10 Reasons For Our Relaxed Eclectic Homeschool Method


So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

The following is a post by contributor Carlie who blogs over at: So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

If you told me 9 years ago when we first started our homeschooling journey that I would be a “relaxed homeschooler” I would not have believed you. As a matter of fact, I probably would have laughed. But here I am, with my type-A personality raised by two very strict and old school traditional Japanese women {my mother and grandmother} doing just that – homeschooling our three precious children using a very relaxed eclectic approach.

To clarify what I mean by a relaxed eclectic approach {the definition may vary depending on who you ask}: For our family this means that we do not stick to a rigid schedule where the same thing occurs at the same time every day. Rather we allow for flexibility and changes within our day to best suit that days learning.

There are only two “certains” in our daily schedule and those are our family character building {with We Choose Virtues and the Bible} and math {which is done daily August – May}. Our curriculum is hand picked each year by my husband and I to ensure a perfect match for each child at every stage of learning that coincides directly with their particular learning style(s).

I do a tentative and flexible lesson plan at the beginning of each school year to fit our core subjects within August – May but am not afraid to change it. It is written in pencil for a reason as we believe that just as life cannot be scripted, nor can learning be. But we do plan for success and have an outline of what we are going to accomplish each school year.

These are the top ten reasons why this method works best for our family:

1. We believe learning occurs best in a relaxed and organic environment. Both my husband and I agree that we have always learned best within a laid back and flexible environment. This does NOT mean there is no structure, rather it means that our lives are not ruled by a strict schedule.

2. We are a military family.I learned very quickly in our homeschooling journey that flexibility and portability were key to successfully schooling as an active duty Army family. We have literally lived around the world {currently stationed in Germany} and this approach has worked well no matter where we’ve been stationed over the years.

3. We believe that learning cannot be scheduled.We strongly believe that learning takes place in an organic setting rather than trying to schedule when someone needs to understand something. This has given our children a love for learning that never tires. We can still teach our children how to stay within certain time constraints without giving them the impression that if they don’t “get it” by a certain date, that they are “failing.”

4. Our curriculum is very eclectic. Because we choose many different types of curriculum for our three children specific to their particular stage and learning style, being relaxed gives us the time to explore and live out what we are learning.

5. Teaching children of varying ages.We have found that in our family teaching multiple children at varying ages works best when we are flexible and patient. Currently we have a 3 1/2 year old son, 5-year-old son, and an 11-year-old daughter. All three of them are actively being taught. Our youngest is already a beginning reader so my time is in high demand. Being relaxed and flexible gives me the ability to focus on the priority each day for each child.

6. We operate better in a peaceful environment. I don’t know about you, but if I have a choice, I prefer a peaceful environment over a chaotic one. It is no secret that more positive things get accomplished when we are functioning in a peaceful setting. For us, this is a very large factor in our homeschooling approach. When we are at peace we accomplish a lot of wonderful learning – and through our laid back approach – we are able to achieve this on most days.

7. Able to spend more time on a concept or subject if we choose to.Because we hand pick each subject for each child on our own – not relying on an all-in-one set – it gives us the ability to focus on something a little longer than originally planned. Although we have a time frame that we typically complete our core subjects within {August – May} we can spend a little longer on something if we choose to do so without compromising the “schedule”. 

8. We school year round.Piggy backing off of #7, being relaxed is nice as we can explore rabbit trails anytime we want to without feeling any pressure to “finish” by a certain date. We use the summer time to explore things that we did not finish during the year or ideas that were sparked by previous study. It is a fun time where we do a lot of science experiments, art, creative writing, skits, and much more. This way the children always feel excited to learn as it never stops.

9. Maximum flexibility for extracurricular activities.This has been a major advantage for our homeschooling method of choice. There is never a time that won’t work for an activity to enhance our homeschooling experience. This has proved to be a huge blessing for a family that moves as much as we do.

10. Learning is always fun and enjoyable. I have found that with our chosen method that learning in our house is fun and enjoyable 95% of the time. The other 5% where it is not fun is only because we all have bad days from time-to-time. I have watched our oldest thrive in this method of choice for a little over 9 years now and we are certain it is the best way for our family to learn!

When Carlie is not busy relaxing and being eclectic, she can be found blogging about faith, family, homeschooling, and life in Germany at So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday and iHomeschool Network’s 10 in 10 (a 10 week series).



  1. says

    I agree with all of these- but especially #2! Being a military family that homeschools requires flexibility and patience! Great list Carlie!

  2. says

    I love your definition of relaxed eclectic homeschooling. We are an eclectic home learning family too. I am so with you about scheduling. We have often found it necessary to rearrange things to totally enjoy the learning and love that everything is not set in stone. Thanks so much for sharing, and an extra heart-felt thank you for your family’s service and sacrifice for our country.

  3. Migi Miller says

    I started out with a “boxed” curriculum, quickly realizing that this was not for us. In forming my own curriculum I was worried that I wasn’t bringing enough for my daughter. I found out that I was completely wrong. I make a weekly lesson plan to show what our goals are for the week. But life happens and some things can easily be pushed around to accommodate us. And doing a year-round school year gives us no pressure to be finished by a certain date. It is awesome to meet other eclectic homeschool families!!