There are so many different types of homeschooling styles out there, and if you are new to this side of education, it might be a lot to interpret at first. You dont really need to set a distinct standard in order to homeschool, but knowing what method of homeschooling you relate to can open the door to many education options that could make your job as a parent-teacher so much easier to manage.
This article does not go into detail about all the different styles of homeschooling but is a review of the methods I have implemented in my children’s education and my personal experiences to help you make more informed decisions and create a stronger game plan for your own homeschooling efforts.
Don’t worry about what anyone else does, because they are not the ones teaching your kids. However, it can be very helpful to learn from other homeschool parents’ experiences and my goal is to help everyone make more informed choices to keep them from struggling as I did in my early days as a home educator.
I want you to discover your own homeschooling style and find the best possible way to teach your students at home.
Hey there, my name is Jerromy and I am all about that homeschooling life!
I was homeschooled on a farm and I do my best to apply the same values I was brought up with as I teach my own children at home to this very day.
My main goal is to help other homeschooling parents make educated decisions about their kids’ schooling by providing resources and information to help them avoid the mistakes I have made on my journey homeschooling my kids.
If you are new to homeschooling, check out my article on how to get started the easy way.
Affiliate Disclosure: This site DOES contain affiliate links throughout. All this means is if you follow a link on any of my pages and make a purchase, I could receive a commission or referral reward, all at no extra cost to you!
If you want to learn how to get started making money online while homeschooling, click the image below!
Traditional Homeschooling is usually the “go-to”
This take on homeschooling mimics the average classroom setting closely to provide some of the same structure that is included in a public school setting and can be an easy to implement option for those who are new to homeschooling or have children that have already spent dome time in a traditional school setting.
In most cases, you can find the exact curriculum that is offered in your school district and either pay for the resources out of pocket or find a virtual option that offers an online public school, but this falls close to virtual public school and you may have to enroll your children just as you would at a brick and mortar public school.
Don’t feel like you need to commit to your school district’s specific education plan; you can merely adapt your curriculum around the model in a way that fits your exact lifestyle.
You will likely need a lot more supplies with this approach to give things a “school-house” feel, but setting it up is half of the fun!
Desks, chalkboards, grade books, like four random protractors, construction paper, and all that other good stuff that is on the school supplies lists will also be commonplace in your home if you choose this path.
You will know if this method isn’t for you
Traditional homeschooling is great for highly motivated parents of highly motivated children; this is not my family.
When we are motivated, there is nothing that will stop us from achieving our goals; it just takes us awhile to work up the energy sometimes. We always meet our deadlines though, so working under pressure has become an artform in my household. Which is really a good skill to have in certain situations, especially when the work turns out to be top notch somehow. My only setback with this is the fact that we could achieve so much more than we do, but its hard to pass up on those little moments where nothing is really happening and you can just experience life in the moment without worry.
Those tiny slivers of time seem to be forgotten in traditional schooling, which is why it didn’t work out well for my family, but I am certain that with a little determination, you could easily achieve success through this method of teaching your kids at home.
- Familiar setting for some kids
- Easy to implement structure
- Materials are easy to obtain
- Tried and true
- Often carries a high demand lesson plan
- State tests will apply in most cases
- Might have a higher overhead cost if you have a larger family; cost of multiple curricula, desks, supplies, etc.
Unschooling is a Great Option for Less Stress
There are no real “set standards” for unschooling, and this method embodies the spirit of homeschooling with a more relaxed and student-led approach to learning.
Unschooling puts education in the kids’ hands, which makes scheduling a breeze. Rather than making them do school at set times, you set them up to learn on the move and in a multitude of ways throughout their day.
You don’t even really need a curriculum until they get into middle school (5th – 8th), because you can focus on things like behavior, motor skills, social habits, or even just letting them play more before they start their path to adulthood!
When they get older, they can begin to focus more on careers that interest them and have ALOT more time to focus on building the necessary skills that will take them far in their chosen field.
This approach to homeschooling is built around the idea that kids will learn what they need to learn regardless, and I actually get behind this thought as well. It is up to the parent to decide what is an acceptable level of education for each child and cater the education efforts to their specific interests and learning styles.
- No testing requirements (in most cases)
- Pick and choose what, where, and when to learn
- Easy to implement in day to day life as a parent
- hard to manage at times
- can lack structure
- up to the parent-teacher to create the entire lesson plan (generally)
- requires a certain level of motivation
- Will require supplemental social activities
Overall, I feel like this approach is best for beginners because you can really show your kids how easy homeschooling can be. If they stay motivated and complete an acceptable amount of work each week that meets a set (by you) standard, you know this is a good fit.
On the other hand, it is extremely easy to fall behind and procrastinate with this method, which can have negative effects if left unchecked. If you take this approach, and it doesn’t seem like your kids can stay on track or maybe fall behind in their studies, consider taking a more traditional or eclectic homeschooling approach for a while to see if your children do better in one of those settings.
Unschooling is a great fit for families that have:
- Lifestyle full of travel
- Parents that work from home
- Less strict parenting model and want to translate that to schooling
- Motivated kids who love to learn
- Have varied interests and learning styles among children
Eclectic Homeschooling is Good for Self-Starters
This homeschooling method carries traits from both traditional and unschooling but is more hyper-focused in areas that are based on your children’s individual talents and learning styles. Consider Eclectic Homeschooling a more traditional approach to Unschooling in the fact that you have a more rigorous curriculum and lesson plan to push your children in the areas they actually want to succeed in.
What you teach them outside that is up to you, and in some cases the children, though I do recommend covering all the core subjects no matter what method you choose. In fact, your curriculum will likely consist of multiple platforms, resources, and courses that teach your child what they want to learn in the best way for them so it can evolve or devolve as needed to fit their specific learning interests.
Lesson plans can be as strict or lenient as needed to help kids achieve their own goals in a timely fashion. Often in these cases, the children will be eager to get more work done because they are able to choose when and what they learn, you just have to provide the where.
Pros/Cons: Eclectic Homeschooling
- Student specified curricula help retain motivation
- Planning stages are more student-centered
- Easy to implement hyper-focused STEM strategies with this path
- The lesson plan and curriculum evolve with the student’s knowledge
- Takes a little experience
- Can rack up a high bill for all the different resources (depending)
- Requires a higher level of motivation
This method might not be ideal for beginners, simply because you will need to know exactly what your child wants to learn, and the best way to go about it based on their individual learning style.
I would try unschooling first for a semester or two just to get a better feel for what your child will benefit from and give yourself time to gather the necessary resources to keep them busy and advance them at a pace that is set just for them.
Eclectic homeschooling would be great for parents of students who know what they want out of life and want to achieve it quickly. Someone who wants to be a software engineer, for instance, can start learning the coding fundamentals in middle school that will slingshot them into a career or the pursuit of higher education once they graduate. Why stop there though, they have every opportunity to be a master in their field before they ever start working if they are dedicated enough!
A big setback that can come with an eclectic approach is the ability to skip over important information that might be relevant to areas outside their individual education interests. While they will most likely learn these things in their own time, a child who loves art more than math, might not be as prepared for finances as someone who spent their entire life solving complex formulas. While the math guru might not understand how to de-stress properly or appreciate the small moments in life like the artist does.
***If this concerns you, I would seek a more standardized approach to homeschooling in a traditional format so you can be sure your child is receiving a quality, balanced education from home that prepares them in the way you see fit.***
Deciding on a Single Homeschooling Method
Selecting a single discipline to base your homeschooling efforts around will be a difficult task if you are trying to follow them word for word; the best approach is to educate yourself and build your own unique style of homeschooling based on your research as well as your kid’s respective learning styles and the teaching styles of you as their parents. It is all subjective!
There are no right or wrong answers, just a lot of information to sort through, so don’t overthink it; As long as you keep your kid’s best interest at heart, making the best decision will be a no-brainer, I promise.
I have made many mistakes in my time as a home educator, but they have helped me become a better learner as well which is extremely important. Choosing the right path through this lifestyle can seem overwhelming at first, but once you just start following your kids’ lead, everything will fall into place.
Do what you do best and go with your gut feelings, you are in charge of your kids education, make it the best it can be! You are doing great!
Do what works best for your family
While there are so many different styles of homeschooling out there, a hybrid of Unschooling and Eclectic learning is the ideal setting for at-home students and parent-teachers alike. You can teach students in a way that makes sense to them, and there are options for any teaching style or lesson plan you may prefer!
How we “unschool” at our house
Our average school day consists of more time outside or playing games as a family than it does actual schoolwork, but we do take an eclectic approach when our kids show an interest in a subject area to make sure they learn what they want effectively.
We don’t have bedtimes, screen-time limits, dietary restrictions, faith or belief systems, and no real standards for an education past what they NEED in order to contribute and better themselves and their community.
We let them exist as they would as adults, with real consequences for their actions so they can experience life in real-time and realize that they are in control of what happens to them (for the most part) instead of being told which line to follow because we all know that path doesn’t work for everyone.
When behaviors get bad, we start to remove the things we believe to be responsible; anything that encourages bad behavior exceeds their respective maturity level or promotes ideologies we deem to be toxic to their development.
Other than that we make sure they are learning SOMETHING every day no matter what it is; the amount of work they do is ultimately up to them.
What my unschooled kids knew before age 10
Our children learn through experience more than anything else, and the results really cannot be argued with as far as I am concerned:
My oldest is designing and coding his own video game. He wants to be running his own business at 18. I will see that it happens before he is 12. He is money-minded, but I see that as a good thing because currency is a major part of how we live in today’s world; something I was never really taught to understand other than paying bills and buying food cost money, etc. All things I can help him understand now to save him trouble in the future.
Second son learned how to read from Minecraft and is probably going to be an engineer of some sort. He likes to be the boss, and I can help him focus on developing better soft-skills that are necessary for being a good leader as well as the technical skills he will need to possess in whatever field he decides to follow.
Middle kid is the most determined little dude on the planet and he isn’t afraid to voice his opinions. He has passion, and at home he can learn how to channel it into creativity or production in a setting that is beneficial to him and .literally built around what he needs to achieve success. I dont know what his niche in life is just yet, but he is learning all sorts of stuff from his brothers that will either help him decide or become proficient in many things, all of which can be catered too individually. However, I can 100% see him being a lawyer or public servant of some form.
My Youngest Son is a super hard worker, and there is no job too big or to small for him. He always brings 150% to whatever he does and failure is not an option. He will most likely be a tradesman of some sort simply because he loves to work with his hands. Always fixing stuff or tearing it apart to see how it works so he can make it work better, I see a bright future of honest work ahead of him that I can prepare him for by allowing him to spend more time exploring the many options he has in life while he is still a child instead of giving him schoolwork that he cares nothing about.
My youngest and only daughter is probably the most interested in learning out of all my kids, and spends about as much time as her brothers combined on learning activities. She is always on ABC Mouse, Homer, or Codespark and knows how to count to 20 and her entire alphabet and she is only two years old! She also possesses an inate ability to choose complementary colors when she paints, and she is actually very good for someone who has only been painting for a year!