Eclectic homeschool is difficult to describe. The approach takes the best from different teaching methods or curriculum and mixes them together. Each family that uses the method teaches a little different.
The parent takes what they consider important for their family. The parent then mixes the methods together to make their own teaching style. When I think of this style of teaching I think of making smoothies. Everyone likes a slightly different taste.
Eclectic homeschool is very personal. It is family centered. Both the child and parent can benefit from using this approach.
The method is good for children who have special needs. The parents do not feel that they need to use one method or curriculum. If the curriculum is not working they find some other way to teach it. The parents may even buy another curriculum.
A busy parent can benefit too. A parent can teach subjects that the child is having difficulty learning. Then the other subjects the child can learn independently.
When you combine teaching methods you and your child do not get bored. When the weather is nice you and your child can go out into nature to do science instead of doing a chapter in the science textbook.
Eclectic homeschool is more relaxed than other methods. The parent brings structure to the subjects that they believe are important. Then the other subjects are more relaxed.
The parent makes the curriculum work for them. Some parents do not use the directions or script in the textbooks. They may not even go do the chapters of the textbook in order. Some parents even use the textbook as reference material.
There are not too many disadvantages to the method and most families that have taught their children for a time end up using this method.
New homeschoolers might be intimidated trying to mix methods and curriculum. One packaged curriculum that uses the eclectic homeschool method is Sonlight.
Buying new curriculum when something is not working could get expensive. Try before you buy to see if the curriculum will work.
Some people use textbooks to teach math and language arts. History and science might be taught with hands-on projects.
Other families let the child read and write on subjects that interest them. Math might be the only class that is taught by the parent.
Another way is to use curriculum from more than one publisher. You might use a Saxon math textbook, a science textbook from Apologia, and a history textbook from Bob Jones. As you can see this is a mixture of different textbooks.
If a method of teaching or a curriculum is not working the parent my change in the middle of the year.
The longer that I homeschool the more eclectic I become. I began homeschooling using a packaged unit study. I am moving away from the packaged unit study. I am writing more of my curriculum. We are also using a science textbook for the first time. We will continue to use a textbook for math. I will also have my children do a lot of writing about what they are learning.
We are also becoming child centered. I try to find teaching methods and curriculum that will help my children with subjects that they struggle with. I have also been allowing my children to study what interests them.
An eclectic homeschool approach looks over all the different teaching methods and curriculum. It picks out the best of each and mixes it together to make an approach that will work will with their family.