Eclectic Homeschooling

Eclectic- selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles. (Merriam-Webster)

Eclectic homeschooling is a sort of mixed methods approach to homeschooling. Eclectic homeschoolers use different methods in different subjects, whichever works for their purposes. These homeschoolers may use Montessori for math, Charlotte Mason for language arts, and Classical for history and so forth. Many unschool for most subjects but use an actual text for math or another subject.

Eclectic homeschoolers are apt to change their course of study, methods of teaching, and use of materials as soon as they realize it is not working for their children. They tend to be very in tune with their children’s needs, learning styles, and interests. This is not to say that homeschoolers who use stricter methods are not, but eclectics are more willing to change things up a bit. They like to break up the monotony of “school” and make living life their educational basis.

Eclectic homeschoolers tend to be resource junkies. They are always on the lookout for new approaches to the same old topics. They continuously ask questions about the curriculum others use. What are the pros? What are the cons? Why did you stop using it? Can I borrow your copy of “X”? Eclectics have catalogs from nearly every curriculum company available. They love doing research on a topic. (Eclectic Homeschooling Association)

For many homeschoolers, they start out saying, “I am going to use “X” style, with “X” curriculum.” For many of those they fail in this endeavor. It is not because the method is bad or wrong, nor is the curricula. It is just wrong for them. They may try another approach, another curriculum, or they may do research and end up being eclectics.

"Eclectic homeschoolers start with a foundation of their own views about what makes a person well educated," says Beverly S. Krueger, director of the Eclectic Homeschool Association. "To that foundation they will add stones that are similar but of different shape and size, selecting each stone to fit in a particular spot, removing a stone that wiggles too much and shifting a stone to create a tighter fit. The result is a functional stone wall of great beauty and strength. Eclectic homeschoolers strive for a functional education that helps their children become people of great inner beauty and strength."


A major winning point for eclectic homeschooling is children often have the majority of say in what they do as far as studying and learning. Most eclectic parents have their required learning; the children get to learn what they want, when they want for the other subjects. This keeps children interested in learning more, more, more.

While the parent lets the children choose part of their course of study, it gives a small break to the parent. Knowing that their children want to learn about a specific topic makes it much easier to find the right materials to use, books to find at the library, and gives the child a sense of accomplishment and freedom as well.


The biggest disadvantage that eclectic homeschoolers face is lack of routine. Some children thrive on a strict schedule, and eclectic homeschooling oftentimes does not allow for that.  A curriculum is rarely used as prescribed as well. An eclectic parent will twist and fold it to their specific needs at that time. Anything and everything can be used for curricula as well. Remember that eclectics use what seems best for them at any given period of time. It is equally important to note that things are not always as they seem. An eclectic home educator does nothing erratically. Every decision made is well thought out, researched, and planned-even if it was just yesterday.

Further Reading:
Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

Home Is Where the Learning Is: Homeschool Lifestyles from Homeschool Moms


Eclectic Homeschooling Association

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Preschooler and Child

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