Approaches to home education
can be generally dissected into
formal and informal styles.


Beyond that, the definitions become very blurred and terms can take on a variety of meanings, depending on the practitioner.

For this reason, our advice is to find a general direction first, then fill in the details as you go. Home education is not something that can be put in a box and neatly labelled so that it’s contents are completely known and understood. It’s more of a living organism.

Think of it as a rose-bush, if you like. You can prune it to different shapes; grow as a hedge, over an arbour or all lined up in a row; espalier it if you like; you might get jabbed by thorns occasionally, but the blooms are stunning and fragrant and glorious, and completely worth the effort.

Articles in this section:

TraditionalCommercial/DistanceClassicalPrinciplesLiving BooksUnit StudiesMontessoriWaldorf/SteinerDelayed AcademicsNatural LearningEclectic

Please use these links, or the tabs along the top of the page
and the drop-down menus to navigate your way around.

With all the approaches outlined in this section, you can find countless other resources online, by typing the approach name and either “home schooling” “homeschooling” or “home education” into your favourite search engine.

The articles in this section expand on each of the pre-defined approaches outlined in a brochure entitled ‘Approaches to Home Education’ which is supplied by NGES when they receive an enquiry about home education. The brochure was developed by local home educators (including myself) as a very basic introduction to some of the approaches to home education.

The generalities from the brochure are reproduced below, for your convenience, and linked articles provide additional information of the pre-defined approaches which the brochure mentions.

Bear in mind that this information is about opening up options to you, rather than locking you into a box. There is not only one way to effectively get your child ready for a university education, a high-flying career, a trade, parenting or anything else. In fact the possibilities are limitless.

Generalities from NGES Brochure:

There is a saying that there are as many approaches to home education as there are families who home educate.

The approaches outlined [in this section] are general groupings. These may help you clarify how you would like the Home Education experience to take shape for your family. All methods work; it’s just a matter of finding what works for you.

Starting out seems daunting and it will take time to find the way that works for you and your family. It is quite normal to experiment with methods and materials while you find just the right “fit”.

This process will go on longer than the six-month period of Provisional Registration that is automatically granted in the ACT (if all required paperwork is in order). We encourage you to use that time to develop habits of recording both formal instruction and observations of natural learning. That way, when it comes time for your Registration Visit, you will have plenty of information about your developing practices to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your child’s learning, growing, developing life.

Home education can be as formal or informal as you like. Extensive preparation, planning, and delivery can be helpful tools as you shape your approach, but are not essential. A more formal approach doesn’t dictate mimicry of school hours; a less formal approach isn’t void of purposeful instruction. Children who have time to play don’t burn out so fast, and neither do their parents.

Further Information

Copious information is available regarding home education. ACT Libraries contain books of interest, and extensive research can be conducted via the internet. Amazon is a rich source of books online, and some titles may be available through local bookstores.

Finding just the right resources for your family can be time-consuming, but it will be well worth your efforts.

If a particular approach works for someone you know, it doesn’t automatically follow that it will be right for you too. Consider your own family’s unique requirements – it will all come together with persistence, patience and time.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are we a formal or informal sort of family?
  • Is strict routine or greater flexibility best for us?
  • What will encourage the habits I want to see developed in my child/children?
  • Do I need a ready-to-use curriculum, am I happy to spend time developing material, or would I be comfortable to let my child learn more naturally?
  • How does my child learn best –  by seeing, hearing, or doing?
  • Am I creative? How will my style of creativity help us to home educate happily?
  • What are my strengths and how can I use them to enhance our home education experience?
  • What approach will foster a good atmosphere in our home?
  • What is most important to us in home education?
  • Do we have particular goals that we are working towards?
  • How will our family budget be affected by the approach we choose?

As you learn more about home education, devise other questions that will help to hone your unique approach. Don’t be afraid to challenge your own thinking. At some time you will need to defend your choices, and when you are confident in your own approach, others (including officials) are more likely to be confident in your competence.

We can gain no lasting peace if we approach
it with suspicion and mistrust or with fear.
We can gain it only if we proceed with the
understanding, the confidence, and the
courage which flow from conviction.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


Resources used in developing these pages include* the following:

* My intention is always to give credit where credit is due, and my habit is to include the source of any article printed from the internet for future reference, on the printed page. I have checked all these references as at 26th May 2010, and listed all those with current web addresses. In instances where the main site still exists but I am unable to find the original article, I have referenced the general site, as it may be of benefit to those who are researching approaches for themselves.
** I have purchased this book and found it valuable from many angles.