In this article, we’re going to define exactly what eclectic homeschooling is, and dive into the pros and cons of the method.
Eclectic is defined as deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
My sentiments exactly. Shall we begin?
so many choices
There are so many methods, styles, and philosophies when you type in homeschooling. It’s no wonder it takes a bit of research just to figure out what everyone is writing about. There are also many different types of learners out there, as well as teaching styles available now.
Many of us homeschoolers can’t narrow down to just one type; classical, traditional, charlotte mason, or un-schooling methods. So, we hop on the eclectic homeschooler wagon and roll with it. However, this has one major drawback I’m going to share with you here.
Let us start off by defining what the eclectic homeschooling method is. The eclectic homeschool method is a combination of multiple methods of homeschooling. It’s where those of us who refuse to be defined by a box create our own box, so the end result is still in a box. Oh, but the eclectic box is a party! It can contain ALL the things. Take note of the word can contain all the things.
Children thrive on routine. Frankly, most adults thrive on rhythm in life. This is why it is ESSENTIAL as an eclectic homeschooler to create a certain rhythm for your day. Maybe you need a structured routine, or maybe you just need to flow from one task to the next. But please for your own sanity, start to develop, if you haven’t already, a rhythm routine. It is possible for everyone to develop some sort of flow to their day to day life.
Eclectic may seem from the outside to incorporate it ‘all’. The sweet rhythm, handicrafts, habit training, and rich literature of the charlotte mason philosophy, the classical approach to history, the traditional structure of mathematics, and the freedom to have a student-led un-schooling ‘free’ day of art or robotic exploration. Oh, the sweetness of ideals. However, herein lies the problem that no one may talk about.
When I first started homeschooling, like most moms, I got the box curriculum, and just plowed right in there. Then our rhythm routine really started to take hold, and I began carving out the structure of our day and set the flow to work for our home. I noticed our box didn’t come with certain aspects I was wanting to incorporate, so I bought those aspects. And then, it was like something was unleashed from the depths.
I couldn’t stop researching! Literally any free moment, I was a pinning machine and reading into the late-night hours. The homeschool realm originally started as a single rose in a vase on my table. It quickly turned into a, “I’m going to put up a commercial greenhouse, and farm roses, all by myself”. Obviously, not attainable.
I bought more curriculums, books, and started beating myself up that it wasn’t enough. At the end of the year when I reflected back my poor first grader did waaay too much, and probably not enough art. Hence why he’s in art camp while I write this. What started out for us to do a Charlotte Mason-ish approach ended up being like a traditional approach on steroids. Not really, but you get the idea.
Less is oftentimes more when it comes to homeschooling. It’s too common for the first year homeschool mom to overdo it. Relax, he’s 6, not studying for college exams.
One Approach Simplifies
I talked to another mom whose children are at the end of high school, and she stuck with the same approach and the same curriculum the ENTIRE time. For me, and if you’re here too, probably cannot even fathom this concept. However, it got me thinking of the sweet simplicity there is in that.
Oftentimes eclectic homeschooling, which was chosen by the mom to be simple and fit the family’s needs can if not watched become anything but simple. One more book, one more activity, let’s be honest, maybe just one more full curriculum.
Beware, Eclectic homeschool mom
Hence, eclectic mom beware! Those ideals will never be satisfied. The research probably won’t stop. You’ll spend perchance money on things that may never be used. At the end of it while you’re out of breath, and the kids are enjoying an afternoon out in the yard, you’ll find yourself writing yet another draft of the things to cover. The homeschool notebook for you mom will probably not close even after the kids are done for the day.
Right when you think you found THE answer, I can guarantee that inquiring mind of yours will keep ongoing. It will be hard to resist the urge to stop the continual searching. One of the consequences of Google. We just can’t seem to stop searching.
So, if you are someone who needs structure, and lacks self-discipline; eclectic homeschooling may leave you in a space of confusion and frustration. These two things should at all costs be avoided in homeschooling. But let’s be real that isn’t always the case.
When it comes to homeschooling there are already waves of trials that come. So anything to give you the mom, the educator, the housekeeper, the all of it the ability to keep you going is a good thing.
As a result, if picking one method of homeschool and curriculum helps you do all the things then great! Pick one and continue on mama. Because throwing in the towel on homeschooling isn’t the answer.
Self Discipline is key
If you are someone who has impeccable self-discipline and doesn’t get allured to a new shiny penny eclectic homeschooling may work for you. It allows the flexibility to be fully in the driver seat. Don’t like the book, pass it on. Kids aren’t responding to the material, try it wrapped up a different way. Want to change your rhythm with the seasons, go for it.
Randomly decide to take a trip to study what you’re learning about. Change it up every week, month, or year until you find the shoe that fits just right. Utilize 3 different curriculums while incorporating foreign language, music, and art appreciation(those ideals again).
Pros of Eclectic Homeschooling
The pros of eclectic homeschooling, far out way the cons. Can you tell I’m an eclectic homeschooler? It works for us. It works for me and my boys. I love the eclectic box.
It’s too hard to choose between Charlotte Mason and Classical for me. I intertwine them both while appreciating the traditional approach for phonics, English, and math. The sky is the limit mom. Whatever you want or need to incorporate into your homeschool routine you can.
So what does eclectic homeschool routine look like? Well, to be honest, probably just like any of the other types. Mom you get to decide. You pick the subjects, the curriculum, the routine, and the activities.
Our typical day always starts with bible and prayer time. Then, we move into our lessons. Some weeks we do Charlotte Mason style. Other weeks we do unit studies or block learning.
My boys just started into Suzuki lessons for piano so we are incorporating that into our daily rhythm. We live on two acres in the jungle forest so many days we are having a tea party while we read outside.
While we don’t have ‘nature study’, it’s just part of the way we live on our small homestead on the Big Island of Hawaii. We read ALOT, like hours a day. I love reading and they love it. If you’re ever in doubt just grab a book and start reading.
you choose your breaks
For us, because I can get derailed at this time we are schooling year-round with small breaks here and there. The boys have June off and it’s an exciting time of art camp, VBS, vacation, camping, and reading. They think we’re not doing school, but all the books we’re reading are all tied to the establishment of our country, the USA, and that time frame. Ssshhh don’t tell them. But, I know they are still learning, lots. They know in July after the fourth, math and copy work and all that good stuff will come back in.
Many of us just can’t fit into one box, one style, one philosophy, one method, at least not indefinitely. I get it. I myself am very eclectic, right down to the style of decorating my home. Think farmhouse crossed with boho-chic minimalism. In the end, they compliment each other nicely. Just as many of the educational methods complement each other.
our Eclectic Homeschooling curriculum choices
- Right start Mathematics
- Rod and Staff English
- Read Alouds through Sonlight and Ambleside
- Copy work from the Bible
- Hands-on Science Projects
- Charlotte Mason Approved Living Books
- Sporadic Art afternoons
- Suzuki Piano Lessons
- Latin Song School
I know you may think that’s not enough or way too much. However, our daily rhythm of “doing school” typically ends around lunchtime. With our afternoons spent outdoors, or doing art. If it’s rainy we’ve been known to read an entire chapter book in one afternoon because sometimes they are just so exciting!
So whether you’ve stopped by to understand the eclectic homeschool method, or are trying to weigh out what method you’re wanting to settle into. I hope this article has provided some insights to ponder on.