Eclectic Homeschooling

The available definitions for Eclectic Homeschooling are as wide and varied as the possibilities it provides.  Many non-homeschoolers imagine homeschooling to be very similar in structure to public schooling, although at home.  They assume that homeschooled students sit at a desk all day, working their way through a set curriculum, as well as completing assignments and exams.  Indeed, this is the way that some families choose to homeschool, and it can work very well.

Eclectic homeschooling, however, involves utilizing resources and information from anywhere and everywhere.  Rather than be restricted to one set curriculum, they may utilize a variety of text books.  But, eclectic homeschooling certainly doesn’t stop there. Eclectic homeschooling also includes using a variety of methods, tools and even locations, to educate your children, as well as letting their needs and desires determine what is taught and how. Many parents of special needs children homeschool their children in an eclectic fashion.

Eclectic homeschooling is a form of homeschooling that is simply bursting with potential, because your family’s educational journey is only limited by your imagination… and, perhaps, funding.  Many parents will take a child interests and turn it into a fun school subject or use a variety of books to teach literature instead of buying a program or a boring anthology of works. Eclectic homeschooling families are often very talented at discovering what works. While some parents will buy a curriculum and persevere, following it to the letter, even if their kids are struggling, this should never be the case in homeschooling. Don’t be afraid to change!  If the kids are struggling, and there is little progress, maybe its time to look into another way to doing things.  This is where eclectic homeschooling really comes into its own.  If it’s broke, definitely fix it.  It’s your kids and their future, and they are the reason we are homeshooling in the first place!


Somewhat closely associated to Eclectic Homeschooling is the concept of unschooling.  This method of education takes advantage of the fact that children are natural learners.  Instead of setting a rigid structure, unschoolers allow their children’s interests to direct their education, with the parents, as homeschool teachers, acting as facilitators of the learning process, rather than directors/writers/dictators.

Unschooling can be surprisingly effective when well-guided, allowing the child to maintain an interest and some influence over his/her own learning materials, utilizing real life activities, as well of books and standard resources.  Orthodox unschoolers believe that learners self-determine what is important to know in the world and, as there is more to learn than can ever be learned, the skills learned in self-directed learning will keep students in good stead throughout life.  Also, they argue that there is no such thing as particular topics of study being critical to know, or more important than other subjects in the grand scheme of things.  Therefore, whatever direction of study the student chooses is the right one for them.  Critics of unschooling, however, express concern that unschoolers may avoid topics that are not of interest, and may therefore be lacking in particular aspects of education and/or social skills, including those deemed important for the workforce.

Regardless of the style of homeschooling adopted long-term, many homeschooling families make good use of unschooling as a transition from government schooling to homeschooling, allowing the child to create new educational associations, and slip into the new freedoms that homeschooling allows.

Melissa Murdoch has a passion for life span development and education, and believes wholeheartedly that a healthy society begins at home.  For further information on how to get started in homeschooling, please visit

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3 Responses to “Eclectic Homeschooling”

  1. [...] Eclectic Homeschooling [...]

  2. Apparently the comment was lost. I’ll try again. :)

    We are parents of six in our 16th year of homeschooling. I’ve always found educational philosophies to be the most interesting thing to analyze.

    I found this statement worth a look, “Unschooling can be surprisingly effective when well-guided…”

    Well, yes, but then is it unschooling? I’m unsure by what standard “guided” unschooling can actually support the fundamental ideas presented in the unschooling movement. I don’t know anyone who thinks kids learn best when entirely dictated from others. (Even public schools have electives.) But unschooling isn’t just about having some interest and/or influence over their education. (And if it is, then it’s not really much different from any other method.)
    .-= Alison Moore Smith´s last blog ..Best Toys: 60 Educational Family Games =-.

  3. I tried to leave a comment here. It may be in moderation but, if so, it would be helpful if there was some indication that it actually was received.

    Anyway, great site, glad to have found it.
    .-= Alison Moore Smith´s last blog ..Best Toys: 60 Educational Family Games =-.

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