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School-At-Home Homeschool Method

What is Traditional Homeschooling and How Can You Make It Work for You?

School At Home
By Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.

What do you imagine when you hear the word “school”? Do you think of rows of desks with a chalkboard or white board at the front? Do you picture textbooks and school supplies and a teacher’s desk in the corner? How about inspirational posters on the wall next to a list of school rules? Do you envision a structured school day focusing on separate subject areas at given times with built-in breaks for lunch or recess? Are there lectures and worksheets and then quizzes and tests to monitor progress? What about the school schedule? Is it Monday through Friday from about mid-morning to early afternoon with a few weeks off here and there and a long summer break? You may or may not have fond memories of a “school” just like that, but those are the features that continue to be perpetuated through popular media.

When most non-homeschoolers and even many new homeschoolers imagine homeschooling, they describe the characteristics of the at-home school. Find out more about schooling at home, otherwise known as “traditional homeschooling”—what it is and what it isn’t—by reading more!

What is the School-at-Home Approach?

Pros and Cons of At-Home Schooling Using the Traditional Approach Tips for Using School Routines at Home
Support for Families Creating an At-Home School  

Resources for Schooling at Home Traditionally

*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although many of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.


What is the School-at-Home Approach?

 The school-at-home approach to homeschooling is exactly as it sounds: As a homeschool parent, you try to recreate a traditional classroom experience for your child. Your decisions are driven by what you know “school” to be. You create a version of a classroom, or at least a student desk area, and you find a curriculum that closely matches what your child would experience at a traditional public school. You assume the role of teacher and use the schedules, instructional styles, and methods of assessment typically used by classroom teachers. Discover more about this foundational approach to homeschooling using the resources below:



Homeschool Styles: Traditional Homeschooling | Midwest Parent Educators
Read this summary of what traditional homeschooling is and one parent educator’s viewpoint on the method.

Is Traditional Homeschooling Right for Me? | Homeschool On
Discover one homeschooler’s experiences with traditional homeschooling and see if it helps you determine if the method will work for your family.

Traditional Homeschooling Style | Homeschool On
Read this list of “you know you’re a traditional homeschooler if” characteristics and discover one mother’s experience with the style.

What is School-at-Home? | Education Reformation
Discover the key features of school-at-home, its benefits and negative aspects, and how it differs from COVID remote learning.



Pros and Cons of At-Home Schooling Using the Traditional Approach

Those who are new to homeschooling often default to the traditional school-at-home approach because it is what they know. They may have gone to traditional school themselves, and/or their children may be transitioning from traditional school to homeschooling. They may be trying out homeschooling or homeschooling temporarily before a return to regular schooling. Families who choose traditional school-at-home methods of homeschooling appreciate the familiarity of what they are doing, find that lesson planning and recordkeeping may be easier as a result of more standardized methods of instruction and assessment, and feel that any transition back to regular schooling will be smoother. Because prepackaged materials are often used, the method also requires less preparation and provides assurance that children are learning on track with same-aged peers.

Because traditional homeschooling essentially mimics school but really isn’t school, families may feel disappointment or a sense of failure when “life gets in the way.” Traditional homeschooling families may experience burnout as they try to wrestle the messiness and busyness of home life into a structured school schedule and typical school routines. They may have high expectations that cannot be met through this more rigid system and may find that the strict scheduling and use of textbooks and boxed curriculum provides little opportunity for creativity or individualization. They may, in essence, miss the major benefit of flexibility that homeschooling can bring.

Often, homeschooling families who begin in the traditional school-at-home method morph by trying other homeschooling methods or by adopting an eclectic method of homeschooling that combines a number of approaches. Other homeschooling families love traditional homeschooling and make it work. The good news is that you can keep what you like about traditional schooling and change what you don’t. The best advice is to connect with others who are using the traditional homeschooling method and do your research to discover your options!


Tips for Using School Routines at Home

If the school-at-home approach seems like a good place to start for your family, you will want to avoid the risks of burnout and disappointment by seeking the best methods for establishing and maintaining an effective school at home. While homeschoolers using this method seem to be less likely to share their personal experiences through blogs and vlogs and other social media, there are places to find tips and resource ideas. Here are just a few:

The High School Handbook: Junior and Senior High School at Home $
By Mary Schofield (Author)
Yes, you can home school through high school. This book tells you how. Chapters include “Evaluating Progress & Setting Standards;” “Designing Courses;” and “After High School.” This valuable resource also includes information about educational goals, course descriptions, transcripts, reading suggestions, etc. Don’t homeschool a teen without this book.”

How to Homeschool with the Traditional Method | Homeschool.com
Explore the school-at-home method’s use of structure and teacher-driven education and how the use of state standards and state standardized testing can be incorporated into it. See an example of a traditional homeschool day.

Traditional Homeschooling | Time4Learning
Explore what traditional homeschooling, or “school-at-home,” is and what traditional homeschool curriculum looks like. Learn how Time4Learning works with the traditional homeschooling method.

Traditional Homeschooling Programs | Homeschool-curriculum.org
Find out why some parents choose the traditional homeschooling curriculum approach and about some popular homeschool program choices.

The Traditional Homeschooling Style | Great Homeschool Conventions
Learn about why to use the traditional homeschool style, the advantages and disadvantages of the school-at-home method, how to determine if it is right for your family, and some examples of traditional homeschooling curriculum and resources.

Traditional Homeschool Method (or the School-at-Home Method) Explained | How Do I Homeschool
Read about traditional homeschooling (or the school-at-home approach) and how it relates to other homeschooling methods. Explore traditional curriculum packages and how to choose the best method.

What is Traditional Homeschooling? | Orison Orchards
Uncover the answers to questions like these: How does traditional homeschooling work? What are the benefits and disadvantages of traditional homeschooling? Where can I find traditional homeschooling curriculum and resources?


Support for Families Creating an At-Home School

While family stories about traditional homeschooling may not be common on the Internet, there are homeschoolers using the method with whom you can connect. Check out your local support groups or these online support groups focused on the traditional school-at-home method:

Acellus & Power Homeschooling Parents (Unofficial peer to peer support)
In 2015 I chose Acellus/Power Homeschool as our curriculum. In my research, I had to look up reviews and questions asked by parents all over Facebook in many different groups to find more information, ask questions and find support, so I decided that we should all come together to share our trials and tribulations with this program and our journey. Please join us to learn more about the program and check our Announcements, Albums, and Files.”

Homeschooling or School at Home
This page is for parents with kids doing school at home, homeschoolers, and teaching tips that help.”

Outschool for Traditional Homeschoolers
This group is a place for traditional homeschooling families to share how they are using Outschool to enhance their academic year. Parents are invited to share their favorite classes, teachers, and tips on successful homeschooling through using Outschool with the aim of better connecting traditional homeschooling families to classes that meet the needs of their learners. The group admins will also host weekly discussions or interviews to inspire, encourage and uplift homeschooling families. Homeschooling families are also invited to post their own questions and content that enhance the goals of the community.”

Power Homeschool – Official Parent Support Group
“The goal of this group is to facilitate a free exchange of ideas and constructive feedback in order to improve the educational experience of all students. As members of our community of homeschooling families, we encourage parents to openly share their experience in using the program.”

“This is a closed group for families using or interested in using Time4Learning to educate their children. Feel free to chat away. We want all members to feel comfortable knowing that this group is to help and support one another.”

Time4Learning Special Needs Families
“Welcome to this private group for families using the Time4Learning curriculum with their children who have special needs! We hope you will find this a welcoming place to give and receive support.”


School At Home

Resources for Schooling at Home Traditionally

Once you have ideas about starting your at-home school, and you have established some sort of support network, you will need curriculum and resources. A good place to start is a review of your state learning standards. You may also be able to contact your local public school for suggestions on textbooks and other resources they are using. In some states, you may even be able to borrow materials from your school district (check your state’s homeschooling laws). Another good step in this process may be to check your local library or online vendors for textbooks and workbooks tied to your state’s standards. If you are looking for something more comprehensive, try these online curriculum and course providers:

Discovery K12
“Online homeschool platform & curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade. 7 standard courses: Language Arts, Reading/Literature, Math, Science, History/Social Studies, Visual/Performing Arts, and Physical Education. Includes 180 Days of Curriculum, Over 16,000 Lessons, Weekly Spelling Program, Quizzes and Tests, Classic eBooks, 36 Weeks of STEM, Extra Curriculum, Fun and Easy-to-Use. Everything you need to independently homeschool.” Free accounts available, or you can upgrade for more features.

Khan Academy
We’re a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. […] Students practice at their own pace, first filling in gaps in their understanding and then accelerating their learning. […] Created by experts, Khan Academy’s library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more. It’s all free for learners and teachers.”

Outschool $
“Over 140,000 classes, endless possibilities. We empower kids 3 to 18 to build their own curriculum of interactive, one-of-a-kind classes.” Topic areas include arts, coding & tech, English, health & wellness, life skills, math, music, science & nature, social studies, and world languages.

Power Homeschool $
“Power Homeschool Services is a courseware provider. Our homeschool program helps parents succeed by providing effective online courses for grades K-12. […] Power Homeschool Services provides video-based Acellus® courses taught by some of America’s greatest teachers. These courses are proven. Students studying at home with our courseware have shown significant gains. Choose from over 400 courses.”

Time4Learning $
“Time4Learning is an online PreK-12 curriculum, covering math, language arts, science, and social studies. Unlike virtual schools with teachers, we empower you to take control of when, where, and how your child learns. […] Time4Learning is a standards-based grade-appropriate curriculum with thousands of interactive lessons in math, language arts, social studies, science, and more. […] With Time4Learning, you are in the driver’s seat. Students can login anywhere and anytime. There are no fixed times or schedules. Follow the material in order or select the material yourself. […] Time4Learning makes learning fun with over 3,500 engaging lessons that children of all ages enjoy. There are activities to develop skills and apply what they’re learning to everyday life.”


Do you use the school-at-home method of homeschooling? Please share your experiences and resources in the comments below….

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