I’m not really the kind of person who likes to put myself in a box (I’m a rebel through and through) BUT I have found it helpful to figure out what homeschool method works best for us.
We just finished our fourth year homeschooling and we finally hit our stride in the last few months of this year once I realized that there was a definite homeschool style that suited our family.
Today I’m going to share the five most popular homeschool methods that I see people gravitating to these days and what they actually mean.
These are very short summaries to give you an overview. My goal here is to give you a brief idea of these methods and then if you find one that resonates with you, you can research it further.
The 5 Most Popular Homeschool Methods and Styles Explained
Classical education is called so because of the emphasis placed on classical writings. Families who follow a classical homeschool method usually follow a pretty rigid schedule, read from the original classic words and focus a lot on writing and memorization.
If I were to chose one word to describe classical education, it would be “rigorous”.
This method reminds me a lot of the type of education we read people receiving about 150 years ago when there was a big focus on memorization because they didn’t have all the answers at their finger tips like we do now.
This method best suits those who like a lot of structure and routine. It also requires a lot of parental guidance and input, especially in the early years. If you like rote memorization, history and classic works this may be the method for you.
The Charlotte Mason method is named after an English educator who taught in the late 1800 and early 1900’s.
The Charlotte Mason method has a strong Christian emphasis and you’ll find most families that follow her method are quite involved in nature study as well.
Charlotte Mason was big on habit training, teaching children in short lessons and having the afternoons for time in nature. She is also well known for her idea of using living resources, instead of using dry textbooks she liked to use books written by authors who were passionate about a certain topic.
This method best suits those who want to expose their children to a lot of good resources, focus on Christian discipleship and want to cover many different subjects in a day. If you like structured mornings with afternoons free (at least in the early years), studying nature and focusing on living books, this may be the method for you.
I think most of us know about unit studies from our time in school!
Unit studies are pretty simple to explain, you just take a topic (like pirates) and for the period of time that you are studying that unit all (or most) of your subjects stem from that unit. So, for a pirate unit you’ll have your children do their writing around that topic, you’ll study the history of pirates, for science you may find some different experiments to try (like, does covering your eye with an eye patch help you see in the dark?), etc.
This method best suits those who like to dive in deep into one topic at a time. If you like to research and organize resources and materials this may be the method for you.
The eclectic homeschooler is one who finds themselves pulling bits and pieces from a variety of the different homeschool methods and bringing them all together for their homeschool.
This method may be for you if you have been reading the previous methods and found yourself agreeing to several of the pieces from each method.
Unschooling is pretty much child-led learning. As an unschooling parent your job is to pay attention to your child’s skills and interests and help them dive into learning about them by providing a variety of different resources for them.
With unschooling, resources and curriculum are not used unless the child wants to use them and they directly benefit them in some way.
This method best suits those who like to encourage their children in the areas they are gifted in and provide them the resources to learn more. If you like to have a pretty open schedule and provide your children plenty of time to be bored and creative this may be the method for you.
If you want to learn more about unschooling, I have a free workshop called Unschooling with Intention that you can check out here.
As I mentioned, that is just a very brief overview of five of the different homeschool methods. We’ve jumped around a bit on the different methods before firmly landing in the unschooling camp.
Also, what works for you one year may not work the next. The nice thing about homeschooling is that we have the ability to change things when we see they aren’t working.