Educational Approaches

Every parent has an educational philosophy – most just have no idea what it actually is. Now is the time to find out. Read about the most popular methods of education and see what “fits” your style and beliefs. You chose to homeschool for a reason, and you had some sort of idea what you thought it could/should/would look like in action. Even seasoned homeschoolers will find difficulty if they haven’t been able to define their educational approach.

For many, the definition comes with trial and error, and time. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to waste time, money or energy figuring out your approach along the way. Discover your approach now, choose your curriculum based on it, and start homeschooling with far less hassle and heartache. Expect some adjustments and tweaking of curriculum to be made, but rest assured that once you’ve ruled out what you DON’T want to do, you’ll be far less stressed.

Check out our curriculum reviews once you’ve discovered an approach that appeals to you. Some curriculum and publishers are geared towards multiple approaches, while others are very specific. For example – if you’re not interested in the traditional textbook approach, then don’t waste your time buying from a publisher who only produces textbooks. Instead, look for living books, or holistic curriculum and programs.

The subpages to the right will have specifics on the most popular educational approaches. Read about each one and learn more about what is involved. Some things to remember: when you read “homeschooling approach” think philosophy, or ideas about the way homeschooling should be done. This is the overarching beliefs that inform you, as a parent, as you teach your children. These beliefs, whatever they are, inform your learning environment, methods used, and your curriculum and materials. When you read “homeschooling methods” these are the specific tools used, no matter what the overarching approach is. Examples of homeschooling methods would be unit studies, the notebook method, or computer programs. The methods or tools used can be mixed and matched.

An example would be using the notebook method as part of the Principle Approach, or as part of a Classical Approach. Another example would be using unit studies – you could use a traditional textbook approach and use unit studies to implement it. The student could focus on Egypt as a unit study, using traditional textbooks and worksheets to complete assignments centered around the topic of Egypt. Alternatively, you could have a holistic approach and use a unit study method. The holistic approach might involve learning songs from ancient Egypt, drawing hieroglyphics, and visiting a museum. Get the idea?

Remember, the formula for successful homeschooling is:

learning style + educational approach = curriculum choices

Never try to pick curriculum without first determining your child’s learning style or your educational approach as a parent. It is also helpful to know your own teaching style as well. More often than not, new homeschoolers (and unfortunately some seasoned ones as well) spend far too long struggling through painful curriculum that is boring, too challenging, not challenging enough, or just not “right”….why? Because they picked a curriculum first, not last. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone who’s thinking about homeschooling begin asking questions like: What curriculum do YOU use? Where did you find curriculum? And so on. All the focus is on the curriculum, and the parent typically has no idea all the options available to them.

I love opening that big box full of books and educational goodies in the mail as much as any other homescholing parent. But like many others, I ended up not using or returning hundreds of dollars worth my first year homechooling because nobody told me the simple formula for success. I had to figure it out the hard way, and so did my son! We struggled through boring textbook history readings and nose-diving math and spelling grades because I didn’t know his learning style.

My own struggles and wasted time was a major reason for starting PowerHouse Homeschooling. I want to make your homeschooling experience the best it can be, from day one. Knowledge is power, as they say….and this is the place to empower the home educator.

The chart below is my own creation. Because I’m a visual learner, it helps me to sketch out my ideas and thoughts as I learn. I will eventually put this in PDF form to download, but for now, you’ll get the idea of this educational philosophy chart. I included both methods and approaches in it.




























Structured – School At Home – Teacher Directed – Traditional

  • Correspondence, distance learning

Ablaze Academy, Internet Homeschool, Keystone High School, Oak Meadow, Seton Home Study, Sycamore Tree, Indiana University High School, Clonlara School, Christian Liberty Academy, A.C.E. Lighthouse

  • tutors
  • textbook curriculum/approach

Abeka, Bob Jones, Apologia, Rod & Staff, Calvert, ACE, SAXON Math, Veritas Press, Evan-Moor, Kendall Hunt, Covenant Home, Tapestry of Grace, Spectrum

  • computer-based curriculum

Teaching Textbooks, Switched on Schoolhouse, Homequest, EDSITEment, Home2Teach, K-12 Online, ClickNRead, Chalkdust Math Company, Plato Curriculum, Time4Learning, 3-D Learn Interactive Academy, Christa McCauliffe Academy

Moderately Structured – Parent/Teacher Guided – Eclectic

  • Literature-based (Charlotte Mason Approach)

Sonlight, Robinson, Greatbooks, Beautiful Feet Books, Five in A Row, Goddess Moon Circles Academy

  • Unit Studies

KONOS, Weaver, Amanda Bennett, Learning Adventures, Prairie Primer, Common Sense Press, My Father’s World, Tapestry of Grace, Lessons from History, Trail Guide to Learning, Winter Promise Curriculum

  • Holistic

ENKI, Waldorf Education, Montessori

  • Delayed Academics

Moore Formula Approach, Principle Approach Curriculum  (NOAH Plan)

  • Classical Approach

Veritas Press, Tapestry of Grace, Memoria Press, Covenant Home

Unstructured – Delight/Student Directed – Unschooling

  • Robinson Curriculum (Self-Teaching)
  • Holistic – Montessori, ENKI
  • Reggio Emilia
  • Delayed Academics – Moore Formula

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