With the traditional education system so unequipped to provide adequate distance learning, more parents are turning to homeschool as an alternative. Past homeschooling parents can attest to the growing evidence that homeschooled children consistently do better on standardized tests and grow up with a more well-rounded personal growth than their traditionally schooled counterparts.

Regardless of whether there’s truth to those studies, homeschooling is starting to feel like the most attractive option during this pandemic. But what does homeschooling actually look like for your child’s learning?

It’s a little complicated. A child’s guardian taking responsibility to govern their learning at home is a tale as old as time. Homeschooling has a lot of history and as a result, there are a lot of options. This is both a good and possibly bad thing. For one, having so many options can help you tailor your child’s educations to perfectly fit their needs. On the other, parents who are new to homeschooling can find all of this information overwhelming. They might also try to adopt methodologies that are counterproductive or do not complement each other.

Worry not! We’re here to break down the seven most popular homeschooling learning styles for you.

What are the 7 Homeschooling Learning Styles?

Before delving into the world of homeschooling, it helps to understand its main approaches. We’ll be referring to these approaches as learning styles. For good reason, too! Whatever homeschooling learning style or combination of styles you choose, you’ll need to understand what type of learning it will support as well as how it may fulfill your child’s needs.

The seven main homeschooling learning styles are:

  1. Classical
  2. Charlotte Mason
  3. Montessori
  4. Unschooling
  5. School-at-Home
  6. Unit studies
  7. Eclectic education

In the following sections, we will be providing you with a quick overview of each learning style. Then, we’ll talk about the benefits and limitations of each method. Finally, we’ll be sharing a list of resources to help you get started.

Ready to dive into the world of homeschooling?

1. The Classical Method

Quick Facts:
  • This method is the oldest and one of the most popular homeschooling learning styles
  • Focuses on the classics and masterpieces of western civilization, from the time of the Greeks and Romans to mid-20th-century literature
  • Heavily reading-based and applies the Applied Trivium Framework for Classical Homeschooling
  • Rigid in its chronology
    • Students will be learning in various subject areas over the time periods of history, leading to an understanding of the effect of time on accepted knowledge and ideas.
  • Emphasis on Socratic Dialogues
    • Students will need to have deep discussions and debates to encourage big-picture thinking.
  • Two Variations:
    • Ancient Greek and Latin Learning
    • Biblical-Classical Methodology
Benefits of the Classical Homeschooling Learning Style:

Children who learn through the classical method are thought to become more intelligent and better readers than their adult counterparts. This learning style definitely has a very prestigious reputation attached to it. However, you might find that trade-off is not worth it. See the Limitations section for more. For now, here’s why this learning style is so popular among homeschooling parents.

  • Guaranteed to Produce Results: This learning style has been in existence since the time of the ancients themselves. As a result, the classical learning style (done right) has been well-tested and well-proven over the course of centuries.
  • Western Thought Experts: With the focus on Great Books, students will be reading from a list of books containing the most influential ideas and concepts spanning the whole of western history. Through learning from this list, they are easily becoming familiar with important schools of thought that most everyone should be (but usually are not) understanding.
  • Well-Read StudentsIt goes without saying that learning from Great Books needs a huge amount of reading to be done. Moreover, the Lexile levels of these books are nothing to laugh about. To be able to comprehend and discuss the ideas discussed will require readers of great caliber.
  • Linguistics: The Classical Method emphasizes that students should learn either Ancient Greek, Latin, or biblical Hebrew. Modernizations of the classical method allow for other useful languages like French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, etc.
  • Critical Thinkers and Problem Solvers: The Trivium Framework has an important component that is often ignored in traditional schools—logic. Your child will actually be taught schools of thought on logical problem-solving.
  • Outlined and Challenging: There is a system to this learning style. Teachers are encouraged to provide a clear curriculum and means to ensure that academics are all-encompassing and rigorous.
  • Ready-to-Implement: As this learning style is incredibly popular, there are a lot of resources for a ready-to-use curriculum and subject matter.
Limitations of the Classical Homeschooling Learning Style:

No method is perfect. Here are some of the drawbacks to the classical learning style. These are not completely unmitigable, depending on your child’s capabilities you can easily alter aspects to better suit their needs.

  • Too Much Reading: The sheer amount of reading requires faster and perhaps shallower reading. Students who love to read might be incredibly frustrated with the time constraints. If a book is at the student’s reading level, its content might be too sophisticated or mature for the student to truly grasp or appreciate. Finally, if your child struggles with reading, this method might cause them a lot of distress.
  • Time in a Day: The heavy focus on books and reading takes away time from other areas of study. For some students, reading can be a time-consuming activity. And for students more gifted in other areas, their strengths might suffer and stagnate under the pressure of a heavy reading schedule.
  • Rigidity: Compared to other homeschooling methods, the Classical learning style is generally less flexible. The Wise-Bauer classical method, for example, depends on a specific school of student development (Applied Trivium), a focus on classical texts for subject areas, and a chronological curriculum.
  • Less Hands-On Learning: There is more reading, memorization and desk-work in this homeschooling learning style than other learning styles.
  • Impracticality: Time spent on learning an ancient language might be better spent studying for the SAT or learning how to code.
Choose the Classical Learning Style If:
  • The idea of studying the most influential books in the West is appealing
  • You prefer rigidity and structure to your curriculum
  • Logic and critical thinking need to be important components in your child’s education
  • You believe history should be taught chronologically over a variety of subject areas
  • You want your student to learn foreign languages, even classical languages, like Greek and Latin
  • Instead of testing comprehension, you want to have intellectual debate and discourse
  • You don’t want something super innovative, just something tried and tested.
Resources to refer to for Classical learning style:

Due to the sheer amount of time the classical learning style has existed, the resources for parents or teachers are abundant!

Curriculum and Supporting Materials

Also Read: 5 Things Parents Must Do to Build Social Skills in Homeschoolers

2. Charlotte Mason Method

Quick Facts:
  • This Christian learning style utilizes the methodologies of its namesake, Charlotte Mason.
  • Charlotte Mason believed in shorter learning periods (15 to 45 minutes depending on the grade).
  • These learning periods are accompanied by nature walks, nature journals, or history portfolios.
  • This learning style encourages observation, memorization, and narration.
  • Instead of lectures and technical matter, Charlotte Mason’s method focuses on reading and learning through observation. You can probably guess then, that this learning style is very flexible.
Benefits of the Charlotte Mason learning method

In some ways, the Charlotte Mason learning style is a combination of some the best features of various learning styles. More importantly, it’s survived the test of time and continues to be student-driven learning style. It’s less expensive than School-at-home or Classical homeschooling but more structured than Unschooling or Montessori. For contemporary homeschoolers, this learning style continues to hold the top ranks.

  • Nature Walks: Students learn observation, processing, recording, and creativity through nature walks. These are essential steps in the scientific process. From a young age, this method fosters excitement and love for science.
  • Journaling: Instead of formal assessments, students keep journals or compile portfolios.
  • Survived the Test of Time: This is definitely not as old as the Classical method but it has been around for the last century!
  • Fairly Inexpensive: Since this method was developed by a full-time nanny and tutor, she was focused on providing quality education at a low-cost. She definitely succeeded. Most materials for this learning style are free, downloadable, or quite cheap.
  • Suitable for Christian Education: If you would prefer to teach your child Biblical values and curriculum, this learning style is the one for you.
  • Suitable for Teaching Amateurs: Unlike other learning styles, you do not need professional teachers to be able to implement the curriculum.

Of course, Charlotte Mason’s homeschooling learning style is not without its demerits. Homeschooling parents and teachers should be preemptive in mitigating these issues.

  • Not Suitable for Secondary Education: Charlotte Mason originally designed this curriculum with K-6 students in mind. As a result, most Charlotte Mason homeschools outsource their curriculum for middle school and high school students.
  • Frustrating for Non-Christians: This learning style is aimed at Christian families. While having a curriculum designed with the Bible in mind is fine for homeschooling families wanting to incorporate their Christian faith, it is not ideal for non-Christians or secular families. Finding materials that are secular or have another faith in mind is difficult.
  • Lack of STEM Expertise: Although not weak in science and math, Charlotte Mason’s learning style isn’t particularly strong in the subject area either. When approaching advanced topics in science and math, this learning style doesn’t cut it.
  • AntiqueMost Christian public and private schools don’t employ this method and finding a more modern or timely curriculum for this learning style can feel like a wild goose chase.
Choose the Charlotte Mason Learning Style If:
  • You want your student to learn through living literature (stories, biographies, etc.) than through textbooks.
  • Studying the Bible and maintaining knowledge on it needs to be a daily task for your student.
  • You need homeschooling to be as inexpensive as can be.
  • Outdoor discovery with your students sounds like fun.
  • Instead of formal assessments, you want your student to keep journals or compile portfolios.
  • You prefer the student-driven learning approach.
  • Storytelling as a learning and teaching method is valuable to you.

Curriculum and Supporting Materials

3. Montessori Learning Style

Quick Facts:
  • Maria Montessori, an early 20th-century Italian physician, and educator developed this learning style using her psychology work with differently-abled children.
  • This method is:
    • humanistic and student-based approach
    • utilizing free movement, large-unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and customized learning plans.
  • Instead of teaching directly, this method uses props and other manipulatives to aid instruction.

Benefits of the Montessori Learning Style

Montessori is well-proven as a child-friendly humanistic educational model. However, this method is usually excluded from the list of homeschooling learning styles. This is because Montessori schools generally turn their classrooms into learning playgrounds. As a result, a lot of props, furniture, and organizational efforts are needed.

Ironically, in Maria Montessori’s own journals, she describes a planned classroom which in many ways mirrors a normal working home. By the original model, Maria Montessori’s homeschooling learning style is perfect for parents wanting to provide a humanistic learning environment for their children.

  • Great for Elementary Students: Utilizes early childhood psychology to create a perfect learning environment for young learners, who need to touch, move, and play in the course of their learning.
  • Differently-abled friendly: Montessori originally developed this learning style for students who are differently-abled. It was so effective that she extended to include abled children.
  • Beneficial for Gifted Students: Enables prodigies to work at their own pace and have their curricula adapt to their particular needs and interests. Gifted students can move at through material at their own pace instead of having the restraints that the traditional classroom environment places on them.
  • Hands-on Learning: With the emphasis on physical tactile interaction, students’ have greater spatial and tactile intelligence than their traditional classroom counterparts.
  • Highly Flexible: Students have the ability to choose what to learn and for how long at a time they work on it.
  • Encourages Creativity: Since this method facilitates student decision-making, emphasizes physical tactile interaction, and is flexible, young creators and innovators can find this learning style an incredibly useful aid towards their innovations!

Although Montessori works well with most children, there are a couple of issues to keep in mind.

  • Teaching Certification: To be considered a Montessori homeschool, the instructor needs to have a Montessori teaching credential and license. Of course, you could always forgo the label and utilize Montessori principles, but to be on the safe side, getting that certification is important!
  • Usually a School-House Model: Again the Montessori’s learning style is primarily used for private schools and sometimes for public schools. There won’t be much of a homeschooling support network as with the other learning styles.
  • Not the Best for Older Students: This method is usually not used beyond elementary school.
  • Free Structure: For students who prefer challenges and structure will find this learning style unstructured and non-rigorous, perhaps boring as well.
  • Modeled on Humanism: If you do not subscribe to a humanistic view of children or if such a view does not work best for your child, then this homeschooling learning style will not be well-suited for you.
Choose Montessori Learning Style If:
  • You believe that children should not be conditioned by education institutions
  • Getting certified in the Montessori method or hiring Montessori certified teachers to train you or to share your homeschooling duties won’t be a difficulty
  • Your child has different learning needs, whether they are “gifted” or if they are differently-abled.
  • You are confident in your child’s ability to direct their learning
  • Making sure that your child has immersive, physical, tactile learning experiences

Curriculum and Supporting Materials:

Also Read: 6 Ideas to Transform Your Home into the Perfect Homeschool Learning Space

4. Unschooling Learning Style

Quick Facts:
  • John Holt’s work in homeschooling largely influences the Unschooling learning style.
  • This homeschooling learning style is a free-form learning model that is:
    • student-centered
    • unconventional
    • individualistic
  • The student’s interests define the learning plans and study projects.
    • However, there is still a high priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn-as-you-go education.

This doesn’t mean that Unschooling does not consist of some systematic and rigorous teaching. When it comes to basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic, systematic and rigorous teaching is implemented using nontraditional tools. Unschooling chooses to have parent-teachers be facilitators over the conventional instructor.


As the most unique homeschooling learning style on this list, Unschooling can feel daunting or useless compared to the more structured homeschooling learning styles. However, the ingenuity offered by Unschooling can go a long way for your child.

  • Adaptability: Unschooling is super flexible as it allows for complete personalization depending on the student’s needs.
  • Passion-Driven: Students can academically explore their own passions. Their education will align with what interests them.
  • Minimal Structure: The direction of teaching need not be rigid and multiple options can be presented to students.
  • Hands-On Learning: Although Unschooling still incorporates a lot of books, there is a special emphasis on connecting the subjects through real-life experiences in different ways for students with different learning styles.
  • Values Diversity: Each student is a unique, creative individual who’s creative expression should be celebrated.

Many of the limitations of this homeschooling learning style are also the benefits of it. Let’s get into it.

  • Reactionary: Unschooling reacts to the failings of traditional learning. However, backing away from one style’s mistakes does not mean that you will not be making mistakes with your adjustments. It’s important to consider the benefits of each component of your Unschooling methodology. You might even want to incorporate some traditional learning mechanisms as your child needs it.
  • Stuctureless: Some students may need more structure or rigor than what Unschooliong can provide. Although parents can help create structure in certain aspects of their student’s learning, they might bot be sufficiently fulfilling their needs.
  • Modeled on Humanism: If you do not subscribe to a humanistic view of children or if such a view does not work best for your child, then this homeschooling learning style will not be well-suited for you.
  • May Lead to Knowledge Gaps: When you are focusing on what interests your child, other subject matter may not be paid the amount of attention needed to attain proficiency.
Choose Unschooling Learning Style If:
  • Conventional/traditional schooling does not appeal to you.
  • You believe that the traditional classroom only teaches children how to behave in the system.
  • The education provided by schools was mostly useless for you.
  • Learning through experience is more important than rote memorization.
  • You are confident in your child’s ability to direct their learning and create meaningful products out of what they are learning
  • Your child loves to create pet projects based on their interests


Curriculum and Supporting Materials

5. School-at-Home Learning Style

Quick Facts:

Just like its name suggests, the School-at-Home learning style is just a traditional school from a home setting. The curriculum could even be the same curriculum your child’s nearby school is using. While parents can administer this curriculum themselves, many parents choose to go the online route. We expect this particular methodology to become incredibly popular due to the pandemic.


For parents who appreciate the strengths and conventionality of the traditional school system, School-at-Home is a perfect homeschooling learning style.

  • TraditionalThis homeschooling learning style is for parents who are not interested in reinventing an education system suited to their child.
  • Sticks to StandardsThe curricula is usually aligned with the federal and state learning standards making it easier for college admissions when the time comes.
  • Many Options: The market for School-at-Home learning is booming, meaning that there are a plethora of great programs or curricula packages to utilize as you see fit.
  • On Par with Public and Private Schools: The students at School-at-Home are generally at the same level of performance as their traditional counterparts. This is because the curricula conforms to the learning standards of the state.
  • Short-Term FriendlyIf homeschooling your child is only a temporary measure (as will be for many families during the pandemic), this allows for easy transition back into the traditional classroom once the situation normalizes.

As School-at-Home is a homeschooling version of traditional schools, it also shares its weaknesses.

  • Costly: This homeschooling learning style is as expensive as private school for the most part. Each curricula package must include study plans and teacher materials alongside the student materials.
  • Rigid: Students in School-at-Home homeschooling are stuck doing everything the program tells them to do. There’s no means to opt-out of a particular exercise or subject area. Moreover, learning is textbook-centered, not student-centered.
  • Parent Burn-Out: Parents facilitating School-at-Home homeschooling are often burnt-out. If you aren’t able to pay for an expensive program, carrying out the curricula that are usually handled by 5-6 different teachers can be incredibly tiring.
  • Bad Scalability: Many activities and lessons are meant for large class sizes. Trying to conduct those same activities in a homeschooling environment is difficult at best and impossible at worst.
  • Time-Consuming: Trying to dedicate 8 hour school days five days a week takes away a lot of time out of your regular schedule. This is more than other homeschooling learning style which are typically 4 or 5 hour days.
Choose School-at-Home Learning Style If:
  • Homeschooling is a short-term option for you.
  • You prefer the traditional school system.
  • State learning standards must be followed in your child’s education.
  • Constructing your own curricula seems daunting or too time-consuming.
  • You are willing to put a lot of time and resources into your child’s homeschooling.


6. Unit Studies

Quick Facts:

Unit studies are thematically related learning plans where students will study the same event or object from the perspective of each subject area. For example, students might study Egypt in Geography, the book of Exodus in Reading class, “out of Egypt” theories of human origins in Science class, and pyramids and triangles in Geometry-Trigonometry. These subject areas can be addressed separately or together.

Unit-studies can be thought of as an instrument for use within other, more comprehensive, educational methodologies via the Eclectic method (see the model section for Eclectic education hereafter). For this reason, Unit studies are common within Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, and sometimes Classical Schooling.


Unit studies generally don’t demand much more than overlapping subjects. In that way, Unit studies afford great versatility to transform lessons into multifaceted projects and integrative exercises that engage different student interests and learning styles.

      • Fun: Unit studies make learning fun. Instead of studying the Civil War as a list of dates and names, students can try their hand at picking crops manually, play a Civil War-based board game, perform skits, plays, and reenactments, and engage in Socratic dialogues over Civil War era letters and documents. The opportunities are endless.
      • Student-Directed: Unit studies lend well to student-directed learning plans, thus teaching students responsibility and self-awareness through the course of their own education.
      • Wholism: By approaching learning as a wholistic tapestry of different interwoven subjects, students can grown a more “connected” sense of knowledge.
      • Bolsters Weaker Subjects: Using this method, parent-teachers can incorporate subject areas that would otherwise repel students. In this way, Unit studies empower students to work in and enjoy their weaker subject areas by leveraging their strengths in other subject areas.
      • Partnering: This method partners well with other methods like Charlotte-Mason, Classical, and Unschooling.

Unit studies methodology has many benefits, but with these come some tradeoffs. Most of these tradeoffs can be resolved by using this methodology within the larger context of an Eclectic model, joining, for instance, Charlotte Mason and Unit-Studies into a single course of study.

      • Incomplete: The term “Unit studies” tends to refer to curricula more than to a complete and singular educational philosophy. There is no unified set of ideas explaining the “big picture” for this approach. What are the goals? How are the areas of study linked and laid out so that everything important is addressed? What core competencies are addressed and in what order? There’s not a clear single source for answering these sorts of questions. Thus, parent-teachers are left to “figure it out” on their own.
      • Curriculum-Dependent: Unit studies can be very curriculum-dependent. More than with other methods, the Unit studies methodology has no overall, universal model that guarantees coverage of all the important subjects. Therefore, a Unit studies education can vary widely by the curriculum, more so than with other methods. And some Unit study curricula might skip over whole subject areas, thus leaving the parent-teacher to anticipate and compensate for gap.
      • Knowledge gaps: Unit studies are notorious for leaving major knowledge gaps. By thematically joining subject areas according to objects and events, the constant risk is that one of the subject areas (like Math, or Chemistry) is insufficiently addressed or entirely ignored.
      • Internal Logic: Another objection comes from Susan Wise Bauer. She contends that Unit studies are conflicted because each subject has its own “internal logic” and different logics might not work together. The humanities like English, History, Philosophy, Geography, or Foreign languages work wonderfully in unit studies, but Math and Science may pull the learner in a different direction. These latter subjects build on a growing bed of systematic, prerequisite knowledge. Skipping around or using a historical-chronological framework might work fine in the humanities but would be a death knell for Math competency. In this way, Unit studies might work better in tandem with systematic study, thus ensuring that no subject areas are sold short.
      • Dependent: Because this method is incomplete (see above), it needs a supporting framework of education theory, say from the Classical, Unschooling, or Charlotte Mason methods.
Choose Unit Studies If:
      • It bothers that teachers and schools tend to keep subject areas separate, when in the real world, different subject areas are all knotted together like spaghetti.
      • You want your student to see how ideas look from different perspectives.
      • You prefer depth of understanding, over breadth of information.
      • You are intrigued by the idea of studying the same event across different subject areas.
      • You are willing to construct your child’s curriculum from scratch if that’s what it takes.
      • You want freedom for you and your student to choose what to study.

Curriculum and Supporting Materials

7. Eclectic Education

Eclectic homeschooling also called “Relaxed” homeschooling, is the most popular method of homeschooling. The reason for its popularity is obvious. Homeschool parents love to share ideas and resources across different methodologies because their key focus is not in propping up a method, or touting some favored curriculum. Their main objective is educating their child and each child is unique.

Eclectic homeschooling is typically child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based. It has no built-in loyalties to a particular method and tends to treat curriculum options like a buffet instead of a set meal plan. Parent-teachers can sample from any combination of other homeschooling methods, or resources.

This model is the most flexible of all methods. You may prefer a Classical classroom for a few days out of the week while reserving the rest for Charlotte Mason-based activities like nature walks. Or you might adhere to the ideologies of Unschooling for the liberal arts, while engaging simultaneously in a rigorous School-at-Home calculus class. One of the growing brands of Eclectic schooling is “hybrid” homeschool, which combines part homeschooling and part traditional schooling (public or private). See also Eclectic-Homeschool.com and EclecticHomeschool.org.


In simple terms, when you implement Eclectic homeschooling well, you can enjoy the unique benefits of each method you consult.

      • Well-suited to Mature Educators: You don’t have to be an expert teacher to understand what works and what does not work for your student. This method allows you to make adjustments as you see fit, like a mature educator. To make those adjustments takes a little wisdom coupled with the flexible integrity needed to shift where necessary and hold your ground on the non-negotiables.
      • Flexibility: As stated above, this is the most flexible homeschool method there is. It allows you to mix and match the best parts of different methods for whatever suits the needs of you and your student.
      • Resources: Eclectic method has the most resources available since most materials for other methods will also be pertinent to this model.
      • Popularity: This method is a common default option. As a result, it’s not hard to find networks, groups, or meetups to walk with you through your homeschooling journey.

The benefits of this method are many, but whenever you combine different methods or resources together, there is always the risk of importing their drawbacks or even synergizing new problems. If the Eclectic method is looking like a strong option for you, make sure you read over the other methods above so you have a sense of what strengths and weaknesses might accompany each. This method needs to be used tactfully.

      • Too Many Options: Having the most flexibility and the most resources means the Eclectic method can feel too open-ended, overwhelming you with options.
      • Bad Mixes: Just because you can mix ice cream and mustard doesn’t mean you should. Not all homeschool materials and methods mix well.
      • Worst of Both Worlds: Blending conflicting educational theories may render the “best of both worlds,” but if it’s not done right, you can get the “worst of both worlds” instead.
      • Too Hasty: Eclectic homeschool teachers risk disposing of well-planned educational strategies before understanding why certain methodologies function the way they do. Good Eclectic teachers need a solid understanding of all methodologies they employ so they don’t waste good resources by discarding them too quickly.
Choose Eclectic Education If:
      • You are likely to mix and match different styles.
      • You are a “learn as you go” kind of person, and you are comfortable with the responsibility of bringing different curricula together into the same learning plan.
      • You just can’t decide between two or more methods.
      • You’d feel “trapped” if you had to stick to just one homeschooling style.
      • You have found at least two different curricula or resources that you are eager to try, but they don’t fit together under one homeschooling style.
      • You are suspicious of methods that seem perfectly sound, in theory, because you think they probably won’t work in the real world without significant outside support.

Curricula and Supporting Materials

Closing thoughts

In this blog, we’ve shared a basic idea of what each homeschooling learning model entails. We advise you to take your time to assess which learning style suits you and your child. At this point, you may feel ready to dive into the world of homeschooling. If so, you can visit the “Start Homeschooling Here” page at Talentnook to get guided help when starting to homeschool your child.

If you aren’t sure about homeschooling, that’s okay too. Reach out to our homeschooling experts and get your most pressing queries answered for free.

Talk to a Homeschooling Expert Now!

Happy homeschooling.:)