Homeschooling Styles

Resources for Exploring Various Homeschooling Methods

Homeschooling is a term that encompasses a spectrum of educational methods from highly structured to no structure. There are as many ways to homeschool as there are families homeschooling. Explore the various methods and choose which works for you and your child.

The Charlotte Mason Approach

Charlotte Mason was a 19th Century educator and teacher. She developed a literature-based education, founded on reading real (“living”) books, short lessons, narration, copywork and dictation, and nature study. She encouraged parents and educators to avoid “twaddle” (graded readers, etc.) and textbooks, and instead use good literature as the basis for the school curriculum.

Popular books on utilizing this method:

Web sites:

Classical Education

Many families who want to offer a liberal arts education to their children, including lessons in Greek and Latin, as well as formal instruction in logic, opt for the Classical Education approach. This method is based on the Trivium, an educational philosophy used in ancient Greece and Rome. Education is divided into three stages, Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. Grammar (grades 1-6) is at the heart of the Grammar stage, as well as memorization of facts, figures, and basic skills. The Dialectic stage (grades 7-9) deal with logic, or understanding the why and how behind all the facts they learned in the grammar stage. The final stage, Rhetoric (grades 10-12+) focuses on reasoning and applied logic, explaining and using this learned knowledge to create new ideas and also applying them to real and hypothetical life situations.

Books about Classical Homeschooling:

Web Sites related to Classical Education:

Delayed Academics

Dr. Raymond Moore, and his wife Dorothy, pioneers of the modern homeschooling movement, created this approach. The Moore Formula focuses on a balance of Study, Work, and Service. Formal academics are not begun until the ages of 8-10, and once formal study is begun, the child’s interests are the focus of unit studies created by the parent to teach basic skills as well as content subjects. Informal learning before the age of 8 happens as the child works and plays within the family.

Web Sites pertaining to Delayed Academics:

Books Pertaining to the Moore Formula/Delayed Academics:

Eclectic Homeschooling

Eclectic, by definition, means combining different philosophies or styles, and that is what eclectic homeschoolers do. They select whichever materials and methods best fit their children, and frequently adjust to suit the needs of the family and children. Not tied in to only one method or style, they can create a totally unique homeschooling atmosphere based on their children’s needs, interests, and strengths.

Books about Eclectic Homeschooling:

Web Links for Eclectic Homeschooling:

Unit Study Method

The Unit Study Method of homeschooling, sometimes called thematic units or integrated studies, involves creating units of study which link multiple subjects around a common topic or theme, rather than teaching the subjects as separate courses. This method lends itself very well to hands-on learning, teaching several different ages at once, and creating a natural atmosphere for exploration and learning. Many packaged unit studies are available, and some parents create their own units based upon their children’s interests.

Books on Unit Study Method:

Unit Study Web Sites:


Unschooling is not easily defined. When John Holt, the “father” of the modern homeschooling movement, coined the phrase, he simply defined it as any learning that took place outside of conventional schooling. Since then, it has evolved to encompass many ways of natural learning; trusting children will learn what they need to know as they find a need to know it. Traditional curriculum is usually shunned in favor of following a child’s interests. Parents are viewed more as facilitators and mentors rather than teachers, although teaching can be a part of the process, but it is at the initiation of the child rather than the adult.

Books on Unschooling:

Unschooling Web Sites:

Waldorf Homeschool Method

Waldorf Education is based upon the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, who developed a philosophy called Anthroposophy. A Waldorf curriculum is based on the developmental stages of the child’s awakening consciousness, with a heavy emphasis on the role of the teacher to nurture and guide the children. Steiner believed all children pass through the same three developmental stages at about the same time, with few exceptions. The first stage begins at birth and continues losing of the baby teeth, and education at this stage focuses on fairy tales and archetypal stories, carefully chosen to teach moral principles and are used to introduce alphabet and number concepts. The second stage begins at the eruption of permanent teeth and continues through the onset of puberty, and the focus is on the child’s emotional nature. The third stage, adolescence, is when reasoning predominates, and the child develops his independence and own personal way of interacting with the world around him.


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©2002, Susan McGlohn. All rights reserved.

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