Are you new to homeschooling? Have no idea where to start? Don’t worry! We’ve all been there at some point. You have a lot of freedom in homeschooling, so the best place to start is learning about the different styles you can choose from when it comes to homeschooling your kids.
5 Popular Homeschooling Styles
If you went to a public or private school growing up, this is probably the style you’re most familiar with. Think textbooks, workbooks, practice sheets, and question/answer types of exercises. Often traditional curriculum providers offer video lectures.
- Easy to use
- Familiar to parents
- Students know exactly what they need to do
- Variety of curriculum providers with both physical and online offerings
- Often common core or standards aligned
- Easier to transition into public or private school if needed
- Often not as interesting or fun as some other styles
- Doesn’t embrace the freedom of homeschooling in an “out-of-the-box” way
- Can be expensive
- Some curriculums seem to be a bit “too much”
- Can’t teach multiple children at the same time with the same materials and lessons
Classical education is based on the trivium or three stages of learning. During the grammar stage, young students focus on accumulating knowledge and memorizing facts. Then during the logic stage students begin asking “Why?” and analyzing the information they’ve learned. Finally, students complete the learning cycle with the rhetoric stage. During these final years of education, they begin to write and speak with confidence, form their own opinions, and begin to specialize in specific areas of interest. “The Great Books” are a core component of a classical education, and it’s considered a rigorous educational style.
- Perfect for the family who wants to provide a rigorous education for their children
- Language, writing, and logic rich
- Helps student develop thinking skills
- Can pick from a variety of curriculum providers or even join a Classical Conversations community for guidance, support, and support in teaching
- Can be overwhelming for both moms and students if it’s not a good fit
- Less freedom to choose what you will study each year since it’s based on a 4-year cycle
- Curriculum can be expensive, especially if you join a Classical Conversations community
- Some people disagree about the stages of learning defined in classical education
- Not as engaging and fun as some other methods
This philosophy of education is based on the work of a 19th century British educator, Charlotte Mason. It’s a gentle approach to teaching your children especially in the early years (though the methods and ideas can be applied throughout their education). It focuses on habit training, nature study, short lessons, and using living books. Masons’ philosophy respects children as “persons” and strives to educate the whole child—heart, mind, and soul.
- Gentle approach that’s developmentally appropriate
- Embraces enjoying childhood as a time of discovery
- Strengthens family relationships
- Provides a pleasant, unrushed learning environment for both parents and children
- Focuses on creating habits in the early years that benefit students for the rest of their educational careers
- Literature based, so student aren’t learning from sometimes “dry” textbooks
- Can be done inexpensively
- Kids of multiple ages can learn together
- More teacher intensive
- Not as structured as traditional or classical education
- Becomes harder to find curriculum in the later years
With an unschooling approach, parents trust their children to guide their own education. That doesn’t mean the unschooling parent isn’t intentional though! The role of the teacher becomes that of facilitator: providing resources, curriculum, projects, etc. that support their students interests and needs. Unschooling parents create a lifestyle of learning with environments that invite kids to discover and explore, and seek out their own learning opportunities.
- Students invest in their own education
- Allows student that don’t fit well into a traditional model to thrive
- Develops life-long learning skills
- Embraces the freedom of homeschooling to fit each child’s unique talents, interests, and personalities
- Often encourages entrepreneur types, creatives, and out-of-the-box thinkers to succeed
- Too unstructured for some parents and students
- Can be used as an excuse to not be intentional with children’s education
- Parents have to be more creative with record keeping if a student will go on to higher education
- Not as “accepted” by family and friends
Want to mix it up? Then eclectic homeschooling might be the best fit for you. With eclectic homeschooling, parents choose aspects of the different styles to create their own unique educational plan. You may want to teach math with traditional methods, and history and language arts in a classical way. You might like to throw in some unschooling for your electives, and focus on learning a variety of subjects from living books. Eclectic means you are customizing your homeschooling based on the unique needs of both you and your children.
- Allows for a truly customized homeschool experience
- Respects that the needs of your kids will vary in different subject areas and stages of life
- Flexible in both how you homeschool and the resources you use
- Needs more planning on the part of the parent
- Harder to find and use full, open-and-go type of curriculums
You CAN Homeschool Your Kids with Style
Whatever style you choose, know that homeschooling is an effective way to teach your kids. Why? Because you will be walking alongside them in this educational journey. No one knows them better or loves them more, and that’s the foundation for homeschool success.