Learning Philosophies


As a parent and educator, I am often asked what my plan is for schooling for my little girl. It is always a perplexing question for me because the term “school” has become an interesting term in my mind. I believe in learning, but I like to look at it as an all the time event, not as a decision to make at a particular age. But the answer people are looking for is what type of school I will be sending Lydia to. As of now, the answer to that is that I don’t plan to send Lydia to formal school anytime soon. I plan to expose her to learning experiences throughout the week through museums, library time, play groups, nature walk, traveling and at-home exploring. I plan to allow her to play and learn through make-believe and building.


I plan to let her run wild outside and see what her body can do. I plan to have her come home and reflect through journaling and narration. I plan to take her to museums and look at art, then come home and create her own masterpieces. I plan to have her go to story time at the library, then come home with a pile of books to read. I plan to take her on trips to learn a world not in our backyard, then come home to reflect on this new adventure.

IMG_5240But formal school? I am still up in the air on this. I want to learn about her learning style ad see the flow of our family. I want to see what is available at the time. I want to be flexible with our decision. The short answer is, I plan to homeschool. The long answer is probably something you don’t have time for. I have beautiful big plans for our family, just like all parents do.  My suggestion for all parents when they go to look into schooling and home learning is to learn all of the different philosophies of learning and see what fits with their family philosophy.


As of now, we are a bit eclectic. I pull for Waldorf and Charlotte Mason mostly. I am learning more about Reggio and find it very inspiring as well.

I complied a very basic list of education philosophies.



  • Windows of learning opportunities
  • Un-interrupted “work time”
  • Multi-age groupings in classroom
  • Focus on sensory experience
  • Learning in a prepared environment
  • Greatly encourages independence
  • Belief that children like to do “real work”
  • Specifically designed materials for learning purposes
  • Specific play/work areas


Charlotte Mason:

  • Encourages “living books” and meaningful literature
  • Lessons are short (10-15 minutes)
  • Focuses on habits
  • Daily and weekly nature walks
  • Nature notebooks
  • Art appreciation, artist studies
  • Narration of what child has learned



  • Academics aren’t taught until around 7 years
  • Make-believe play for large parts of the day
  • Story-telling is part of the day
  • Great amount of found materials in classroom/home
  • Predicable structure, focus on rhythm
  • Group learning and collaborative projects
  • Balance of “heart, hand and mind” education
  • Art infused in all subjects
  • Nature-based environment
  • Technology/electronics very limited



  • Project based approach
  • Interest based learning
  • Documentation of learning through photos and written work
  • Collaborative learning
  • Open spaces
  • Environment is considered the third teacher
  • Loose parts play

2 Comments on Learning Philosophies

  1. Gina H.
    August 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Your lists are very helpful in comparing these 4 schooling styles! Thank you for that. I have an interest in combining aspects of each of them with more “traditional” schooling as well. Jealous of the nicer weather up there so you can spend more time outside!

    • natbabbitt
      August 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm (4 years ago)

      So glad it was helpful. What type of homeschooling did you have growing up? More traditional or unschooling?


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