Why Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle! Part 3

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Welcome to Part 3 of a 5 Part series on
Why Homeschool is Like A Jigsaw Puzzle.

Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

In this series you will learn how to sort all your straight pieces (the frame or outline) of your homeschool puzzle so you can start laying down your foundation and ease into the big beautiful picture that is homeschooling. There is so much to learn and absorb about homeschooling that you may feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. I am hoping to encourage you and get you through the start process with a bit of ease. That’s my goal at least. Once you get started it isn’t so bad just like creating a puzzle.

Welcome to Part 3 of the Jigsaw Puzzle Homeschool Series.
If you missed Parts 1 & 2 of this series, I urge you to read those posts before moving on to Part 3.


  1. Sorting your Puzzle Pieces and your Laws and Choices.
  2. Finding your Homeschool Style.
  3. Finding out what Type of Homeschooler you are.  <<<< you are here
  4. Creating a Schedule.
  5. Curriculum


With Steps 1 & 2 completed you are now ready for Step 3. You now know your state’s homeschool laws and what your options are. You are also aware of the many Styles of education available.

Grab your paper with steps 1 & 2 and write Step 3.

Let’s continue sorting your puzzle pieces.
(metaphorically speaking of course)

Step 3:

Your Homeschool Type

We are now moving onto what *type* of homeschooler you can be. Just like everything homeschool, there are so many options and choices. Homeschool has really come a long way, even within the last 20 years. Whereas, so many options comes so many decisions to make. I’m grateful and very thankful that we have so many options now to choose from. We have a great amount of freedom and opportunity in our homeschools now. Thank you to all those who paved the road before us!

Below are different ways you can run your homeschool. Do you want to hear the greatest part of all? – You can choose one, two or even multiple types to fit your needs. The choice is yours!

Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

  • Traditional –

Tends to be the school-at-home method. The days and academic schedule mirror those of the public school. This type would be similar to the Read, Study, Answer, Test method.
For many of us we start out this way until we quickly realize that this type of learning doesn’t always work well at home, especially when you are teaching multiple children. When you homeschool you are in no way, shape, form , or fashion required to ‘school’ at home. This is just what the majority of us know starting out.
When you homeschool multiple children, often times Traditional type learning doesn’t work. You have to spend one on one time with each of your children (because of different grade levels) and this can make for a long day and a quick way to homeschool burn-out.
Generally, you would use a full boxed curriculum where all your lessons are completely created for you with not much room for additional adaptation or adjustment. Some
do well in this type of school method. The choice is yours.

  • Eclectic –

Using several different styles and curriculum. This *type* of homeschooler tends to mix and match or pick and choose different curriculum and styles of learning. They tend to purchase curriculum from different publishers for different subjects. For instance, a math workbook might be purchased from a homeschool publishing company but they may do lapbooks or unit studies for all their history lessons. They may also use the plethora of free resources available on the internet for phonics. They might also utilize online lessons for science.
You see, they pick different styles that fit their children the best. This *type* of homeschooling also helps with individual children because not every child learns in the same manner or at the same pace. Boxed curriculum is generally based off of one grade that someone has deemed what the child should know by that year. Some children are on target (scope & sequence scale) in some subjects for the particular grade level they are in and may be a bit behind or ahead in other subjects. Eclectic allows you to choose grade levels ahead or behind. Teaching multiple grade levels for one individual for a particular year, if needed.
*We are relaxed-eclectic homeschoolers. I have a child that excels in math but struggles a bit in reading and vise versa. Putting together curriculum to fit our needs works best for us. I can cater to everyone’s needs. Including my own as a teacher. I tend to do better ‘teaching’ in a more creative, less strict lesson plan way.
Two of our children are creative, hands-on learners. Black and white worksheets or workbooks tend to bore them and then they don’t retain the lesson they are working on. For them, we do less worksheet and workbook learning and more journal style learning. Including lapbooks.
On the other hand, we have a child who is very black and white and gets distracted by too much color and often times prefers colorless worksheets or workbook style lessons.
Most homeschoolers are more on the eclectic side. The joy of homeschool is that you don’t have to be “like most”, you have the freedom to practice what works best for your family.

  • Relaxed –

Relaxed homeschoolers tend to be a bit more free thinking and not tied to a strict schedule. Willing to change courses when needed. They also tend to not be bound by grade levels or age implied learning.
For instance, if you are studying a particular subject and the child asks a question related to the topic you are discussing then they take the time to further the education and may put the current lesson on hold to feed the child’s interest.
Or, an unexpected lesson happens and you want to seize the moment to learn about it. You can  read about one of these lessons in this post: How Tiny Amphibians Changed Our Academic Course.
Also, A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler. You will see that we held off on our regular schedule and had a completely different type of school day, yet we learned way more in that day than we ever would have at home, doing our normal studies.
Relaxed is often flexible.

  • Unschoolers –

This *type* of homeschooling tends to be more child-led learning. The child often chooses what he wants to learn about. Doing research and learning all about what interests him. Now, this is not to imply that the parent does not have any involvement in the child’s learning. Even better, that the child runs around playing all day with no learning opportunity.
It simply means that generally unschoolers do not stick to a grade level or a scope and sequence (what each child needs to know in each grade level) for their learning. They gauge what they learn off of the interests of the child. Generally unschoolers feel they gain more knowledge by *life lessons*.


So, are you narrowing down your Steps? Even if it takes you some time to figure out which direction you want to go, you will have an idea of what is fitting for you by creating your Steps sheet. You can easily eliminate what you know right away that won’t be a good fit for you and your family. By choosing what seems interesting or what you want to research a bit further, you are clearly on your way to creating a homeschool that work’s for you. You must remember to make your homeschool fit you and not work on fitting you into your homeschool.

*Keep sorting those pieces. You are almost there*
On to Step 4, shall we?

Step 3 = Complete!


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  1. We probably lie somewhere between relaxed and traditional. I Was so relieved to find a boxed curriculum that doesn’t keep them in strict grade levels, not to mention, we can teach all “grades”together on one topic. I guess in that way we use unit studies, Charlotte mason and a few others. No testing for us either. After stressing out for a few years trying to put together custom lessons for each kid, my husband said “buy a curriculum you Love and just go with it.” So glad he suggested it! We love My Father’s World!

  2. That is great Amanda!

    Finding what works is the biggest sanity savor when it comes to homeschooling. I love that your husbands input was instrumental in easing things for all of you. Changing what isn’t working is another biggie. Often, we try to MAKE something work rather than giving it up and moving on. {I’ve been guilty of that} When we don’t ditch what isn’t working, we lead ourselves straight to homeschool burnout.

    My Father’s World is a great curriculum. We have considered it ourselves, but never took the plunge.

    Thanks for stopping by Amanda!

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