There are loads of different types of homeschool methods and when you are a beginner homeschooler they can feel a bit overwhelming at first. However, sorting through the different homeschool methods and comparing them to your child’s learning style and your teaching style can help you to come up with the most effective method for homeschooling.
Every homeschooling family has different homeschooling styles based on their kids needs. We all do unique things to help our child learn and process information in a way that’s going to help the information stay in their head. While some people will follow certain methods strictly there are quite a few of us who prefer to blend a few different methods.
In our own home we do what I call relaxed guided unschooling. Essentially, I let my son decide what he wants to learn based on topics that I introduce to him that he takes interest in. I often need to introduce topics multiple times to him till he retains the information I’m giving or until he finally takes an interest in it.
We do not fight over learning, so if a video of a topic doesn’t interest him and he runs off to play I don’t fight it. I either find a different video or continue to add the video into his playlist for the day until he takes interest in it and learns from it.
In our house we pick our battles, education should never be a battle but something that is fun and enjoyable. This is because I want my son to go on into adulthood with the knowledge that continuous education is necessary for life. Things do not stay the same, things progress, and it’s important to stay up to date on new tech, social, and historical events in life.
In order to achieve this goal of lifelong love of learning I need to make education as fun as possible for my kid now. So our method is based on nurturing his natural learning styles and what he enjoys doing.
Today I want to help you to figure out which method or blending of methods is right for your homeschooling journey. As a previous homeschooled child who is now homeschooling her own child I have a couple of fantastic tips to choosing the right plan for you.
First, I want to talk a bit about Deschooling for kids who are being pulled from a public or private school education to be homeschooled.
What is Deschooling?
When you first pull your child from a traditional school setting you may find that that your kid simultaneously doesn’t want to do things the way they did it in school while also rejecting new ways of learning. They are used to their current school system and change can sometimes be difficult, deschooling helps to break those structures and systems to make education fun for your child.
Because of this it’s important to take time to adapt from traditional school to your new homeschooling journey. Deschooling is the time period between the two where you will get to know your kid’s learning style. Communicate with your child about the different learning styles to come up with a homeschooling plan that works for you both.
Deschooling is a time period in which you can begin the healing process if your child is coming out of a traumatic experience in school. For every year that your child was in school you may need about a month to undo the schooling experience.
During this time your focus could be on meeting with other homeschoolers, doing lots of field trips, watching documentaries, reading, and building a love for education again through experience. You may want to explore different homeschooling methods to find one you and your child can agree to.
Take time to deschool your child so you together can build an education program that they will enjoy. Be honest about how schooling this year is more about finding what works best and next year schooling will likely look a lot different.
Types Of Homeschooling Methods
Now, let’s get you familiar with the different types of homeschool methods. In this section you will find brief overviews of each of the different methods, you can find additional information on different homeschooling methods here or by searching Google for the methods you are most interested in. There are loads of blogs focused on each of these methods that can give you a more in depth look.
Traditional homeschooling falls in line with the traditional classroom model found in all public and private schools. The child does unit studies, completes work, tests, and is assigned solo reading and studying.
Each subject will likely have its own textbook and there are daily assignments given out. Like in a public or private school setting there are also tests given.
Traditional homeschooling is best for kids who enjoy learning by lecture or reading. It’s also good for kids who are used to public or private school and need a year of school looking fairly normal at home. Traditional homeschooling is great for kids who thrive in a strict schedule.
The Worldschooling method is best for families who spend a lot of time traveling. Worldschooling is about turning travels into educational opportunities teaching the student about the world around them. There is often a holistic approach to learning with Worldschooling and a lot of hands-on experience.
Worldschoolings will cost quite a bit of money as you spend your time traveling and immersing your family into the culture around you. You will also need to spend a bit of time planning out your trips to make sure you are meeting expectations of your home state’s guidelines for learning.
As previously mentioned, Worldschooling is best for families who like to travel. Your students should be adaptable to change, enjoy learning through hand-on experience, and prefer a more unstructured daily schedule.
Unschooling is not freeing your child from learning but rather putting your child’s education decisions in their hands. Your child learns things that truly interest them instead of being forced to learn something that they don’t really care about.
The unschooling approach looks like this: if my child wants to learn everything he can about penguins, he’s going to learn about different habitats, directions, continents, distances, reproductive cycles, life cycles, food cycles, etc. He’s going to be learning about geography, math, and science, all while reading (which in 1st grade he’s learning to read) and practicing his writing by filling out worksheets on Penguins.
Unschooling is taking one topic your child is extremely interested in and letting them explore everything that makes up that topic. Unschoolers use toys, books, games, videos, and hands-on experience to reach their educational goals while working at their childs own pace. Everything within that topic can be associated with specific subjects your child should be learning anyways but it makes those subjects more interesting to the child.
The Unschooling method works best for independent and self motivated learners. Kids who hyperfocus, learn from multiple different sources, and enjoy a hand-on creative approach to learning. In my experience homeschooling works really well for my ADHD independent learner.
Montessori method homeschooling follows the findings of how children learn from Dr. Maria Montessori. It is a hands-on approach to learning that focuses on nurturing a child’s individual learning style, curiosities, and creativity while helping the student find connections between all the traditional subjects in school.
In the Montessori education method self regulation is a key goal, it’s about preparing the child in the home for all the things that happen in life so that their responses to situations are fitting for the situation they face.
Like with unschooling the Montessori Homeschool method does like to put the learning activities and choices into the hands of the child. However, it is guided in order to help students form connections between all the traditional subjects while learning emotional intelligence and good habits.
The Montessori schooling method is best for kids who thrive with schedules and structure to their day, enjoy hands-on learning experiences, and like learning through multiple types of activities.
Charlotte Mason Homeschool
Charlotte Mason was another educator with findings on how children learn best. The Charlotte Mason approach believes that children learn through self-discipline. It incorporates a lot of reading, writing, and observation into its curriculum.
The biggest focus in this method is in reading, narration, and writing. Spending time outdoors to observe the world around the student is also used as well as a lot of art and music. The Charlotte Mason method involves short lessons and most learning is done through practice by dictation exercises.
The Charlotte Mason method is best for kids who love to learn by reading. Kids who like to spend lots of time outside benefit from this method greatly. Additionally, if your kid has perfectionist tendencies this method is probably a great one for your family.
A third educator, Rudolf Steiner, believed that children should learn with an understanding and appreciation of their place in the global and natural world. This type of method is focused on natural learning with observations of the outside world. It also applies a lot of handy skills like sewing, DIY, and yarn hobbies.
The Waldorf method separates child development into three stages roughly seven years each. Early childhood education focuses on learning through play. Elementary education starts to introduce instructions while still nurturing creativity and helping students manage their emotions. Finally, a high school education focuses on learning critical thinking, empathy, and community service.
The Waldorf education method takes away testing and textbooks in the early years to focus more on the progress made via observation of the students abilities and knowledge. This method is highly focused on nature study and bringing that into all aspects of your child’s education.
The Waldorf Method is best for kids who like to hyper focus because the approach recommends that subjects and topics be taught for 3-6 weeks of in depth study. Kids who enjoy being outdoors and learn through hands-on experience typically enjoy this method of homeschooling.
Online schooling is traditional schooling done online. The child attends classes and instruction online with a teacher. They are assigned homework, can ask questions, and complete their classes all online.
It is a classic approach to schooling while taking away outside distractions that often happen in a classroom. Students learn via lecture and text books, they complete assignments, and they are often on a strict schedule for school.
The online school method is not homeschooling so long as the online school you are working with acts as a distance learning private school. Always make sure the online school you are using reports your child’s progress to your school district, superintendent, or the state depending on your regulations.
Online schooling is best for kids who prefer public schooling schedules and learning styles. Children who learn through multiple media, thrive on a schedule, and are able to self motivate themselves to learn will enjoy this type of schooling.
Relaxed homeschooling or eclectic homeschooling is less about schedules and milestones and more about learning at whatever level the child is at. Relaxed homeschoolers will use many different methods of teaching and may even incorporate textbooks or curriculums on one or two subjects. They blend the studies using lots of different methods to create what works for them.
Relaxed homeschoolers might take some things from one method, a few things from another, and blend it together to provide a holistic instruction for their children.
Relaxed homeschooling often works with multiple types of learning, schedules, and preferences. This is because instead of being a specific method, relaxed homeschooling is about creating a method that works for your child’s needs.
Relaxed homeschooling is great for beginner homeschoolers who are trying to get into the swing of homeschooling and figure out what works best for your family. If you have multiple kids you are homeschooling, relaxed homeschooling may be the right choice for you.
Choosing Your Homeschool Method
I told you about our homeschool method so you can see how I created a method that worked based around my kid and what he needs. Now I’m going to help you do the same with a series of questions.
- Is your kid an independent learner?
- Does your kid thrive with structure?
- Does your kid hyper focus on things they are interested in?
- Is your kid a perfectionist when practicing?
- Does your kid prefer learning from apps?
- Does your kid prefer learning from instruction?
- Does your kid prefer learning from reading?
- Does your kid prefer learning from videos?
- Does your kid prefer learning through hand-on experience?
- What is your kids natural schedule like?
- Is your kid an indoor or outdoor kid?
- Does your kid like to help with everything?
These were all the questions I asked myself when I was coming up with our homeschool method. Once you have these answers dive deep into each of the methods that most sound like they could work for your kid.
Pick and choose what you like from multiple methods and come up with a plan based on your kids unique learning preferences, personality, and interests.
Examples Of Picking A Homeschool Method
If your kid is an outdoor kid you may choose one or a blend of the Waldorf, Unschooling, or World Schooling.
If your kid has perfectionist tendencies you may choose Online, Montessori, or Traditional Homeschool methods.
Additionally, if your kid is an independent learner who learns best from hand-on, video, or apps you may want to go the relaxed or unschooling route.
Take the answers to the questions and use them to help better determine the correct method for your homeschooling journey. Keep in mind, if a method isn’t quite working right for your kid or your family, you can switch it up. Homeschooling is flexible and it’s meant to be fun.
Our children want to learn about the world around them, they are naturally curious. In homeschooling we as their parents get to embrace that and nurture their curiosity and creativity in a way traditional schooling doesn’t always do.
Things To Remember With Your Homeschool Method
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you are homeschooling. Every single homeschooling parent will tell you that it’s not always easy. Sometimes your kids are uncooperative and they just don’t want to spend time learning.
Homeschooling offers flexibility. So if your child is not wanting to learn from a textbook, if they are bored, if they are fighting everything you are putting in front of them, it’s ok to take a breather. Declare a day a no school day and instead do something fun together at home.
Giving your child options can help the child feel more in control of what they want while giving you exactly what you want. For instance, the child can either watch this documentary or read this book, one of the two is going to be done before they can go play. The longer they fight it the longer it will take for them to play.
Finally, take a field trip day. Give your kid options of different local places you can go to and go there. Museums, libraries, zoos, parks, and hiking can all be some sort of education that you can log while your kid is feeling like they’ve escaped school work for the day.
Remember, everything can be educational in some sort of way so your daily life does not have to be all about textbooks and videos. Your children can learn through gardening, cooking, playing games, reading fiction, and any number of activities they like.
Changing your Homeschool Method
As your kids grow up the way they learn may change as well. Keep your eyes on how your kid learns and don’t be afraid to continuously add additional media to see if your kid responds well to it.
If you have more days struggling to get through the school day than not you may need to change up your methods. The key to homeschooling is in making learning interesting to your kid.
It’s about finding their interests and focusing on using those interests to help them learn about different subjects within those interests.
As your kid grows up and enters highschool you may need to start applying different methods for each of the subjects in order to have your highschool student actually want to learn a subject.
So if your kid has little to no interest in history because “why do I need to learn about the past?” Challenge that with stories of intrigue, scandal, and mystery that are found all throughout history. When they make the connections between past events to current situations it can often help them to gain interest in the past.
So in history you might use documentaries, in math you may use textbooks, in science you may use hands-on experience, in English you may use literature, so on and so forth.
Communication is extremely important with your older kids in order to find exactly how they would prefer to learn. They need to learn so work with them to make it enjoyable for them.
Homeschooling Methods Can Be Adjusted
Every homeschooler will tell you that they make constant adjustments to their methods in order to keep their children interested in learning. You will do the same. The methods I used through Kindergarten are not the same methods I’m using now in 1st grade. Next year our method will adjust again.
I have an understanding that by high school my child will either be a complete unschooler or a super studious online schooler. Either way, as long as he is learning and continues to love learning, I am happy.
The ultimate goal in homeschooling is that we give our kids a lifelong love of learning. That learning becomes fun and that in learning they will grow into capable adults that can handle everything life will throw at them.
If you are new to homeschooling please check out these other posts:
- My Beginners Guide To Homeschooling
- 9 Important Tips on Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum
- The Best Free Homeschool Resources
- Your Top 10 Questions About Homeschooling Answered
What homeschooling methods interest you the most? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite homeschooling boards.