Homeschoolers Living Well

Homeschooling Methods

eschooling Methods - which one? Once you decide to educate your children at home, more than likely you will be asked which method or philosophy you follow. If you are just beginning to explore home education, then you're probably going to be trying to determine which method or philosophy fits your family life the best while also considering your child's learning style.

Click here for some teaching tips for the homeschooling family based on your child's learning style.

Below are some of the most well-known home education methods available.

Click here for some tips on customizing your homeschooling methods.

Charlotte Mason Education

Charlotte Mason was a British educator during the late 1800's and early 1900's. She was passionate in her zeal to lay out the foundations for an effective and complete teaching method that is fun and educational at the same time. Her philosophy, The Charlotte Mason Method, revolves around education being three parts: an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

"Atmosphere" - Charlotte is describing the surroundings in which a child grows up. According to Charlotte's beliefs, children acquire many things from their home environment and atmosphere makes up one-third of a child's education.

"Discipline" - emphasizing and nurturing good habits and character development makes up another third of your child's education.

"Life" - the last third of education applies to the academics and giving your children what she called 'living books' rather than textbooks and facts.

This method focuses on all the core subjects with emphasis placed on classical literature, poetry, fine arts, classical music and craft. Mason used a variety of books from classical literature which she called 'Living Books'. Since this method encourages a passionate awareness of literature, the child is read to daily from the 'Living Books'. After this, the child is asked to narrate what she has heard. This process begins at the age of six and by ten the child is expected to write their narrations in their book. Mason also advocated the use of 'Nature Diaries'. After each short and interesting lesson, the child is asked to go to Nature and draw observations from Nature. Thus the child also gains a respect for her environment. Mason believed development of good character and behavior was essential to the complete development of the child's personality.

Followers of the Charlotte Mason Education Method believe in working with the child's individual interests and learning style.

Classical Homeschooling

This homeschooling method focuses on "trivium" a type of learning that is believed compatible with the way that children's brains naturally learn and develop. Subjects that are taught in the Classical Education Method are Latin, math, world history, arts, and science. It is structured as follows: Grades 1-4 "Grammar Stage" and education during this stage is learning the facts, spelling and phonics rules, math facts, the rules of grammar and stories of history and literature. Grades 5 through 8 make up the second stage or the "Logic Stage". After finding out the facts, children begin to ask "why" as they are starting to think more analytically. Children begin to pay attention to how the facts fit together logically. The high school years make up the the third stage or the "Rhetoric Stage" which builds on the first two stages. The high school student learns to write with originality applying the rules of logic previously learned. Students begin to specialize in whatever area of knowledge interests them.

To read my complete article What Is The Classical Homeschooling Method, click here.

Montessori Homeschooling

Developed from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, this style of teaching aims at duplicating natural laws that a child faces in life. Thus the aim of the teacher is to control the environment and not the child. It was observed that children who are left free to interact with their environment developed an innate self-discipline, love for order and natural curiosity.

The Montessori homeschooling method of teaching is especially suitable to the prescholer who wants to do everything by himself. Finding ways in which your child can participate in the cleaning, washing, cooking, gardening and other 'adult' activities sets the perfect backdrop for the learning experience. By providing such opportunities for independence, the child's self-esteem also gets a huge boost.

Artistic, cultural and scientific activities abound in the Montessori 3-6 class. There is no television, junk food, or computer. Material is selected carefully. The child is never forced to work. Instead he is encouraged to do things that interest him, and the teacher picks up the teaching from cues given by the child. The Montessori method focuses on the child's inborn ability to learn from his surroundings. Thus, the teacher aims to encourage the natural curiosity of the child. He is never forced to learn or explore. When the child understands why he needs to learn something, he will love the learning process.


Unschooling is the most fluid style of homeschooling methods. There is no curriculum and no set boundaries. Many parents feel a bit apprehensive about such freedom. But, even unschooling has certain guidelines that make it a great homeschooling method.

Firstly, allow your child to express interests. Let her select the topic. If she wants to learn about flowers, tell her about the various flowers, their functions, parts of the flower, rare flowers, etc.; but don't go overboard. Allow her the freedom to stop when she has had enough. This process of learning may take a month or a day. It is up to the child to decide how much she wants to learn.

Expand your child's areas of interests using videos, books, magazines, puzzles and games. Go to a museum or take her to a library. Simultaneously, broaden your own interests. The more you know, the more the child gets to learn.

Notice all opportunities for learning. When in the kitchen, point out the vitamins in fruits and vegetables. What makes tomatoes red, and why are leafy vegetables good? If you don't know the answers, don't worry. Look it up. Lastly, don't worry if the going seems slow. This is just the way kids learn. Give them time and lots of encouragement.

For more information about unschooling, click here to read my article Homeschooling - What is Unschooling?

Eclectic Homeschooling

This is a mixture of various homeschooling techniques. Here, the innovative parents trust their own judgment and pick out the topics that make the best curriculum for their child. After all, parents know their children best. Such parents continuously look out for the best products that will meet the needs of their homeschoolers. Most eclectic homeschooling curriculums are improvised. This means that the basic curriculum is ready-made. The parents then make changes in the curriculum to accommodate the individual needs and interests of their children. The child's gifts, temperament, learning style and interests dictate the curriculum. Eclectic programs include visits to the museum, libraries and factories.

To read my complete article What Is the Eclectic Homeschooling Method, click here.

Click here for more on Christian Homeschooling This homeschooling method is based around the lessons found in the Bible. Core subjects are taught with a Biblical perspective, and Christian principles, reasoning and character are emphasized.

Unit Study Model

A unit study homeschooling method is one that takes a broad subject, such as science or art, and uses it to introduce and teach all of the other core subjects. It's a more hands-on and in-depth way of teaching. Basically, you will design all of your core subject lessons around the broad theme, or unit, you've previously chosen.

Our family uses the Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett. Every one that we've used has been awesome; she over-delivers on everything. Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

Traditional Method

The traditional, or structured, form of homeschooling is one that closely resembles the teaching model of 'regular' schools. Planning is necessary as all lessons and subject matter is divided up into the various school 'grades'. Subjects are covered daily and students are tested just as they would be if they were in a traditional school. Also standard with this approach are teacher's manuals and textbooks.

Create Your Own

While there are a number of different homeschooling methods available, you may not find one that fits your family perfectly. There are many homeschoolers out there just like you and what they do is create their own curriculum. They may have their own personal philosophy they're following or they may be taking bits and pieces from several different philosophies. Regardless of which method you use, or if you create your own, you do need to have a general idea of what your philosophy, method or style is.

These are some of the more popular homeschooling methods. Whatever the method, the underlying factor is flexibility and a keen interest in the desires of the child. The secret is to use the child's desire for knowledge to further his education.

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In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6