Considering eclectic homeschooling? Want to know if this relaxed homeschooling method will work for your family? We’ll cover the pros and cons of eclectic learning and how to get started in this ultimate guide to education at home in a more relaxed way! See our sample relaxed homeschool schedule and eclectic examples for a week!
UNDERSTANDING ECLECTIC HOMESCHOOLING
What is eclectic homeschooling?
What is eclectic style homeschooling? The eclectic homeschool style is a popular method also known as relaxed homeschooling. This home school method mixes and matches different homeschooling resources instead of using a traditional homeschool curriculum and can include child-led learning. Eclectic homeschoolers use learning like a DIY buffet where they pick and choose the best options from each learning resource.
What eclectic homeschool is:
- Unique homeschooling, tailored to each child’s learning style
- Mixing and matching and using different homeschool curricula, educational resources, online classes, and learning tools for home school
- Learning as you go and seeing everything as a learning opportunity
- Picking and choosing different parts of a curriculum or course that works best of your child
- Following your child’s interests and incorporating those into learning
- Incorporating real life experiences and hands-on learning
- Understanding your child’s learning style and providing learning tools for that style
- Being relaxed in how your child learns best
What eclectic homeschool is NOT:
- One specific learning style (it involves many different learning styles and tools)
- Using just one single homeschool curriculum for learning (but it can use parts of a homeschool curriculum)
- Specific, strict homeschool schedules
- One set standard on how to learn
- Allowing children to do whatever they want, whenever they want
What is eclectic curriculum?
An eclectic homeschool curriculum takes into account a child’s interests and learning styles. Then, different educational tools and resources are built around how to help kids best learn using a personalized approach to learning. There is no specific eclectic homeschooling curriculum. You build it yourself!
Which homeschool program is the best?
The great thing about eclectic homeschooling is that there is no one best home school program! You may use one program for math, a different homeschool program online for language arts, and then no homeschooling program at all for art and just let your child unschool for that. The best homeschool program is what works best for your flexible homeschool schedule!
Eclectic Homeschooling vs Hybrid Homeschooling
What is the difference between eclectic homeschool and hybrid homeschool? Eclectic homeschool uses a variety of learning tools and resources for home school. Hybrid home school is part homeschooling and part traditional school like public school.
Can you eclectic homeschool online?
Yes! With eclectic schooling you can include any online homeschool classes or online programs that meet your needs. Eclectic homeschooling isn’t about what you can’t use. It’s about what educational resources you can use to best meet your needs, and that includes homeschool curriculum, online homeschool programs, classes at the library, textbooks and even extracurricular activities for kids.
Eclectic Homeschooling vs Traditional Homeschooling Curriculum
Wondering about the difference between eclectic homeschooling and a traditional homeschooling curriculum? With a traditional homeschooling curriculum, homeschoolers follow a predetermined curriculum with lessons or activities and use it for all of their learning and subjects that comprise a course (or at least one subject area). In eclectic homeschooling, you may use a homeschool curriculum for one subject, an online course for another subject, and an outside the home class for other subject.
HOW TO START ECLECTIC HOME SCHOOL
To get started with relaxed homeschooling:
1. CHECK YOUR HOMESCHOOL LAWS. Understand the homeschool laws and homeschool requirements for your state/area. Do you have to homeschool a specific way or report in a specific way? Be sure to build that into your eclectic home school.
2. UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR CHILD LEARNS. Take some time to understand how your child best learns. Sometimes this simply means observing your child for a few weeks and seeing what they gravitate to during this period.
3. INCORPORATE YOUR CHILD’S INTERESTS. Talk to your kids about their interests. What would they like to learn about? Then, work to include your child’s interests into their learning. (Read about how to do this with a unit study.) If you need relaxed homeschooling ideas, just ask your kids!
4. UNDERSTAND WHERE YOUR CHILD STRUGGLES. Understanding your child’s challenges will help you match learning tools to help with those struggles. For example, if your child struggles with reading, it doesn’t make sense to choose homeschool curricula or classes that require a lot of reading. Instead, use things like Vooks or audiobooks.
5. START WITH A LIST. List out what is required from your area’s homeschool laws (if any). Then, add in the subjects you want/need to learn.
6. MATCH THE SUBJECTS TO YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE. Once you have the list of required subjects, match them to learning resources that best match your child’s learning style. If they learn best by listening, try podcasts or play music while learning. If your kids learn well with games, try game-based learning. Just start with a simple online search like game reading resources. Take notes of resources that look promising for that topic/subject and then move on to the next. If you don’t find a resource that you really love, then leave that topic open for unschooling.
Eclectic Homeschool Tip: Set a timer (like 10-15 minutes) to research resources or subjects for each topic or subject. Otherwise, you can easily fall down a rabbit hole of spending hours online researching one homeschool subject.
7. SET A LOOSE SCHEDULE. Once you have your subjects and homeschool resources you will use, make a simple homeschool schedule. It can be as simple as:
Monday: History, Drama
Tuesday: Reading, Math, PE
With eclectic learning, you want to leave you schedule simple to allow learning. If a science project interests your child enough to continue learning by looking up YouTube videos, you don’t want to rush them along just for the purpose of completing a task list.
8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO LET GO! One of the best things about eclectic home school is that if something is not working, then stop using it. You have an unlimited amount of resources (yes, even free homeschool resources). Don’t torture your family by forcing your kids to complete something that they aren’t enjoying and isn’t working. Have fun!
Download our free school schedule and use it for your eclectic homeschool planner.
What To Use for Eclectic Homeschooling:
Here are some of the learning tools and resources we’ve used for successful eclectic homeschooling:
- READING: Vooks; audio books
- SPELLING: Osmo (also for Math, Coding, Music, Geography+)
- WRITING/LANGUAGE ARTS: Night Zookeeper
- HISTORY: Honest History Magazine
- MATH: Prodigy learning game; Free Math Antics Videos
- CURRENT EVENT: The Juice
- COURSES: Great Courses Plus, Outschool
- HANDS-ON LEARNING (including science and art): Subscription boxes
- MORE LEARNING RESOURCES: Podcasts
We also do a lot of unschooling, which allows my daughter to follow her interests in learning.
Eclectic Homeschooling Schedule Example
Each month, I make a homeschool schedule for my daughter. This is a real example of one of the weeks.
As you can see, I don’t put any times on the school classes. That way, if she wants to expand her learning on some of these, she can without feeling rushed to move on by a certain time.
I also include special holidays or things of interest for that week or month or even season.
Some of these items are from a homeschool curriculum, some are from online homeschool programs, some are outside classes, and some are unschooling topics.
(Notice I left room for her to write in any extra things she did for home school or any goals we want to set for the week. This changes weekly!)
Your eclectic homeschool schedule may look very different based on what works for your family!
Pros and Cons of Eclectic Homeschooling
Is eclectic homeschooling right for your family?
Understanding the relaxed eclectic homeschooling benefits and drawbacks will help you better decide.
Benefits of Eclectic Homeschooling
- Super flexible and allows you to adjust the learning schedule to your lifestyle
- Great for all types of learners, from gifted kids to kids who like to follow their interests
- Ability to tailor learning for each subject or course topic (for example, you may prefer to use a homeschool math curriculum but use unschooling for art)
- Allows room for kids to incorporate their interests, which keeps them engaged in learning
- Ability to adjust and change curriculum and tools that aren’t working for your child and shift when necessary
- Wide range of educational resources are available because this home school method allows for different learning tools, classes, curriculum, and activities (whatever works, use that!)
- Can decrease monotony or boredom because you’re switching between learning tools throughout the week
Disadvantages of Eclectic Homeschooling
- There is no “blueprint” to show you what to pick and choose and what homeschool schedule to follow
- Parents are responsible for researching and choosing learning tools, classes, and curricula for each subject
- Research is time-consuming
- Can seem overwhelming to new homeschoolers because there is no step-by-step curriculum to follow
- Too many options sometimes makes it difficult to narrow down what you want to use
- Can be a tendency to give up too quickly and change to something new as soon as it seems like it’s not working
- May be uncomfortable or unsuccessful if your family (or child) works best on a strict schedule or a preplanned curriculum that is done for you
An eclectic education can be fun and exciting for your kids!