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  1. #1

    Default Has your homeschooling style changed over time?

    I think most of ours have, but was wondering to what extent others had noticed their style had changed, and in what way.
    Did your style change from one kid to the next, or from one age to the next even in the same child?

    I know it's pretty commonplace to start out more rigid, and relax over time, particularly the longer a person has been at it, but I get a different result every time I take that "What kind of homeschooler are you?" quiz, and also know that we fluctuate between rather schooly and rather unschooly, and have been there and back again enough, that I think it's something cyclical with us rather than moving linearly from one to the other.

    Would be interested to know what others' experiences have been, with changes in style or approach, either from one kid to the next, or from one year to the next, whichever apply.
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

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  3. #2


    My style is always in flux. We moved to really unschoolly last year and I am now swinging the pendulum the other direction (but not too far).

    We have never been very formal. When we started, I did focus on reading and math and decided to let other topics happen when they happen. There was a lot of PBS Kids and Bill Nye.

    We have moved back and forth depending on family circumstances. Though the reason that we tried unschooling is because DS was so resistant to everything, I felt that I needed to back away and see what was going on and see what he did.

    He is still learning, but I would like to have some formality. I want to integrate more math projects/experiments, try some more of the math comics and the like, as well as practice reading and writing. I am working on meeting him where he is at and adjusting accordingly. I want him to write more. But reading has been moving along well, so I am trying not to think about it too hard. He is getting better and reading more. Yeh!

  4. #3


    We have gotten more relaxed...

    Im wondering how different DS4s schooling will be from his brother 6 years older... more than just the difference between me being more relaxed, and his personality being different.

    Hopefully Ive been learning how to be a better, more interesting homeschooler to my kids.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4


    I have become relaxed, but we are still pretty school-y.

    However like today, we didn't have school because the house is a disaster area (really, really bad and stinky) that would have never happened a couple of years ago even if it was necessary.
    ~*~*Marta, mom to 5 boys.
    DS 1 ( 19, has his associates' degree and is off to college)
    DS 2 (17 and dual enrollment in college)
    Keegan (15 and enrolled in a PPP but still has home classes)
    Sully (10 years, 4th grade)
    Finn, (9 years, 3rd grade)

  6. #5


    I've only been homeschooling for two years so far, but I've already changed from almost unschooling to doing somewhat structured schooling three days a week.

    Before we moved back to the US and started homeschooling, my older son attended a private international school for pre-k and kindergarten. Toward the end of kindergarten, his teacher suggested that I consider having him skip 1st grade (this is much more common in international schools than US public schools, I've come to realize), which gave me some confidence heading into homeschooling. He naturally shows interest in most academic subjects, and I had a lot to focus on besides academics, so letting him take the lead made a lot of sense at the time.

    Over the course of this year, we've moved to a more structured homeschooling routine, for a couple different reasons. My younger son is much quieter than his brother, and not as precocious. Not having the personality to ask lots of questions, or to ask me to teach him things, and not being able to search out answers on his own, he wasn't getting the same learning experiences. In the fall, I started sitting down with him several times a week for reading and math lessons. In January, I started a new job and now have a busier schedule that includes working from the office on Thursdays and Fridays. Within the first few weeks, my lessons with my 5yo became less frequent, my 7yo started watching way too much Netflix, and I knew we needed a more efficient routine. When my younger son is reading and writing independently, I suspect that we'll shift back to unschooling, or possibly toward project-based homeschooling.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Arrived skrink's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010


    Dramatically! We've been very unschool-ish, very workbook-ish, and most things in between. Right now we have a decent blend going on. From what I've seen it's a fairly typical evolution, and why many homeschoolers describe themselves as eclectic.

    ETA: We are in our 9th year of homeschooling. I think it's easier over time to separate from labels and let your own style come together.
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

  8. #7


    We changed styles over time...more schoolish, less schoolish, project-based, etc. For us it was more of a function of age of the student. Since they wanted to go to college, things had to get a little more "school-like" for high school, at least to satisfy college admit folks. However, that doesn't mean all of their learning was schoolish for high school. Quite a few of their "courses" were self-taught.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  9. #8


    We started out very relaxed, mostly unit studies and reading when the kids were young. Then we got more school-y/workbooky especially while they had a private teacher. Now, I'm looking to change things for next year but it will still be pretty school. With ds going into middle school (and interested in STEM careers), I'm not comfortable being too relaxed.
    Back home after three years!!
    Steph - college Graduate!!!
    George - 8/2005
    Vicki - 7/2007
    Dottie's Homeschool Universe

  10. #9
    Senior Member Arrived ejsmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    Not only has our homeschooling style changed over time since we started 7 years ago, it changes season to season. Our style is always evolving. It sort of goes a winding path of interlinked circles. Sometimes life circumstances create an era where being loose and very unschool-ish works better for me and DS. Usually it's when we have a slow lazy period without a lot of outside activities going on and we can float around in being unstructured. He learns things I'd never think to teach him during those times. And he processes so much he was working on prior to that time, and discovers new interests that he wouldn't have stumbled into without that time to explore independently and also to just sort of "be" for a bit. Eventually, DS feels lost in that way of moving through life and requests more structure and wants to then buckle down into advancing through math concepts or vigorously pursuing a new interest. Then we go back to routine and scheduled days, more book work, much more structured and more "school" like work. Also if life gets very stressful and we have a lot of appointments/outside things going on, it helps us both to just schedule math/English/one other subject for a short period each day to keep a routine and steady progress and something familiar and comfortable until the high energy/stressful situation passes.

    Or if we are in a structured "schoolish" book work phase for awhile and that stops working or life changes or he gets stuck in math again, then we re-evaluate and change things up for awhile. Sometimes we take time off formal work for big projects, travel, or to focus on one or two subjects intensely (history and art, then maybe science, alternating one or two weeks at a time.) That's more of a block scheduling type of approach. Sometimes DS gets into something - like a book, historical figure, science concept, whatever, and then everything revolves around that for a few weeks, Unit Study style.

    The seasons, months, holidays, etc. seem to help us break up these periods naturally, into a rhythm that fits for our family.

    I just learned to go with the flow, provide time, ideas, support, resources and make sure he is continuing to learn and explore and make progress. I never know how each year will play out. I plan, and then just ride the waves of whatever shows up. I know there are WTM homeschoolers who would be horrified by the way we homeschool, and I'm sure true Unschoolers think I'm doing it all wrong, too. Whatever. Flexibility has served us well, and adaptability is a helpful life skill in and of itself!
    Last edited by ejsmom; 04-22-2016 at 03:25 PM.
    homeschooling one DS, age 13.

  11. #10


    We dont really have a style anymore. I am just winging it, daily.

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Has your homeschooling style changed over time?