Exploring Methods & Approaches

If you have no idea where to start, spend a little time figuring out what approaches you might want to use in educating your child.

Settling on an overall approach to home education isn’t your first task, but the more years you home school and the more curricula options you investigate, the more you’ll feel the need for a coherent, organized method that can help guide you as you sort through all of your options.

A few of these approaches are listed below, to help you begin your research.

Classical Education

Based on the medieval trivium, classical education is thoroughly explained in The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at HomeLearn more through the articles below.

What Is Classical Education?

The Joy of Classical Education 

The Joy of Classical Education: An Audio Workshop 

Why Our Model of Classical Education May Look Different

Charlotte Mason

Turn-of-the-century educator Charlotte Mason used many of the techniques of classical education in her language-rich educational philosophy, which centers on educating the whole child (body, mind and spirit) and is strongly teacher-directed.

Charlotte Mason and Classical Education


Unit Studies

Unit studies takes a particular interest or topic (ancient Rome, vegetable gardening, boat building, The Three Musketeers) and organizes the entire curriculum around it, relating math, language arts, history, science, and fine arts all to the same central idea.

Thoughts on Unit Studies



Championed by John Holt in the 1970s, unschooling does away with formal curricula in favor of child-led (but parent-directed) investigation.



Parents who follow this approach make use of boxed curricula, online schools, or charter schools in order to administer a traditional classroom education that happens to take place in the home.

Eclectic Home Schooling

Eclectic home educators borrow from any method that suits them in order to construct a personalized educational plan.


Susan Wise Bauer

Susan Wise Bauer is an educator, writer, and historian. She is the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (now in its fourth edition), and the author of (among others) The Well- Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, the Story of the World series, the History of the World series, the elementary series Writing With Ease, and the pre-rhetoric series Writing With Skill. Susan was home educated through high school and has taught all four of her children at home. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she taught writing and literature for over fifteen years.


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