homeschooling method

Choosing the Best Homeschooling Method for Your Family – 6 Options

New to Homeschooling? That’s OK. There is a Homeschooling Method for You

In the two decades of homeschooling that I have done, I have tested and tried a variety of homeschooling methods. Some I liked, some not so much and in the end, we settled on a particular style that has worked well for us.

homeschooling method

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time helping families who are looking into homeschooling as an option for their families; answering questions, pointing them toward curriculum and other resources, and being of assistance in whatever way that I can.

Having the ability to speak with someone who has been doing it for a while is certainly a huge help to families who are considering homeschooling. When I began, I did not have that. In fact, everyone I know tried to convince me not to do it.

…luckily for my family, I’ve always been a rebel.

Why Homeschool

When a family decides to homeschool, they do it for a variety of reasons. They are trying to solve a problem; whatever that problem might be. Mine, in the beginning, was simply that I was having to move from a small town to a big city and I wasn’t going to throw my kids into a huge city school. I knew it would not be good for them.

Needless to say, I didn’t know much about homeschooling. I just knew that I loved my kids and that I wanted the absolute best for them.

That’s me. I was the best.

That may sound a little conceited, but I, in fact, was the best for them. No one else loves my kids as I do. No one else is invested in their future like I am.

Hence, I’m the best.

Next problem.

The next problem came in when I was trying to set up our school day; curriculum, timeline, etc. In my mind, homeschooling would be doing ‘school’ at home.

That first year, we almost didn’t survive! I was driving my kids crazy trying to make them do schoolwork for as long as public schools do. My kids were 9 and 4 at that time and I had them doing schoolwork all day.

Luckily, I woke up to the fact that none of that was necessary. My kids didn’t need to do school as the public school did. They needed to do school that benefitted them, specifically. Once I got that one through my head, it was pretty much smooth sailing.

Over the years, I have tried a variety of homeschooling methods. Some worked, some not so much. That is how I landed on our style of homeschooling-eclectic. Basically, I take parts and pieces of the various methods as they work with each child’s learning style.

Homeschooling Methods – Summarized

The following is a synopsis of the main homeschooling styles, but I urge you to look further into the styles that seem like they might be a good fit for you.


homeschooling method

The traditional homeschooling method is just what it sounds like. It largely depends on traditional-style textbooks. This is comfortable for many new homeschoolers because it is familiar and all of the information is right there in the book. Some families even opt for an all-in-one curriculum system.

The problem with this method, for us, was that it was so set in stone. It didn’t allow for additional learning in a variety of learning styles. I really like for my kids to be able to let their minds and curiosities lead them.

Charlotte Mason

homeschooling method

The Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method is based on the firm belief that a child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

The Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling uses rich literature and “living books” rather than textbooks. Instead of worksheets or answering questions in the back of the book, this style asks the student to retell, or “narrate,” everything he can remember from the reading.

This style uses lessons in short formats, adding a variety of different subjects that are interesting to the child. It is a very child-led method.

Classical Homeschooling Method

homeschooling method

The classical approach is a very popular method. It parallels a teaching style dating back to the Greeks and Romans. Children go through three stages of development, which they called the Trivium. There are also three stages in each subject called Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, which correlate with the Trivium.

A lot of emphasis is placed on “great books” throughout each level. In the Grammar stage, the elementary years, students are engaged in learning facts, acquiring knowledge, and memorization. The Logic stage in the middle school years develops critical thinking and problem-solving. Rhetoric occurs during the high school years and is the communication phase where everything is brought together.

Unschooling Homeschooling Method

homeschool method

This is not so much a method as it is a mindset that if you provide a rich learning environment for your child in your everyday life, it will stimulate them to want to learn and discover on their own.

This method is typically very freeform. Children learn all day every day from their environment. With unschooling, they learn in a hands-on way or they spend a great deal of time in books or simply searching out answers to questions that they have. Incredibly child-led, this is a great option for kids who are equipped to work independently, seeking out information as they need it.

Online Homeschooling Method

homeschooling method

The only reason that I am putting this one on this list is that it has become more prevalent during Covid. This method is one where someone else teaches your child, online. It is very much like public school, and depending on the laws of your state, very possibly falls under all of the public school laws.

This is not to be confused with a web-based curriculum. There are many web-based curriculums out there that are self-contained and parent or child-led. I am not a fan of online homeschooling simply because in most cases, the state still controls it. That is a huge point for my family. Where it may come in handy is if the parents do not have the time to be hands-on with the learning.

Eclectic Homeschooling Method

homeschooling method

The eclectic homeschooling method is simply a combination of various styles, as they work for your family and your children. This is the method, on which, we finally settled after having tried all of the others.

Traditional was too stifling and set-in-stone for my family. The theory behind Charlotte Mason is a terrific one and worked well in the early years but we couldn’t make it fit well for the later years. We use many pieces of the classical approach in our learning, as I require my children to lean hard on logical thought, critical thinking, and reasoning skills in everything that they do. Unschooling is something that worked for us in the early years as well. And we still adopt that loose format for our school years. Hence leaving us with a very eclectic homeschooling method.

I guess it has absolutely worked. My oldest son graduated at 16. My daughter graduated at 17. My thirdborn graduated at 15 and his little brother, currently 14, looks to be graduating by 15. Homeschooling, in all of its methods, has been a wonderful benefit for our family. It has given us time together. It has kept my children safe from all of the nonsense happening in public schools and it has allowed us all years of learning so many things together.

Final Thoughts

I am always happy to help homeschooling families. If you have questions, feel free to contact me or comment below. I will offer as much help and resources as I can.



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homeschooling method

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