Homeschool

Discover your Homeschool Style

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One of the many reasons I love about homeschooling is the freedom to choose how and what we learn and what style will work for my family as a whole!! There is an endless array of curriculum choices, methodologies, and inspirational ideas that we can pull from but when it comes to defining your homeschool and the approach you may be pondering what are all the methods? I had no clue what all the homeschool methods were until we were well into our 2nd year of homeschooling. However, if you are just starting out this is a narrow list that can hopefully direct you into discovering what homeschool style is right for your family and your child’s learning journey. This list is an overview of the leading styles of homeschooling methods today.

6 of the Most Popular Homeschool Styles

Traditional

The Traditional, school-at-home, approach is most likely the style of teaching  you grew up with in the classroom. There is usually a separate textbook/workbook for each subject where you go over a particular chapter and then answer questions about the content.

Traditional homeschooling has it’s pros and cons but it does have the highest rate of burnout and feeling of failure. Homeschool is most definitely different than public school and more than likely you will be covering more than one grade at a time. This is the most popular approach most moms start out with when they are homeschooling.

The Traditional approach is one of the two approaches I used in my first year of homeschooling and quickly I became discouraged and stressed. After much research and learning about other approaches I realized my desired homeschooling style was different from the Traditional approach.

On the other hand, some kids thrive using the Traditional approach to homeschooling. Some kids are drawn to textbooks and workbooks and this style maybe an effective way to teach that child.

See also K12.com and HomeschoolDiner.com

Classical

“Because it uses real, living books and hands-on experimentation rather than relying on textbooks and canned presentations, classical education is a matter of exploration, of reading, thinking, and talking, and of discovery – not of rote memorization and regurgitation.”
~ The Well-Trained Mind Blog

The Classical method of homeschooling began in the Middle Ages and was the approach used by some of the greatest minds in history. It’s based on teaching children in three stages called the Trivium. The first part of the Trivium is the Grammar stage, ages 6-12, and focuses on memorizing and absorbing information in phonics, spelling, reading, math, history, science, and etc. Secondly, the Dialectic stage, ages 10-12, is where the child’s level of maturity and capacity for knowledge makes a growth spurt where the skill of comprehension is taught. The last stage is the Rhetoric stage, ages 13-18, where children are learning the science of communication and expression. The Rhetoric stage is where the unknown can be explored because the known is understood through the first 2 stages. The three stages of the Trivium corresponds naturally to cognitive development. To sum things up, the Grammar stage is thought and memorization, Dialectic stage is analytical thinking and understanding of the things memorized in the Grammar stage, and the Rhetoric stage is the verbal and written expression.

Laura’s note: My family has chosen to use the classical method and are apart of Classical Conversations which is beautifully structured and founded on the Classical approach of the Trivium and Christian Core values.

See also Classicalconversations.com  and WellTrainedMind.com

 

Eclectic 

The “Eclectic” homeschool style is one that is used by many homeschoolers. They will use a little of this and a little of that and use workbooks for math, reading, and spelling while taking a unschooling approach to the other subjects.

The Eclectic homeschool approach is sometimes referred to as “relaxed” where mornings are used for the “have to” work and the afternoons usually are set aside for hobbies or special activities. The child is most likely held up to certain educational standards where the homeschooled will be inline with what public school is teaching in that particular grade.

The “Pro” to Eclectic homeschooling is that the parent feels the “important” subjects are being covered thoroughly.

See also EclecticHomeschool.org and Eclectic-Homeschool.com

Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason method is becoming one of the most popular methods of homeschooling as it is founded on the firm belief that a child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just the mind. Charlotte Mason developed a three pronged education: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” A child’s atmosphere in which they learn is vital to the child’s education and how well they are able to absorb information. A welcoming, learning, organized, peaceful atmosphere is what will benefit a child in your homeschool. A Discipline is the process of training your child in good beneficial habits. Hopefully, your continuous discipline of good habits will graduate to self-discipline. The Life aspect of the education method is giving a child living books and thoughts instead of dry facts. Living books are usually written in narrative or story form where the author is passionate about the topic. The passion in the author makes the story come alive. This is opposite of a “dry” textbook that spouts off facts. Then the children are asked to narrate back to the parent to secure the facts in their minds instead of having a fill in the blank or multiple choice test. Charlotte Mason’s method spreads a feast of ideas from Shakespeare to nature walks to Bible reading to knitting and much more. For more information on the Charlotte Mason method visit Simply Charlotte Mason.com.

Laura’s Note: I have recently learned and have fallen in love with the Charlotte Mason method and as I learn more about the style of learning we are incorporating it into our homeschool with a combined Classical and Charlotte Mason approach.

 

Waldorf

The Waldorf is used in some homes and is rooted in the work of Rudolf Steiner where they stress educating the whole child in body, mind, and spirit. In the early grades children are taught the arts and crafts, music and movement and nature. The older grades are taught to reason for themselves and self-development. With the Waldorf method, the children do not use standard textbooks instead they create their own textbooks. The use of televisions and computers are discourages as they believe that television and computers are not healthy for the child’s creativity.

See also Waldorf Homeschoolers.com and Waldorf-InspiredLearning.com

Unschooling

Unschooling is the method of natural, interest-led learning. This can be also termed as a Unit-Study approach. The Unschooler does not use any kind of curriculum but uses life’s everyday experiences to learn from. There are no sort of formal lessons or school schedules and they learn in the way most adults do by curiosity or pursuing an interest. In the same way children learn how to walk, they do in learning math, science, reading and etc. The Unschooler embraces the freedom and belief that learning happens naturally and effortlessly.

See also “Unit Study Approach” and  JohnHoltGWS.com  

 

What Homeschool Method is best for you and your children?

There are many different methods that homeschoolers use in their approach to teaching their children and most of the time it will change as you learn more about what works for your child’s learning styles. Figuring out your homeschool approach can take months or years. Personally, I just chose the Classical method because that is how I was taught in my own education, for the most part. After 2 years of homeschooling, I have discovered all the other methods and come to a healthy mix of Charlotte Mason and Classical homeschooling.

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