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10 Reasons Why I’m a Classically Eclectic Slightly Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Mom

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Do you ever wonder how different people came to settle on their particular homeschooling methods? If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably heard me describe our homeschooling style as “classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason” a time or two. Now you can find out why I chose those elements to create our particular brand of homeschooling family.

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1. I always knew we’d be eclectic. Even before we were officially homeschooling, even when I was trying to chose “just the right” curriculum for that first year, I knew we’d ultimately be eclectic in our approach.

I had this vision for our homeschool. It involved things like taking a field trip to the aquarium and choosing some of our favorite creatures to research further. It involved a maxed-out library card. It involved hands-on learning.

It never, ever involved boring textbooks. Well, except for math because math scares me, but I did try to steer us toward living math for awhile.

2. I appreciate the structure of the classical style. The Well-Trained Mind, while somewhat overwhelming, was a very influential book for me. I love the principals behind the four-year cycle of learning. The description of the stages of learning makes sense to me.

I like the idea of creating “hooks” when kids are younger that you can later come back and hang more detailed, in-depth information on.

Fence and yellow flowers_thumb[3]

3. I like many elements of the Charlotte Mason approach. While I’m not a huge fan of narration  (the actual “doing it” part), I see the value of it as a precursor to more effective writing. Copywork (or dictation) and nature study (which I really need to commit to being more consistent with this upcoming school year) are two other CM components that I really like.

4. I wanted to be able to personalize my children’s education. Creating a custom-fit education for each of my kids meant being able to pick and choose the elements that best suited them. Those elements most often have not originated from the same publisher, which means an eclectic mix of curricula.

5. A personalized education is more than just curriculum. In customizing my children’s education, choosing the best-fitting elements has extended beyond curriculum choices to style preferences. Just as it is difficult to find one boxed curriculum to best fit our needs, so it has also been difficult to fit ourselves into one of many homeschooling methods.

Over the course of our homeschooling years, we’ve run the gamut from very schoolish to dabbling into unschooling. I often recommend to new homeschooling parents that they read about a variety of homeschooling methods because rarely is a family 100% one style.


6. Learning through living books is the most natural, optimal way to learn. Living books are another Charlotte Mason-inspired element in our homeschooling style – probably the strongest of my CM leanings. I prefer biographies and historical fiction to textbooks any day of the week.

Living books are, as far as I’m concerned, the most effective means to teach my children a love of history (and other subjects, too, but we tend to have a heavy focus on history when it comes to books). I’m probably much more “twaddle-full” than Charlotte Mason, but I still believe in the power of a good book.

8. I’m a huge fan of hands-on learning. Have you heard that rumor about me? It doesn’t matter if it’s a great project, science experiment, or game, hands-on learning aids in learning and retention – and makes our homeschooling day more fun.

9. Because I think we’re all a little ADD. We get bored with too much of the same thing day after day. We like routine, but we enjoy mixing things up, too. I don’t think any of us could take year after year of the same thing.

Day 11 - P365

10. Because we’re homeschoolers; we don’t do things by the book. Why would we choose just one method and follow it to the letter? Homeschoolers don’t operate that way. {grin}

What method best describes your homeschooling style? Has your family gone through a metamorphosis before settling on that style?

Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers has been nominated in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs awards. I’d love your vote! You can vote once per blog per day – that means that you can vote for ALL your favorite blogs on the list once a day until June 27. I hope you’ll stop by, check out the list, and vote. Thanks!

This post is linked to iHomeschool Network’s 10-in-10 blog hop and Top Ten Tuesday.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Right now I describe us as classically eclectic/eclectically classical. Way back when I first started (gulp…more than 15 years ago) I knew nobody who homeschooled. So I made it ups we went along. Lots of the 3rs often taught via games, workbooks, Montessori methods etc. Then I found the Well-Trained Mind and it fit my oldest like a glove so I took on the classical label. But..time went on, WTM didn’t fit the others quite as well, it stopped fitting the oldest quite as well (not enough heavy duty science) and I started reading more and finding lots of ideas in all sorts of places. Charlotte Mason (we’d already been doing living books of course but narration, dictation, picture study, composer study and nature study all appealed- although I’ve really only got that working properly this year) was first to get added. Then it was unit studies (every now and again for change of pace – especially for child led stuff), unschooling (some aspects, some of the time – loved the concept of strewing and the oldest learned far more unschooling science than he ever did from anything we did formally. Thomas Jefferson Education also held a lot of appeal – once I learned to ignore the bits I really didn’t like that annoyed me greatly! Notebooking works with some of the kids…but definitely jot for others. The concept of Tidal Schooling at one stage was a good explanation of how we tied it all together but now I think Diane Lockman’s Classical Scholar website and her book Trivium Mastery are the best indicator of how we put it all together.

    1. I think what you’ve described is part of what makes homeschooling work — we can take bits and pieces from here and there and mold them together to come up with just the right fit for our own family.

  2. WE are slightly all of the above, too…and do not do anything at all by the worldly ‘book’…..but another book that has influenced our home to a higher level of understanding why we need to learn…..and teaching our children how to think. I love the way you have identified the various ways you have decided to homeschool…even the ones you do not enjoy. Do your children enjoy earning in some of the ways you don’t necessarily enjoy teaching (narration, for example?)

    1. No, my children don’t really enjoy narration and such. We continue because the benefit outweighs the negatives. Narration gives us a chance to work on so many skills, such as speaking, organizing thoughts, and learning to capture and express main ideas.

      1. I agree. Narration has huge benefits. It’s something we don’t do enough, but can definitely tell that when we do it regularly, even everyday stories my kids tell are more fluent and descriptive.

        1. That’s cool to me that you can see the benefits of narration in your everyday life. I need to make sure we’re doing it regularly, like we’re supposed to.

  3. yep. I agree with everything you said! I think it would be torture having to squeeze my kids into just one method. They would be sooo unhappy, as would I!

  4. I am right there with you on the Classically Eclectic Slightly Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Mom description! 🙂

  5. I was going to use your title for mine, but then I say that you used it so I couldn’t- so I came up with mine! LOL I think that is what is so great about homeschooling…ummmm we get to pick out the good stuff and do what we want! And we get to do Disneyschooling.

  6. I love your post. I also can’t really Identify with just one style of education. I tend to be an eclectically classic un-schooling montessoriesc type of educator. It doesn’t matter what we call it to most of society we are just plain weird unsocialized homeschoolers… Oh wait, that’s the name of your blog. 😉 LOL

  7. We are the same way. This is our 2nd year of homeschooling and I have had to get the traditional PS mind frame out of my mind and I have discovered all these wonderful styles. I like the same things about the CM method and we are steering more towards the Classical this year as well. We are eclectic in that we throw a lot of things from a lot of different types/areas in the mix as well. I love that we can do that and get a well rounded full of fun education! 🙂

  8. I’m not sure I could even tell you what my style is. I started out trying to imitate school since my daughter was in public school kindergarten before we started homeschooling. That was a big huge flop (no surprise there). Then we did K12 California Virtual Academy. It’s very structured with online lessons. I’m a former teacher and I was really afraid to go on my own with no structure in place. When I figured out my daughter is dyslexic I finally went private. It was the best thing I ever did with her. There is no pressure, several days we’ve ditched our plans and done something fun, room to be creative and fun. I still stress out about lack of structure because the teacher in me is afraid I’ll miss something in her education. But I suppose over the years we will hit everything schools do and probably more. I just discovered lapbooks. We had a great time doing a lapbook on the book Chrysanthemum.

  9. This post describes me in so many ways! I’m on my 15th year of homeschooling, with one graduate under my belt (yippee!) and no two years have ever looked the same! I have used traditional and a variety and everything in between. I love the fact that you said, why would we stick with one style – that’s not how homeschoolers do things! That is so true!

    Have a great week!

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