subject as opposed to boring, artificial books and stories with little lasting meaning), practicing through copywork and dictation, and it is supplemented with math and other necessary things on the side, as needed. Most of all, it develops a LOVE of learning and the self-motivation and discipline to learn. Doesn't that sound great? It is something I definitely want for my children.
As I was reading my Blogroll this morning, I learned that the new Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up, and I wanted to include a link to it on my blog. I hope that if you have ever been curious about Charlotte Mason Studies, or if this is the first time you have heard the term, you will take the time to check out the Carnival. It's very informative and a lot of fun. Even if you don't use the Charlotte Mason style, you might find some good ideas to incorporate into your own style. Enjoy!