If you are new to homeschooling, you have likely come across the phrase “homeschool method.” There are several styles of homeschooling, each intended to meet unique goals. Families tend to fall within one of these styles, depending on their priorities and preferences. However, it is also common for homeschool families to incorporate multiple homeschool methods into their own style, which is known as eclectic homeschooling. In the end, your homeschool style and curriculum needs to work for you and fit with your life, not the other way around. It can be helpful to know more about each method, though, to see if your family already leans toward one or another.
Each of these methods is meant to be a guide for families to fulfill their reason for homeschooling. None of these homeschool styles are a strict formula. These methods are intended to help provide parameters to guide your students to success according to your preferences and/or their learning styles. Homeschooling looks different for all families and spans multiple demographics. That’s the beauty of choosing home education: even if you align with a homeschool method, it can still be tailored to meet your student’s personal needs.
As a side note, a successful homeschooling experience is not dependent on families knowing their ideal method. That considered, try to avoid your homeschool method becoming a source of stress. These methods are merely another tool for families to use if they find it helpful! Your homeschool method will be as unique and individual as your family and your lifestyle will be!
To begin, there are eight main homeschooling methods:
- Charlotte Mason
- Multiple Intelligences
Our Best Resources For Choosing a Homeschool Method
Your homeschool method is entirely dependent on your lifestyle and priorities. A homeschooling method should fit within your existing daily preferences while providing structure for academic progress. There are several contributing factors to deciding on a homeschooling method. For example, your decision may be entirely guided by your religion, parenting preferences, your work schedule, special needs, or a combination of multiple aspects in your life. After all, none of our decisions exist in a vacuum. Our daily choices are influenced by the context of our goals, motivation, beliefs, necessities, and more.
The great news is that you can always try a different method or you can mix-and-match as you like. For example, families may find their homeschool drifting from a school-at-home method initially to a relaxed method a few years later. A homeschool curriculum doesn’t have to match your method to be effective and it may even offer flexibility by easily applying to various methods. In the end, an effective curriculum is more essential for success than any particular homeschooling style, however, knowing your homeschool style can help narrow down curricula options. Similarly, a successful homeschool program can uncover your homeschooling method, so both curriculum and methods influence each other.
All that to say, you have a few choices and you don’t have to stick with only one! Take our quiz, try one out, and if it doesn’t fit with your homeschooling lifestyle, try another. You’re not boxed in, and that freedom is one of the benefits of homeschooling!
- Overview of the Different Homeschooling Methods. This webpage gives a general summary of each homeschooling style with example schedules and pros versus cons.
- The Traditional Method. The traditional method is also known as the school-at-home method. It follows a rigid daily structure, much like at a school, hence the name.
- The Unschooling Method. Unschooling is the opposite of school-at-home. The unschooling method often forgoes a curriculum entirely, preferring to let children learn from real-life situations than planned lessons.
- The Eclectic Method. Eclectic homeschooling is a relaxed style that mixes elements of a few methods. For example, families may mix programs, curricula, printables, apps, videos, experiments, play, co-op classes, or even sports or band with the local public school. The eclectic method breaks down walls and follows whatever works for your family!
- The Multiple Intelligences Method. The multiple intelligences homeschooling style praises each student’s unique strengths. This method recognizes that everyone is intelligent in their own way and that it’s a strength, not a weakness.
- The Charlotte Mason Method. Charlotte Mason homeschooling has been well-known for its use of literature. This homeschooling style utilizes living books to teach nearly any topic, as well as celebrating nature and hands-on opportunities.
- The Waldorf Method. The Waldorf method is all about educating the mind, spirit, and body, known as “the whole child.” This style focuses on arts, crafts, music, movement, and nature, especially for young children. Problem-solving skills are developed in older children and instead of using standard textbooks, children create their own books.
- Podcast: The Montessori Method. Thanks to Montessori schools, many parents are already familiar with this term. The Montessori homeschooling style embraces mistakes as learning opportunities (“errorless learning”), focuses on children learning at their own pace, and a relaxed schedule. The goal is for students to learn how to manage and organize their learning.
- Podcast: The School-at-Home and Classical Methods. The classical method has been around for centuries. The basis of this method is to teach children how to learn. There are 5 tools of learning in the Classical method: Reason, Record, Research, Relate, and Rhetoric.
- Podcast: The Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, and Eclectic Methods. Learn more about popular homeschooling methods with this Homeschooling & Loving It podcast episode!
Your One-Stop List for How to Start Homeschooling
Sometimes, we get tired of bouncing from website after website in a rabbit trail of resources. That’s why we’ve made it our goal to provide everything about how to start homeschooling on our site. In this list, you’ll find our comprehensive guide for getting started, answers to common questions, tips from experienced homeschool moms, advice for high school, encouragement for special needs, and so much more. So, instead of paging through Google results and multiple homeschool websites, grab a cuppa and learn everything about how to start homeschooling, right here!
Visit the other article in this series: How to Find a Curriculum and Start Homeschooling!