What is Traditional Homeschooling?
The simplest way to convey the idea of traditional homeschooling is by calling it the school-at-home method, because it looks so similar to what we most of us grew up with in the public system. New homeschoolers often begin their homeschooling journey by using a traditional homeschooling style, just because it’s familiar.
Traditional homeschooling replicates public school classrooms, with teachers dispensing knowledge to students. Traditional curriculum usually consists of textbooks and workbooks, one or two per subject, designed to meet board-prepared educational standards.
Parents assign and grade students schoolwork. They use quizzes and tests to assess understanding, and they align their own learning with the recommended checkpoints for their students grade level.
A traditional homeschool will look a lot like a traditional school, with posters and a chalk board on the walls of a schoolroom, filled with tiny desks. School days are scheduled much like a traditional school schedule, moving between subjects in specified increments of time, and sometimes even allowing for a recess in between subjects.
The objective of traditional homeschooling is similar to that of progressive educators like John Dewey in that it prepares students for a vocation later in life. Although most families migrate away from this style as they gain homeschooling experience and confidence, it’s still a beneficial approach for families who are concerned about educational gaps or those who appreciate the structure and accountability that traditional homeschooling provides.
Benefits of Traditional Homeschooling:
- It gives new homeschooling families a benchmark.
- It feels familiar.
- It is naturally very structured.
- Discipline is required to follow this style.
- It requires less preparation.
- Lessons are professionally prepared.
- Recordkeeping is straight-forward.
- Assessments are usually included in the curriculum.
- Great for parents who like to monitor learning progress through quizzes and tests.
- Curriculum is easy to find.
- Curriculum is easy to use.
- Works well for auditory or visual learners who thrive on lectures and textbooks.
- This style of education is often provided free by your state, and will include all necessary materials.
- Your kids will stay on track with their peers.
- It’s good at what it intends — producing adults capable of a certain vocation.
- Familiarity breeds comfort.
- Good choice for parents who plan to only homeschool temporarily.
- Works well schedule-wise when some children in the family attend public school while others are homeschooled.
Disadvantages of Traditional Homeschooling:
- High burnout rate due to the time requirement.
- Little room for creativity.
- Strict scheduling.
- Boxed curricula often include busy work.
- Not interest-led, so even the best textbooks may seem uninteresting.
- Difficult to use with multiple children of varying ages.
- Will this method eliminate the reasons you opted out of public school in the first place?
- Difficult to individualize and customize to your child’s learning style, thus it’s disparaging nickname “the conveyor-belt style”.
Traditional Homeschooling Curriculum
Traditional homeschooling curriculum can range from textbooks collected from various publishers to boxed-curriculum offering every subject and including a detailed scope and sequence for parents to follow. The all-in-one options typically include textbooks, workbooks, literature, science supplies, and pretty much everything you’d need.
Many of the state-funded options also include a computer or ipad for completing the online components of the program. Knowing that your curriculum is right on grade level, and having exact lesson plans to follow takes the stress out of planning your homeschool and provide a predictable routine.
A few of the popular curricula that use this style of learning include:
- Core Knowledge Series by E.D. Hirsch includes a year by year schedule of information that their foundation believes that each child should learn at each grade level.
- Moving Beyond the Page (PreK-high school) Buy a full year or buy individual components by grade level.
- Abeka Comprehensive curriculum for grades Preschool through 12 with textbooks, video lessons, and extras. They also offer standardized testing with lots of options.
- Alpha Omega LifePac Everything you need, plus a Teacher’s Guide for History & Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science..
- Bob Jones University Press You can purchase the complete kit for each grade, or you can find individual components (often used) for cheaper on Amazon. Every subject is taught from a Biblical worldview.
- Modern Curriculum Press From Phonics to math, these guys sell inexpensive, complete kits by grade level, or you can buy individual components. Check Amazon and Thriftbooks first for discounted or used books.
- Scott Foresman A textbook publisher that provides all the subjects for all the grades, but some are rated more highly than others.
- Rod and Staff Our purpose is to supply Christian homes and schools with Bible-based textbooks and literature that impart truth and that in no way compromise the Word of God.
- Calvert Self-paced learning for students with step-by-step lesson plans for parents.
- Easy Peasy A complete, free, online, Christian homeschooling curriculum for all families.
- Sonlight Complete homeschool curriculum for grades K through 12 with no prep required. Choose ready-to-go packages or build your own, with a money-back guarantee if you don’t love it.
- Discovery K12 Founded and developed by Sheri Wells, a 25 year tech veteran, entrepreneur, and homeschool mom, Discover K12 offers a free, traditional, non-Common Core, secular, homeschool curriculum.
To find the publicly funded K12 programs in your state, just search for your state + K12.
Traditional Homeschooling Resources
Your local, public library will always be an excellent resource. Our library offers homeschool curriculum in addition to math manipulatives, educational games, unit studies, and even toys, so be sure to ask there when you’re looking for something. I find it helpful to thumb through expensive curriculum before I purchase it, and the library can be a great resource for that. They also offer foreign language classes, tech classes, and study books for the AP tests and the ACT/SAT.
Educational apps are another great resource for your homeschool. You’ll also find free printable worksheets and games for your homeschool online. Just search for the topic + printable at Pinterest.
Would you like to know more about the other homeschooling methods?
Click the links to learn more about each of the following Homeschool Methods:
Reggio Emilia Approach(also known as project-based homeschooling)
Unit Studies Approach
Are you a traditional homeschooler? We’d love to hear about your experience and your favorite resources in the comments below!