This paper presents a metatheoretical analysis of ‘approaches' to moral education and how we make sense of them. Such approaches are commonly analyzed with simple, binary category schemes, for example, being categorized as either ‘indirect' or ‘direct' in nature. This kind of minimal framework clearly oversimplifies the complex nature of any approach. Despite this, the moral education literature continues to suffer from a lack of appropriately complex, systematic, and robust analytic frameworks to help us understand the complexities of moral education and its study. Our analysis elaborates some basic challenges in making sense of approaches to moral education. We then develop a framework that can meet these challenges, and assist students, scholars and researchers in developing a critical understanding of the complex underpinnings of any approach to moral education, and the analyses of those approaches found in the moral education literature.