Also known as “doing school at home”, the traditional homeschooling style makes the most sense for some families, especially if children are coming out of the public school system. It helps to maintain what they’re used to as well as allowing you to create a structured, easy-to-follow method. Most curriculum providers offer many different materials that make this style easy to follow in your own homeschool setting. However, it is certainly fine if you pick and choose different resources from different providers or even to use materials sourced from a variety of different avenues, as in the Eclectic homeschooling style.
It makes sense to give the traditional homeschooling style a chance if it sounds appealing to you, and we’re going to offer a detailed overview here for you today. With the right information, you’ll be able to make an educated decision based on whether you think this style will work for you. With the resources we provide, you’ll be able to go even further in researching the style in greater depth for all the answers you need for your homeschooling family.
Why Use the Traditional Homeschooling Style?
Traditional homeschooling is a great way to create a solid, structured academic environment since, in some respects, you’re actually replicating it in your own home. It should be noted, however, that you won’t be copying the public school in every way; just in the environment that you create.
For a good idea of what the Traditional homeschooling style looks like, imagine a dedicated space in your home with a desk, chalkboard/whiteboard, textbooks, and a set schedule for all subject matter. For some parent educators, it’s a dream come true and for others, a nightmare. The truth is it’s a good place to start while you’re getting used to your own teaching style and finding your child’s natural learning rhythm. In fact, many first-time homeschoolers use this style as a starting place with their homeschooled children.
On the other hand, some homeschoolers choose a loose homeschooling style in the beginning, only building towards a more disciplined approach in the middle school and high school years. As your child prepares for college, this extra discipline can be an excellent self-help tool for learning study skills, how to be prepared and on time, and how to meet deadlines.
Why use the Traditional homeschooling style? Because no matter in what phase you utilize it, it will surely teach you and your child a few things and is certainly good for your child's education if their learning style is suited to it. There’s no better way to find out if a specific style is going to work for you than actually making use of it in the real-time study. So by all means, be willing to give it a try if you find a few things about it that resonate with you. It won’t take long before you’ll be able to make an educated decision about your home education options.
Advantages of Traditional Homeschooling
If you’re not completely confident about your ability to teach, Traditional homeschooling can help you feel secure with an established method and clear-cut plans that are easy to follow. There are many a homeschooling curriculum that have laid out plans that you can just follow, allowing you to have a daily routine laid out with lesson plans that are done for you. This can be very comforting, especially when no personal and unique teaching style has been reached yet. It also helps that the traditional grading method is used, so there’s nothing to figure out when it’s time to grade assignments for record-keeping.
This style and its structure are very disciplined and, as a result, both children and parents also become disciplined. As your homeschooled child gets closer to college age, this system can be an excellent prep style for that phase. For those with little interest in hands-on, creative interests, it’s a nice alternative. After all, some children do excel by making use of textbooks. These types of children seem to seek out and soak up knowledge like a sponge.
For the parent, Traditional homeschooling has the advantage of requiring very little planning. Since most all curriculum homeschool programs choices come with both a teacher’s edition of each textbook and pre-made lesson plans, it’s so much easier. All you really have to do with these materials is to get everything ready for the day and then follow along with the plan. Of course, as with any method or style, you can always rewrite plans for more or less work. This is one of the greatest advantages of homeschooling in general: knowing that you have will always have the final say in what and how you teach.
Another advantage of this style of homeschooling is that if you choose a curriculum and find that it absolutely does not work for your children, you can choose another one entirely. While we might hate the money lost on the curriculum that doesn’t work (though it can be sold as a used resource in a variety of places), it’s nice to know there are plenty of other options.
And finally, it’s an excellent style to use if you’re only going to be homeschooling temporarily, for a short time or not full time. In instances like these, where you know your child will be returning to a traditional school setting, it’s best to continue with a style that matches that as closely as possible.
Distance learning can also be used in a traditional homeschooling style. During the recent pandemic with the coronavirus, it's easy to see that traditional schooling was used in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Enrollment in public schools during this time gave a good picture of what a day in the life of a public school classroom looked like.
Disadvantages of Traditional Homeschooling
While many parents who are new to the overall concept of homeschooling start with this homeschooling style, many often move to some other form of homeschooling because the burnout rate can be very high. Keeping up with schedules, lesson plans, grading, rigid lunch menus, and little room for deviation from the plan can leave the homeschool family feeling very frustrated after only a short while. Children suffer burnout too and can become bored with the same old thing, day after day. All of this can be especially true of families with special needs children.
The truth is, traditional textbooks are most often very boring, filled with tons of information that the child may never use, even on quizzes and tests in the program itself. Even if the information IS on a quiz, the dryness of the method itself is hard for many children to grasp. They may seem different from public school texts, but they really aren’t that different at all. Of course, it’s just as unrealistic to think that everything about homeschooling should be FUN, but some children need material presented in different ways rather than the same textbook and test method.
The Traditional homeschooling style can be more expensive when compared with other styles and methods. For a “whole approach”, first-time homeschooling parents will often go all-out and purchase curriculum, desks and chairs, resource materials, chalkboards or dry erase boards, plenty of “school supplies” and much more, just to provide the experience of school-at-home. While the recurring price is cheap if you reuse items like furniture, it’s still comparatively steep.
Some parents find that they feel guilty for not adhering strictly to the sample schedule included with the boxed curriculum sets. On average, a homeschooling day doesn’t take nearly as long as a public school day. You don’t have to go through the extra time it takes to move from one classroom to the other, to the lunchroom for lunch, you don’t have to listen to PA announcements, and you won’t be sidetracked by other students who are misbehaving or wasting class time. Keep these things in mind if you choose this style and feel that you aren’t giving school enough of your day.
Another disadvantage of this style is that it leaves little time for attending homeschool co-ops or homeschool support groups. Because you spend time going directly "by the book" in what was provided, you might miss opportunities to set your own schedule that would allow daytime socialization with other homeschooled kids.
One of the biggest disadvantages of the Traditional homeschooling method is trying to tailor it for multiple children. Unless each child is so grounded that they need very little personal attention, which really negates a critical point of homeschooling in the first place, you will feel stretched pretty thin in attempting to make it work. This goes against everything you had hoped to attain in moving to a homeschool style in the first place, so please don’t feel that this is the only way to go.
Is Traditional Homeschooling Right for Our Family?
If you’re a stickler for doing things “by the book,” there’s a good chance this homeschooling style will work for you to homeschool your child. Traditional homeschoolers are those that like to align what they’re doing in the home academic setting with what private schools and public schools are teaching and what the department of education says is essential as far as concepts and grade levels are concerned. Grade levels, learning all the material covered in those grade levels, and passing from one grade to the next via test scores are all important parts of this style.
It’s a good choice for those who prefer to monitor progress closely via quizzes, evaluations, and tests. And if you get a little twinge of excitement every time you see a “teacher’s edition” textbook, then it’s safe to say this style just might work for you. Lesson plans are also included for you, laying out your day in splendid detail, from one subject to the next. That means you’ll spend far less time planning and preparing for each school day. For families who have lots of ongoing activities on a regular basis, this style can be the comfort needed to make it through the school day.
Traditional homeschoolers enjoy setting a schedule and then sticking to it, making use of planners, workbooks, filing cabinets, and desks for each child. You might even prefer the inclusion of “recess” and “lunchtime” just to make sure your children get the “real” experience. What’s more, there are lots of children who really do well in this particular environment. These children will absolutely love bookwork, writing, and a regular schedule to help keep them on track. But, be warned that there are many children who do not do well in this homeschooling style.
Traditional Homeschooling Curriculum
The traditional homeschooling curriculum is laid out in a very specific way, so this is one of the easiest homeschool styles for which to find materials. Be sure to check out the following great resources:
Abeka: Comprehensive curriculum for grades Preschool through 12 with textbooks, video lessons, and extras. They also offer standardized testing with lots of options.
Sonlight: Complete homeschool curriculum for grades K through 12 with no prep required. Choose ready-to-go packages or build your own, with a complete money-back guarantee if you don’t love it.
Veritas Press: Features complete grade-level packages for an entire year of materials in one order. For grades K through 12, all you have to do is select a level, customize your complete package, and place your order.
Of course, there are many other curriculum options available which you can find by research. However, the very best option for choosing a homeschool curriculum you’ll love is to actually see it in person. Attending one of our Great Homeschool Conventions will give you access to a wide variety of curriculum options. You can look through them at your leisure, ask questions, and so much more.
Traditional Homeschooling Resources
For the Traditional homeschooler, there are plenty of resources available. In addition to those that come with your curriculum, you can search out a variety of options online as well. For instance, there are extensive academic sites that offer tutorials and online classes, “cheat sheets” filled with need-to-know information at a glance, free printables, social groups, and much more.
The public library is always an excellent resource, where many good habits and lessons and be learned. The massive variety of books, magazines, and newspapers provides a well-rounded experience. Many libraries are now offering homeschool curriculum as well, so be sure to ask if your favorite happens to be included. And don’t forget to check their website for classes like foreign language links and practice tests for both the ACT and the SAT.
Depending on your opinion of the use of screen time during homeschool, you could consider using academic-specific apps, some of which are free. Depending on your operating system, there are many available both for computers as well as smartphones. These can also make “free time” a little more educational, especially when waiting in places like the grocery store or the doctor's office.
Websites that offer free homeschool printables are also very popular among those who use the Traditional homeschooling style. There are worksheets available for every subject and can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like them to be.
Traditional Homeschooling Groups & Co-ops
Homeschool groups and co-ops have become very popular over the years. These structured gatherings provide ample opportunity for social connections, but they can be useful for so much more. Co-ops could meet for field trips, playdates, specific academic purposes, or even classes centered around life-skill topics such as sewing, cooking, or camping.
When searching for these types of resources, you’re also likely to hear about groups and clubs. Whereas they are very similar, co-ops are more likely to be the most structured, with groups and clubs offering a more laid-back approach to each gathering. Some charge dues or membership fees while others don’t, but it’s worth checking into if the idea of joining in with other homeschooling families appeals to you. Just keep in mind that some homeschooling families might find it hard, and stressful, to fit a co-op or support group schedule into their homeschool schedule given this style.
Special Considerations for the Traditional Homeschooling Style
Remember that the Traditional homeschooling style is very much like doing school at home. While it works great in certain scenarios, it can also create havoc for some children who simply don’t thrive in these settings. It’s important to remember why you started homeschooling in the first place, especially if you pulled your child out of public school after they had already spent some time there.
It’s also important to understand that not all those around you, especially family members and friends, will understand your decision to homeschool. Be mindful of your rights, firm in your stance, and know that you are doing the right thing for your child or children.
We offer seven regional Great Homeschool Conventions that provide tons of great information, speakers, vendors, and so much more. It’s very worthwhile to attend the one closest to you. Since these are regional gatherings, our attendees come from all over the United States. In order to make the experience as great as possible, we offer hotel discounts, military discounts, and free admission for all active clergy members.
To find the Great Homeschool Convention nearest you, CLICK HERE.
For a list of our most popular speakers, CLICK HERE.
To register ahead of time, CLICK HERE.
To read additional informative blog content, CLICK HERE.
As always, remember that our Great Homeschool Conventions are: Equipping… Encouraging… FUN!