Home School Learning Methods

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1.5 million children are home-schooled. Parents home-school for religious, moral, environmental or academic reasons. The learning method that parents use depend on the child's learning style and what kind of education they desire to give their child. There are six types of home school learning methods that parents choose or a combination of these styles may be used.

  1. Charlotte Mason

    • The "Charlotte Mason" home school method is based on the 19th century educator by the same name that focuses on three ideals: atmosphere, discipline and life. Charlotte Mason believed that children should enjoy learning and that education should be more than just memorizing facts. This method features a literature-based education. This type of home school method focuses on living books, short lessons, narration, copywork, dictation and nature study. Textbooks are avoided and children are encouraged to participate in real life situations and to spend time outdoors.


    • Classical home school features a liberal arts education. Based on the Trivium philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome, it is split in three sections: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric. Grammar focuses on concrete thinking, such as fact and figure memorization. The dialectic stage teaches analytical thinking, such as logic and reasoning. Rhetoric learning is the science of written and verbal expression and encourages students to apply new ideas to both real and hypothetical life situations.

    Delayed Academics

    • Delayed academics is based on the teachings of Dr. Raymond Moore. Formal academics are not taught until the ages of 8 to 10. The Buffalo Area Christian Homeschoolers states that delayed academics is not delayed learning, but is waiting until the child is ready. Prior to formal education, children learn by playing. Once formal education begins, lessons are structured to work around the child's interests rather than forcing the student to learn certain subjects at predetermined times.

    Unit Study

    • The "Unit Study" home school method teaches multiple subjects centered around a topic or theme instead of teaching each subject separately. Reasons for using this method is to teach several different ages at one time, creating a natural learning environment or utilizing hands-on education. Children using this method learn a topic by integrating science, math, geography, history, literature, music, art, drama, language and creative movement. For example, a theme on horses teaches counting horses (math,) the anatomy of horses (science,) where certain horses are found (geography) and writing a story or reading a book on horses (english.) Every subject would revolve around the theme: horses.


    • John Holt defines unschooling as learning that takes place outside of traditional education methods. Parents who use this method believe that children will learn certain subjects and skills on their own. Rather than following conventional curriculum, learning takes place around a child's interests. Parents are mentors or guides rather than teachers. Unschooling is not the absence of an education, but is self-directed learning.


    • The Waldorf home school method is based on the philosophy of Rudolph Steiner. Learning is based on the developmental stages of the student's awakening consciousness. There are three stages of this educational method. The first stage uses fairy tales to teach morals and to introduce numbers and the alphabet. The second stage focus on emotional maturity. The third stage teaches reasoning and the development of independence by interacting with the world.

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