There are many different styles in which homeschooling can be implemented. However, each style will generally fall into one of three categories: Structured, Eclectic, or Unschooling.

Structured Learning

Structured learning is often called the cousin to public and/or private schools. A child who is being taught at home in a structured learning environment will find that his or her day closely mimics that of school children in public or private schools. School will generally start at a specific time each day. The school day flows in order and the curriculum that is used is fairly traditional.

Structured learning is usually the first type of homeschooling that many parents implement. This is due in part to its familiarity to both parent and child. Many parents and children are pleased with structured learning as it brings a feeling of direction to the day and the school year as a whole.


If structured learning is perceived as “traditional” than unschooling is perceived as its opposite–unstructured. Advocates of unschooling report that it is a natural form of learning that is centered around the interests of the child. Most unschooling parents make sure their children learn to read, write and do basic math. However, lesson plans and traditional textbooks are not the norm.

Unschooling is usually child-led. Generally speaking, unschoolers feel that a child’s inner curiosity and desire to learn should lead the way in learning. Unschoolers usually believe that each child has his or her own individual learning style which should be accommodated. They do not believe that a child should be expected to accommodate himself or herself to a particular style of teaching. Parents who unschool, work with each of their children on an individual basis in relation to each child’s ability and areas of interest.

Eclectic Learning

Eclectic learning is a general mix of both traditional and non-traditional learning styles. Many subjects may be structured (such as Math or Language Arts) while other subjects may be unstructured (such as Science, Reading or History).

Eclectic learning is fast becoming the more popular type of homeschooling. The curriculum is generally a mix and match of what parents have found works well for their children. In general, eclectic homeschooling parents do what they want in regards to teaching their children. They do not feel bound to structured learning and keeping with a set curriculum, yet they are not as laid back as unschoolers.