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The Homeschool Methods Cheat Sheet

There are several different homeschool methods. Most likely you already have a homeschool method in mind. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a homeschool method:

  1. How do I want my homeschool to look?
  2. What are my goals for my homeschool?
  3. Do I have a parenting style? (relaxed, need for structure, etc)
  4. What is my child’s learning style? (Take a learning style quiz if you haven’t already)

These will all play important factors in choosing your homeschool method.

homeschool methods
The Homeschool Methods Cheat Sheet

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The Homeschool Methods Cheat Sheet

Homeschool Methods

  • Traditional
  • Classical
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Unschooling
  • Unit Studies
  • Relaxed/Eclectic


The traditional homeschooling method is something that most newbie homeschoolers drift towards. Why?? Because it is familiar. For those of us who went to public school, traditional homeschooling feels comfortable because it is reflective of public school. When I first started homeschooling, I was determined to make my homeschool just like school at home. So, we started off using a traditional method. We later moved into Unit Studies then onto Charlotte Mason. So, sometimes your ideal homeschooling method will gradually evolve over time… and that’s ok. Start wherever you feel most comfortable.


Characteristics of the Traditional Method

  • Textbooks
  • Workbooks
  • Traditional grade keeping
  • Textbooks will most likely be geared toward class use.
  • Structured
  • Lesson plans are usually completely done for the parent.
  • Planning and prep needed for lessons.
  • A lot of practice in each subject
  • Traditional testing.
  • Teachers manuals with grading keys
  • May consist of online learning such as Monarch.

Curriculum Examples for the Traditional Homeschool Method

  • Abeka
  • BJU (Bob Jones University)
  • Alpha and Omega
  • Saxon
  • Rod and Staff Arithmetic (set up for classroom use, but adaptable for homeschool)

Explore the Traditional Method further:

Traditional Homeschooling: What is it and How does it work?

Traditional Approach to Homeschool


The classical homeschool method is based on the trivium. The Grammar stage, the Logic stage, and the Rhetoric stage. Read more about Classical education here.

Classical Method Characteristics

  • Living books
  • Memorization of poems, psalms, etc.
  • Teaching using the trivium
  • Emphasis on Latin
  • Learning vocabulary and roots in the early years.
  • Copywork and Narration

Some of the elements of classical education are present in the Charlotte Mason method as well.

Curriculum Examples for the Classical Method

More Information on Classical Education

What is Classical Education?

Classical Christian Homeschooling

Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason homeschooling is a method based on the educational philosophies of Charlotte Mason herself. This form of homeschooling is more relaxed than the traditional method, but it is not lacking in structure. You can read a full description of Charlotte Mason Homeschooling here: What is the Charlotte Mason Method?

Sign up for our Free 7-day Charlotte Mason Email Course.

Characteristics of the Charlotte Mason Method

  • Living books instead of textbooks and workbooks.
  • A large variety of subjects for children
  • Short and to the point lessons.
  • Habit training
  • Nature Studies
  • Structured learning
  • Outdoor life
  • Copywork and Narration (For a further explanation read: What is Narration and How Does It Work?)

Charlotte Mason Curriculum Examples

More on Charlotte Mason:

DIY Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

How We Use Charlotte Mason in our Homeschool

Simply Charlotte Mason Blog


There are a lot of people who believe that the Charlotte Mason homeschool method is like unschooling. However… these two are quite different. Unschooling is homeschool without a formal structure. It focuses on child-led learning and driven by their interests.

Characteristics of Unschooling

  • No formal curriculum
  • Child-led learning
  • Learning through daily life
  • No set schedule or grading systems

Unschooling Curriculums:

  • No curriculum is used in Unschooling.

Explore more on Unschooling:

If you are interested in learning more about Unschooling, I have linked a few helpful articles and resources that can get you started!

What is Unschooling?

Unschooling 101

Charlotte Mason vs. Unschooling

Unit Studies

The Unit Study Method is learning through grouping your studies together across a theme. For example, you may choose a unit theme on the Titanic. Then your history, science, reading, art, and etc would have a connection to the Titanic.

Unit Study Characteristics

  • Structured
  • Hands-on
  • Use of literature and/or living books
  • Works to teach multiple age groups
  • One topic carries over into multiple subjects

Curriculum for the Unit Study Method

My Father’s World

Weaver Curriculum


Exploring the Unit Study Method:

Unit Studies (This is a great resource! There is a lot of information here on Unit Studies)

Unit Studies by Amanda Bennet


The relaxed/eclectic method is usually a mixture of all the methods. If you are not 100% set on which method to choose or each method has something you want to incorporate in your homeschool, this is the way to go.

Characteristics of a Relaxed/Eclectic Homeschool

  • No one set method for homeschooling.
  • Combination of all or a few of the methods.
  • Laidback schedule
  • Using whatever fits the need of your children.
  • Good for first-time homeschoolers!

Examples of Curriculum for Eclectic/Relaxed Homeschoolers

  • Anything. This method is all about choosing whatever works best! Whether it be traditional textbooks for Math and Language Arts, Charlotte Mason for Science, and Classical for everything else. Or a choice to use textbooks for a few subjects and unschooling for the rest.

Further Explanation of Relaxed/Eclectic Homeschooling Methods

10 Reasons for our Relaxed Eclectic Homeschool Method

What is Eclectic Homeschooling?

Choosing Homeschool Methods

The choice is completely up to you! No one can choose a homeschool method for you. Why? Because only you know what is best for your family. I hope you were able to gain some insight into each method, and are well on your way to making the choice!

Other Posts You May Like:

homeschool methods
The Homeschool Methods Cheat Sheet 1

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