How to Homeschool with the Traditional Method

November 3, 2019
Written by:
Kim Andrysczyk

The traditional method of homeschooling is home education that follows the traditional school model. This philosophy of education uses structured plans and textbooks. It’s especially useful if you’re homeschooling short-term or starting mid-year.


Traditional Method is Structured

Traditional school sorts learning into subjects. The basic subjects are reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Each subject has a textbook or an online class. The lessons are mapped out in units with daily assignments and chapter tests. The teacher’s guide might also schedule out the pace of the lessons.

This structure is familiar for most of us, especially new homeschoolers. You may feel comfortable with this familiar structure. You might even set up a “classroom” with desks for students to “do school.”

Some students thrive with this kind of structure. They enjoy workbooks and checking off assignments. It suits their personality and learning style. Others get bored or frustrated with the structure and pace. It can become a battle of wills if the student does not like “doing school” at home.


Teacher Driven Education

Teachers drive traditional education. The teacher carries the weight of responsibility for the student to learn. Teachers plan the course of study, implement the lessons and grade the work. That’s how traditional schoolwork.

Textbooks are designed by experts in order to guide the learning. A complete pre-packaged program for seventh grade encompasses everything that the student should learn this year. Or a second-grade science book covers everything for that particular subject. You may find comfort in the curriculum to guide you as the home educator.

The homeschool parent is the teacher. It’s a lot of work for a teacher to prepare separate subjects for just one student. And the difficulty multiplies when you have more than one student, with different textbooks.

Traditional programs for home education are often self-guided for students. The parent doesn’t have to teach every lesson. The students can work on their own or alongside the parent-teacher.
Some online programs include a teacher who implements and oversees the assignments. Many high school subjects are available so the parent doesn’t have to be an expert in difficult subjects, like Calculus, Coding, or World Languages.


State Standardized Testing

Some states require homeschoolers to take standardized tests. So it can also be a good idea to follow your state’s standards for each subject and grade level. But, there are other reasons that you might want to follow state standards and conduct standardized tests.

  • If you’re planning to re-enroll your student in public school, it can also be helpful to have standardized test scores. Test scores help verify what parent-generated reports cards indicate. The test results are sometimes needed for placement (such as gifted programs and/or remedial assistance).
  • You might be a skeptic (or have skeptics in your circle of influence) who are worried about “keeping up with the schools.” Skeptics sometimes think that homeschooling is a low-quality education option. The test scores can help validate your homeschool results.
  • If your student is frustrated or bored with their schoolwork, it could be because they are not working at their level. Test results can also help you choose textbook levels that are appropriate for your student’s ability.

Homeschooling is a DIY education. Many people start with the traditional method. The familiar structure feels comfortable for many new homeschoolers, especially if you’re getting started mid-year. You can take the course of study that your student was doing in school to do those subjects on your own at home.

But, as you settle in, you will begin to individualize your home education. You get to pick the courses and the pace that makes sense to you and your students. Some homeschoolers choose traditional school structure and curriculum for their homeschool method.


Example of a Traditional Homeschool Day

  • 8-9:00 a.m. Children change clothes, tidy house and have breakfast.
  • 9-10:00 a.m. Reading (using spelling books, writing assignments, and free reading).
  • 10-10:30 a.m. Math (using a text book and work book).
  • 10:30-11:00 a.m. History on Monday/Wednesday (using a text book), Science on Tuesday (using a text book that includes occasional experiments), and Geography on Thursday (using a work book).
  • 11-12:00 noon Electives (usually a foreign language audio program, an art course, or another elective that was included in the curriculum).


Podcasts About Homeschooling Methods

Homeschooling Methods Part 1

Homeschooling Methods Part 2

Homeschooling Methods Part 3


Meet Kim!

Kim Andrysczyk – Volunteer Contributor

Is Traditional Homeschooling right for you? Read more about Quick Start Curriculum Ideas Kim Andrysczyk is a secular homeschool veteran, homeschool group leader, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and an accidental blogger. She’s the self-appointed busybody of homeschooling in South Carolina, always on the lookout for new connections to people, places, and resources. Find her at The South Carolina Homeschooling Connection and Facebook.