When it comes to homeschooling, one size does not fit all! There are lots of options to choose from. (Links are for informational purposes only and do not signify endorsement or affiliation.)
Some Popular Homeschooling Methods:
Traditional: This is the system most of us are familiar with: workbooks, textbooks, and lesson plans. Companies provide traditional textbooks, online classes, or a combination of both. Some examples of companies utilizing this method are Calvert School and A Beka.
Online learning: Many traditional curriculum companies are now offering online classes for a subscription fee. K12 is one example of this. There are also free tutorial sites such as Khan Academy or a la carte classes from providers like Time 4 Learning.
Literature-based: With an emphasis on “real” books as the centerpiece of learning (i.e. literature, biographies, and non-fiction), proponents of literature-based learning maintain that reading whole books helps learning come alive, better holds students’ interest, and helps with recall vs. memorizing rote facts. This may be an appealing option for those who enjoy family read-alouds or who have voracious readers. Some literature-based companies include Five in a Row and Sonlight.
Classical Education: Based on the ancient model of the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic developmental stages), this method has experienced a revival in recent years. Much emphasis is given to “The Great Books,” i.e. the classics, as well as the study of Latin and Greek. It is typically a systematic, rigorous course of study. Some resources: The Well Trained Mind and Veritas Press.
Charlotte Mason Method: Utilizing the methods from British educator Charlotte Mason (early 1900s), the emphasis here is on treating the child as a whole person while using real literature, nature study, narration, and artist and music study. A saying made famous by Charlotte Mason is, “An education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” There is some overlap between the Charlotte Mason method and literature-based learning. You can find out more at Simply Charlotte Mason.
Unit Studies: Also called thematic or integrated studies, unit studies combine several subjects around one related theme so that all learning is integrated. For instance, when learning about pioneers, one might read a story by Laura Ingalls Wilder (literature and history), trace The Oregon Trail on a map (geography), and compose a ‘diary entry’ by a child from the era (language arts). Learn more about unit studies at The Homeschool Mom.
Unschooling: This is also known as student-led or self-directed learning. The tools of learning are made available to the student who then studies what interests him, rather than following a pre-determined curriculum. John Holt was one of the first proponents of this approach.
Eclectic Homeschooling: Many homeschoolers fall under the umbrella of eclectic learning (including me!), which they feel draws the best from each of the other methods. For instance, they may choose traditional curriculum for some subjects such as math and science, literature-based for history, online learning for language arts, nature study per Charlotte Mason, while studying Latin.