Do you know what the best homeschooling style is? | Making Her Mama
Do you know what the best homeschooling style is?

Welcome back to the Getting Started With Homeschooling Series!

If you’re just joining us for the first time you might want to take a look at How to homeschool and where to start & What You Need to Know About Creating Your Homeschooling Schedule.  

Many years into my homeschooling journey I realized how many different homeschooling styles there are!! And honestly, in the beginning I didn’t really care.  But, in hind sight, I think it’s important to discover your homeschooling style.

The great thing about homeschooling is that there is no right or wrong way to do it.  There are so many options and you get to pick what is best for your family!  However there are some major benefits to learning about homeschooling styles.

 

Understanding your homeschooling style or approach can help you to:

 

  • – Find matching curriculums and resources
  • – Stop comparing yourself to others that simply have a different style
  • – Understand what teaching methods work well for your approach
  • – Figure out how to change what isn’t working for you
  • – Know what other styles and options are out there if you want to make changes
  • – Find support from others with similar styles
  • – Look for information on styles that reflect where you would like to be

 

The 10 Major Homeschooling Styles

 

Depending on who you ask, you will get many different answers as to the number of homeschooling styles that are out there.  But, in my travels, these are the 10 that have come up the most often:

  1. Traditional 
  2. Classical 
  3. Waldorf 
  4. Montessori 
  5. Charlotte Mason
  6. Thomas Jefferson
  7. Reggio
  8. Unit Studies
  9. Unschooling
  10. Eclectic

 

So, now that you know the names of the styles, how do you go about figuring out which style is right for you?

 

 

There are some free homeschooling style quizzes that you can take.  They help you see which styles you most identify with.

Eclectic Homeschool  has a quiz with 40 multiple choice questions.  The answers rank your levels for each major homeschooling style.

Rebecca, from Hip Homeschooling, also has a very similar free quiz that you can take.  Based on yes and no answers, you can find out your style with The Homeschool Style Quiz.

 

Let’s look at the major differences in each homeschooling style…

 

Traditional or School-at-home Teaching

 

Struggling to find the right homeschooling resources? Come learn about the top 10 homeschooling approaches and find out which homeschooling style is the best for your family.

For some families, homeschooling looks just like school, only it happens at home.  In this scenario, a family uses the same curriculum, texts, and outcomes to teach and monitor the progress of the student as the public school would.

This is often a very common style for new homeschoolers, especially for those transitioning from public or private school.  For first generation homeschoolers, because our only experience was brick and mortar schools, it is often easiest to replicate what we know.

As with anything, there are pros and cons to this type of homeschooling.  If you have a child that loves workbooks, thrives on achievement and testing, and needs a strict schedule to function then this might be a great homeschooling style for you!  However, it is often a very demanding one on the parent who is teaching.  This can lead to burn out, especially if you are teaching more than one student.

The type A side of me would have thrived on this type of schooling as a kid.   It was the style I tried when we first started homeschooling simply because I didn’t know that there were any other options.  This was not the right style for my oldest son who is a much more active and hands on type of learner.

If traditional homeschooling appeals to you, check out the following resources:

Confessions of a Homeschooler is a blog by a homeschooling mom of 4 who follows a very traditional style of teaching in a beautiful homeschooling classroom.  She has some fabulous resources that she has created!

Popular curriculums that are well suited to traditional schooling include Abeka and Bob Jones University (BJU).

 

Classical Education

 

Classical Education is a style of learning that is language based and very systematic in it’s approach.  The core belief is that children learn in a three stage cycle called the trivium.  In the first stage (usually grades 1-4) children are focussed on the accumulation of facts through memorization.  This is known as the grammar stage.  

The second stage, which occurs during middle school, is the logic stage.  Students move from the acquisition of facts to questioning why and searching for deeper understanding.  

The final phase is the Rhetoric stage.  This begins during the high school years when students learn to express their thoughts and emotions based upon the foundations of knowledge and questioning to form their own opinions.

In order to follow the trivium of learning, subjects and resources are laid out very systematically in a circular pattern for deepening understanding each time around.

To the classical mind, all knowledge is interrelated... ~ Susan Wise Bauer #homeschool Click To Tweet

Classical homeschooling can seem very overwhelming in all it’s rigor, but there are some great resources if this is the path you want to start on.  For more information on Classical Education these resources are excellent.

The Well Trained Mind is a site filled with information for beginning a classical education journey and provides plans and resources.   

Classically Homeschooling is a mom’s blog with great resources and information on how her homeschooling family has made a classical education work for them.

 

Waldorf Style

 

Waldorf Education is a style of teaching the incorporates training for the whole person; mind, body and spirit.  The stages of education mirror the ages and stages of development.  A child moves from a general understanding of the world, to more artistic expression of the world around them, to building an understanding of the world around them based on reasoning and experience.

#Waldorf education enables young people to be in love with the world ~ Marjorie Spock… Click To Tweet

Waldorf education, which was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900’s uses an approach to education that values nature, creative expression, cooperation, play-based learning, and social responsibility.

If you are interested in learning more about Waldorf education you can check out these resources:

Waldorf Homeschoolers has a lot of information on the Waldorf education style and how to get started, plus provides resources for this type of education.  

Donni, the creator of The Magic Onions has some wonderful articles and resources on her blog for bringing creativity and nature into your homeschool journey.

 

Montessori & Home Learning

 

A true Montessori education usually starts with a teacher who has been trained in these methods.  However, many homeschoolers adapt what they read and learn about Montessori learning to fit their homeschool.  

To stimulate life, leaving it free to develop, is the first task to the educator ~ M #Montessori… Click To Tweet

Montessori is a style of education developed by Maria Montessori in the early 1900’s.  She believed in developing the whole child to understand the world around them.  Montessori is best known for it’s child-led learning.  Activities are all interrelated and are set up for the child to learn and play as they desire.

This style of learning also has different goals based on the ages and stages of the student to help guide them toward being self sufficient and independent people.

 

 

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

 

This is the particular style of homeschooling that my family fits into at the moment.  As such, we have several articles that you can read on Charlotte Mason Homeschooling. (Take a look at How do you know if a book is a living book?  and Why I burned my daily homeschool schedule!!)

Charlotte Mason was an English educator back in the late 1800’s.  She believed in equal access to high quality education for all children rather than the class based system that thrived during her time.  Her focus was on training the child, who was already a whole being.

She used twaddle-free literature – examples of well written literature – to teach the children from.  Charlotte Mason felt that it was more important to understand concepts than memorize facts.  Nature study was a large part of the children’s day.

Never be within doors, when you can rightly be without ~ #CharlotteMason #homeschool Click To Tweet

Exposure to multiple topics (art, history, music, etc.) was done throughout the day in small chunks.  This was important to develop the child as a whole and give them something to ponder over. 

To learn more about Charlotte Mason style homeschooling you can visit Ambleside online and Simply Charlotte Mason for information on applying this lifestyle and educational principles.  Both sites also have free curriculum resources for planning out a Charlotte Mason school year.  

Leah, from My Little Robins, is a Charlotte Mason trained teacher who now stays home with her children.  She has some wonderful resources for learning about this method of schooling and adapting it for your homeschool.

 

A Thomas Jefferson Education

 

Also known as Leadership Education, the goal is to raise up the next generation of leaders.  There are 3 major stages of learning based on a child’s age and development.  During the early years (from birth to about 8 yrs old) the focus is on morals, family values, relationships, the value of work, and responsibilities.  Then, as the child matures, learning shifts to developing a love for education and knowledge.  This can come through reading aloud, doing projects, and interest led learning.  Finally, the older child (12-18 yrs old) spends long hours in studying classics and learning from a mentor.

A Thomas Jefferson Education - Know why you do what you do & aim for greatness! #homeschool Click To Tweet

Some great resources for this lesser known style of education include A Thomas Jefferson Education and TJED Mothers where you can find practical resources for applying this method to your homeschooling style.

 

Reggio Emilia Approach

 

This philosophy stemmed from Reggio Emilia, in Italy, during the 1960’s.  The idea is to create an atmosphere that develops the child’s intelligence and desire to learn.  As highly capable, curious learners, children are viewed as capable of creating their own learning opportunities.

Reggio does not require any special training for their teachers.  Instead, a basic understanding of several principles and the set up of the classroom environment is all that is needed.  Child-led investigations, the main basis for Reggio style learning, encourages a deep connection with nature.  Furthermore, an emphasis on exploring and creating is developed through providing open play spaces. 

For parents who want to take their child’s play and learning into their own hands ~ #Spielgaben… Click To Tweet

For more information and deeper understanding of the guiding principles, please visit Spielgaben .  

Kate from An Every Day Story writes about the Reggio methods and how her family uses them in their homeschool setting.  

 

Unit Studies for Learning

 

Struggling to find the right homeschooling resources? Come learn about the top 10 homeschooling approaches and find out which homeschooling style is the best for your family.

 

Unit studies incorporate multi-subject learning around one theme.  For example; if ponds were the unit study (Ponds are on my mind because we just finished our Nature Study on ponds….) then all learning activities would tie into this theme.

Your reading (whether read aloud or independent) would include books about ponds and creatures that live there.  Your math could involve counting specimens from the pond, different species found, numbers of tadpoles, etc.  Also, science could look at ephemeral vs. permanent ponds, the water cycle, or even life cycles in a pond (like tadpoles – have you seen our awesome video?).  Moreover, looking at how ponds affected early settlers can incorporate social studies.  Language arts could be pond related spelling words (like ephemeral – have you noticed yet I really like this word!).  Poems about ponds provide great literature for copywork or dictation.  You get the picture?

There are a ton of online resources if unit studies sound like the way you would like to go.  Check out The Homeschool Mom for getting started and free resources.

Susan Evans has a wonderful tutorial with everything from getting started with unit studies right up to how to create your own unit studies.

 

Unschooling

 

 There is often some confusion about unschooling: unschoolers vs. non-schoolers.

Unschoolers are intentional teachers who usually don’t use any curriculum.  The basis is that every child has a leaning and given the chance to lead they will form their own learning experiences with the facilitation of a teacher or parent.  There is a lot of life learning incorporated into unschooling.  There are plenty of opportunities for discussion and further learning in every day life.

John Holt has a great website that shares his journey into homeschooling and unschooling.

Non-schoolers are people who do not educate their children.  I want to make this clear because we have an obligation to our children to teach them.  I am thankful though that we live in a day and age (and for many of us – a country) where we get to choose HOW that learning happens!  

However, what it looks like can be very different for every home and even every child.  And, unschooling is not non-schooling.  

There are many great resources for unschoolers.  Here are several places you can start to learn more.

Pam from Living Joyfully with Unschooling has a free ebook up on her website for getting started with unschooling.  She also has a ton of informative posts and a podcast you can follow!

Christian Unschooling also has great information for Christian parents who wish to follow an unschooling lifestyle.

 

Eclectic Homeschooling

 

In my experience, a good majority of homeschoolers fit into this style.  Basically if you are not in solid adherence to one teaching and lifestyle approach you are most likely eclectic.  It means you are taking bits and pieces of what you love the best from other styles and mixing them to work for yourx family.

Eclectic Homeschooling is a blog from a mom of 3 homeschooled children.  She has chosen to tailor each of the kids educations to their personalities, interests and learning styles by blending different homeschooling styles.  She has lots of wonderful posts about her family and their homeschooling journey.

 

So, what is the best homeschooling style?

 

It’s the style that works best for you and your family!  And you know best what is right for yourself and your children.

So to recap, there are 10 mainstream homeschooling styles.

  1. Traditional 
  2. Classical 
  3. Waldorf 
  4. Montessori 
  5. Charlotte Mason
  6. Thomas Jefferson
  7. Reggio
  8. Unit Studies
  9. Unschooling
  10. Eclectic

You might fit really well into one of these styles, or perhaps into several of them. But, if you aren’t sure where you fit, take one of the tests mentioned at the beginning of this post to determine your homeschooling style. (Eclectic Homeschool – What kind of homeschooler are you?  or  The Homeschool Style Quiz. by Hip Homeschooling).

So what do you do with all of this information?  Use it!  Use it to find what works for you, your family, and each of your kids!  Furthermore, find friends and support.  See where you are now, and where you would like to be.  Understanding what your natural inclinations are gives you a good place to start.

Was this post helpful?  Or perhaps you want to save it for reading later?  Here’s a pin for your boards!

Do you know what your homeschooling style is? Come learn more about the 10 major styles, find resources and quizzes to determine your homeschooling style...

 

Did you know that I also have a Facebook group for new and seasoned homeschooling parents?  It’s a place for us to share our experiences, find support and ask questions about curriculum and learning resources.  It’s called Homeschool Curriculum 101 and I would love for you to come and join us!

I’m also curious to know what your homeschooling style is!  Did you take one of the tests or do you just know?  Are you happy with what your style currently is or are you working towards something different and new?  Leave me a comment below – I love reading what you have to say!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite homeschooling quotes:

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” ― Mahatma… Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  Want to keep following along in our series?  Sign up in the form below to receive new posts straight to your inbox.  You will also receive a password for full access to my resource library full of printables!

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8 Comments
  • Spring Lake Homestead says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Nadine! I found out that I am an unschooler (no surprise there), with my second highest being tied for project-based (again, not really a surprise), and Thomas Jefferson. I’d never heard of the Thomas Jefferson one, but I love the description. I may end up linking to this article in the future when I discuss homeschooling on my blog again.

    • Nadine says:

      Hey Danielle 🙂 I’m so glad you found it helpful!! I’m a Charlotte Mason unschooler which almost seems like a bit of an oxymoron LOL but it works for us. I hadn’t heard of Thomas Jefferson before either, or Reggio. That would be awesome if you link up in the future! Let me know so I can be sure to visit your site!

  • I think more and more people fit into the Ecletic method as we certainly do. There is a little unschooling, but not all. We do workbooks for math, Charlotte Mason for LA and unit studies for history, science and other subjects. But we also focus a lot on non-traditional subjects like computer science, art and hand crafts.
    I think homesteading, even homesteading lite is one of the best things you can be doing for your boys – which we need to meet someday – I have 4 girls! 😉

    • Nadine says:

      Hi April! Thanks for coming by. I love the focus on arts and hand crafts! I try to incorporate them as much as possilble (though finding it a little harder with boys…..wood work is becoming our go to – and I have a steep learning curve). I love that you have 4 girls! Definitely meant to be in-laws LOL.

  • Hira says:

    Hi,

    I’m a parent completely new to homeschooling.I have 3 kids who attend public school ,but we are starting homeschool them coming Sep. I was too overwhelmed when I started exploring this option and heard these terms. I searched a lot for a good piece on learning styles that could help me decide what suits but couldnt find. Therefore, I decided to enroll them in an online public school i.e. Distance learning ( I think I should call it Traditional style). I joined a local homeschoolers facebook page to dig the styles deep and came across this share.It’s so helpful! After reading it, I feel our style would be eclectic ( blend of Traditional,Waldorf and Thomas Jefferson). However, I really liked the style of Unit Studies. Thanks a lot for it!

  • Sarah says:

    This is such an informative post! I have not heard of a few of these. It is such a belssing to have so many freedoms and choices as homeschoolers!

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Hey, I'm Nadine!

I'm the creator of Making Her Mama & a busy homeschooling mama to 4 boys. I love sharing my experiences to encourage other moms. My family lives on Vancouver Island in Canada where we try to live naturally while raising our kids by faith.
We, at makinghermama.com are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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  • Anyone else a #littlehouseontheprairie fan? We're currently reading #littlehouseinthebigwoods and watching the television series in the evening!! My 9 year old just loves it! And so do I!! IHomschoolNetwork (#ihsnet) has an event once a month celebrating famous people's birthdays! For October, I chose Michael Landon. You can learn all about him and ideas for doing a unit study on him and his role on LHOTP as #charlesingalls. Come find out more about #michaellandon on the blog! Link in my bio.
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