How to Home-School: Eclectic Method


This is my sixth and final post on “Teaching Methods.”

The eclectic method of home-schooling may seem self-explanatory, but I think it’s worth taking a look at since the vast majority of home-schoolers are using this method.  While I have no hard data to support that statement, my experience of knowing home-schoolers for over twenty years gives me some basis to say that I believe the most common method used by my fellow home-schoolers is the eclectic method.

While often home-schoolers will start out adopting a more rigid curriculum (the “school-at-home” approach I discussed here), most will quickly find that unsuitable for their purposes.  In my own personal experience, I had been home-schooling for only four months when I realized that duplicating an institutional model in my home was not only counter-productive…it was a disaster!

I very quickly started relaxing my methods and looking for ways to make our home-school more functional and more interesting for both me AND my daughter.  The next year we participated in a unit studies co-op with several other families.  A year or so later I discovered Greenleaf Press’ Famous Men series.  Throughout the years we have used 4-H programs; my sons were active in Royal Rangers (which I used for part of their curriculum); and I have used a multitude of various workbooks, CD’s, videos, computer programs – a veritable plethora (isn’t that a great word – “plethora”) of materials and experiences to enhance our home-schooling journey.

Over the last few weeks I have discussed various teaching methods you might use in your home-school.  In the eclectic method, you pull from all those methods and more to make your home-schooling experience uniquely yours.  Your children are unique, your family is unique – there is no formula for education, there is no formula for raising a responsible, well-adjusted, academically prepared child.  There are certainly some great resources (hopefully this website is one for you!), there are people who are further along on their journey who can give you advice.  But when it comes down to it, God gave those children to you.  They are unique little (or not so little!) people that God gave into your care so that you could bring your unique gifts to bear: to raise them, to nurture them, and yes, to educate them.

To recap the various methods I have discussed in this series, there are:

Someone reading this may say, “Wait a minute, there are other methods of home-schooling that you didn’t cover here!”  This is true.  I tried to focus on the methods I believe are most commonly used by home-schoolers today.  But if you have used another method not mentioned here, would you please share with me and my readers in the comments?

  • I have enjoyed reading your posts! Thanks for sharing. We will be entering our 8th year of homeschooling this fall. We love everything about homeschooling! Stopping by from Mingle Monday!

  • annegalivan

    Thanks for stopping by! And congratulations on your years of home-schooling. You definitely have achieved “veteran” status. I hope you'll come back not only to read but to share your own experiences!

  • Ann

    Ahhh, my favorite method. It didn't take me long to figure out that it was OUR school and we were able to use what we enjoyed. It took my daughter one year to realize that she wanted to use this method with her children also. YES! Plethora is a wonderful word and a favorite of mine. LOL Thank you for the posts.

  • annegalivan

    Hey Ann!

    Thanks for adding your 2 cents! There truly are so many ways to engage our children (especially now!) – and the longer we home-school the easier it is to discern what we want to spend our time on – what is effective and what is “fluff.”

    It must be so great seeing your grandchildren home-schooled – passing that torch along. I hope everything is going well for all of you!