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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Eclectic Homeschooling --
"Mix and Match" to meet your child's needs.

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Most educational methods and philosophies dictate, to some extent, what,
how, and when a student should learn.  This often leads to a "one size fits
all" approach, where the student is expected (even required) to conform
to the chosen teaching methods and curriculum.  Many children do just
fine under such conditions -- however, some children do not.  

Many homeschool parents are looking for a more flexible, individualized,
and, often, a more child-centered way to educate their student.  For these
homeschooling parents the answer is simply to "mix and match" various
educational options, resulting in a personalized, "Eclectic" homeschool

Parents may choose to use only certain parts of a curriculum.  They may
modify a homeschool philosophy to better suit their child's temperament
and abilities.  They can choose materials that complement their child's
learning style.  They can allow their child to progress thru curriculum at his
or her own pace, regardless of the grade-level assigned to the materials.   

Parents can also create or "pull-together" their own tailored curriculum to
meet the various needs and interests of each of their children, including
the use of library materials, online resources, hands-on experience, and
outside classes or tutoring.

An eclectic "mix and match" approach to homeschooling obviously
requires more preparation time and more research effort on the part of
the homeschooling parent  than would be needed to follow a prescribed
curriculum.   Homeschool parents who are very short on time or have
several students may only be able to mix and match for certain subjects.  
Math is often the subject where a "Mix and Match" approach is most
needed - where finding curriculum that matches your child's learning style
can mean the difference between success or struggle.

In general, homeschooling parents often start out using a prescribed
homeschool method or curriculum, but become more Eclectic over the
years, as they become more comfortable in their role as "Teacher" and
more confident in their ability to understand and meet their particular
child's educational needs.   Also, after trying out a few materials that don't
work very well with their student, parents become more "in tune" with what
works and what doesn't work ... and more adept at choosing materials that
will be appropriate for their child.  

Suggestions for mixing and matching homeschooling materials can be
found on homeschool websites and thru chatting with other homeschool
parents, both in real life and in online discussion groups.  Be sure to take
a look at each of the approaches listed in the Diner's
Pocket Guide to
Homeschooling Methods - you may find parts of several approaches
that will appeal to you and your children.    

Listed below are a few general resources for those putting together their
own Eclectic Homeschooling curriculum.  Also, be sure to visit the
Homeschooling by Subject" section of the Homeschool Diner for
specific "mix and match" options in each subject area.  Take a look at
Do I Have To Teach It All Myself? for more ideas.

Free lesson plans and learning modules:

The Lesson Plans Page - thousands of free K - 12 lesson plans in all
subject areas

EDSITEment by the National Endowment for the Humanities - free K-
12 lesson plans/unit studies  

Ruth Beechick - in her book "You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully"
educator Ruth Beechick describes her approach to a Christian-focused,
literature-based, eclectic style of homeschooling that encourages unit
studies and pulling together curriculum from the library.  She also wrote
the "Three "R's" Series" for teaching K - 3rd at home.  Her books include
when to teach various topics within the general subject areas.

Nebel’s Elementary Education: Creating A Tapestry of Learning
covers K-5 for all subject areas, "... a flexible, child-centered, hands-on,
minds-on, logical systematic increments lead to broad, integrated
knowledge and understanding supported by self-directed inquiry
skills..."",  designed to foster critical thinking and a love of learning, no
religious focus, includes strong coverage of science, can be used as a
"spine" to guide parents in eclectic homeschooling

What Your __th Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. -- part of
the Core Knowledge Series (K-8th), can be used as a "spine" to guide
parents in eclectic homeschooling

A to Z free teacher stuff - Free Lesson Plans and printables

MarcoPolo  Internet Content for the Classroom  - (k - 12) complied
by a nonprofit consortium of education organizations and the MCI
Foundation, provides a collection of seven standards-alligned, content-
specific web sites with lesson plans, student interactive content, down-
loadable worksheets, links to panel-reviewed Web sites and additional

The Educator's Reference Desk - (K - 12) over 2000 lesson plans
written and submitted by US teachers

Connexions by Rice University  -  contains educational materials in all
subjects for all levels, from children to college students to professional.  
Information is organized in small modules that stand alone or can be  
easily connected into larger courses.  Connexions is an innovative
environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly
publishing scholarly content on the Web.  All content is free.

William and Mary Center for Gifted Education - lesson plans in all
subject areas, designed specifically for gifted learners in classroom
settings, but can be adapted for home learning or (even better) for  
homeschool co-op use.  Some free units available.
"If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of
knowledge, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make
for uniqueness." ~~ Carl Rogers (1902 - 1987)

Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to
it by what amuses their minds." ~~ Plato (427 BC – 347 BC)