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Homeschooling Types Styles Methods

Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular, but with the variety of homeschool styles available, it can be difficult to decide which one is the best fit for your family. In this guide, you’ll learn about different styles of homeschooling. From traditional approaches to unschooling, you’ll find a method that fits your family’s needs.

Below, you’ll find videos, podcast episodes, and summaries for methods of homeschooling. Under some of the summaries, you’ll see links to articles that expand upon that particular homeschooling style.

Different Styles of Homeschooling

While the list above is in alphabetical order, the information below is outlined in an order that is more helpful to parents who are learning about homeschooling.

Traditional Homeschooling: School-at-Home

Traditional homeschooling is a structured approach to education where textbooks and workbooks, as well as other traditional teaching materials, are used. The curriculum often follows the same syllabus or course of study that is taught in the public school system and can incorporate core subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social studies.

Most parents start homeschooling their children with a school-at-home approach because it is what they are most comfortable with. Traditional homeschooling usually requires more structure compared to other styles of homeschooling. This style tends to focus on learning content through books and worksheets rather than exploring education in other ways.

When you are following a traditional school-at-home model of homeschooling, you are basically trying to replicate the public school system within your home. You may follow the public school calendar and the timelines that your local school district has set forth. Each school day would look very similar to the school system’s schedule.

Learn more with this podcast episode: The School-at-Home Model

Teacher-Led Education Model

A school-at-home model emulates the public education system. Teaching is led by the parent-teacher. A teacher-led education model tends to rely heavily on curricula that the student is to follow. This is a very different approach than the child-led learning model that is described further down this page.

A Workshop for Parents: Homeschool Your Kids with Confidence by HomeSchool ThinkTank

School-at-Home Model Example Schedule

Your daily schedule may look something like this.

  • 6:30 a.m. Kids get up.
  • 7:00 a.m. Breakfast.
  • 7:30 a.m. Brush Teeth.
  • 8:00 a.m. Start school.
  • 8:15 a.m. Spelling.
  • 8:45 a.m. Math.
  • 9:30 a.m. Recess.
  • 9:45 a.m. Language Arts.
  • 10:30 a.m. Music
  • 11:00 Lunch
  • You get the picture…

Discover more about how you can develop a homeschool schedule that’s right for your family here.

Definition for Education. Definition for Schooling. School vs Education. Blog. Podcast. Video. www.HomeSchoolThinkTank.com

A School-at-Home Model Might Not Be Successful

Does the thought of following this regimented schedule exhaust you? While this is how many homeschooling parents begin their homeschool journey, not many finish it this way.

For homeschoolers, it can be difficult to follow a traditional education school-at-home model. Why? Because as a homeschooling parent, you don’t have the same environment as a school. It’s generally unnecessary to follow a school-at-home model in your home.

While your children are learning from home, it is not necessary to recreate a school environment for your children to be educated. People have been learning long before the school system was created, and they’ll continue to learn long after this model has run its course.

Since following the school-at-home model has been quite ineffective for many homeschool families, there are a variety of other styles that parents use to help educate their children. In reality, most families are eclectic homeschoolers. They simply pick and choose what works best for their kids and situation.

Article and Podcast Episode: School vs Education

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A Note About Publicly Funded K12 Programs

K12 Programs are online public school programs. Utilizing a K12 Program is not the same as homeschooling. K12 Online Programs are funded by the public education system. As a homeschooler, you will likely have to legally register your child as a homeschooled student.

You can learn more about laws and homeschooling requirements here.

When your child is enrolled in a K12 Program, they are a public school student and are not considered a homeschooled student. This difference is significant because when your child is enrolled in the public school system, your options are quite different than when you are truly homeschooling your child.

Learn more about the differences between doing school-at-home as students did during the Covid Pandemic or K12 Programs and true homeschooling here.

What Is True Homeschooling Blog, Article, Video

True Homeschooling vs Public School at Home

Hi! My name is Jackie, and I’m the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank. I want to take a moment to explain the difference and significance between true homeschooling and doing public school at home.

When the Covid Pandemic first broke out, and children around the world were sent home and told to do school at home, the media, parents, and educators alike started calling this homeschooling. While this may not be of significance to parents whose children attend public or private school, it is significant to families who had been homeschooled before the pandemic and to those who homeschool after the pandemic.

This is why I coined the phrase, true homeschooling. Throughout the HomeSchool ThinkTank website and podcast, I needed a way to differentiate between doing public school or private school at home during the pandemic and true homeschooling.

Discover more about true homeschooling here.

The Word Homeschooling Is a Legal Designation

Due to the variety of homeschooling approaches and flexibility in lifestyle, true homeschooling is quite different than doing public school at home. From educational approaches to lifestyle opportunities, the choices that true homeschoolers have are simply not available to those who are doing private or public school at home.

Here are two key aspects to keep in mind when using the word homeschooling.

  1. The word homeschooling is a legal designation. Parents who are truly homeschooling their children generally have to notify the public education system where they live that they are homeschooling children.
  2. If you have done public school at home during the pandemic, it’s important for you to understand that doing school at home through the public school system does not begin to resemble true homeschooling.

Learn more: True Homeschooling vs Public School at Home

What Is A Homeschool Philosophy. Blog, Podcast, Video. www.HomeSchoolThinkTank.com

HomeSchool ThinkTank’s Philosophy for Homeschooling Your Kids

At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we believe that our philosophy is the secret to homeschooling your kids successfully.

Homeschooling works best when you focus on connection, community, and education.

  1. Connection.
  2. Community.
  3. Education.

This philosophy can be integrated with any style of homeschooling that you choose.

Learn more about our homeschool philosophy here.

How do you define learning? Blog, Podcast, & Video.

Three Basic Steps to Learning

In essence, there are three steps to learning.

  1. Acquire information.
  2. Practice, play with, or otherwise use the information that you have acquired.
  3. Share the information.

As you review the various homeschooling methods, consider how you can help your child acquire new information, then how they can play with or utilize that information, and finally how they can share their knowledge.

These three steps are at the core of effective education.

Discover more information about learning here.

HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast Map. 80+ Countries & Growing!

HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast Episode:

Explore the Different Styles of Homeschooling to Find the Right Fit for Your Family

In this episode of the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast, you’ll learn about many different styles of homeschooling. From a classical education to unschooling, we cover the gamut of homeschool methods. If you’re new to the world of homeschooling, this is a must-listen episode.

We suggest following the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Learn more about our podcast here.

Eclectic Homeschooling Approach

While we’re going to explain various homeschooling types, you don’t have to marry any particular style of homeschooling. Throughout your years of homeschooling, you’ll likely adjust your approach to homeschooling your kids.

When you’re an eclectic homeschooler, you’re simply cherry-picking from various curricula and homeschooling styles. In essence, you’re doing what works best for your family.

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Curriculum for Homeschooling. Homeschool Curriculum. HomeSchool ThinkTank.com

Curriculum-Based Method of Homeschooling

Most people start homeschooling by using a curriculum-based, teacher (parent) driven method. Using curriculum can be a great way to help your children learn about nearly anything. However, it’s important to note that curriculum should be used as a guideline to help your children progress with their education.

It’s okay to take longer or less time on concepts as needed. Sometimes you may want to skip some parts of the curriculum. At other times, you’ll want to find other ways to help your child learn a concept. In essence, remember that curriculum is available to support your child’s educational journey, but there are also many other ways for your child to learn.

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What Is Curriculum? How To Use Your Educational Homeschool curriculum. www.HomeSchoolThinkTank.com

What Is Curriculum?

A curriculum is basically a series of lessons that are generally laid out in a linear pattern so that a person can learn specific information. Oftentimes, a curriculum is singularly focused, such as on math, history, or reading.

What is a linear pattern? It’s basically a straight line. In education, a linear pattern is a straightforward path to learning specific information. For example, we might learn history from ancient times to modern times. We learn math in a logical order. As you teach your children to read, they progress from easy books to difficult books.

When creating a curriculum, a company or a person lays out lessons that have the potential to help another person learn specific information.

It is important to recognize that there is no curriculum that was created specifically for your child. As a result, there probably isn’t a curriculum that is perfect for your child. However, there are some excellent curriculum options available that work well for many children.

As a homeschooling parent, it’s important to be adaptable. When your child is struggling or isn’t challenged enough, be flexible so that you can help your child make progress on their educational journey.

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Circular vs Linear Learning

The human brain doesn’t always work in a linear pattern. Oftentimes, people learn better in a more circular way.

Here’s an example of circular learning.

Your child might read one of Rick Riordan’s books from the 39 Clues series and suddenly become interested in Russian history. This could spur an interest in the Romanov family that could then trickle into other subject areas. Your child might start drawing portraits of Anastasia Romanov. In addition to drawing portrait’s of the Romanov family, your child reads and talks about the Romanov family excessively. Eventually, her interest in the Romanovs leads to more reading about historical events in that era.

Year’s later, your child’s past interest in the Romanov’s leads to a discussion around ethics when she mentions that this disturbing and sad history was poorly and lightly portrayed in a children’s movie.

In general, it’s more interesting to learn in a circular pattern where subject areas intertwine. This way of learning is generally self-driven, much more natural, and leads to deeper learning.

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Concept Based Learning Approach

A concept based learning approach is an excellent way to guide your child’s education or to supplement their curriculum. When you use a concept-based approach, your goal is to help your child get the “big idea” or understand and overall idea rather than to complete the curriculum.

For example, if you are helping your child learn to add, you could follow a math curriculum. You could also help your child learn how to add by playing games with them. The goal isn’t to finish the curriculum, but to help your child learn to add.

The same could be said for studying world history. If you’re studying Egypt, you could simply follow a history curriculum. However, you could also watch documentaries, read books, go to a museum exhibit, and play games that revolve around Egyptian history. Again, the goal isn’t to complete curriculum, the goal is to understand the history of Egypt.

Listen to the podcast episode to understand more about using a concept based learning approach.

Podcast Episode: Concept-Based Learning for Homeschooled Students

Teaching Methods for Inspiring the Students of the Future

TEDx Talk with Joe Ruhl

In this video, Joe Ruhl demonstrates a variety of ways that students approach learning in his classroom. This is an excellent representation of the many different ways kids can learn.

According to Joe Ruhl, the National Education Association has identified the last four C’s on the list below as essential 21st-century skills that kids should learn. Mr. Ruhl has added the first C of choice to the list.

Essential 21st-Century Skills for Kids to Learn

  1. Choice
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Creativity

While this talk is aimed at classroom teachers, as a homeschooling parent and educator, you can also incorporate these components into your child’s homeschool day.

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Introduction to Deschooling

When children have been attending a traditional public or private school, you might hear veteran homeschooling parents say that you need to deschool before you homeschool.

As part of attending a traditional school, children learn to wait to be told what to do and what to learn. Most homeschooling parents want their children to be more self-driven and curious. The purpose of deschooling is for a child to learn to follow their own curiosity and learn because they want to.

You might like this article about the impact that compulsory schooling has on children.

Learn more about deschooling here.

What Is A Classical Education Method of Homeschooling? Blog. Post. Video. www.HomeSchoolThinkTank.com

Homeschool Styles: A Classical Education Introduction

Classical education began in ancient Rome & Greece with philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, & St. Augustine. While this method of education has ancient roots, it still has value as an educational philosophy today.

A classical education model is based on a combination of learning about the Seven Liberal Arts & reading the Great Books.

The Classical Education process is broken into three stages of learning that are called the trivium

  1. Grammar Stage: 1st-4th grades.
  2. Logic Stage: 5th-8th grades.
  3. Rhetoric Stage: 9th-12th grades.

“Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind.

The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study.

In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments.

In the high school years, they learn to express themselves.

This classical pattern is called the trivium.

Susan Wise Bauer, What Is A Well Trained Mind? June 3, 2009. Well Trained Mind. Accessed November 14, 2021.

Learn more about the classical education method of homeschooling here.

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Homeschool Styles: Unit Studies Approach to Homeschooling

When using a unit studies approach to homeschooling, you’ll choose a topic or theme to study and integrate a variety of subject areas. This can be an effective way to help children learn at their own pace. Older kids can do more advanced work, while younger children advance as developmentally appropriate.

Your family can study a topic together, or each child can choose their own topic to study.

Three Steps to Make a Unit Study

  1. Choose a topic to study.
  2. Brainstorm questions about the chosen topic with your kids.
  3. Find materials to learn from.

In this video, Torrie Oglesby defines a unit study as “an exploration of any topic that you and your kids want to explore.”

Integrate These Ways to Learn Into Your Unit Studies

  • Books.
  • Videos.
  • Printables.
  • Museums.
  • Nature centers.
  • National parks and monuments.

Check out DK Books to springboard your next unit study.

How Long Should a Unit Study Be?

  • Mini-unit studies are generally less than four weeks long.
  • A more comprehensive unit study is generally four to seven weeks long.
  • There aren’t any rules. A unit study can last as long as your children have an interest in the subject.

Listen to this podcast episode about unit studies.

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A Workshop for Parents: Homeschool Your Kids with Confidence by HomeSchool ThinkTank

Homeschool Styles: Project Based Learning

Project based learning is just what it sounds like. Your child is doing a project to learn.

In essence, your child needs to be interested in and choose the project.

The key difference between a unit study and project based learning is that there is a public product that will be shared from a project-based learning experience.

Seven Project Design Elements of Project-Based Learning

The Buck Institute defines the following seven project design elements of project-based learning.

  1. Challenging problem or question.
  2. Sustained inquiry.
  3. Authenticity.
  4. Student voice and choice.
  5. Reflection.
  6. Critique and revision.
  7. Public product.

Questions to Help Your Child Get Started with Project-Based Learning

  1. What do you care about?
  2. What do you want to accomplish?
  3. Who do you want to help?
  4. How do you want to get started?
  5. Who will you share your project with?

Get more information, ideas, and examples of project-based learning in this episode of the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.

Fun Math Games For Homeschooled Kids - Really For All Kids... Blog, Video, Podcast

Homeschool Styles: Gameschooling

Gameschooling is about playing games as a way to help educate your children. From board games to yard games, your family will have lots of fun.

Listen to this podcast episode about gameschooling on the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.

Discover Educational Games to Play With Your Family

Learn about fun and educational games that you can play with your kids in the links below.

What Is Strewing? Blog Podcast Video

Strewing

In a nutshell, strewing is setting items out with the intention of your children discovering them. Ultimately, you’re hoping that they pick up the book, play the game, examine the rock collection, or play with toys that may have been forgotten.

Check out this blog post and podcast episode about strewing.

Outdoor Learning Models: Wild Schooling and Forest Schooling

Learning Outdoors Forest Schooling and Wildschooling

Some homeschooling families intentionally integrate outdoor learning models year-round.

See this article and podcast episode to learn more about wild schooling and forest schooling.

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Online Homeschool Parent Meetups

Self-Directed Child Led Learning

Child-led learning is what it sounds like. The child leads their own learning. Sometimes you might hear this called play-based learning, self-directed learning, or delight-direct learning. Watch the video below for more information.

Listen to this podcast episode on the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.

What Is Unschooling? Homeschooling 101. Blog & Video

Unschooling: Another Homeschooling Style

Families who unschool often use a variety of different methods to guide their children’s education. Unschoolers don’t generally rely on curriculum for education, but the child can use curriculum if it suits him or her.

The key component of an unschooling approach is that it is more of a child-led, or play-based, learning model. However, don’t confuse unschooling with a lack of education. Parents who unschool their children with intention tend to focus on creating an excellent learning environment for their kids.

Parents who unschool their children frequently use strewing techniques, go on field trips to museums, play games, and are frequent library patrons. While education is important, following the traditional school model isn’t important to these families.

See this article, video, and podcast episode for helpful information about unschooling.

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Homeschool Styles: Roadschooling and Worldschooling

What is roadschooling? Roadschooling is homeschooling while traveling. You might stay in short-term rentals or even homeschool out of a motorhome. When you roadschool, you’ll take advantage of local educational opportunities, science museums, botanical gardens, and other beautiful places like the National Parks.

So what’s the difference between roadschooling and worldschooling? Basically, when you roadschool, you’re limiting yourself to where roads can take you. When you’re worldschooling, you’re travelling overseas to explore new areas.

The concepts of world schooling and road schooling are the same. You’re homeschooling while traveling and integrating learning through experiences and personal observations. Rather than just reading or watching a documentary about an area, you’re going there and experiencing another culture or place first-hand.

Learn more about roadschooling here.

Discover more about worldschooling here.

How to Homeschool Your Kids: Step by Step Guide to Homeschooling Your Children. Blog, Podcast, Video at www.HomeSchoolThinkTank.com

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Helpful Information About Homeschooling

Is Homeschooling the Right Decision for Your Family?

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