Home Schooling Styles

Please note that this compilation was completed by a HHL member in 2000, pre-Distributed Learning (DL) in B.C. The article continues to give a good overview of the different philosophies of educating at home.

Remember that students have individual learning styles (preferences / mergings), and Moms and Dads have individual teaching styles. The goal in home educating is to be considerate through observing and assesing and then responding by being understanding and flexible. Things go a whole lot better then!

Attachments: 9 reasons kids like homeschooling – from the folks at Sonlight (2015). Thoughts on overwhelm by a HHL member. School year Planning sheets.

The following synopsis was gleaned from various Practical Homeschooling Magazines, Traditional Learning Academy Homeschool Catalogue and Resource Guide 2000 – 2001, Diana Waring’s seminar at the B.C. Convention 1999, and from web sites: www.home-school.com (Mary Pride’s site), www.homeschoolchristian.com.


John Holt, Raymond Moore.

Summed up as: Everyday life’s educational possibilities are limitless and it’s up to us to take advantage of the curriculum God provided (Mary-Ann Turner PHS Sept-Oct 1997, pg. 30). Unschooling does NOT mean no textbooks and no teaching, but rather – doing it differently than the schools do it. Allowing your child’s natural curiosity about the world and natural desire to learn become the motivating factor in education. A goal is to learn to relax and enjoy the time together, with the space to grow and mature into the person God made them to be. Parents guide and help the child pursue their interests at their pace according to their unique abilities.

Parents provide:

1. A life (environment) rich in learning possibilities; learning tools and learning opportunities.

2. Discernment of where to guide into educational explorations.

3. Enthusiasm, modeling by example and attitude and love.


Clay and Sally Clarkson, PHS Sept- Oct 1998 pg. 50 -.

Summarized as: Home Centered Learning following God’s design of “living to learn and learning to live”, based on the discipleship relationship between parents and their children.

Follows 5 D’s:

1. Discipleship studies – God’s Word

2. Disciplines Studies – the basics; math and language

3. Discussion Studies – living books and fine arts. –

4. Discovery Studies — nature, science, arts, creativity

5. Discretionary Studies ~ life skills and abilities, natural gifts and community involvement.


Arthur Robinson.

Summed up as: Academic growth and learning is an individual activity that requires very little intervention.

Parents provide:

1. High quality educational materials.

2. Good study environment, quiet, neat, books

3. Excellent study habits = disciplined

4. High academic standards.

This is “Academics by self study”, and motivation comes through excellence; thus the requirement of high standards. An individual likes to do the things at which he excels and he excels at the things he likes to do. Satisfaction is derived from having the ability to do something and do it well, therefore basic skills = self confidence = thorough understanding. When excellence is demanded then maximum skills and maximum performance results. Of course, it is important to progress at one’s own rate and ability. (PHS Nov – Dec 1996)


This is seen as the “way of the future”, and also credit for college can be more easily acquired with this method. “Computers should work and people should think”, therefore computers check answers, drill tirelessly, automate the “drudge work” and also do the hardwork with software (consider desktop publishing compared with old – fashioned type, cut and paste). This would certainly include Distance Ed and in BC the present “electronic delivery programs” of provincial curriculum called “home study”. (TLA Homeschool News Oct 2000). Options like e-bus, and Nechacko also fit into this category.


(PHS March April 1998, July Aug 1998, Sept Oct 1998) Konos, Five – in – a Row, Design Your Own Study, Far Above Rubies, Weaver, Heart of Wisdom, The Advanced Training Institute, Valerie Bendt.

The code word for this style is “connectedness”. When one integrates subjects, each subject enhances the other. When subjects are connected by a theme the information is retained because it relates and shows the connectedness of the world. The child(ren) is submerged in a topic from many angles and all senses (multi disciplinary, inter disciplinary, multi sensory study). This style uses multilevel instruction (include different ages in the same topic) as much as possible and encourages family connectedness as a family learns, reads, and does things together. It is a style which balances textbooks with novels. Motivation hinges on wonder and curiosity; capitalizing on interests, correctly channeling varied experiences, and the example set by parents. It is to “be obsessed with education, not graduation”.

Two primary methods are used in the unit study approach:

l. Discovery Learning – hands on, multi sensory, and problem solving oriented. The goal is to preserve a sense of wonder.

2. Dialogue – family relationships in conversation is important because verbal skills (the ability to listen and talk) are key to reading and writing. Open ended questions draw the answer out by asking: content type of questions (did you listen?), but also analysis questions that require thinking be done (why, how and what?). Understanding is shown not by regurgitation but by being able to reason, articulate and support verbally.

Grades 1 to 8 would be mostly concerned with basics,

Grades 9 to 12 emphasis would be on discernment and communication – being involved in adult discussions and functions, and the studies of history and philosophy.


Mortimer Adler, Dorothy Sayers, Douglas Wilson, Laura Behrquist, Fritz Hinrichs.

This is a philosophy based on teaching children HOW to think: virtue, diligence, wisdom, apologetics, logic, Latin , Greek, classical history and literature composition are all part of this rigorous style of education. This is a style of “private tutoring” by parents with a Ph. D. (Doctor of Parenthood), and learning is done together. In fact, rather than having the children socially bonded to the peer group, keeping the hearts of the children with their parents is the goal. Hard work is good, learning to do good and love good is the motivation to study that which is significant. It is a style tested over the centuries as effective in producing thinkers and leaders. A focus of this approach is to glean from the experience and wisdom of the past to understand and discern the present.

1. To start the education the basics are memorized for a foundation of absolutes.

2. The second step is the development of logic and argumentation.

3. The final step is rhetoric with respect; having skill at using words and numbers, being able to articulate and defend with an aesthetic presentation.


Karen Andreola, Code Words for this style are Living Books, Narration and “Twaddle-free”.

l. Living Books are classics, or good books that enliven the imagination of a child filled with good vocabulary, and human emotion. “When children are in contact with the thoughts of thinkers, they become more thoughtful”. Works of literature, poetry, art, music, history and science should guide and inspire the child. In being inspired he is enthusiastic and enabled to educate himself and also his curiosity is aroused and he wants to leam. Education is a matter of the spirit and is not applied from without. The chief function of the teacher is to READ not explain. The teacher must lead and draw forth, not push. Animals are trained by treats and prizes – not humans. A child’s mind feeds on ideas, and is inspired by relationships. Self education is not artificially motivated by rewards and grades etc., rather they should be motivated by admiration, hope and love. Teach the child to recognize and admire the righteous, pure, heroic, beautiful, truthful and loyal. Help your child.”hope”; to aspire to learn, improve and be curious. I am, I can, I ought, I will = love of knowledge which helps to make a person = happiness and hopefulness of their own brand of accomplishment (including their different learning styles and intelligences). An atmosphere of love and understanding requires authority and obedience and reaps a heart of tenderness and kindness in giving and receiving. Cultivate respect, courtesy, kindness, consistency, responsibility, honest effort, discipline, forgiveness, acceptance of natural consequences, careful service, restitution, allegiance etc. Thus the emphasis on “good books”! Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life relationship with God, man and the universe (things).

2. Narration basically means for the child to “tell it back to me”, either verbally or written. By doing this the child’s mind does the sorting, sequencing, selecting, connecting, rejecting and classifying. The child learns as he feeds on ideas which allow him / her to acquire knowledge. To narrate is to KNOW, retelling from their point of view.

3. Charlotte Mason warns against “twaddle” but instead recommends “masterly inactivity”. The child in the early years needs to develop the habit of attention (to focus their attention). In the early years, keep it realistically short in required duration. Encourage the child to independently explore, and reflect. “The more we do for a child the less he does for himself”. This masterly inactivity should be balanced with definite times of structured learning. Therefore you have an educational environment of quantity and quality; “an abundant provision of orderly servings”. Summed up as: living the educational life with our children.


Lori Harris, Carole Adams, Nehemiah’s Institute.(PHS Jl — Aug 1998, pg 40.)

This is a philosophy in which Christian character and Christian scholarship is the central focus. The object of education is to think biblically, and to establish a firm Biblical world view. Biblical principles are followed in studying every subject, and the goal is that this knowledge is implemented (applied) in life. Legalism is not the goal but rather a strong moral character is the standard.

This philosophy focuses on 7 Principles:

l. Christian Character

2. Biblical Stewardship

3. God’s Sovereignty

4. Sowing and Reaping

5. Covenant

6. Christian Individuality

7. Christian Self-Government.

This approach uses the “4 R’s”: research, reasoning, relating and recording. The Bible is the textbook, and the Student has a Progress Notebook, where his vocabulary, scripture and 4 R’s are recorded. Motivation is by inspiration whereby an internal (heart) response is the goal, not only an external product. The internal response is one of thankfulness and obedience because we are created in the image of God, are fallen in sin, but given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Since the aim is to the internal (conscience, emotions, reason and soul), the parent relationship to the child is very important. Is a group of peers likely to facilitate such a response?


Joyce Swann (PHS Sept- Oct I997, pg. 46; Sept- Oct l998 p. 46.)

Contrary to what it may sound like, this is not forced education; rather it is ‘l2 months a year’ education. By not “breaking” for extended periods (summer) the steady consistent pace of education can be completed in an amazingly shorter period of time than the conventional school year. This is very structured and focused education. The disciplined lifestyle and consistent habits are excellent preparation for the real adult world where employees do not get summer “holidays” of two months. The Swann’s get accreditation because they use a correspondence school which provides material, marks it and keeps the records. Motivation is by responsibility. Mutual respect among family members is key, where each child makes an important contribution to the success of the family. The reward of doing good work is the appreciation of the parents and siblings. A sense of self worth and contentment is the result of being responsible and needed within the family.


This is generally intended to be used in a highly structured way. The curriculum provider will offer varied amounts of teacher assistance, marking, and record keeping as requested by the parent(s). Examples of complete curriculum providers are Christian Liberty Academy, A Beka, Bob Jones University, Sonlight. Examples of text book providers are A Beka, Bob Jones, Rod and Staff, and Christian Liberty Press. Examples of workbook suppliers are Alpha Omega, A.C.E., and Christian Light Education. Generally it is your choice to use one, some, or all of the recommended curriculum.


In collecting this information I felt that there is much shared by the specific philosophies. I conclude that there are two main categories of approaches to facilitating education at home:

TRADITIONAL (structured and routine),

UNSCHOOLING (the teachable moment).

From these basic general styles the specific methods of unit study, independent learning, computerized, or correspondence learning could be used as desired by the individual and unique family.

There is also co-op learning, where families get together and teach each other’s children certain subjects, generally including a Phys. Ed segment.


Taken from HECOA online ‘Not Back to School Summit” August 2020. Speaker: Karyn Tripp. These styles often merge, and can change. Goal is to mix it up, expose student to variety.

7 Learning Styles:

Visual: spatial – observe, pictures, images.

Aural: Auditory – sounds, music, rythms

Verbal: Linguistic – spech, writing, reading

Physical: Kinisthetic – using the body, hands, build, create, movement.

Logical: mathematical – reasoning, numbers, logic, puzzles, programming

Social: interpersonal – group work, brainstorming, together, communicating ideas

Solitary: intrapersonal – alone and work independently in quiet.