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Homeschooling Approaches and Methods

We've listed some common homeschooling approaches here, but, realistically, there are as many different approaches to homeschooling as there are homeschooling families. Review each one, though, as each method carries its own educational philosophy. Click on the links (or use the side menu) to discover free resources, informational websites, inspiring blogs, and to find out where to buy related curriculum and supplies.

Homeschooling Approaches and Methods

Charlotte Mason

Uses "living books"—books written by one person in a conversational or narrative style—and first-hand resources rather than textbooks.  This method covers the core subjects of reading, writing, and math with short, interest-filled lessons and incorporates the fine arts with real-life experiences.


This approach uses the three-part process called the trivium.  The early years are spent learning and memorizing facts, the middle years are spent putting those facts together logically, and the high school years are spent communicating knowledge through rhetoric.

Delayed Academics

Also known as the Moore Formula, is based on a balanced approach that includes study, work and service.  This method allows the child to develop at his own pace through informal education until the age of eight. Between the ages of 8 and 10 the child begins formal education.


Any combination of homeschooling methods.  This method involves putting together your own curriculum, usually from a variety of sources.  Typically, there are guides available to help you in your planning.  Many families at some point end up as eclectic homeschoolers regardless of their initial methodology.

Internet/Online Education

Courses are generally accredited and everything is provided online. There are usually no books to buy or documents to print.  Students advance automatically upon successful completion of lessons. There are certified teachers available via email and live chat rooms and some schools will implement the use of web cams.


Primarily for preschool and elementary students, this method allows children to participate in activities of their own choice in a carefully planned learning environment full of hands-on, self-correcting learning materials.

Principle Approach

A Christian method of education in which the Bible is the center of every subject.  God's principles are the basis of every area of your child's education.  There are no textbooks or workbooks.  Instead, your child uses the Bible as a resource and creates a notebook using what is known as the 4-R (Research, Reason, Relate, Record) Method.


Resembles the method used in public schools, can be secular or faith-based, and can be implemented by either the parent or a private school.  Students are provided with textbooks, workbooks and regular tests and parents are provided with teaching guides and lesson plans. This method is perfect if your child prefers structure, but if your child is enrolled in a school that determines when assignments must be done, there may not be time to expand on particular topics of interest. 

Unit Studies

Unit Studies typically incorporate a variety of subjects into a single topic or theme.  Choosing a topic that interests your child creates an immediate motivation to learn.  Unit studies can be used at any grade level and can take anywhere from days to weeks to complete.  There are many free unit studies available online, as well as for purchase, and you can easily create your own.


Also referred to as deschooling, free range learning, life learning, and zenschooling, is based on the belief that children are natural learners and will learn and retain more if they are free to follow their own interests.  The child leads the way, the parent provides the appropriate learning environment. There is no specific curriculum or structure unless it is what the child wants.


Early childhood learning is largely experiential, imitative and sensory-based, learning in the middle grades is regarded as artistic and imaginative, and the emphasis during the upper grades is on developing intellectual understanding and ethical ideals such as social responsibility.

Even if you find yourself leaning toward a particular approach or teaching method, don't think you have to actually "pick" one. And if you do pick one, don't forget that you can always try something else if it doesn't work for your family.

A few books you may be interested in....

Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles The Homeschooling Handbook, 2nd Edition Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling Homeschool Your Child for Free: More Than 1,400 Smart, Effective, and Practical Resources for Educating Your Family at Home You've Decided to Homeschool, Now What?

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