5 Tips for Choosing Your Homeschooling Method- 5 Days of Homeschooling Tips

Whether you’ve been homeschooling for years or have only just dipped your feet in the water, you may occasionally be overwhelmed by the variety of homeschool methods you see around you.  Invariably when I meet another homeschooler and a conversation starts there comes the question- “What homeschool method do you use?”

Then phrases like “Charlotte Mason”, “Classical”, “Traditional”, or “Unschoolers” begin flying around. If you’ve never really taken time to label yourself, this conversation might quickly turn overwhelming. I wrote a series about some of the most common homeschooling methods here.

This post isn’t going to get into those methods though. These five tips are going to help you decide which homeschooling method is right for you. At the end of the post make sure you pick up your free one-year digital homeschool planner.

Choosing your homeschooling method
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Tip #1 Know your teaching style.

Yes. It’s a fact. If you’re a homeschooling parent, you’re a teacher. Even if you’ve never considered yourself a teacher or never taught in a traditional classroom, you’re now a teacher. So, what is your style? What comes naturally to you as a teacher? What do you like or not like about teaching?

If you to love to actually stand in front of children and offer explanations, following a detailed lesson plan, maybe you’ll fit well with a traditional “school at home” method. If you love reading great books aloud to your children, maybe you’d do well following Charlotte Mason’s methods. If you know what you love and what your natural natural strengths are, you can choose a homeschooling method that fits well.

Tip #2 Know how your children learn.

Just as important as understanding your strengths and preferences as a teacher is understanding your children’s strengths when it comes to learning. Do you have children who learn well by listening? Can they read a great book and comprehend well and learn the subject matter? Do they naturally sit still and focus or are they bouncing around and needing something to occupy their hands.

Follow the needs of your children as you’re determining what homeschooling methods to use. A child who loves to sit and listen might do well with Classical methods or Charlotte Mason, where they are hearing great books. A child who is constantly on the move might do well with Unit Study methods that have plenty of active things to do or make.

—–The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is an excellent resource for understanding learning styles. —–

Tip #3 Consider your season of life.

Things change depending on your season of life. That’s just a fact for homeschoolers. When you have all small children who are busy and active, you’ll need to use different methods than a family that has all high schoolers. If you have children of widely varied ages, you’ll need to use different methods than another family with children all close in age.

If you have older students and then a baby in the mix, you might need to use Video or Online learning methods. If your children are spread out in age, you might find some great multi-age Unit Studies that allow the family to work together, adapting for various ages.

Tip #4 Take your budget into account.

It’s sometimes a downer, but the fact is that you cannot always buy into the homeschooling method you most love. Different methods will have different cost requirements, and when you are determining the best method to use, you have to keep the cost in mind. I don’t know too many homeschoolers with unlimited homeschooling budgets. If you are one, that’s wonderful, and you can skip right over this tip. But if you have a budget, think about how much you may need to spend to use a particular method with your family.

Video learning or Online learning may be pricey. Unit studies can be expensive if you’re buying prepared studies, but you may make them more cost effective by planning yourself. Textbook approaches can be more expensive if you’re buying full sets of boxed curriculum. Sometimes methods based on literature can be less expensive if you have a good local library or a way to access free books online. Knowing how much you have to spend can definitely guide your choice of homeschooling method.

—–If you’re looking for a cost effective way to find a variety of curriculum for all different classes and ages, take a look at Schoolhouse Teachers.com.—–

Tip #5 Know that many homeschoolers often use a variety of methods.

So, at this point, I know what you may be thinking- especially if you are homeschooling more than one child. “What method should I choose if my teaching style and my children’s learning styles don’t match? Or if I have children of all different learning styles? Or if I really want to use a certain method and don’t have the money to do it?” The fact is that most homeschoolers use a variety of the popular methods.

In our family, we are very eclectic homeschoolers. (That’s a nice way of saying I just do whatever works at the time.) I love literature based curriculum, but I have a son who really dislikes long reading and struggles to comprehend if he has to sit and read long books. He does better with textbooks and workbooks. So we compromise, and he uses a more textbook focused curriculum, but I pick out just a few pieces of literature that I think are really worth his reading. I have some children who do well with online instruction. But we can’t afford to use all online subscriptions and streaming video. So we do it for some classes but not all.

Choosing your homeschooling method

Thinking about your homeschooling methods doesn’t have to get overwhelming. Take some time to consider the teaching and learning styles of your family, look at what’s going on in this season of life, and take into account the budget you have to work with. Then choose whatever variety of methods works for your children and your family. That’s what homeschooling is all about.

This post is part of the 5 Days of Homeschooling Tips series. You can find the other posts in the series here. And you pick up a free one-year digital, customizable homeschooling planner.

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