There are many different types of homeschooling methods or teaching strategies out there and there is no one right way to homeschool. Every family finds a style that works for them and it is not uncommon to meet a family who has changed how they homeschool as their children grow and change. And, while each style has its own definition, few people operate purely in one style.
For new homeschoolers, the possibilities can feel overwhelming at first. Read as much as you can about different types of homeschooling strategies that interest you, talk to people who are already homeschooling and go with your gut and what you know to be true about your family. Check out this amazing book on Homeschooling Methods for even more information.
Types Of Homeschooling
Unschooling – Unschooling is exactly what it sounds like – there is nothing formal and there is no set plan. Unschoolers prefer to let their children take the lead and follow their interests. This is not a “cover” for setting your child up in front of a video game every day. Instead, unschoolers might follow their child’s love of animals with trips to the zoo, hiking to study local wildlife, creating back yard maps of birds and animals close to home and lots of reading on the subject. When the child’s focus changes, the focus of the “unschool” family changes.
Internet School – Many families are discovering ways to blend public school with homeschooling. Several states offer full internet-based curriculum free to residents and at a fee to non-residents. You can do an entire grade online or just one or two classes. Each class has its own real teacher who offers email and phone support as needed. The only time children who do full internet school set foot in a classroom is for yearly standardized testing.
There are also a wide range of online classes and opportunities for homeschoolers that are not tied to any public school system – some free and some are fee-based.
Internet school can be a great option if you are pulling an older student who is capable of working fairly independently out of school.
Charlotte Mason – The Charlotte Mason method emphasizes that kids learn through play and real-life experiences. Emphasis is placed on play, field trips, and outdoor activities. Children demonstrate their knowledge through discussions and narrations rather than testing. Read more about the Charlotte Mason method here.
School-At-Home – This method of homeschooling usually involves purchasing a full curriculum for each child. All the plans, reading and tests are included. Not only is this method expensive, it tends to burn the parent-teacher out quickly. Many parents modify school packages to make it less time and labor intensive.
Unit Studies – Families who use unit studies as a means of learning focus on one subject – historical, scientific, fiction – and build a study that last 1-6 weeks around that subject. All other subjects are taught in conjunction with the focus of the unit. If a unit study is based on Ancient Rome you might study vocabulary about Ancient Rome, read books, recreate early science and math experiments, study maps of Ancient Rome, build models of Roman sites and maybe recreate an archaeological dig in in the back yard.
Classical Homeschooling – Based on the model of schooling begun in the Middle Ages, Classical Homeschooling breaks learning down to three stages, called the Trivium. Early grammar school students focus on memorizing, learn history through stories and living books, mastering the basics of reading, writing and math. As children approach sixth grade they reach the Logic Stage. Subjects like Latin, Logic, and Philosophy are introduced. Children are also taught to write and think logically. By high school, all of the preparation comes together in the Rhetoric Stage. This stage focuses on communication – writing, thinking and communicating clearly and logically on any subject. The ultimate goal of Classical Homeschooling is to raise children who know how to find information, digest it, verify it and communicate it.
*Be sure to read The Well Trained Mind: A Guide To Classical Education
Eclectic Homeschooling – Eclectic Homeschooling is the reality for most homeschooling families. As you travel on your homeschool journey, you find yourself picking and choosing parts of all the methods that work and do not work for your family. That mix is constantly changing.
There is no right or wrong way to homeschool. Take into account your lifestyle, your tolerance for mess and for planning ahead and also consider how your child learns best. Enjoy the flexibility afforded by homeschooling and try a little bit of everything.
You might also like:
- 6 Things About The Montesorri Method
- 5 Things About The Woldorf Method
- What you should know about the Charlotte Mason method