Find the homeschool style right for you

Homeschooling Styles and how I teach

Let’s talk about our homeschooling styles, preferably without defaulting to, “I’m an eclectic homeschooler”.  Eclectic meaning that you use a little bit of everything.  Which, when it comes down to it, most of us really are.  But, what do you use predominantly?

What's a homeschooling style and how do I pick it

Hey! Future Ticia 2021 here. I wrote this way back in 2010 when my kids were in kindergarten and preschool. A lot of what I wrote is still true, but I’m going to add in what I’ve learned in 10 more years of homeschooling.

Also, this was in the super early days of blogging, and it was organized rather poorly….

Minor influences in my homeschooling style

First I’ll go through, what I think are minor influences.  I have a little bit of an unschooler in me.  Not much of one, because I like to have a curriculum to go through and I also know if I were to go solely based on my kids’ interests we’d spend all our time learning about Star Wars, Batman, Disney Princess, and random animals.  So, that really won’t work.  But, I do like to make sure I emphasize their interests.  So, there’s a tiny bit of the unschooler.

charlotte mason homeschooling style

Next, I do think Charlotte Mason is really cool.  She believes in doing lots of Nature Studies and using “living books,” which basically means books that have really good writing.  I agree with some of this, but I’ve discovered some of the books she emphasizes as living books I don’t really like.  I don’t like Winnie the Pooh all that much, and a lot of the Beatrix Potter while somewhat interesting is a little hard to read through.  If you notice we don’t read the vast majority of her books to our kids.  We stick with Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, and a few of her other picture books.  The others a little harder to relate to.  So, from her I draw the using books as much as possible, I do like a lot of classic books, but I don’t feel limited to them, and I adore the idea of nature studies.  I just haven’t quite figured out how to integrate it.

Where I think I’m going to be drawing the most of my approach is from the Classical approach to teaching.  There’s a lot of this that I agree with philosophically, and I’ve noticed that many of the other styles that appeal to me a lot draw from this.

But the classical style really intrigues me

Hey, future Ticia 2021 butting in here, I was very intrigued with Classical when my kids were little, and a lot of what I did followed the Trivium (yes I”m explaining that in a bit), but there are several aspects of Classical I did not follow.

Here’s the basic idea behind the Classical style:  They divide childhood into three different learning times, called the Trivium.  The youngest is the grammar.  Basically that’s a lot of memorization and acquiring of knowledge.  This lasts through most of elementary school and at this point most kids don’t have the ability to use higher reasoning skills.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but if you ask your young child “why?” you’ll usually get back a blank stare as they try to figure out the answer to it.  But if you present information and ask them to regurgitate it they can tell you an astonishing amount of information.

Find the homeschool style right for you

Next comes the dialetcic stage.  This is where the kids start to synthesize what they’ve learned and figure out how to put the pieces together.  They’ll also start to ask more questions and actually be able to answer when we say “why?”

Finally is the rhetoric stage, high school.  Here the kid moves from putting it together and being able to start presenting a good argument to being able to argue persuasively.

So, as you can see I’ve put a lot of thought into the classical style.  Partially it works with how my mind works, I like a logical step by step order.  That and it has a lot of emphasis on science and history which are two areas I’m really interested in.  I don’t know of many educational philosophies that plan on your kids going through the entire scope of human history three times before they graduate high school, with each repeat through going into more depth.  I like that.  Okay, I like that A LOT!  Did I mention I’m a history minor?  And I will decline from getting onto my soapbox about how little history is actually learned today by most people.  ARGH!  Okay, I can feel my blood pressure rising.  Happy thoughts, fluffy bunnies, and cute puppies.

I’m better now.

Future Ticia 2021, here’s where I’m not a classical homeschooler. I never successfully incorporated Latin into our homeschool, and while I kept the early years to lots of information, I didn’t do the intense amounts of memorizing that is often included for people that claim to be classical homeschoolers.

I have figured out I like the living books aspect of Charlotte Mason, and we did include quite a lot of literature, but I never got those artist studies or complex nature studies.

What hasn’t influenced my homeschooling style

montessori style
sigh, Future Ticia 2021 says I sometimes miss my little kiddos

And, you’ll notice I didn’t say I’m a Montessori person.  I adore Montessori activities, they always look so cool, I like a lot of the ideas, but I can’t ever teach it.  Every time I try to do a Montessori activity as they’re espoused it just goes horribly wrong.  So, I’ve given up on pretending I’m any good at following her philosophy, no matter how intriguing I find it.  I guess the part I do incorporate is having my kids do as much for themselves as they are able.

What’s your teaching style? 

I know a lot of you aren’t homeschoolers, but do a lot of learning activities at home, so where do you think you lean?

But really, the big thing is to choose a homeschool style that works for you.


15 responses to “Homeschooling Styles and how I teach”

  1. This is the best post in this hop I encountered so far. I guess if I were a homeschooler, I'd be your kind of homeschooler 🙂 I also like Montessori in principle, but my daughter just happens to be an academic learning and is bored to death by transfer activities.

  2. Christy Avatar

    I always enjoy reading these.

  3. Mommy Moment Avatar
    Mommy Moment

    Thanks for being so honest with your post. I am sad that you feel you fail at “teaching” Montessori.
    We use Montessori in our home but make it work for our environment. I can not expect it to be just like in a Montessori school. I will use this method till age 6.
    Again, I appreciate how you homeschool and thanks for sharing what works and what does not work for you!
    Jody from Mommy Moment

  4. Debbie Avatar

    What a great post! I agree with the Classical approach. I do use it the most myself, but love mixing it up with tid bits of other styles too. I agree with you we are on the same page in many areas!

  5. An Almost Unschooling Mom Avatar
    An Almost Unschooling Mom

    But, eclectic is such a good word! 🙂

  6. I started out with the classical approach as I totally get alot of it….love the History approach to it(cause I just love history). For us though it was a bit too much. I think havinga newborn in the house didn't help all that much. Thanks so much for sharing everything you have.

  7. wow, I learned alot about Classical learning. I didn't know any of that. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Joyful Learner Avatar
    Joyful Learner

    Now, I now whom to turn to when we try out the Classical approach! 🙂
    I was a history minor too and didn't learn to appreciate it until I got to college! Why do they make it so boring in high school? History is fascinating!

  9. Thanks for sharing today!

  10. I now understand a bit more about the classical approach, doesn't seem like something for me. I understand what you say about there being a tiny bit of unschooler. I am intrigued by your comment on going through human history 3 times and going into more depth. Myself, I like Montessori activities, though I don't believe I agree with all her philosophy. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Stuff On My Blog Avatar
    Stuff On My Blog

    Great 'classical home ed for dummies' explanation there hehe. I am a classical wannabe.. but I fall FAR short in motivation lol. I found that me and my kids got overwhelmed! (I think that's my perfectionist gene showing..I have a really hard time with jumping in up to my earlobes lol)

    Look forward to seeing what you guys get up to! 😀

  12. I agree! There is something to take from each and every learning style. I also agree that you can take what you like from each and develop your own. I love the classical as well, but being a Christian family…some books we just won't read….and that goes along with anything we encounter.
    Great Post! 🙂

  13. Thanks for visiting my blog.
    I guess we'll continue with child-led natural learning indefinitely. What ever the kids want to learn is what they will learn most effectively, so I don't see any reason to force them into learning.
    I am a big lover of history to, I always wished history was taught more thoroughly at school, but t is almost ignored.

  14. Our Country Road Avatar
    Our Country Road

    I learned so much from your post! Thank you for taking the time to explain it. I didnt realize that Classic HSing went through the history of man 3 times. I am going to look into that. I love History!

  15. Firstly, I love your blog and it’s about time I let you know. I get a lot of ideas from it for our “Bible schooling,” an adventure just beginning. I love your passion to make ALL of the Word known, not just the popular stories. And I also love your desire to delve into history. I feel I’ll be following a similar course as you for my kids (2 and 5 so just starting this crazy home school adventure).

    The only thing not in this post that I’m curious about is how your kids fit with these styles? Have you noticed that they lean to any one or the other? I don’t know that I’m any one style like you, but I think my kids will also lead my style a lot in how I present information. I want them to get a more “classical education” too but I think there’s different ways to teach it. E.g. I love craft, and as a former OT I love the idea of lots of games, and visuals etc etc, but my eldest boy just likes straight math. Give him numbers with none of the fluff and he’s happy :p

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