From the brochure …

Many home educators use a blend of the different approaches. Traditional textbooks may be chosen for maths and science, for example; then a computer program used to teach typing, and a unit study developed around a key interest which incorporates English, music, art, history, geography, etc.

Eclectics are selective, but do not follow any single approach to home education. Parents find a satisfying balance, designing the curriculum to suit the individual student, and using concepts from various sources.

To Elaborate …

In reality, this definition probably applies to the significant majority of home educators. Some are true unschoolers, some are avid Traditionalists, but most people, to some degree, pick and choose what works at the time. Conversely, most eclectic home educators also have a particular leaning, towards (say) Classical or Montessori methods.

It’s a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”, picking the best aspects from different methods and customising them into the family’s own inimitable style. The approach is both innovative and flexible, relying heavily on the parents’ own judgement to select what will work for their child in the blend of academic and experiential learning.

Often voracious researchers themselves, Eclectic home educators are often keenly inquisitive about all sorts of theories, programs and educational resources, shopping for quality products beyond the common stream.

An Eclectic approach may have at its core a particular belief system (see Philosophies) and an obvious consideration of the child’s Learning preferences. Whatever curriculum materials are purchased usually come from a diverse array of suppliers, then will be adapted and refined as required. Choices also take into consideration the child’s temperament, gifts, and interests.

Textbooks alone are not enough for the Eclectic home educator, whose child also has the freedom to explore and exploit every potential learning experience. Private or group lessons with external teachers may be included, in visual, dramatic or performing arts, and plenty of adventures to museums, libraries, galleries and parks round out this approach.

Some Advantages

  • uniquely tailored
  • always adaptable
  • parents and children both influencing directions taken

Some Disadvantages

  • may be too flexible for parents or children who need definite structure
  • may require too much preparation or forethought from parents
  • often the way things head as time goes by, but may seem unsure to new parents

Personal Comment

In many ways, our approach has been very eclectic since early days, in that we’ve rarely relied on curriculum from just one supplier, and we’ve always had plenty of extra input. It’s good to have the confidence to know when you need more structure, either for your own sake or your child’s, and when to allow and even encourage a more relaxed approach.

Useful Links

  • Homeschool Diner
    General article explaining the Eclectic approach, with some very helpful links at the bottom of the page.
  • Eclectic Homeschool Online
    This is a christian site, providing plenty of information on a wide variety of resources.

An internet search will yield additional resources, which you will be able to assess according to your own criteria.

“We all should know that diversity makes for
a rich tapestry, and we must understand that
all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value
no matter what their color.”
Maya Angelou