The Classical Learning Method

Classical homeschooling is an approach that is based off of three-part process aimed at training your child’s mind. These three stages are called the Trivium.

The Grammar Stage (ages 6-10)

The Grammar Stage is between age 6-10, and focuses on memorization, absorbing facts and information, rules of phonics, spelling, grammar, foreign language, history, science, math etc. This is the elementary stage, and lays the foundation that help our children's minds expand. This stage rooted in repetition, and sets the stage for the next stage of the Trivium.

The Dialectic Stage (ages 10-12)

This stage emphasizes and determines the why questions behind the information. It focuses on logic behind the data. After a child learns the raw data, they have to then sort the data. This stage is focused on debate, logical discussion, drawing conclusions. Specifically, this stage involves algebra and thesis writing.

The Rhetoric Stage (ages 13–18)

Consists of empowering students to clearly express their own thoughts orally and in writing. Student learn how to construct persuasive arguments and eloquent speeches Also known as the poetic stage, students grammar knowledge and logic background serves as a firm foundation to the Rhetoric Stage.

The Classical Learning Style may be a good fit for your family if,

  • You don't want to "reinvent the wheel," and you want a proven method that works.

  • You prefer guided, thought provoking dialogues and exercises in abstract thinking over tests and quizzes.

  • You love the idea of studying the "Great Books", the most influential books ever printed in English.

  • You are generally unimpressed with trendy emerging learning methods, and child psychology theories, that aren’t backed by the test of time, or well proven.

  • You prize logic and critical thinking to the extent that you want your student to have focused study on these subjects.

  • You think history should be taught as a narrative and would like to see different subject areas aligned with chronological history.

  • You value foreign languages, and want your child to study ancient dialects such as Greek and Latin.

    The Traditional Learning Method

    If you grew up attending a private or public school, you have most likely had a traditional learning style path. The traditional learning style separates learning by subjects, with assignments, tests, and books in accordance to various separated subjects.


  • Similar Format to Public and Private School

    Students can stay on roughly the same pace with peers at the local public or private school. With the Traditional Learning Style, students are conforming conforming to state and federal standards, homeschool students can be confident that their education is comparable to their grade level peers in public or private school. Using the School-at-Home model, parents can use the exact textbooks from their local private or public school.

  • Formal Standards

    Classes are usually aligned with federal and state learning standards. This can be beneficial for parents who want to align their children/students with criteria for college admissions, and scholarship applications.

  • Pre-Packaged Choice Options

    The educational market offers a wide variety of pre-packages, ready to use options. From online learning, to do-it-yourself curriculum packages, there are widely effective and available choices for Traditional Learning Style tools and curriculum.

  • Easy Transition from Public or Private School

    It is less of a learning curve to transition into Traditional Learning at home because the learning path is much the same as your previous learning method. You can use the Traditional Learning Style to start, and then eventually move into a more custom learning style as time goes on.


  • Not as Creative

    School-at-home style learning is packed with learning requirements, and therefore doesn't provide a lot of creative flexibility in how you offer learning to your student. You are following a systematic criteria for curriculum per subject, and you don't have much room to deviate from your curriculum package.

  • Expensive

    While there are some inexpensive and even free options with this method, typically School-at-Home education is just as expensive as private school. These sorts of curricula are typically designed to be sold in packages, and are usually pre-planned courses of study, spanning grades K-12. So, for example, the textbook is useless without the teacher’s guide and answer key, and none of those will work unless students have already studied the recommended subjects and topics from the prior years.

  • Must Meet Requirements

    If you are choosing to partner with a public or private school for your homeschooling, you can’t "opt-out" of a subject area, an exercise, or a lesson. You must meet the requirements of your homeschool.

  • Student/Teacher Burn-Out

    School-at-Home parents/students/teachers often burn out. This method is very time consuming, with a heavy work load put on teachers and students each day. It can be too time consuming (consisting of 6-8 hour school days, 5 days a week) compared to half the time of other homeschool methods.

    The Unschooling Method

    Unschooling allows homeschool parent-teachers to question, and re-mold conventional schooling. Parent-teachers act as facilitators, rather than lecturers. Unschooling is a free-form learning model which is student-centered, unconventional, and based on the individual preference of the child. Learning focuses largely on the student’s interests. This method is activity based, and utilizes learn-as-you-go education modalities. Unschooling still incorporates some systematic and rigorous teaching when it comes to basic skills like reading, writing, and mathematics, but this is often administered with a variety of technology and materials, and does not deploy rigorous testing. Unschooling allows homeschool parent-teachers to question most everything about conventional schooling whether public, private, or homeschooling. In this model, parent-teachers tend to be facilitators rather than lecturers, instructors or otherwise "conventional" teachers.


  • Structure-less

    Because this method is focused on student led learning, teachers take a loose structured approach to daily learning, and facilitate exploration rather than direct teaching.

  • Promotes Individuality and Uniqueness

    Unschooling treats each student as an individual, with unique talents and learning styles. Unschooling does away with a one size fits all approach, and encourages creative expression over efficiency.

  • Passion Driven

    Unschooling allows students to mold their academic plans according to talents, passions, and hobbies. Lesson plans are created around sports, love for animals, robotics, rock collecting etc.

  • Multi Faceted Learning Experiences

    While traditional schooling is focused on books, paper, and writing words, unschooling incorporates a multi dimensional approach including real world experiences, human interaction, live encounters with the world around us.

  • Promotes Individuality and Uniqueness

    Unschooling treats each student as a unique and creative individual. Students can lead their own lessons based on individual interest. This can lead to students zoning in on one subject for weeks on end, and becoming an expert in one field on study.


  • Structure-less

    For the same reason that teachers are drawn to unschooling, some may find less structure a challenge. It may be difficult to feel accomplished each day without a set number of tasks to be completed. If your student is task oriented, enjoys the feeling of "climbing the ladder" each day , and focuses on goal setting, this may not be the right fit.

  • Gaps in Academic Learning

    Unschooling can create gaps in ones learning profile over time. Because of the unsystematic approach, issues may arise if your child desires to apply for college, or an academic scholarship in the future. It can also leave students lacking important core competencies, which they may need down the road.

  • Repetitive

    Without a laid out plan of academic advancement, the student and teacher may run into road blocks when attempting to create a productive lesson plan each day. This can also lead to boredom for the student, and can leave the student disengaged.

The Charlotte Mason Method

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person, and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

  • Atmosphere—a cultivated home life

  • Discipline—developing good habits and character

  • Life—academics characterized by living books and ideas vs. learning raw facts

  • Using “living books” to guide and teach subjects

  • Very limited use of curriculum or textbooks

  • Nature, composers, handcrafts, and artist studies

  • “Build relationships” with great authors, composers, thinkers, etc., through “living books”

The Montessori Method

Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. Trained educators guide children through creative play. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.

  • Emphasis on learning home life skills

  • Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori

  • Child-directed, educator guided

  • Carefully crafted environments that support hands on learning

  • Mixed-age collaborative approach

  • Specific use of Montessori toys

The Waldorf Method

Waldorf Education is a worldwide independent school movement developed in Europe nearly 100 years ago by Austrian philosopher, social reformer, and visionary, Rudolf Steiner.

Waldorf Education begins with the theory that childhood is made up of three stages of approximately seven years each:

  • Birth to age seven - early childhood

  • Seven to 14 - middle childhood

  • 14 to 21 - adolescence

Each stage shapes the way children feel about and approach the world—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—which, in turn, shapes the way they learn.

  • Concepts are introduced through story telling

  • emphasis on hands on learning

  • Lots of art, handcrafts, and songs

  • Mythology and storytelling

It is important to note that a one size fits all approach may not be the answer. Over time, you may find that you want to blend learning styles and create a style of your own that fits perfectly with your students, and for you.

The Home Tribe Team

Did this answer your question?