Why Homeschooling Styles Aren’t As Important As You Think

If you’re new to homeschooling, you might be drowning in a sea of homeschooling styles, acronyms, and unfamiliar terms: CM, Classical, CC, Unschooling, Eclectic, TJed, Waldorf, and more. What does all of this mean? How are you supposed to determine which method is the best?

Alternatively, most veteran homeschoolers know many families that will die on the hill of whatever method they have determined is superior. Differences in homeschooling style can cause division in homeschool groups, co-ops, park days, and Facebook groups. Honestly, it can get ugly at times.

Why do we sometimes react with instant judgment when we learn how someone chooses to homeschool? I guess it’s human nature, but let me explain why I think you shouldn’t worry so much about homeschooling styles and focus more on the goodness of home education.

Homeschooling Styles

The Problem With Homeschooling Styles

Of course, there are differences between homeschool methods, but we tend to over-inflate their importance.

For example, does your child’s future really depend on a 4-year chronological history cycle? Probably not, yet this is a big sticking point for Charlotte Mason and Classical home educators.

How many hours make up a “credit”? Irrelevant to an unschooler, but a hand-wringing metric for a more traditional school-at-home family.

Should you plan out perfectly integrated curriculum choices for the next 12 years, or should you throw caution to the wind and see what life brings?

Are any of these ideas and concerns “wrong,” not especially. They’re more indicative of the parents’ personalities and goals for homeschooling than they are about what is “best.”

That’s okay, but as homeschoolers, we should be honest about the reasons we chose our method, and not eat our own with criticism and dismissal.

Homeschool Strewing Quick Guide

Focus On Our Similarity

It’s human nature to want to find our “people,” the ones that hold our same opinions and agree with our choices. Therefore, we look for that affirmation even within the narrow population of people that homeschool.

I think that’s why the ubiquitous question, “what curriculum do you use,” exists. It’s a little peek into their homeschool philosophy without getting too personal and seeming impolite.

However, when you meet that new homeschooler, remember, you’ve both already chosen to belong to one of the smallest and most controversial groups around. When faced with the well-worn path of compulsory education, our country demands you take, you both said: “no, thanks.”

Think about that for a moment. No matter your homeschooling method, you’ve both made the very active decision to not send your children to institutional school.

Surely, that is more important than your history cycle.

Let’s Hold Our Judgments

Homeschoolers are a strong-willed, courageous group. We have to be a bit fearless and sure of ourselves to make a decision that is the antithesis of almost every institution in our country. It really is amazing.

To trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves…and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.

John Holt

Honestly, I believe this is why more people don’t choose to homeschool; they don’t trust themselves. Yet, when we meet another homeschooler, we’re coming face to face with someone who does trust themselves or is at least moving in that direction.

So let’s hold our judgments for another time. When we focus on a homeschooling style and dismiss others as inferior, we’re engaging in the same thought process as those that think homeschooling shouldn’t be allowed. The idea that there is only one right way, and others can’t be trusted.

There isn’t only one right way to homeschool, just as there is no one right way to live, no matter what that busybody in a Facebook group says.

Homeschool is More Than Method

The beauty and strength of homeschooling do not lie in the method chosen. It comes from taking control and trusting yourself and your children.

It’s in the ability to determine what is best for your family and not be forced into meeting the demands of strangers.

It’s in realizing there is no one “right way,” and embracing an alternative path.

So if you’re a new homeschooler, don’t get mired in choosing a homeschool method. Yet, even if you want one, know it will look different in your family than it does in another.

Once we dig deeper, we see that homeschooling is more than a method.

Homeschool strewing
Homeschooling Styles Not Important

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About Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six, always-homeschooled children, who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of homeschooling draws upon Classical to Unschooling and everything in between.  While homeschooling her children and writing about learning outside of school, she tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills.

2 thoughts on “Why Homeschooling Styles Aren’t As Important As You Think

  1. Oh yes! This is me! Once we felt called to homeschool, all I wanted to do was find the “right” method that would make everything perfect. But one my son hated, and the other made me too anxious (unschooling). Lol. Thankfully, God knows me well and is showing me how much it doesn’t matter. Children can learn anything through anything (as Julie Bogart said). We purchased Gather Round Homeschool and it is such a blessing for us and, until it no longer does, we will keep using it and fitting it to our family. Thank you! Pinned.

  2. Amazingly well said! Thank you for writing on this topic. I am not home schooling yet but this has been an option I keep doing research on and always keeping my options open when it comes to giving my children the education they need in the environment that best suits there educational journey. I think you definitely called it on having enough confidence in ones self to even consider home schooling. For me this was exactly it not until I had the confidence was I even able to consider home schooling an option.

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